The Archive.

updated Jan 2011



Pink Floyd In 1969.

May 9th 1969.
Camden Fringe Free festival. Parliament Hill Fields. Hampstead Heath.

Pink Floyd,Pretty Things, Roy Harper, Pete Brown and his Battered Ornaments, Jody Grind and Musica Electronica Viva.

Pink Floyd Set list.

Astronomy Domine. , Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Careful With That Axe Eugene , A Saucerful Of Secrets.



 
   Naturally , after the Swansea  gig, we were completely bitten by the Floyd bug and when we saw the opportunity to see them free at the Camden Fringe Festival , we pestered the parents to let us hitch hike up to London to see them . Unfortunately we went as a threesome, which was not such a good idea. After getting a lift to Gloucester together we struck decidedly bad luck and after an hour or so we had to split up - as we would miss seeing the festival if we didn't make better time -muggins being the one to volunteer to go on his own . 
  I got a lift almost immediately from a West Indian driving a truck belonging to Rolls Royce and I asked him if he could take the other two as well. " No fooking way mon "  , he rasped in his deep gravelly patois, raising a finger to emphasise his point "I can only take ONE " so I abandoned Allan Jones and Martin Wallace to their fate and got in the cab. I had an entertaining lift with this guy who regaled me with stories of his native  isle , I can't remember which island he came from ,but it had lots of Bauxite mines.

   By the time I got to Hampstead Heath, it was early evening , but the festival was not underway, like all free events , it had a schedule of its own and acts came and went after long intervals. It was a fun gig, the usual London crowd of far out hippies, some straight looking types busy rubbernecking ,badly disguised drug squad officers and Afghan coats galore.It was a nice crowd, few had come to see any of the bands play their greatest hits and therefore everyone felt free to play whatever they wished.  Roy Harper played a set full of  his usual fire, fueled  by his anger against the establishment , whilst Jody Grind and the Pretty Things all strutted their stuff admirably. The estimable Pete Brown and the Battered Ornaments did an excellent set, with Pete as usual attempting to strangle himself onstage with his errant , uncontrollable hand , encased in its little black glove. This was VERY good. However, it was primarily the Floyd I had really come to see and they came on stage early as they had to rush off to play a gig at Southampton the same night .
 
   It was pretty much the same set that they played at Swansea, but in those intervening months they had become far more experimental in their music, with extended ventures into some VERY weird sounds. 
In this regard ,Gilmour was the most impressive. At one point ,  he was down on the stage floor, straddling his axe, a fixed expression of concentration on his face,  coaxing out the most intensely creepy and strange notes from his guitar that I've heard this side of Hendrix and late 1960s Grateful Dead feedback sessions. 

    He was  developing some of the sounds that would eventually be used on Echoes, those piercing , endless primeval noises that seemingly came somewhere not of this planet and which always conjured up in my mind the images of remote unfriendly worlds inhabited by unseen creatures of malign intent . It wasn't easily digestible stuff, but then, this era of Floyd music was NOT hit parade fodder , it challenged you to like it , in essence the band were prepared to take risks and the audience had to come along for the ride, if you fell off along the way, too bad . Certainly, one would perhaps would not have wanted to have been tripping listening to this nights output , one might not have ever come back down again .......

 

  In fact this is one of the chief reasons why I hold this era Floyd in such high esteem. This was getting  OUT THERE in a serious manner . Certainly, in terms of taking risks with the music , this had to be the furthest out Floyd gig I saw. I'm pretty sure they played a long time, even though the set list looks rather  short. It certainly did not feel like I'd been shortchanged, far from it , I just wish I had a tape of the gig.......

  After the Floyd played Jody Grind had the misfortune to have to try to follow, but they were impressive - pretty heavy sounds . They were followed by the Pretty Things who as usual delivered a set full of mayhme and magic , the show finished in the wee small hours, way after the last buses had gone back to sculk in their sheds. I walked the whole way to Hammersmith from Hampstead, and then hitched back to Wales. Those were the days when you could still walk around London late at night and not worry too much about getting beaten up by skinheads. By the time I got home I'd not slept for about 30 hours.  Never did see my friends there either, even though they did apparently attend the gig and shared similar views to my own .

  Allan Jones- ex Melody Maker editor,and Martin Wallace - if you read this , try and dredge up your own memories and contact me , I'd like to have a chat with you about old times.

Once again apparently this show was recorded, if you have a copy contact me for a trade. If you have other memories of Floyd shows from the 1966-71 era send them to me and I will add them to these pages.

 

John Perry was also at this show and has fond memories.

Funny. Camden seems like the forgotten Fest. I thought it was beautifully done. ( Having just played the o2 festival in Hyde Park a few months ago, which was like a sort of highly-organized School trip with bossy headmistresses). A few weeks later & I was hitching the same road for the Blind Faith gig .. and then 4 weeks later the Stones in Hyde Park. More or less my last festivals as an audience member; from Glastonbury 71 I started playing them.

But i have an abiding memory of getting off the tube at Belsize Park, walking toward the sound & light & coming over the hill to THE most lovely spectacle. Underlit trees, big gathering, and 'Communication Breakdown' sounding *enormous*. And I've never much liked Zeppelin. Supported them at Bath Pavilion when they were testing, billed as THE NEW YARDBIRDS (Led Zeppelin) in tiny text beneath. Poor mans crib -- well actually a Rich Mans crib -- of the Beck/Rod Stewart Band. But as a part of the Camden spectacle ... oh yes.
Enjoyed your account of the Floyd. I'd quite forgotten I'd seen them at Parliament Hill - I remembered Jody Grind, cos I know Bernie the Guitar, but would have guessed that I'd seen the Fairports top of the bill. (The other acts fade into other festivals, e.g. Pete Brown was as ubiquitous as Edgar Broughton!)

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Related Pink Floyd pages on my website. Choice Pink Floyd sites to visit
Once you have checked out my links go see Col Turners excellent Pink Floyd web site .You can also visit  more UK Rock festival pages on my site by going
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