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The Crystal Palace Garden Parties.


1973 © Raoul Seeman

   The Crystal Palace Garden Parties ran from 1971 to at least the end of the 1970s. Usually there were two a year and most of them seem to have been blessed with reasonable weather - with one or two exceptions.  Promoted chiefly by Harvey Goldsmith and associates, they featured somewhat  strange mixtures of artists at times , but they always seemed to make money and the Palace was a nice place to see music during what passes for the British summer.

Neil Rice , who  was involved in the early ones has these memories .
 You've done it again ! The Crystal Palace Garden Parties. I was at all the early ones, including Beck Bogart & Appice with you in spirit - again.

At that time we (Optikinetics) were the resident light show at Hemel Hempstead Pavilion where Harvey Goldsmith, and his then partner Mike Alfondary, ran a monthly gig on a Sunday night. After one they returned with us to the farm house on Barbara Cartlands estate just outside Hatfield where we started our business for coffee and ....... They told us they had just booked Crystal Palace Bowl for Britain's first one day rock festival and sought our advice as to who they should put on !

I subsequently remember standing at the back of the stage next to Robert Wyatt - Soft Machine's drummer before his accident -watching Pink Floyd through their amps.

I forget which 'Party' it was but at the beginning of one a big American car was driven around the perimeter road as a rumour went like wildfire through the crowd that Elvis Presley was arriving ! - Good 'ole Harvey - always the showman.

Harvey and Mike also organised some of The Camden Rock Festivals at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, which I guess should also be on your site. The one I worked on with Krishna Lights circa '69 had Taj Mahal, It's A Beautiful Day and Family amongst others.


Hi, I would like to add I was at the 1971 Crystal Palace concert, it seems like many moons ago.
I went to see Pink Floyd, and The Faces, great concert, I remember just before P F came on stage, their music started to come out of the Quad speakers up on the hill (small) the bass intro line from "ONE OF THESE DAYS I'M GOING TO CUT YOU INTO LITTLE PIECES" the music criss crossed the open air, it kept playing with our heads, you could watch 10,000 heads turn and "watch" the music zigzag from speaker to speaker, pretty amazing stuff.
I also attended the 1972 concert, went to see Yes , ANOTHER GREAT SHOW.
Bye for now,



May 15th 1971.

DJ : Pete Drummond



The Faces

Pink Floyd.

Program cover 5-15-71

      Why do promoters hold outdoor concerts in Britain in May ?

It nearly always sodding RAINS !.

    This particular show was no exception, although at least it held off until the end of the day.  The show ended with a torrential rainstorm which started soon after Pink Floyd began their first number . The audience , suitably prepared , took refuge under their plastic sheets whilst those in the pond in front of stage knew no difference and danced on . Atom Heart Mother was performed without orchestra and choir and thus lost something in the translation.

I have lost the name of the person who sent me this nice photo of the crowd , if you read this , please get back so I can credit you !

   The Floyd used a Quadraphonic sound system , with speakers positioned at various points in the grounds, so the audience was treated to good sound .The finale of the concert featured orange smoke bombs , fireworks and a giant rubber octopus which shared the pool with the bolder audience members.

  One sour note. All the fish in the pond snuffed it -photographer Robert Ellis explains why.......

The reason the fish died at Crystal Palace was because the floyd set off smoke flares under water while trying to inflate the octopus which would not inflate because of damage from the many people who splashed around in it earlier. Stirring up the bottom of the pond did nothing to help the health of the fish either. It also killed off the water lilies!!

Robert Ellis

Five of us went down on the milk train from Sheffield arriving in London after midnight and spending the rest of the night in Euston station with the best of London's 'Outcasts'. Being woken at 06.00 by police kicking our feet and ordering us out. Time to kill, walked down the Mall looking at all the tramps on every bench up to the Palace with last nights stomach contents beside them on the floor. Memories of the concert: The Faces insisted on using their own PA which picked up Eddie Waring's commentary from the rugby league cup final and proved more interesting than their set. Mountain were ok as were Quiver. It was at this event where someone was brought on to the stage and introduced to the crowd as Elvis. My mate was chuffed that he had seen 'The King' but of course it was a hoax and was actually an Elvis impersonator. The rain only started towards the end of Floyd's set but didn't detract from those at the front jumping in to the lake and getting really close to the front of the stage. Still have a ticket for this event, well actually as they were cut in two for security, I have 2 halves which fit together as one.

Jack Ledger

Known recordings.    
  The Floyd set was recorded from the audience,whether its available from more than one original source I can't say to date. 

Quality is B to B

set list
Atom Heart Mother, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, Return Of The Son Of Nothing ( prototype Echoes ), Set the Controls, Embryo, Saucerful Of Secrets.: Encore : Astromony Domine.

I've yet to come across any recordings of the other performances from this concert.

The view from the stage complete with inflatable octopus

©R Ellis. Click on image to view more photos of this concert at the Repfoto site .

   This concert marks the debut of "The Return of The Sun Of Nothing," which later became "Echoes," a staple performed from 1971 through the 1975 tour. Unfortunately, the party was heavily rained upon, which is abundantly clear on this tape. The taper and someone with him are having a disagreement about moving out of the rain, but thankfully this dedicated taper is willing to stand in the rain and keep the tapes rolling. The quality is pretty rough and quite muffled. The non-stop audience chatter further mars the recording.
    An average version of "Atom Heart Mother" opens this show. It is performed without the orchestra, which means Rich Wright's keyboard playing is more prominent in the arrangement. After "Fat Old Sun," Roger introduces the premiere of Floyd's latest extended song "The Return of The Sun Of Nothing" which was subsequently re titled"Looking Through the Knotholes In Granny's Wooden Leg" before they settled on "Echoes." Since this song has not been heard before, at least some members of the audience shut up to listen (and allow us who weren't there) to hear the song. Dave Gilmour sings higher on here than on later versions of the song and it is interesting (albeit sometimes difficult) to hear the different lyrics. The guitar playing is also noticeably different from later versions of the song when Gilmour adopted a more subdued style.

©R Ellis. Click on image to view more photos of this concert at Repfoto

  Pink Floyd's live performances were generally refined by this time, so the return to the raw sounding jams on this show is a neat change. This is the high point of the show as the rest of the set is only an ordinary performance which I don't think makes particularly good listening given the compressed recording. Since good quality Floyd tapes are pretty common, low fidelity tapes such as this one are only really worthwhile for whatever historical value you'd place on a tape.

Erik Twight

Left and above: Messr's Gilmour and Waters at Crystal Place 1971 , Gilmour adopts the playing stance that he was using when I saw him at Parliament Hill Fields in 1969, which indicates that he was jamming out more then normal for 1971 .

Thanks to Repfoto for the use of the photos , there are many more great images of this show at the site which you can visit by clicking on the pix . Images are copyright © R Ellis 1971 and can be purchased via the site.


It was 1971 at the height of the Hippie days in England and the War in Vietnam. My best friend and I went to a rock concert. We were only ten years old and we travelled on our own to the Crystal Palace Bowl. The Palace Bowl was within a park and had a stage set in the woods in a natural Ampi Theatre. The layout was woods and trees grass and parkland facing a lake in front of the half dome light blue ampi Theatre. The stage being a half dome design to project the sound across the lake to the waiting crowd. Their must have been forty thousand hippies at that concert to see Pink Floyd, also Rod Stewart who was not well known at that time and only number 3 on the billing. The top band was The Floyd, so you can imagine the type of hippies that wanted to see them. Grass and acid and all sorts of pills , potions + wine was downed.

It was a funny day, hot and sunny one minute and then massive thunder storms the next. All around the hippies had flags and banners flying with ban the bomb signs and stop the war in Vietnam. Patchouli oil drifted mix with grass joints all over.

It was truly an amazing sight for a ten year old. I think if we’d hadn’t been raised in a South London slum we may have freaked however, whoever we just put our guards up a little higher. The smell of so many joss sticks, mix with dope, the flags and colours of their cloths, sunlight and very very loud PA system.

It was the time for all respectable hippies to wash in Patchouli oil, dressed in afghans with tie died tie shirts, "Purple haze man" also beads where a must have, even better then beads, was ban the bomb signs on string around ones neck, painted faces, was in as if they needed that on all the acid they took. All these things filled the senses of a ten-year-old council kid. Imagine a couple of small kids, only little, as we were, seeing this kind of thing for the very first time, we were blown away by so much, sights and sounds.
Like a fun fair without the rides for us young ones.

Clinton Edward’s was my best friend in those days, he was English, but was very black as his family was from the West Indies. Myself, I had almost white blonde hair and very pale skin. We were both very small for our ages.

We travelled to Crystal Palace on or own and bunked the bus from Catford , also having no money for our entrance fee. We knew the park well and had decided to bunk in over the fence. However security was very tight and good even for us London kids. We were impressed. They had a guy up in a high tower with binoculars and a radio watching anyone trying to dunk in. He would then radio the ground security staff to intercept them and us each time we tried to get in. We of course did not know this, at the time. We’d still try as we may, we just could not get past the security guys. We spent hours and hours trying different ways of getting past them to no avail. Stinging nettles and brambles, cuts bloodstains covered in dry hot dirt.

We finally gave up and sat behind the fence near some porta cabin loos. Either side of the loos was very long lines of male and female hippies queuing up to spend a penny. Near to us was a small tree that over hung the fence near the front of one of the queues. The hippies saw us and said we should climb the tree and drop into their arms on the other side. Yea-right trust a hippie! Where we came from if you didn’t even trust the kid next to you. However we did this and were amazed, at just how easy it was to finally get in, after hours of hot sweaty effect through woods and paths and fence’s to gain access. Also these hippies were not child molesters after all. Cool.

Finally we were in and it was totally amazing for two small kids to see such a sight and hear such loud rock music pounding out from huge black speakers on scaffolding towers, with the odd hippie hanging off it. We both wondered around taking in all these overwhelming sights, smells and sounds. Some crazy hippies were freaking out high, eyes glazed over waving their hands in front of their face and just tripping, others had kites, and big balloons. Most lit sticks, joints and small fires , I guess most were on Acid. See most adult we’ve seen at that age did not do this. People on Bellingham did not see fairies and rainbows. It was a little frightening to Clinton and I. We had been warned about drugs and hippies spiking kids with drugs. In food, cigarettes and drink then carrying them off to murder them. I know they never did this, but you know what parents are like, especially with ones so young. It was best to just frighten them into not going anywhere near hippies at all at that time.

We soon found being so small, we could not see the stage, it was all backs and heads, as we were right at the back of thousands and thousands of people, on the ground in front to the stage and lake.
When you’re young and just didn’t understand the rules of such events e.g. first come, first gets front row positions by the waterside. Possibly arriving at drawn, just to get the front row seat in the mud. Anyway we just upped and started pushing our way toward the front of the crowds. This was much easier then we expect as all the hippies just smiled at us two and waved us forward. I’ll always remember the smiles and sparkling eyes as they look at the spectral of such a white kid with such a black kid.

Obviously if we had been older we would have been dissuaded from this, but being so small and young black and white, the hippies moved out of our way and even encouraged us to make our way right to the very front.

Finally at the lakes water edge, it was truly packed and there was hardly any room to stand because every inch had hippies sitting on blankets squashed together to get a good view of the main event- da Floyd. Please bear in mind, who the Frig was this Floyd bloke????

We found ourselves just standing there taking all the amazing sights in, not knowing anyone and once again a little frightened of what we should do next. Making sure we had each other and if we needed we could get out fast, through these nutters.

Now as I’m now much older, I realise these hippies probably could not believe what they were seeing. Two tiny kids one white as white with golden blonde hair the other black as the ace of spades. Obviously the best of friends, in a sick world full of hate, with wars napalm and race hatred. This is why I believe all the hippies just smiled at us and helped us through the crowds right to the waterfront. We were oblivious to all of this, but I can still remember the way they looked at us and smiled as if to say peace and love man.

After Rod Stewart in his famous pink corduroy suit with his band the Faces finished their set, they brought on a fake Elvis. A guy dressed in a golden suit and very dark sunglasses, who said he was Elvis and had just flown into the U.K. He was sorry but he would not sing today, Yer right! The crowd loved it and like myself believed it was truly Elvis. Even though Elvis had never before visited England.

The DJ was pants and people got bored with just how long the Floyd took to set up. We seemed to become the star attraction to most of the people at the waterfront. We played it very Bellingham... no eye contact and ready to run at the drop off a hat after all we had bunked in and felt we’d be kicked out at any moment.

The sunlight started to fade into the evening sky. An amazing sunset with blood red lined black clouds, of course the Hippies loved it. Far out man was so prevalent. The roadie finished the stage for the main event the Floyd. Then the real darkest, blackest clouds moved over the park. So low over the bowl, it became muggy and very oppressive. Then all of a sudden the sky cracked and amazing fork lighting streaked straight across the back of the stage, with a tremendous boom, that made every one jump and cheer. I am totally convinced the hippie’s thought it was part of the act.

Then the heavens really opened up and rain fell like an Indian monsoon. It just kept on pouring and pouring down in dead straight lines. you could not see more the ten feet in front of yourself. Every one pulled blankets and pieces of plastic over themselves to stop the downpour. Except for Clinton and I who had just our jeans red tag, plimsolls for woollies and t shirts on. We got absolutely soaked through and started to shiver with the cold. Fixed teeth still nattering, thinking lets go home. But we wanted to see the main event after all our hard bunking work.

By now the Floyd set was starting and they had dumped a huge amount of dry ice into the lake to create a smoky mist that moved out from the stage to cover the water of the lake. It was really very spooky and an amazing thing to see. The stage lights went blue and pink and as the music started the crowd just went wild. The odd firework as well. All we could see was mist, pink and blue and dead fish coming up from the dry ice poison.

We just shivered and wished we had coats. Next to me seated on the ground was a young girl probably about 17 or 18 years old. She had long dark hair and we watching me whist her friend watched the show next to her. She smiled up at me and in an American accent said in such a sympatric way "Hey are you okay?" To which, my head bowed and dripping cold nose, I said nothing, and just stared into space and the dry ice fog. See I had been told never speak to strangers, especially hippies. Well this girl was truly beautiful.

I could see within her eyes that she meant me no harm. So I smiled back and then from under her soaked blanket, she put out her small wet white hand towards me. This I took and she felt so warm, as if she had turned on a small light. She led me nearer and opened her legs that were crossed in a yoga position to welcome me into her embrace. I sat between her legs and she felt just how very cold I truly was, to the very bone. She embraced me in her warmth and her soft arms, enveloping me in her blanket and arms pulling me closer into her legs and stomach. She smelt like heaven. Lifting the damp blanket over us both. Warm and safe at last, like my big sisters keeping me safe. Her friend, seeing this beckoned to Clinton to sit with her in alike manner, dripping wet Clinton, skin shining dark brown did the same, with big eyes. I do remember he gave me that cautionary glance… in one glance he asked, "you sure mate?" I just nodded which he understood as come in out of the rain Clinton, get in, its warm and dry at last, and it seems safe for the moment, although get ready to run.

She then lent into my ear and whispered, "You’ all right?” I nodded but still never said a word. She squeezed me tight and I just lay back in her warm arms. She said "hey yo-all two, little ones,, you all are so frozen, do you want something to eat" ? She then produced some rice and something on a paper plate and offered it to Clinton and I with white wine. Well sitting with hippies was one thing, but even though we had not eaten all day and were starving hungry, and massively dehydrated, one thing we knew only too well, never take food from hippies, as it was sure to have drugs within it. So I just shock my head, NO. She just smiled and put the food beside me. I just really wanted it so badly.

She then lent into the side of my head with her face and mouthed into my neck and cuddled me up.... protecting me. I felt the softness of her skin against my own and the warmth of her arms and her body, wet warm, sopping. Totally non sexual, a little lost the same as I.

This was truly heaven and I never felt so warm safe and welcomed in all my life.

I’ll never forget that girl. To this day I still remember her face and her eyes, her warmth and her presence. I sometimes wonder if she ever remembers me? Also where she is now. Probably back home in the US, grown as we have all have, with our own children that have gone through ten.

I would love to hear her interpretation of these events.

Best Regards


PS: Please remember just how so very young a ten year old really is!

Wow, it really wasn't an illusion, I really was there.....
As im finally trying to put most of my 1970`s memories into stories/diaries, (as not to forget) I constantly tell people about, the time 4 of us went to this outside gig.
I gather it was a first, I may be wrong there.
As I do have a brilliant memory for that period, sometimes I think, is it really as I imagine?

But, as by chance I was trawling the web and came across a link to, C P G party, and seeing the big colour photo of the crowd, I was transported back to that very day.

A brilliant sunny day I do remember, 4 of us, all of which ive totally lost contact with now.
And one bloke, Dave, he had and im sure if I could just talk to him today, he would agree, he had the most brilliant collection of vinyl LP`s ive ever know, some obscure stuff which would be gems today.
We only went to see Mountain, Leslie West and all, the rest we weren't bothered about. I do remember being in some form of tent, and getting posters of Nantucket Sleighride, all in colour, to which I gave to my best mate then, Bob.

We sat well back, on a mound I think, certainly not up by the water but, the sight of Rod Stewart in his pink suit is still fresh with me.
I learned not long ago that, "Quiver" had /were Sutherland brothers, in the line up, ( I think), and possibly Nick Lowe, I may well be wrong there as I wasn't bothered about "quiet" music then, only Marshall stacks and Gibson Les Paul's.

But Mountain, well, they were the business and I can remember Corky Laing the drummer chucking out sticks into the water.
When the Floyd came on and again, to hear the whirling wind going from one corner to another, with stacks in the trees, ( would it be "one of these days"?) we went for shelter under some trees, was just brilliant, I totally remember the cabs roaring out and then thunder, and my mate saying "is that the speakers" to which we all began to laugh as it began to rain.

The real insult though was, as we were young, we, as callow youths, said, right, enough of this and went down the pub....leaving the mighty Pink Floyd to carry on.

I had some great B/W shots of the stage and it was full of WEM, but again, I either lost that or gave it away and, when we went into work on the Monday, we swore blind that we saw Elvis on stage, just to re read what that again, tells me, I wasnt imagining things.

We went again later to see YES, all very disappointing, sound wise BUT, and this is where I have to admit, that, even I, who has and im not making this up, I have a very good memory of things, I didn't know/remember that the late great Rory Gallagher was there that day......must have been something I drank....or took.
Anyways, a brilliant thing that people put effort into things like this.

"BullseyeDen", Den P Gibson, late of Leytonstone E11, now living in Cornwall.

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 Floyd pages on my site by going Back to the main Archive.


July 31st  1971

The big E onstage Crystal Palace 1972 © Phil Moody


Elton John


Fairport Convention

Rory Gallagher

Tir Na Nog



    The second Garden Party of 1971 , better weather and a strong lineup ensured a good turnout for this show and a continuation of the Garden Parties into 1972 and beyond

Elton John
Skyline Pigeon
Rock Me When He's Gone
I Need You To Turn To
Tiny Dancer
Love Song
Razor Face
Indian Sunset
Whole Lotta Shakin'
Madman Across The Water

aud tape poor quality.

Rory Gallagher

I Could've Had Religion
Hands Up
Goin' To My Hometown
Sinner Boy
What In The World
Bullfrog Blues
You Know What It Means To Be Alone
Somebody's Got To Help Me


Jeremy Browning writes

There was definitely a Crystal Palace Garden Party on 31st July 1971 where Yes headlined (I think - they certainly played there 'cos I took photos & it was Peter Banks' last gig - they sacked him after it for mucking about ISTR but maybe that's rubbish) supported by Fairport Convention and some others.

Bryan Ford adds
    I was at the Yes/Rory Gallagher/Fairport Convention etc Garden Party, I'm pretty sure I have my ticket somewhere, although it may take a while to find. Obviously anyone sad enough to keep a 30 year old ticket will have managed to accumulate quite a lot of other junk over the subsequent years!

   To be honest I don't recall that much about it, and I certainly can't claim that what I do 'remember' hasn't been embellished somewhat over the years. What I can say (pretty much) for certain is: Yes performed most if not all of the Yes album, and were stunning. All the boring over-the-top stuff they did later often obscures just how good they were in their earlier days.
Elton John was unbelievably boring and there was pretty much a mass exodus. I certainly left after the first couple of numbers. He performed tracks from his latest album "Madman across the water", and I particularly recall a spectacularly awful dirge called "Rotten Peaches". He came on last and I couldn't get out of there quick enough.  

  Fairport Convention were wonderful, playing lots of stuff from their latest album, 'Angel Delight'. I subsequently bought it and I think I still have it somewhere. Dave Swarbrick was superb on fiddle. Rory Gallagher was terrific, as he always was. Not the best music in the world, but a great guitar player and he certainly knew how to work hard and put on a performance. I don't remember what he played - I saw him quite a lot round about that time and it's difficult to remember what he played at any particular gig. If I remember correctly he was playing quite a bit of mandolin in that period. The main thing I remember about his Crystal Palace gig was that when he bounded on stage and plugged in his guitar he managed to pick up a radio broadcast which we heard at high volume over the PA. It may be that I'm misremembering, but I have a feeling it was the football results. There's a large radio transmitter at Crystal Palace just a short distance away.

Longshot of Elton on the old joanna © Phil Moody

Alas my memories do not extend to what was played, just who played it. I’d agree that Yes were stunning, but I’m afraid they were so good that most of the crowd celebrated with a spliff or five, as a result of which the rest of the concert is a little hazy. Passive smoking is now a thing of the past, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon your predilections), and that day it had great effect on crowd, ducks and pigeons alike. For me, the highlight was Fairport Convention’s set, which led to me buying Angel Delight from a stall - something I’ve not done at a festival before or since – and led to a couple of years fancying myself as a folk singer.

Rory Gallagher should have come on after Elton John, to wake us all up. Certainly he played a rather extended version of Going to My Hometown and Bullfrog Blues. And yes, he did pick up the footie results on his amp. Thenk yow, Rory...thenk yow. Tir na Nog were excellent, but what did they play? No idea. Where are they now? No idea.

Hookfoot were bloody awful, both with Elton John and without him. Perhaps I should blame them, not him, but alas I am not that charitable. How the man who wrote albums such as Madman across the Water could produce such schlock in later years beats me. That day, he sent to sleep those of the audience who were not already somewhat spaced out, until he concluded his set with Whole Lotta Shakin’, when we all walked out in disgust to catch the train home. Perhaps he just wanted to make sure we didn’t spend the night there. In fact, Whole Lotta Shakin’ was so bad I left without my raincoat and got soaked walking home in Hampshire later that night as a result. A while later, I saw him play Crocodile Rock, and the audience reacted the same. What a shame he didn’t give up before that bloody awful song about candles and wind. Mr John apart, why don’t they do concerts like that any more?
All the best,
Phil M

     I enjoyed Tir na Nog but don't remember much about them except that they performed a number called 'Aberdeen Angus'. I hadn't heard any of their material before that day.
Hookfoot also performed, they were Elton John's backing band at the time.
I don't remember anything about them except that they I found them dull. Just about what you'd have expected from the backing band of someone as dull as Elton John. Their guitarist Caleb Quaye is brother of Finley Q
uaye who had some success a few years ago. He may still be around.
Ah the memories!
Best wishes,
Bryan Ford

Re. Rory Gallagher switching on his amp., it was not football scores/results he picked up, it was Peter O'Sullivan on the Beeb with horse racing!
It was a great day, weather was eventually good, not brilliant. We hitch hiked down from Leeds on the Friday night and there was a violent
thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning. As I remeber, Elton John eventually arrived on stage in a crimson velvet suit and was not great!

John Maiden

I went to this as a 15-year-old.
It was definitely the premier of 'Close to the Edge' by Yes. that was the big attraction for my group of Catholic prog-heads.
There was no Roxy but I seem to (mis?)remember Ashton, Gardner and Dyke doing a 20-minute version of the 'Resurrection Shuffle'.
And everyone being blown away by Mahavishnu. All in white. McLoughlin calmly strolling around the stage with his eyes shut playing the double-neck SG at speed. The whole group very fast and very together.
I got Close to the Edge on 8-track but that was the last Yes I bought.

Rob O'Brien

Garden party features

   We have been endeavouring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.

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