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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971.


Weeley Recollections - Part 3

We've had so many lengthy personal responses for this festival we have now had to start yet another page -but no worries - keep them coming, we will put them on the net !

Weeley Recollections - Part 1
Weeley Recollections - Part 2
Weeley Recollections - Part 3

If you attended the festival it would be great to hear your recollections, memoirs , whatever you want to call them , before they completely fade away- Contact us - and we will add them to the site.


As i remember it the problem Marc Bolan T-Rex had was because the main stage amplification packed up and it was nearly daylight when they eventually got on. So they just had their own amps and PA and kept asking if we could hear at the back. I was about two thirds back. then about half way through the set they got the main amps going and finished on a high.
He was the last act and then it was pack up and trudge to the railway station. I know it was midday before we got on a train.
Len Searle


HI
I chanced across your site, I was at the Weeley Festival and Marc Bolan did indeed announce that if the audience didnt stop shouting abuse he would leave the stage, and he did....but then he returned and sat on a large cushion and, playing solo acoustic guitar he played a few songs and gradually won the audience over, I was not a huge fan of his but I have never forgotten the courage (and the talent) that he showed that day.
A different age when anything seemed possible, I am still involved in music and play in a band called "tab"
Best wishes and thanks for the memory!
David Blunt


Hi,
 Just thought I'd put my "twopenn'th" in regarding the Weeley Festival.

Firstly I don't think the weather could've been better, my lasting music impression was Barclay James Harvests' "Mocking Bird". I was mesmerized, 'course that could have been "herbally"enhanced, but all the same it was a great set. Thankfully, I saw very little of the "Angels battle", unfortunately I couldn't escape the "bathrooms", very unnerving taking a leak while some geezers "straining one out" at shoulder level whilst reading a book.

I even managed to get lost but, unlike that moron Wally, I just settled down with a couple of tasty females and made the best of it.
By the time I left I was stoned, got my rocks off, had a suntan, and had memories of a blinding festival, all in all a great time.

I did, however, try for a repeat performance at Lincoln, between the cold and rain plus The Beachboys, anyone else go? You have my sympathy.
               Cheers

Steve Stocker


Hi,
 
Just a few of the things I can remember.
 
Myself and three friends travelled to London a day early and spent the night in Green park before being rudely awakened by the police who wanted to tidy the dossers up before the tourists awoke. We slept in a tent made from deckchairs nicked off the bandstand.
 
We went to Euston station to tidy up in their superloos as we rightly surmised that soap and water were going to be a little short in the coming days.
 
Caught the train from Liverpool Street Station to Clacton on the Friday having bought a ticket for 3 stops up the line. We couldn't afford the rail fare all the way and the ticket price. When we got off at Weeley Station we managed to hop over a fence and walk away.
 
Pitched our tent in the festival village. I remember the god awful trench that passed for sanitation. Thank god for constipation.
 
Food on site seemed to be either ethnic rice and bits or endless hotdogs or burgers. Healthy it wasn't.
 
The highlights for me were passing within  a foot of a very cool looking Rod Stewart [ with blonde] in a pink velvet jacket, Barclay James Harvest's "Mocking Bird" with full orchestra. Marc Bolan, Tir na Nog and Mungo Jerry. Eclectic mix! Or maybe just bad taste?
 
 On the Saturday night I can remember the announcement that people in Clacton [8 miles away] were ringing the police to complain about the noise. That got a cheer.
 
The weather was kind, the music was good and live, we were all young and the memories linger on. Thanks for the web site helping to fill in the bits that escaped me. My 2 teenage daughters do not believe what there father got up to.
 
Iain Kenworthy-Neale
Cardiff [late of Liverpool]

Starting from playing in a band and roadying between gigs (which of course was a lot) a friend and I met David Simons a radio 1 DJ who managed Fairfield Parlour, we loaned him a small PA and he said if he could return the favour he would try and help. We were punting Manfred Manns’ WEM system around whilst maintaining it for him. We were approached by the promoters to supply for the festival and duly accepted but, didn’t have a big enough system. Dave Simons knew Jim Marshall, get the picture?

After a meal with Jim at his local restaurant he decided what great promo for his gear, and got Ken Flegg his then designer to come up with 40 channels of mixing due to the fact that was the size of the orchestra with Barclay James Harvest. A complete system was put together by Marshall products just for the gig. The system was just larger than normal mildly flared 4x12 columns with celestion horns and drivers, a multitude of 250 watt power amps, also first time use. The picture you have on your site shows a large Kelsey and Morris system under raps which was only going to be used by some of the bigger bands, Rod Stewart etc. However when it was hooked up it was not powerful enough and complaints came from the back that people could not hear, we coupled it up to our system as well which saved the day. Still most people I talk to have no idea where Weeley is let alone anything about one of the best festivals I ever had the pleasure of mixing. You just have a view of the back of my head on your first from stage picture on the archive, I have a very  similar shot with my dog standing on the front of the stage.
.
Phil Hearn


Hi
I just came across your site about the Weeley festival in 1971.
Great site and very thought provoking.
I found it after watching a recent programme on BBC East that looked back to the festival.
As you say, it has been largely forgotten, not least by me!

I went with my mates, but only by accident as somebody's grand parents lived in Weeley and we used to go up there quite a lot. I was 18 and had just completed my 'A' levels whilst trying to maintain my social round of Cooks Ferry Inn on Monday nights, the Marquee Club on Tuesdays and sometimes the Albert Hall on Thursdays, plus whatever was on at the weekend of course! All supported by a job on Monday and Wednesday evenings after school.

To be honest, I don't remember much about it after all this time beyond a few images of tall towers, wheat, fires, massive holes in the ground full of shit, and the sound level. I do remember some poor bastard falling in a shit pit and nobody moving to help him out.

The only music I can remember clearly was Barclay James Harvest. Somebody else recalled that they took a long time to set up, during which time several fights broke out in the crowd, but their set was magical. I remember the orchestra. Later of course they started using Mellotrons(?). I remember them being at our college and they were nowhere near as good.
I smoked much to much to remember any more. It was pretty much a haze after the first day.
Guff


Weeley.
I can remember the Wally incident starting and the comments about some unfortunate wandering about, with his mates shouting Wally, then every one joining in sound about right to me. What no – one as mentioned, the last time I read through the comments, was that Barclay James Harvest took forever to set up, the main reason was they were performing with an orchestra and Woolley Wolstenholme kept sending messages.
So the announcer would say I have a message from Woolley apologising for the delay, and of course at the sound of Woolley a massive chorus of Wally would erupt.
Also I remember at the railway station to go home and there was a very large crowd pushing on to overcrowded trains. One rather hairy individual tried to climb through a carriage window and a policeman shouted something like come here woolly, and of course a massive cheer of Wally went up again.

Steve Austin


What can I say, I have just found this site and it has triggered memories galore. I ended up in the group photo of the album 'Nods as good as a Wink'. It was a blast that year first concert I went to ,I was 18, I went with a crowd inc my boyfriend of the time russell, we had a tent by the stream which we used to wash and drink from! on the night of Trex snd Faces I got speaking to a reporter from NME and... managed to get into the big marquee at back of stage and meet Marc Bolan and...Rod Stewart, the guy from NME was interviewing them, I stayed chatting with them for ages, the Faces were there also and I got chatting to Kenny Jones and found out I went to school with his cousin Madeline, those were the best days, hot, passionate and sticky.
Brilliant website, hope they do another weeley ,I would go, I pass the site often on my way to Frinton. with love
Patsy

email me at patsycampe@yahoo.com


Unknown band © John Sellick

Weeley was the best (and last) Festival I went to until Glastonbury 2004 - I think the toilets put me off festivals for a long time.  As you're asking, here are my memories for what they're worth.
 
The journey there:
 
This was the first long journey (from Slough) I did on my newly and amateurishly customised Royal Enfield bike and true to form it broke down somewhere outside Colchester.  I'd been pushing the bloody thing through the wilderness for about an hour when what must have been a combined  Hells Angels chapter of 50-60 bikes passed by.   As an ex-mod a frisson of fear went through me.  Memories of Windsor Hells Angels, Squaddies from the castle garrison and extreme violence I suppose.  Anyway they turned round and came back.  "Got a problem mate?  Don't worry, we'll sort you out" That's what I expected anyway but they didn't mean what I thought they meant.  I was physically picked up and sat on the bonnet of their van, a joint was stuck in my unprotesting mouth and my bike disappeared behind a wall of leather,  denim and patches.  When they stepped back the joint was finished, the bike was fixed, and off they went, leaving me trembling but grateful.  Next time I saw them they were making their way into the festival en masse, riding over any poor sods who were so out of it they didn't hear the bike engines or cries of "Outta the fucking way you tosser" and similar greetings.  Nice one guys!
 
WALLY! 
It did start at Weeley, no doubt.  A stage announcement was made along the lines of "X, can you go to the car where Wally's got your drugs"  That's when we all started baying for Wally and it became the catchphrase of the festival.
 
Toilets:
After I saw one guy miss the trestle and plunge into the stinking ooze below I joined other festival goers using a nearby onion field.  OK at first but as the piles grew bigger (and smellier) even that was pretty risky.  A mate and I (hi Ed) eventually set up our tent next to the railway line and used the tent and a big metal dinner plate to do the unmentionable.  The results were lobbed over the fence onto the railway line!
 
Odd incidents:
This was the period when acid was everybody's favourite experiment and I was no exception.  Strange events resulted.  Despite my babbling confused state (or possibly because of it!) I was sent off to get some burgers for our crowd of about 7 or 8 guys.  I was led back by helpful strangers 2 hours later with one doughnut and no money!  During the trip (for the doughnuts) I remember seeing a poster on the surrounding fence which featured two policemen. I stood and stared at it for a few seconds, presumably trying to understand its relevance and inner meaning (we were into that sort of thing in those days).  Its inner meaning became very clear when one of them turned to his mate and commented on my state of mind.  They had a special peephole so they could watch the assembled throng enjoying itself.  In those days we say the feds/pigs as the enemy and it didn't do my karma (we were into that as well) any good at all.
 
I saw about 20 Angels run into what might have been a food tent on the hillside or slope to the left of the main arena followed by a similar number of policemen.  The tent bulged, swayed and generally rocked about like a Tom and Jerry cartoon fight and the Angels all came running out again.  The police followed a short time later but at a slower pace - I don't think the local constabulary were fully prepared for the weekend.  Not like nowadays at all.
 
Didn't they issue free giant brown paper bags for people to sleep in?  In those days, along with my mates,  I travelled light, no change of clothes, no camping gear apart from a sort of Wendy House tent (see "toilets" above)and I think that people-sized paper bags were someone's solution to the cold nights.  I could be wrong on that due to my altered state of consciousness but I know it happened somewhere and Weeley's the best candidate.
 
There was one freak near us ('freak' was a status we all aspired to so I'm not being un-PC) who was seriously affected by Monty Python's Viking/Spam sketch and between songs he could be observed leaping about and shrieking "Spam, I want Spam" and suchlike.  One of our group had a tin of pork luncheon meat, similar to Spam, and decided to help the guy out.  He levered this lump of unpleasant pink goo out of the tin and lobbed it in the Spam fanatic's direction.  Spot on, right on the side of the guy's head from about 20 yards. It sort of exploded everywhere in a pink haze (think Purple Haze but stickier).  The poor man must have thought is was some kind of misguided message from God!  It shut him up though.
 

Music: 
Most of Weeley is just a blur of happy times and sounds - I know the lineup was excellent but as I said,  altered states of consciousness can't really differentiate between music and your general surroundings: to be honest I could have been sitting up a tree in Swindon and wouldn't have noticed the difference!
 
I think I remember waking up at what must have been about sunrise on Sunday (?) to the sound of Rory Gallagher's acid clear guitar and thinking I must be in Heaven.  A memory of Arthur Brown being chased around the stage by some sort of enormous inflatable (I saw him about a month ago and he's still amazing, even without the burning hat and the makeup).  Marc Bolan coming on to a fairly hostile reception but turning the crowd round in about 15 minutes - an excellent performance.  That's it on the music front.
 
In fact, that's it on the fact front.  I hope this is of some value to your site.  Feel free to use this but if my e-mail address is published,  for anyone who recognises the name, it's not me it's someone who looked like me at the time OK!
 
Dave


Another unknown band .... © John Sellick

Hi there,

This is probably of no interest to you about the weeley pop festival of 1971, but it is a clear vision that sits in the back of my mind to this day, I was the tender age of seven well six and three quarters .

My family were on our way to our annual holiday to Walton on the Naze in Essex when I remember seeing a mass of motorcycles on the A12  ,as I would my big brother was a greaser!, then as we approached the roundabout where you turn off to weeley ,I remember a big banner saying pop festival, my sister being thirteen an "hip" seemed to know all about it jumping up an down in the back of my fathers "1952 MG y "model tourer (an old banger for those days) there were loads of hippies walking towards the site, my father getting white knuckled ,saying it wouldn't of been allowed in his day and mother saying they need a good wash.

The next day ,I remember my mother saying there had been trouble at weeley I don't know why but this particular annual holiday stands out in my head.
                                            

Richard Smith.


Hi.
I remember Weeley really well. I was 16 at the time and got a lift to the site in a friends dads ice cream van. paid a quid for a ticket from a Hells Angel. I don't know if was genuine but it seemed to be and it got me in. I arrived after the trouble between the piemen and the Angels. Mungo Jerry were on, and I promptly lost sight of the guy I arrived with. I heard later that he went home.
Weeley was not Britains answer to Woodstock, it was far better. Yes there were a few commercial bands on, but suprisingly they were quite enjoyable.

Some of the best moments for me were when Al Stewart sang the whole of Love Chronicles with the wind making strange noises through the speakers. Waking up to King Crimson. And then there was Barclay James Harvest, who I think came on before Al Stewart,. They must have had a full orchestra behind them to make such an amazing sound. I remember Maggie Bell, Groundhogs, and a few others, but the highlight for me personally, was when Lindisfarne came on and got a poor reception at first. People were drifting away, and I stood up and waved a peace sign (yeah kind of embarrassing now, I know). They spotted it and did the same back. the next thing I knew, the whole bloody crowd stood up and did the same. The strange thing is, I still don't know if I ever really liked Lindisfarne.

Of course we've had other excellent festivals in Britain, but for me, Weeley stands out as the best festival that Britain has ever seen. It had some of the best music at the time and one of the best atmospheres of any festival I've been to.
John Porter-Weiss


Hello,
 
What a great great site you've got!
 
I just wanted to let you know that on one of the Status Quo Weeley pix that I found at this link http://www.argyro.net/amap/Weeley.html it is clearly visible that Rick Parfitt plays an acoustic guitar and Rossi uses a capo at the 5th fret.In the early 70's they used these instruments for the tune Gerdundula.It is the pic where they are seated.Okay before you think I am out of my mind to bore you with this information, let me explain why:
In 1985 I got an audiece recording of the Quo Weeley performance from a dutch guy (I'm dutch too) who told me he got it from another dutch guy who said he recorded it himself. Anyway, there is not a track on the tape which features acoustic guitar and Gerdundula definately isn't on the tape.Therefor I believe that the recording does not contain the whole Quo concert.Not all that important, it just surprised me to see a pic of Quo playing the afore mentioned song.
 
Have you got any information on the person who made available the original(master) recording or actually recorded it? who knows there may be more people who did taping at Weeley!
 
Keep up the good work!
 
Cheers,
Raymond

Allan and Pete's place © Emagen



August 27th 1971 Weely Festival, Clacton on Sea
I turned up for The Weely Festival later that summer a fully-acclimatised, battle-hardened muso, with my own tent and cooking equipment, (which nearly proved to be my downfall... read on) and friend Colin. Looking back the standout acts for me were Al Stewart, who came on and said 'Unfortunately I have only been allowed enough time for one song, but it is quite a long one....'  and then proceeded to slay us with Love Chronicles..... pure magic, and Barclay James Harvest who went down a storm but ran out of songs, so that they had to do 'Mockingbird' for a second time for their encore! I also remember Marc Bolan coming on and saying 'Hi.... you may have seen me on Top of the Pops!' He was abused horribly for that, but won us over with a fantastic set. Poor Marc .... god bless him, one of the true superstars!

I retired to my tent (I seem to remember it being a 24 hour festival, and Colin definitely stayed up late) and next morning decided to warm up some milk on my paraffin stove ... INSIDE the tent. Dur! Needless to say, I spilt some paraffin and nearly met a fiery end, as the stove was between me and the door. I was panicking to get out, but good old Col dragged me through the door and someone hosed the tent down. Only my fringe and eyebrows were damaged! Phew!

I remember heading for home on the Sunday, or was it Monday, dying for a decent toilet (I just COULDN'T use the pits!) and, seeing the massive crowd at the station, we decided to head up-track. We clambered into the carriage which was sitting outside the station! I think they must have put longer trains on for the event... those were the days!

I had a fantastic time, didn't see any nastiness between the Hells Angels, but I do remember a few fires here and there (apart from my own one!).
They are my (unreliable) memoirs, (as Clive James put it) and I'll put some more thoughts down later. Oh I wish I still had my festival diary. The A to Z of obscure pub-bands of the seventies! It could have been a best seller!
Cheeeers
Trevor


Have read through the web site peoples memories of weeley 1971,some are absolutely crystal and others I have simply no recollection.
 
The four of us from Rugby warwickshire,Clive Ambler,Paul Barnacle,Nigel Dale and myself Eddie Wright (sadly John Bridgewood couldn't make it) arrived by coach to Clacton then got the bus to Weeley. We were 16 and had just finished the O levels.
 
The things I do remember:-
 
Hackensack opened the festival with a rendition of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
 
Fairfield Parlour were definately there playing early Sat morning.
 
Between T.Rex and the Faces, Al Stewart was given a 20 minute slot and played Love Chronicles-possibly the best applause of the weekend.
 
Marc Bolan complained the monitors were not working and he could not hear himself. After much heckling from a hostile crowd because he was commercial and had 'sold out' he won all round with a great set including jeepster.
 
Barclay James Harvest and the Orchestra playing particularly Mockingbird were Fantastic.
 
The rumour was rife all weekend that Joe Cocker was to appear with the Greaseband. He did not.
 
I have absolutely no recollection of Rory Gallagher.
 
Cans of coke at 10p were a 'rip off'
 
The latrines were as bad as everyone describes.
 
Acid was 50p a tab.
 
On the Friday night the girl in front of us started talking to a guy who sat alongside us.During Edgar Broughton they got into a sleeping bag and did not re-emerge till monday morning!!
 
I thought Wally was a local character from Clacton with a Religious slant. He was adored by the Weeley crowd.
 
Stray and their light show closed the proceedings in the early hours of Monday morning.
 
Elaine Thompson from Rugby was also there but did not see her -mores the pity- she wanted to marry Rory Gallagher !!!
 
A fantastic festival and to this day have not met anybody who was either there or had heard of it. Was it all a dream?????
 
Personal favourite Colloseum.Dick Heckstall-Smith R.I.P.

Eddie Wright


End of the line for the Angels. pic courtesy Piers W

Interesting site
 
I notice that nearly all your contributors regarding the Weeley Festival were visitors, whereas I was an innocent eighteen year old who lived in Clacton at the time - and still live in the area. My involvement had been because some of my family had connections with the local Round Table, so I was there as a volunteer doing my bit for charity.
 
From a music point of view the only thing I saw was Rod Stewart and the Faces and was able to get right at the front of the stage, they were fantastic - the right kind of music for the event and at the top of their form. They were then followed by T-Rex, and it seems that none of your contributors have clear recollection of what happened.
 
Sure, they came on stage to jeers and boos which Marc Bolan tried to 'appease' by saying "Hi I'm Marc Bolan, you may have seen me on TV" (you have to remember that when he was booked he was only known to regular listeners of John Peel, by the time the festival started he had appeared on Top of The Pops with a hit  record (the underground music equivalent of the kiss of death!)) Back to the story: this comment did not endear him to the crowd only creating more and louder jeering, so he had another go at calming matters by saying "If you don't like it Fuck Off!" so me and many others did exactly that.
 
As many have stated the organisation was terrible, the fact that me - as I say an innocent teenager - was given the job in the admin tent of issuing back stage passes ! I remember a rambling conversation with a King Crimson roadie (I was and still am a big fan) about giving him passes for 'groupies' - I imagine he was out of his head on something and I was just being a serious teenager!
 
Two incidents stand out, an impromptu press conference with the organisers fending off critical questions because they had paid the Angels to do the security. Worst offender was some guy from the Daily Express wonderfully overdressed for the occasion (trendy suit, shiny mud-free shoes), who badgered away as if he was Mr Perfect and would have just told them to go away. When a friend of mine arrived I told him in a loud voice what the Express guy was up to and got a filthy look for my trouble! The other was when the thing was over I returned to the site to help with the clear up, and the guy the Round Tablers had taken on to organise things - I think his name was Colin King - was in a huge flap because he was told there was a warrant out for his arrest.
 
I still have a copy of the official programme and various tickets, another Web site is trying to sell such items for £50 to £70 a throw.
 
Regards
 
Mike


Just discovered your most entertaining website. Yes, I was there at the Weeley Festival, very young, 14 or 15 years old, with my school chum Tim. Two well-scrubbed grammar-school boys who, looking at some of the other memories on the site didn’t do it properly at all. For a start we stayed with Tim’s aunt in Pinner the night before and she drove us to (I think) Kings Cross Station, rather than us hitching directly from the Vale of Evesham. Then we didn’t do any drugs or even have a drink. I think I subsisted on Harvest Fruit Pies (remember them?) all weekend and this frugal existence served me well as I didn’t need to have a Tom Tit all weekend, good news considering the horrendous facilities. Tim however went (like the bear of legend) in the woods and on return reported that it "was like Fairyland". "How like Fairyland?" I questioned. "Well, there are turds hanging from all the branches of trees", he replied. Perhaps Tim’s picture of Fairyland is different to yours.

Anyway, I will never forget standing up to stretch my legs around 3.00pm Saturday and turning around to see the perimeter fence knocked down and scores of people seemingly streaming away to the horizon. Musically the highlights for me were Rory Gallagher, Status Quo, Colosseum and the awesome Faces who turned in one of the greatest rock & roll sets I have ever witnessed. And of course Wally; the memory of getting off the train on Monday morning with hundreds of ‘heads’ and Kings Cross Station echoing to the continual refrain of "Wally! Wally!" will remain with me into old age. Blue skies, great music and an all-round good vibe; the Weeley Festival was top and although we don’t see each other all that often, Tim & I are still chums…
 
Love
Martyn D.

I arrived several days beforehand and shared the wit and wisdom of the 'public school hippie in the afghan' as mentioned above. Then I thought better of it, seeing a job putting up the tents as unlikely, and went home.
 
I came back in my mate's Morris Minor, which he duly drove into the wood, with aplomb (and other things) and made camp. Save the trees ? Trying to navigate the car out later was virtually impossible.
 
T-Rex had sold out, I remember this as a statement of fact. The local Hell's Angels were a pretty poor bunch, as far as being an Hell's Angel, as I knew them,  went at the time.
 
As for the cry 'Wally', this was a well known cry apart from a mutant 'Harry' at Glastonbury 1971 during a film, which we continued elsewhere. 
 
For many years after I hung my head in shame and admitted that I had been at a T-Rex concert.
 
Never mind       

Chris Mills

Weeely poster courtesy Steve Cook


The first big outdoor festival was Weely. Hard to describe how I felt but again let me explain. I probably had no stereo player and even less access to the mono record player. Parents and brothers would have always been at home and to play say Rory Gallagher would have been impossible. I had started to collect records but money was also limited.

So a young lad at Weely, King Crimson strike up – Jesus I must have been blown away, even now 21st Century schizoid man is incredible.The album sleeve was something else as well when I later bought Court of the Crimson King. The lights and atmosphere of expectation were unbelievable. Barclay James I remember played with an orchestra. It must, just must have been incredibly amazing and it’s a pity like most things that are that good it can’t be repeated. The point is that this would have been the first time I heard a lot of the bands who played there, T Rex and Rod Stewart being the exception. I believe then that a band toured to announce their presence unlike now when there is so much media coverage. To conclude, Weely so many incredible bands so much, atmosphere, and such an impact, I was hooked on festivals that in spite of bad sanitary conditions and rumours of the fighting were so insignificant as to not figure at all.

Steve Austin


I have just fallen on this site and I am amazed that your map indicates where the fence was broken and that is exactly where we were outside the original border in a hay field - 17 at the time with long hair ( old Cliches ) but true - first festival and can remember most of the bands - T Rex will always stand out - booed on - cheered off - and Barclay James doing Mockingbird which seemed about 3 hours long. The Kennington Oval festival was only a few weeks away which featured many of the same bands - Halcyon days that I now tell my son of.
Thank you
Ron Cornell
Lenwade
Norfolk


Hi,
In 1971, I was just 17, living in Weeley Heath, and for me, the festival leaves a lasting memory. Living on the doorstep of the event, meant that I experienced the build up to what was going to be the hottest music festival for some time and in my home village. It was featured every week in the East Essex Gazette in the lead up to that special August, with both good and bad reports. I recall wandering across the fields to see the stage being set up and the trenches being dug for the toilets. I remember there being concerns at the White Hart pub, my Dad’s local. How would they cope with large numbers of festival goers? There were the inevitable concerns amongst the residents of Weeley as to what sort of noise was to be expected. No-one in their wildest dreams could have expected the music to go on round the clock. I recall the roads being chock a block and the appeals from the organisers asking that no-one else travel to the site as it was full to capacity. The Hell’s Angels ended up policing the event. I remember planning which bands I wanted to see, and working out when to go home to get some sleep. The White Hart soon ran out of glasses and were serving drinks in plastic cups. I even found one enterprising hippie helping himself to my Dad’s potatoes, straight out of the garden. And there was a long, long queue for the public telephone. I remember buying myself a “Doss Bag” to sleep in. It was a glorified oversized potato sack with a layer of thin polystyrene between the paper layers.

 

My lasting memory, which may have scarred me for life, was a visit to the loo, where I was unfortunate enough to witness some poor individual being pushed into the trench. I don’t imagine he had many friends after that. He didn’t so much swim but rather went through the motions! I remember going back to the site on the Monday evening to see the mountains of rubbish left behind, but give the organisers their due, it was all cleared up as if nothing had ever happened. I have ventured back down Weeley Church Lane several times over the years since the festival. Not least of which to attend funerals for members of my family who are buried in the graveyard. It is hard to believe that an event of such a scale took place in such a sleepy village, and my children who happily attend the V festival every year, cannot believe it could have ever happened.
Best regards,
Steve Box


Hi,
My name is Sam Crowe, I have an interesting request of you, and if it cannot be fulfilled then it is quite an interesting story!
It regards a certain photo of my father, who attended Weeley in 71', I assume this is the year as it seems appropriate to his age and I am unfamiliar with other years when the Weeley Music Festival would take place! Also he is a huge fan of the Small Faces who I believe played that year?

Anyway he attended the festival and in a drunken state..(and probably other intoxicants given the times!) with his friends doesnt remember much of the festival except the bands.
What he does remember he regails to me frequently and insists I listen to all the Bands, who I also enjoy.

Now, Many years later my Father received a letter from an old friend who didnt go to that festival, didnt even know m,y dad was there or it had happened. This chap happened to be an engineer and had been posted in Israel or somewhere in the middle east and had been there for a few years when he went past a junk stall in a market or something like that, spying an english book he picked it up. It was a photo book, so probably big and flat, or it could have been a actual book, he is unsure what his friend said.

What he does recall is that his friend said that at this random market in the middle of sand-covered nowhere in the far ends of the world this book had beneath the front cover a picture from Weeley music festival. It had a flag flapping in the breeze (US or UK, Unkown at the moment!) in the background with a hairy rocker stood in front of it.

This rocker happened to be my father! you can imagine the suprise they both got! the friend finding the picture was as suprised to see my father as he was to hear about it, so far from home plus he had no idea the picture was taken.

I was wondering if you have ever seen/heard of this book, be it a picture book or an actual book on festivals, or just the book that happened to have a picture from weeley, that happened to contain my father stood in front of a flag, which sounds like an epic picture!
I have been trying to track this book down for many years, it would be a perfect gift and I would like to keep a copy of it myself to show the kids some day of their rocky grandads past! if you can be of any help I would be eternally grateful!

My father back then was quite slim build, short if stood, perhaps wearing sunglasses, perhaps not! Black hair and beard usually distinguishing feature but sometimes he had it shaved down to stubble, given his preferance! being a festival im guessing maybe stubbly at least, his hair was quite long most of the time, between quite under his ears to shoulder length.

Given the quality of my description and the pictures quality im guessing this would be hard, but he was adamant he was stood in front of a flag and it was someone who would be quite recognisable to someone who knew him! if you know of this book, or even any other book on Weeley at this time let me know!


Thanks Hugely!!!
Rock on
Sam


I was there. 21 at the time and of course I don't remember much about it. The White Lightening was very good!! Musically I remember Status Quo who started playing just as I had entered via the 'side' gate aka Hell's Angels entrance.

Had lots of fun and delays including trying to talk to nice policemen whilst on planet acid. But they let me drive my car away and park in the extended field. Got back to Barclay James playing Mockingbird and fell in love with them. Next morning I was sitting in a ditch just outside the wall when it was removed, leaving me inside the ground. Handy without a ticket.
A great site that I hope will last forever as a tribute to a 'real' festival.
Brian Finn


Thirty seven years on and I stumble over this site quite by accident…..wonderful. The joys of the internet. I was there , 17 yrs old, with three Stockport mates. The four of us were then huge Colosseum fans ,the main reason for going and like other males at the time into the Faces, King Crimson etc.

But what has stayed in my mind ever since, even though I have never been a huge fan of the band generally since (perhaps being too keen to follow fashion musically ) was the mesmerising performance of Barclay James Harvest and their huge orchestra. Am baffled as to why some people on the site were not sure if they were on , or the surprisingly critical music press review, as like the rest of the thousands our voices were hoarse from the roars after each song, and clamours for more. It really was pretty sensational, boy could those musicians play.

The sound quality quite outstanding, and set up time well justified as it turned out. As others indicate maybe the timing helped, Saturday night as the sun went down. Few bands would get away with an opener- and presumably for these modest four Oldham guys- unanticipated encore (“Mockingbird”) being the same… but they did, to more crowd raptures. After that everything else for me was a slight anti climax including Hiseman’s band on next , who nevertheless played competently. The Faces next day were ace, laddish as ever, Rod a great showman. As were Lindisfarne. But BJH & that 45 piece orchestra remains, nearly four decades later the most electrifying, atmospheric outside performance .

Conveniently forgot about the Hells Angels fights, grim toilets and the not so terrible in fact as it turned out T.Rex (although I most certainly wanted them to be!). Or crazed parents when I got back, given news coverage of aggro. My two sons did Glastonbury this year,2008, their first festival- but they whatever they told me about the Kings of Leon was no match in my mind for Weeley 1971.
Chris Cheetham


Gertting cosy in the straw © Emagen

I was 20 years old, living in Streatham and King Crimson was the draw for me. We had a tent, several tins of beans and spam (spam, spam, spam) - me, 'n Mick and his girtfriend. Late at night/early in the a.m. King Crimson set up and I started pounding Mick's feet (he was 6' 4" and they stuck out of the tent). "They're on man! They're on!" He and his lady were too busy so they missed the best set of the weekend. I remember the Hells Angels arriving - I was just coming back from the bogs (who the hell was gonna sit on those iron bars with their arse hanging over a trench?) when the bikes roared in. Some little 15 year old "Angel" demanded to see my ticket before I could get back in. Angels wandered around harassing people at random "We're the security". They'd seen footage from Altamont but they weren't those HAs. A time later I wandered down toward the stage where the bikes were parked and enjoyed watching the "other" security armed with pickaxe handles doing the bikes over good and proper. It was all a haze. Yeah, the station was awful on Sunday. Thousands of people dying for a good bowel movement and after fighting onto the train finding out the bogs were already stuffed full of... well you were there. You saw it. It was all wonderful but I wish I remember all those groups - remember booing Bolan. Poor bugger. Oh well..... 37 years later I wish I could remember yesterday.

Cheers.

Peter H in Twinsburg Ohio US of A.


Mungo Jerry © John Sellick

 

Arriving at Clacton was an effort through the Underground Tube System of London, then climbing onto Green Overland Busses, then waiting at trainstations, to put our bodies forward, Kutter, and girlfriend, from Stuttgart, don't remember name, and me. We 3.

On arrival at Clack we saw a village, with only a couple of amenities for not very German sausages.

Where is the show?

Aah, yes, we do not speak very inglish:

Go North, then slightly West.

Did not have a GPS at the mo, but we produced our tickets, halleluya, ...............in.............

Sat then down more or less in the middle, after purchasing some cardbord sleeping bags.
A New to me, never saw them again.

Due to insufficcient funds, we got only two. One for Mr.Kutter and the other one for Stuttgart and me.
Nevertheless, it was a good investment, cause the nights were quite chilly.

You could not put two persons into one bag though!! (Next time U organisers should dream about that)

So, I cut up one with my knife to make space for Stuttgart.

Inspecting the loo, we decided to go on a diet of bananas. I did not shit for 3 days!! Hurray.

Now:

The timetable, U guys publish, is not right!

I do remember the opening acts.

I do remember, that the London Philharmonic Orchestra was playing, probably with BJH.
And that at that time the other PA system was put to force, which was not used B4.
The sound suddenly became much better ! Like.............clearer.....................cleaner..............
Not that I hate Jim, he rocks/rocked anyway.

Bands B4 had a grungy sound.

The entry of the Crim was to my recollection afterwards, like 3 o'clock in the morning, and they waded their path through the audience.
Unlike all the others ! Who came, I am afraid, only from backstage.
Sounds of them were though quite sullen, making me and like I see from various other commentators, very sleepy at the time of night.

Shame.

© John Sellick


I fell asleep as well! Somewhere in a piece from Rupert's Awakening I raised my head to single scorching guitarlines. (Clean)

So, your published timeline is not correct at all!!

BTW: I enjoyed Quintessence more than your average commentator, Groundhogs rocked, VDG much better than on the recording somebody made of them, which is absolute shit. And just because of that, I gather, that there is no good recording of this venue done at all. Pity!

In my memory, they all played quite alright. But time heals.............

I even thought, that Arthur had something to say about some fire, but was a bit cut.....

After all of this festival, I did not see from the middle of the crowd any problems. And I did not give a shit.
(Retention, yes!! Bananas, Nirvanas, Mananas!!) Missed them though.

Way, way back to London I saw Fleetwood Back.
At the Marquee 31 Aug 1971.
Pete Green did not play for them anymore, but it was a jolly gig.
Paved the way for money.


Greetings
Gunnar



Marc Bolan's first words in the mic were "Hi, my names Marc... you might have seen me on Top Of The Pops". This didn't go down too well with the blokes in the audience.... neither did all their girlfriends staring at the stage going all gooey eyed over Marc. Which might explain the many clods of mud that were flung his way throughout the set.

Being a young biker type myself I was happy to take up the friendly Hells Angels offer of some hospitality in some big old house they seemed to have commandeered - until it became clear that they were more interested in purloining my brand new leather jacket..... luckily a drainpipe came to my rescue. I shimmied down and legged it sharpish.

Captain Sensible


© John Sellick

I was 20 years old when I went to Weeley, the line up of which was a list of my favourite UK bands.
We knew it was due to start at 12:00 on Friday so arrived by train 12 hours early at lunchtime and by accident met up with all the people we were supposed to.

Spent the afternoon and evening listening to the PA playing the Woodstock album, The Burundi drummers and Stravinski's Rite of Spring. By the time the Bands started we were getting tired and for the rest of the weekend I slept while bands changed and drifted along with some of the more mellow offerings. The highlights for me were Edgar Broughton Band, Barclay James Harvest, Quintessence and Rod Stewart and the Faces.
We only survived the weekend because of free pies from the Salvation army and cheap swiss rolls as we had not taken enough food for 2 days. I never went to campsite because the weather was so good we stayed in the arena.

On the way home we walked to the station and when we got close the train was in with a couple of carriages hanging out of the back of the station so we climbed the fence and got in through the backdoor. When the train pulled out we were packed into every available space and there were thousands of people on the platform.
I enjoyed it.
Tony Holroyd


It's only a small point but I seem to remember that when myself and mate Gary arrived around 10.00 pm Friday the festival was already in full swing and Dave Edmunds was on stage playing Heartbreak Hotel.

Perhaps I'm wrong, the memory plays tricks some 40 years later.

Regards

Dave Chisnell


In the summer of 71, I was 15 and my elder brother 17 - my Dad had spent 28 years in the army but somehow we both managed to have long hair, freaky clothes and a will to go to Weeley - he said yes - we had no plans but to get there because we always busted into gigs in Oxford (Town Hall, Oxford Poly, Summer Balls) ...Mum said we needed food and gave us some money we went out and bought a load of tins, she also gave us a blanket each - we set off and hitched I remember the first lift a middle aged lorry driver who went on about the mini skirts and how tempting they were...perhaps my first memory of people being out of synch...there were no mini skirts at Weeley.

The rest of the hitch was difficult and fragmented including a 4 mile walk to Hertingfordbury never forget that name in a hurry - got to Weeley eventually Friday evening and astonishingly saw some pals from same estate in Oxford (Lol and ...). My bro and I decided to check out the security so we walked towards the festival site I think we were were dropped off (our last hitch) near the train station - there was a road with a shop - I remember the walk to the site for 2 reasons - the ground was a sort of parched straw but it bounced...it was springy and secondly some hippy couple walked towards us the woman bare breasted...I was so desperate to be hip and cool my eyes barely noticed and I had a feeling there and then I was now in the world I wanted to be in ....we checked out the security I seem to remember a wooden fence slotted, anyway my Bro crawled under and got caught half way , they nearly broke his leg as he scrambled back.

We hung about the main entrance nonchalant cos you can learn a lot about busting in just by being observant. Anyway after a while standing there arms crossed as you did then we noticed the posh hairies and the Angels having a bit of a barny about who was in control of security...the angels were taking over...confusion ...we slipped in! Now that was our badge of honour the fact it was later created a free festival doesnt matter we hitched from Oxford and busted in!

Now the fun starts -or not ! I remember eating tinned raspberrys to the Edgar Broughton band - getting very cold and tired - the smell of small paraffin stoves - some hippy chick giving me a josstick - waking up to Al Stewart - feeling cold tired and miserable through and through - on the Saturday we hitched home...I wasn't ready for the great adventure after all. I was just a kid.

Alan Lees


© Keith Liggins

Hi Folks

I just discovered this website this morning using my newly acquired 'Dongle' (the operation was a success and totally painless). To think that it's almost 40 years since that amazing weekend. Much of it has become blurred by time but my first vivid memory is our arrival on the Friday night, greeted by the sound of the Edgar Broughton Band (or at least that's what somebody said it was), the place looked like a battle had been going on and there was a pall of smoke in the air.

What bands do I recall, well I still have a vivid memory of Maggie Bell strutting up and down the stage a mere 20 yards away but don't ask me what the song was, I don't suppose any of the Stone The Crows band members would recall either. As one would expect, there was the usual lip service to chart material provided by the likes of Mungo Jerry with 'In the Summertime' then thankfully later with King Crimson (one of my fave bands).

I do remember that the weather was great and the food prices extortionate so didn't eat much for two days.

Keep on truckin'

Ian Whitehill


Hi there
Have just found the Weeley festival site. I was there with a few friends. I remember sleeping under my mate's car & drinking bottled brown ale for breakfast.

Points:
Wally may well have started earlier & somewhere else, but I can still picture this forlorn character wandering around late in the evening calling out Wally? Waaalllyy? OK, maybe it wasn't the first but he sounded both genuine and lost. Following morning people everywhere were calling the name.

As far as the acts are concerned, i remember some, not others, Barclay James Harvest & the orchestra, Al Stewart, Stone the Crows but I distinctly remember that despite being booked, Curved Air did not appear. I remember this 'cos we picked up this hitch-hiker on the way home and she asked when they'd been on, we said they weren't & she said "Good, glad I didn't actually miss them!"
Graham


Mark Bolan swimming against an irresistible tide of restless, unsympathetic prog rock fans, belting out, if that’s the right expression, T Rex’s current-at-the-time “commercial classics” like “Ride a White Swan” and “Hot Love”, such that eventually he, and his band, was booed off stage. A pity, I remember thinking, that he/T Rex didn’t simply stick to the appropriate knitting and give us the good old stuff, er, that is JUST the good old stuff. I have a sort of feeling that T Rex were “Top Of The Pops” at the time so maybe I’m being unrealistic but the groundswell of “T Rex sellout” was palpable.

" Wally from Weeley"– anyone think, like me, that THAT’S where whoever invented the “Where’s Wally” books got his/her idea from? If you were there, even if you were sleeping, peeping or wasted MOST of the time you’ll remember “Wally”…
Piles of old, torn, holy (be-holed?) faded jeans – 2nd, 3rd 4th-hand, who knows? All GENUINELY well-worn and offered for a pound-a-pair! I can’t help thinking that they’d not only be worth a fortune nowadays but you wouldn’t find them in Petticoat Lane any more – they’d be in the window of some Jermyn Street boutique!

I also recall (maybe because I had never actually eaten it before) that vendors were wandering around selling yoghurt – anyone recall that? Maybe it wasn’t THAT unusual but it seemed a little surreal to me at the time, but, it has to be said, gratefully accepted – I’ve been a fan ever since!

Logan McWatt


Comus were on after Barclay James Harvest but only played one song (The prisoner) due to the time over BJH's orchestra setting up. I looked forward to seeing Caravan and enjoyed them although it was the debut of the short lived Steve Miller phase. I recall T Rex being on last and the boo's etc. were because of how good The Faces were earlier. Do you remember Marc Bolan standing up and saying it was crap to say T Rex couldn't play acoustic' and then proceeded to sit on a very large cushion and play 4 acoustic tracks. Can't remember what though.

Great Memories (17 at the time)

Ken Barnes


Loved Weeley. My first 3-dayer - and what a 3-dayer! Never forget Riders on the Storm being played numerous times during the spells between bands. Whenever I hear that now I think of Weeley.

The pics taken 'by an audience member' which you gave a link to I have copies of - they were sent to me some years ago by a French photo-journalist called Pierre Mercier who'd come over with friends for the festival (he said he'd been a photography student at the time). He'd seen a posting I'd made talking about Stone the Crows at Weeley (just loved STC then, still do) and contacted me with the pics attached and a link to his website (the same one you gave the link to) . They don't make festivals like that any more!
:-)

Jacqui


Hi,

Just came across this Weeley site - a group of friends drove down. I remember being particularly exhausted by Monday am!

On the first prog. Status Quo is not mentioned, it is on a second, but they are not in the running order. Were they booked at the last moment and was it one of their first gigs after a change of style.?

I remember them coming on early Sunday (?) morning and doing stuff they do now... and they went down a storm.

I also remember those awful loos! I went to have a shit in the neighbouring field and was threatened by a Hells Angel carrying a fence post..... supposedly guarding the field!

I've got some photos somewhere...

Thanks


Don Nicholls (20 at the time)


© Alan Grange

Dear DFZ:
I was a fledgling roadie with the vastly underrated prog-rock band GNIDROLOG, and Weeley was my 2nd gig with them. If you check their website, there are a couple of good photos of them taken from onstage and from the audience. It gives me a kick to see myself posing on stage right in my finest 'I'm with the band' stance!

I don't remember too much, but seem to remember that JUICY LUCY were also on the bill (I stand to be corrected on this) as the lead guitarist was Mick Moody who comes from the northeast also and we were acquaintances.

I also have a photo taken at the rear of the stage showing a hip Mom and her daughter and one of the stage crew. I will have it scanned and forward it to you if you are interested. Perhaps the people in the photo will recognize themselves.
Great sites - keep up the good work!

Regards,
Alan Grange


was just sixteen at the time, I had recently moved from Guernsey to Exeter and travelled to meet a group of friends at Liverpool St. on route to Weeley. We got some discounted tickets!! about 100mtrs from the main entrance. It was about 3pm Friday afternoon and we parked ourselves some 20/30 mtrs inside the fence, by Sunday morning (after the fence had been pulled down and thousands more joined), we found we were now in the middle!
Apart from the numerous bands, I also recall; John Peel riding a bike across the stage. Arthur Brown trying to do "Fire" with real fire. Monty Python sketches. There was an issue over who was going on stage first, Rod-v-Marc. Rod did a fantastic set. Marc came on and a section of the crowd were booing, I specifically recall Marc saying "people were shouting 'get bloody electrified' so we are going to go all acoustical", the crowd then warmed to the music, eventually they went electric again and the crowd were cheering. I admired the way he did not give up and turned the crowd, what great courage.
I remember reading a copy of the News of the World on the Sunday morning, it was my first experience of how the media sensationalise and mislead, my first thoughts were my parents may read this and fear I may have been caught up in it, here we were, in the heart of the festival and our first knowledge about the Hells Angel's violence, was when we read about it in the NofW.
Getting back to Liverpool St. was fun, after managing to pack ourselves in via the normal way, ie: the train door, we then witnessed numerous people being fed through the narrow windows to join friends, this was of course long before Health & Safety was heard of!. Then there was the mad rush to get off the platform whilst avoiding the ticket inspectors, with the echoing sound of Wally to be heard throughout the station.
Weeley was a great life experience for me, which was never surpassed by Reading '74, Windsor '74 or Reading '75, although Windsor was a close call, having spent a few days there and decided to leave approx. eight hours before the police raid.
Oh what happy days.

Peter Hamon


© Keith Liggins

Hi

I was 19 and we (my friends, their friends, my cousin and his friends) hired one of those vans you use to transport stuff and went down to Weeley. There were no seats in the back, so we sat on the floor (we were travelling from Northumberland) and if we were lucky got a chance to sit on the wheel casing for a while. I remember seeing a Hell's Angel sitting on a gate when we got there - he had a chicken's foot hanging from his ear. I think we all just took a sleeping bag each. Have no idea what we ate and drank. I've read recollections about the toilets, and they don't match mine. I remember being quite impressed because they were better than the Isle of Wight the year before, which were 12 foot trenches with planks over them (terrifying!). They were completely open (no cubicles), and were like chemical toilets. A lorry came to empty them. I remember lying on the grass in the middle of the night listening to Barclay James Harvest. I remember Rod Stewart and I particularly remember T Rex. They had recently 'sold out' and gone electric, having a hit with 'Ride a White Swan'. He did get a terrible reception, but as soon as they sang 'Deborah' he had the audience back again.

Boy, it was great!


Isabel Bamford


© Keith Liggins

Hi Weeley Wallys
I find it amazing that I have never met anyone that was at that festival! I was just 16 and went with a sort of girlfriend who was 19, cute, Canadian and was a reporter with Sounds magazine. she had a car and I ended up backstage at one point and Marc Bolan said 'excuse me' to get on stage, he was short! I thought he had sold out at that time but he was brill on stage and I've loved him ever since R.I.P (I was kicked off stage in the middle of his set) I spent the first night in a tent with my girlfriend but as I was on acid the whole weekend I only saw her a few times after that. One day, I think it was Sunday, she was pissed off as someone else had f##ked her in the night, she left without me on the Monday and I went through the magical mystery train tour back to Putney. Met lotsa mates and new freaks as we were then! The bands were amazing, my favs were Van Der Graff, Pink faries, Stray and King Crimson, still love them now. I remember a guy in the shit pit - wow! I also remember the fires, hay bales, not eating and the Hells Angel problems. I have been working in the music biz ever since! I could go on and on. Suffice it to say it was one of the most important experiences of my life which I cherish (I went overland to India for the first time the following year). I have been to loads of festivals since and nothing compares to Weeley. If your out there 'durex' hi!

Peace, Love,Dope .

RIK Manning (aka Mango or tripi riki)


Weeley August 1971

August 1971, middle of the school holidays and due to go the BIG SCHOOL in the new year!! 

I was supposed to be spending the Bank Holiday Weekend with my cousins who were 17 and 19 and they were going to take me to the seaside, I was 10, going to be 11 just after Christmas however…

My 17 year old cousin and her boyfriend plus my other cousin and his girlfriend and her sister decided that as the sister had a summer job at 16 in nearby Jaywick so they would take me to the seaside there. An older friend Adrian had a van and was a chef somewhere. We climbed in the van with me looking out of the back window while they played Joni Mitchel, Bob Dylan and T.Rex on the 8 track!!  I loved Electric Warrior and still have that 8 track today .. part of the bribe for keeping my gob shut!!

Can’t remember much detail but we got stuck in a long traffic jam around the country lanes near Weeley and parked the van about 1 mile from the farmers field and started walking. Mike had a tent, Judy's boyfriend had a tent and I had a sleeping bag. I did ask where the sea was and was told that we would go tomorrow, but today Friday, we were going to hear some music, watch some bands play and get some hot food.. When we approached the gate it was getting dark and I was tired, they sneaked me in over the fence. The weekend was hot and noisy and all the food was burnt.. Every time someone new came on they would tell me who they were. I saw the Faces, Status Quo, Mott the , BJH, Caravan, Head Hands and Feet and King Crimson

 When T.Rex came on I was sound asleep but Judy woke me and took me right down the front to see them, a very ‘drunk’ couple, more likely stoned but hey, let me sit on their bucket and gave me a purple labelled 45, now much sort after and I still have it along with 500+ pieces of T.Rex & Marc Bolan vinyl I have collected since. 

 Needless to say that I had a fab time and my Mum and Aunt went ballistic when they found out where I had been and both of my cousins were grounded for ever I think however, guess who got a copy of Electric Warrior for Christmas!?

I have been a Bolan fan and music collector ever since, a sad tale you may think for one so young and impressionable.

So to all you fans of live music and doubters out there ‘ keep a little Marc in your heart’

Wayne

theslider1972


What a great site! I was there with my friends as an 18 year old from Malvern in Worcestershire. Went in my Morrie Thou and the first memory is sleeping overnight in a car park at the beach and being woken up and moved along by the local police at dawn. Barclay James Harvest and the full orchestra - awesome!! Rory Gallager. Monty Python. Then it gets blurry. Didn't have a tent just a sleeping bag (I think) and vivid memories of shooting stars which I had never really knew existed. And we all remember that damn piece of scaffolding at the edge of the pit - and then looking for alternatives. Which was tough. Great time in my life. Thanks for site which is a window into my youth.

Bob D


Weeley festival was the first festival I can recall with any sense of clarity. Apparently I was at the Bath and Blues Festival but have no real recollection of it due to various medications, cider and falling off the back of a land rover when Pink Floyd came on!!

I went with a friend, Andy, his girlfriend and her sister. I think it was Andy’s Dad who drove us there. It must have taken about four hours to drive there and we were dropped off somewhere near the station I think. We had turned up with all the necessities needed i.e. sleeping bag and smoking accessories – no tent as far as I remember. We set up somewhere near to the stage on the right hand side and promptly stayed awake for the next three days. A few things stayed in mind regarding the bands  as chronicled by most of the other survivors. The Faces were great and looked like they really enjoyed themselves. Bolan’s hard time. Seeing Julie Felix and thinking WTF. The “Wally chant” BJH and the orchestra. Groundhogs Quo etc etc.

I’m not too sure what I ate but brown rice, soup and bread comes to mind. I think there must have been sausages or bacon rolls but not sure. As regards the toilet trench I saw at least two people slipping in, I’m afraid I just fell about laughing (the medication again)

The Hells Angels episode did induce a bad vibe but only for about 5 minutes and then it was back to the music. As the bands were on 24/7 it all became a bit of a blur but brilliant as being fairly close to the stage there was no chance of sleeping.

When we left and started walking out there was a news camera filming and that was when my family found out where I was, I had forgot to mention it to them, as there was a shot of me on the news.

Of course we had no arrangements made to get home we just  assumed something might turn up! We stopped at a pub and got talking to some heads and told them where we were heading for. One of them knew the best way to go and wrote it down on a fag packet, I still have it, and we got back to Gloucester two and a half days later!! ( that’s a whole story in itself)

Ian boogie


I was there we set off from wotton-under-edge in Gloucestershire three of us we got to the a40 near burford near oxford hells angels everywhere police were holding them in a layby then letting them go in twos they were regrouping at the next available layby I was 20 at the time my two mates 19 &18 not scared but thoughtful and careful anyway things were fine took us about 5 to 6 hours to get there in Austin Cambridge when we arrived there seemed to be buses and cars from every where got to the entrance and this guy stuck his head in and said how many he was huge pretty scarey we got in parked up and wandered about met people from are area which was great that night the music was tremendous cannot remember what bands were coming on when or what time didn't really matter next day Saturday needed the bog,scaffold poles round the trench couldn't go in there constipated after that the whole three days. cost £2.50 value for money or what all those bands Barclay james harvest king crimson edgar broughton band etc if you were there you know what I mean. we did smell a bit after three days but most everyone did I think.i do remember being sat in the arena when the fence fell in and thousands more just piled in was sat by this guy who was rolling joints all the time and didn't give me one.i am nearly 63 now but would love to do that all over again even at my age now bring on back the good times. 

David Chappell


I can remember that when Barclay James Harvest finally did set up with their supporting orchestra, which was during the night, they played 'Mockingbird' and it was marvellous. We were far enough back that the wind would catch the sound and so it would sort of waft in our direction.

The Groundhogs were brilliant - Cherry Red - and I recall quite a lot of shouted requests for Al Stewart to come on. There was a steady, prolonged, if often delayed, flow of great bands like Caravan. I was a massive T Rex fan, but by the time of Weeley they were becoming more commercial, though I seem to recall some old Tyrannosaurus favourites.

At one point the stage was taken over by the Cotswold Chapter of the Angels.

I was not on drugs by the way(!), and I was 15 - my uncle actually lived in Weeley and we were allowed to stay at the festival - an astonishing break.

Ps I can't remember Curved Air actually making it (might be wrong, let me know if so!)

Great memories of a great occasion, and in bloody WEELEY!!!

Paul JR


Hi,

Just found your rock festival web site, whilst looking for some info on a company in Essex. I noticed that they were close to Clacton, and that brought back memories of the Weeley festival.

Maybe my memory is playing tricks, but I am sure that The Pink Fairies played one of the days, and it was during the day, mid afternoon.

I hitchhiked from South Wales with a friend to get there. It was a great few days, and my love of the music of the time has never left me.

regards
Bill Barrett


we went to weeley in an old transit van frron cheltenham, there was myself, jeff and simon, jeff was a smooth talking canadian who first suggested the trip and said he could get us in for free pretending to be a band, we decided to be 9.30 fly who were a semi famous band from cheltenham at the time, neither simon or myself thought we would get away with it but on approaching the security gate jeff did all his spiel and lo and behold we were in for nothing but thats not all, not only did we get in for nothing but we were actually in the backstage area reserved for vips and bandmembers.
imagine 3 lads who were definitely not a band parked alongside the likes of rod stewart (in a land rover) et al(even shared a cup of tea with rod), we had free drinks in the beer tent, free access to the inner compound just in front of the stage(perfect view) and also i was actually on the stage for barclay james harvest , king crimson and a few others that alas the old memory just cant drag up.
only downside was the skirmish with the angels which ended in the area backstage when the angels were trapped by large netting and had very unsavoury things did to them by people with either pickaxe handles or baseball bats.

all in all the best festival ever, glastonbury? dont make me laugh, they couldnt get a line up like weeley, just pop bands and ageing rockers.

Phil


Weeley was the first open air concert I attended. Went straight from work, on the train via Liverpool Street. Didn't really have a clue where Weeley was. The girlfriend was a South African and was so cool about the whole weekend. What a blonde she was!

I can remember us pitching our tent not long before midnight. Think the first act we saw next day was Mungo Jerry. They were great. We were about halfway down the arena, on the right hand side.

As to the Wally story - I think I remember one of the sound technicians calling out from the stage before MJ came on, and it just kind of spread through the crowd.

Mott the Hoople were good, remember them. Don't remember much else apart from the Angels turning up - and getting kicked out pretty quickly.

Train back to London was a bummer. Felt really down after a great couple of days.

Thanks for putting this site up - had great fun looking at the photos and trying to find me and the girlfriend ;-)

Freddie D Hi Weeley website,

I am an original member of Comus, and although we played the festival, our name is not on the credits on your home page! Have I just missed it?! I can send you proof that we played if you like, and it would be nice to have our name up there!!

No hard feelings though :-)

Bobbie Watson


www.comusmusic.co.uk

Bruce did misssthe credit, see here ED:


Hi,

     I was there all I remember was  seeing some idiot kick a hells angel bike over because he didn’t like the way they handled the problem he had. Didn’t he realise how dangerous it was to even get near their bikes last I saw of him he was being loaded in an ambulance

Kind Regards,

Stuart Parsloe


There were a lot of people from North East England after a feature in Melody Maker giving a report on the venue. We came fom Hartlepool to see THE FACES, RORY GALLAGHER  especialy and loved it!!!!!!

F Wanless


'We were 17 and living in London when we went to this festival. We went by train and were not campers by any imagination so the aim was to find a B&B in Clacton for the weekend.  Unfortunately all our memories of the festival are dim in comparison to the tragedy of me losing my purse with most  of our money and our return train tickets almost as soon as we got to Clacton.  I remember sitting on a wall and crying.  We did find a single attic room rented to us by a rather eccentric old man, who I think felt sorry for us.  It was tiny with a very small bed - but that was no problem to two randy 17 year-olds and was obviously luxury compared to most festival-goers' accommodation!  It was easy to get through the barriers and on to a train home with the crowds but at the other end they didn't believe we had come only from Stratford and immediately declared we had come from Weeley - I wonder why?!!  The festival bands morphed into one hazy experience - it was just stuff we listened to all of the time then, but when I look at the list now I am amazed.  We have had our own 40th anniversary since - we got married and have had many more great weekenders since, but not quite like that one.

Vicki x
Hi there,
I just find out there's a site from this festival.
I am from Holland and we had a combi ticket (from a travel agency) at that time by train to Belgium,by boat to Dover and than by train to the festival area for about 60 dutch guilders.
I remember that everybody talk about Wally, there was a huge fire in a kitchen tent and there where many hells angels arrested by the police and they were line up handcuffed and the police took many bikes from them.
I am pretty sure that there played more bands and artist than the line up said on the poster.
Very nice to see those pictures it was 42 years ago, now i am 60 years old.
 
Met vriendelijke groet/Regards,
 
Bertus v.d.Linden

Hi, I was just filling in some time browsing festivals when I came across the Weeley archive. First let me say a big thank you for all the hard work that has gone into this archive, secondly when looking at the pictures I found an image of myself and best friend Phyl (aged 14) and two friends that took us to Weeley for the festival from our home in rural Gloucestershire. The picture is the second one down a shot of the crowd taken from behind and to the side of the hot dog van. Clearly I can see my two friends leaning against the van, both bearded and with long hair, the back of my head and my trademark parting in my hair (which I still have) and my dear friend Phyl leaning towards the guys face obscured. The guys are Taffy Martin Thomas and our good friend The late Nigel Bright. The hot dog van owner was great as he would give us any left over hot dogs. I can also remember throwing stale rolls over the fence at the Hells Angels on the other side. We had no tent just a tarp on the ground and sleeping bags, I didn't wash. For 3 days or get much sleep. My memories are so vivid I even remember what Phyl and I were wearing. We were so young it is a wonder our parents let us go. Another group of lads from our school also went down but we didn't see them there, which was a shame because I fancied one of them. I remember the awful toilets which we refused to use preferring to go into the woods. We had a little camping stove which we used to heat up beans and make our infamous 'Weeley tea' which was just added to all day long throwing in tea, sugar and powdered milk and the odd bit of grass which was not green! It tasted great. The music was amazing, especially Rory Gallagher and The Groundhogs. Phyl and I loved Marc Bolan and we managed to get to the front of the stage but we were very disappointed and made our way back up to the little hot dog van.  I remember nothing of our trip back home, probably slept all the way but my precious memories of that bank Holiday weekend will stay with me forever. Thanks again for a great site. I wish the BBC would show the film that they made. Maybe for the 50th anniversary. Regards Sara Ashton.

Chanced on this site by accident...bring back lots of memories! I remember that Rod Stewart’s band hadn’t plugged into the main PA system so everyone at the back was gesticulating, and messages were being passed to the front saying ’Turn it up!!’ Of course by the time it finally got to the band a different interpretation was ‘We cant see you !!!’...so Rod stopped the music went offstage and came back on ...with a set of stepladders!!! Then climbed up them and said ‘CAN YOU SEE ME NOW!!!’ Had a great time with my mates trying to watch all the bands...btw I am on the first thumbnail link photos (next to the guy standing up but I’m asleep in my bag...can only see me head!! The other lad asleep was Billy Marsden from Hartlepool...

John Derbyshire from County Durham


I was 15. Went with a friend called Nick Moran from school. We got there by train from Surrey and I can remember eating cold Heinz tinned ravioli on the train. We parked ourselves to the left of the middle of the arena and pretty much stayed there all weekend apart from loo breaks [one at a time so as to protect our pitch].

I clearly remember Quo, Mungo Jerry, Stone the Crows and then the long, long wait for Barclay James Harvest and orchestra. They took a long time to set up from memory but the set was well worth waiting for. To hear them with the orchestra was something else. King Crimson were the next high point as I loved them. Mott the Hoople definitely played but that’s all I remember, then for me possibly the most memorable set was Lindisfarne. They were an amazing crowd pleaser, Fog on the Tyne was a real anthem and they communicated with the crowd so well. I am sure they also did ‘Clear White Light’ but I may be wrong. Following that The Faces, T Rex, Van Der Graff Generator and then Arthur Brown are all of the remainder that remember.

I also clearly remember Wally and as my Dad was a Walter known as Wally this was fun. I assumed it started at Weeley but of course I would have as this was my first festival.

At the end Nick and I helped de-rig the PA. I was really into sound and played bass in a band so we offered to help and they said yes ! The concept of a festival with an open air stage and large PA really appealed to me. Don’t know why I did not ask for a job with Marshalls at the time. Maybe I should have. Anyway I went on to work in Sound for all of my career and have also worked as stage manager on lots of large open air events and ‘main’ stages including Wembley Arena and Hyde Park so maybe Weeley rubbed off on me !

The last memory was leaving the site which looked like a council waste tip and buying a fresh melon with my last few pennies !

Rock and Roll !!!

Regards

Geoff Boswell


Wow...thanks for your site..I was beginning to think i had imagined being at Weeley all those years ago...It seems to be the forgotten event...I was 16 ,and me and my bestest mate Alec(you still out there mate) did the festival..What a weekend.....we arrived early friday morning,with our tickets and a couple of bedrolls made from blankets.the weather was gorgeous and the atmosphere so beautiful..

I remember when the turnstyles opened there was an almighty crush trying to get through them..some people fainted and needed medical assistance ,I think?The charge for the front was awesome.we got about 20 yards from the stage front left....I seem to remember there was some problem with the P.A’s at the start time ,and that Al Stewart unofficially opened the festival with an acoustic version of Love Chronicles.Anyone else remember this ,or was it just part of my imagination?

Everything said about the toilets is true..the woods were the better option...but what a weekend  I have loads more memories that I can post later..Im just so glad that we finally have recognitition for a fantastic weekend.Forget the angels,forget the fires..it was marvellous.
 

Keep on rocking...Steve B


What a great festival this was, as good as the IOW as I remember and I went to both IOW. Got there in my Mark 1 Cortina GT (OHM 732E) and remember huge queues of traffic. Took my girlfriend at the time, Mandy.....I think we had sleeping bags but no tent. BJH were great as was King Crimson, these two bands stick out as they were my favourites at the time as was Skid Row but can't remember if they were on strangely! I think Edgar Broughton was there. A great site you have going here, sorry about the lack of pictures, wish we had kept more!
Thanks, Ken Hatfield

Hi, I was 15 then and told my parents I was going camping at Cheddar Gorge! I hitched with a mate from Leicester to the festival site from Teignmouth in Devon - some hike in those days. Our last lift was with Angry Brigade supporters who asked us to give out leaflets. We ditched them the moment we arrived (sorry guys).

My memories are pretty vague but in no particular order:
We arrived before the festival started and sat outside the pub, a guy offered us free acid which we took and really enjoyed
Very hot weather, straw filled fields, lying about in the crowd with German girls(?!)

Music - very, very, vague. Mocking Bird from BJH. Julie Felix(why I should remember her I have no idea) the rest are just fragments . . .
Some guy being introduced on stage "this guy was at Woodstock" YEAH!

The Angels walking through the crowd, one of them carrying a pipe (?) a few running fights

Getting kicked out of the tent by my 'mate' who had met a new 'girlfriend' - bastard! I spent the night in the Release tent, John Peel was there and walked past me..
Hitching back to Teignmouth and jumping out of a van on the motorway.

Well, it was a slippery slope from then, more festivals, narcotics, hitching here and there, weird times but I don't regret any of it.

Ian R


It took me about two days to hitch hike there from Bristol - I don't think we had tents or anything just seem to remember an amazing line up of all night music one of the highlights being T-Rex. There was some kind of mighty punch up involving Hells Angels but I remember being so stoned that it seemed like a big joke!!! That shows the state I was in..........no sleep for days, all night music, a pretty big crowd, appalling toilets but a great time had by all!

I still attend festivals now in my live in van - I've never grown out of it and never will! I don't do drugs any more but I still get a tremendous buzz from seeing live music round the clock. Thanks Weeley and the other pioneering festivals of that era!

I've just read some of the brilliant and hilarious recollections from Weeley and I've remembered a few more. On the day T Rex played I was tripping with a boyfriend (I think his name might have been Pog?!) and we got it into our heads that we needed a chillum to smoke the black hash (squishy stuff) that we had - you know how it is on acid - you get a crazy idea - seems a good one at the time - and we carved a chillum out of a large carrot (god knows how we found a carrot there) and smoked the damn thing while Marc Bolan got booed then returned and did a brave set - D E B O R A H sounding disturbingly strange on acid. I remember making love tripping with some difficulty (must have been in front of everyone as we didn't have a tent - blush!!) and thinking we'd merged into one being and being surprised we were still two separate people at the end of it.....

Chandra


Re Weeley

I wasn’t at IOW but I clearly remember at Weeley how the chant started up. On the first day of the festival my mate Stew and I bumped into a couple of fellow Scots who were absolutely off their faces with something or another. It wasn’t a pretty sight so we quickly got out of their company.I remember one of them said he was from Musselburgh (just outside Edinburgh).

I think the next day, at a quiet point of the proceedings we became aware of one of them about 30 feet behind us in the crowd shouting for his mate Willy, who he had clearly lost. Some helpful soul joined in and soon....... (the Scottish pronunciation of willy is not far away from the English wally).

Anyway fast forward to about 1995 and through a mate I’m introduced to a guy, we hit it off straight away as he’s really into his music and Hibernian FC. Some time later we’re having a pint in Robbie’s Bar in Leith and reminiscing about the great gigs we’d been to in our youth........... I can name and shame  Gordon McKinley AKA Big G and his partner in debauchery Willy Donaghy. In the photo of the crowd fairly near the stage you will see my Scotland flag (the lion rampant), fluttering away and my French pal Luc sitting to the right of it. Happy days.

Mike Tait


Its 40 years ago!!!!!!! Can you believe it ?!! Ive still got my ticket- framed !

I was there, aged 17. I lived in Clacton at the time, so it would be silly not to !  I went with my two best friends, Jill and Celia. We were skinheads at the time and were only listening to reggae and ska, but wanted to go for the whole experience. We went to the charity shops and got ourselves what we thought were hippy clothes- god I wish we had photos !

As soon as we walked through the gate someone came and offered us acid - never ones to turn down anything new we said yes. He gave us 3 little bits of blotting paper. We had never done it before but it just seemed obvious to chew it and make it last as long as possible- so we did.

We went off and squeezed ourselves into a space in the crowd. After a while I said to Jill, that I thought we had been ripped off as I didnt feel any different, and that I would go and see if I could get any more, I stood up and that was it , Goodnight Vienna !!

What an experience !  Like someone said before it was heaven and hell. Terrifying and awesome.

We couldnt go and get help as Jills mum was working in the bad trip release tent !! The details of the trip are still vivid today, and would be boring to anyone else.

But what I do remember is my old boss from the Wimpy bar in Clacton going through the crowd causing trouble with a lot of men who worked for him. The fires really freaked me out. I remember dancing to The Pink Faries and chanting along to Out Demons Out with Edgar Broughton

The festival - or was it the acid ? changed me. I went home, threw out all the two tone suits and the reggae, and turned into a hippy ! Still am really, love Glastonbury .

During the trip peoples faces altered according to how nice they were, and I spent the night in a sleeping bag with a boy who resembled Rory Gallagher, when the trip wore off, well,I wouldnt have ever been tempted normally. Id like to say that this taught me that its inside that matters, but the truth is is that its only now some 40 years later that I know this is true. At the time I took one look at him in the early morning light and then ran like hell !!!!

Susan still in Clacton on Sea xxx


I was reading about the Weeley Pop Festival -
http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/weeley-press1.html. I was a 19 year old
at the time and I bought a T-shirt which I still have today so I have
attached a couple of photos of the T-shirt. Thought the print on the
T-shirt would be interesting to those that went.

Main memories of the Weeley Pop Festival:

The festival was around the clock from Friday evening until Monday
during the day. We were a group of 3 guys and we always made a deal to
wake the other person up when a good act came on. Somehow we missed
the Greaseband because we all slept.

The toilet facilities where vary basic so one was constipated for 4
days :-). Fortunately the weather was OK so we just slept in the
field.

Highlight for me. Rory Gallagher playing in the small hours of the
morning. A great set that many people missed because they were
sleeping. Groundhogs were also great.

Cheers

john hallam


Hello,

This is an incredibly minor footnote to your interesting info abt. above festival.

You'll notice ( if you look hard enough ) that one of the reproduced programmes lists something or someone called "Louise" ( I recall the printed Melody Maker version had the spelling "Lousie" which has a certain ring ).  Anyway behind this curious sobriquet lurked a four piece band ( guitar, bass, drums, female singer whose name, confusingly enough, was not Louise ) hailing from Sussex. Unsigned and unknown ( except to a few long suffering audiences on the south coast ), we were given the chance to play at this festival by ( I think ) the man in the silver boots.

Needless to say, when push came to shove, we never made the stage, spending three days and nights behind it ( guarding our hire van and equipment ) in a state of increasing exasperation. Perhaps it was as well. Our material was original ( written by me ) and rather ambitiously ( if not pretentiously ) attempted ( given that we lacked a keyboard player ) an amalgam of Yes, Genesis, Colliseum,Van der Graaf Generator and, of course, king Crimson. Memory suggests that there was too much guitar and too many lyrics. Oh Well. And no, I never could for the life of me work out why we ended up with such a silly name.

Your descriptions of the various acts chime with my recollections. One detail which stays in the mind: Colliseum ( whom I greatly admired ) launched into a version of Lost Angeles only for Mr Farlowe to miss ( so it seemed ) his opening cue. Hiseman had then to repeat a whole chorus in order to work round and back to the same point. It looked very tense to me. I don't think they lasted beyond that autumn.

Regards, DH


Weeley Recollections - Part 1
Weeley Recollections - Part 2
Weeley Recollections - Part 3

Updated Jan 2016

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