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Updated August 2014.

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Camden festival Concerts -1968-1972 .

Camden festival 1968

The Airplane in full flight Parliament Hill Fields Sept 4th 1969 © Brian Richards

Parliament Hill Fields .Hampstead Heath May 1968-69.

  A series of one day free concerts held under the auspices of the Camden Council. I was lucky enough to attend the Pink Floyd show , but there were also others held over several years and I would like to glean the exact details so we can get a comprehensive list on the site.

The 1968/9 Parliament Hill Rock Concerts were promoted by Camden Council. At that time I had recently qualified as an architect and had been co-opted onto the Arts Committee and then onto the Camden Festival Fringe Committee. I was keen to introduce established and emerging rock groups into the Festival and came up with the idea of including a series of free outdoor rock concerts. I teamed up with Michael Alfandari, a Camden resident and would-be entrepreneur, and he introduced me to Harvey Goldsmith who was already embarked on a career in the music business. Together we organised a series of ticketed concerts at the Roundhouse and, perhaps, the first free rock concerts in the UK located on Parliament Hill. The stages were located at the bottom of the hill and the grassed slope provided the viewing arena.

My memory of them is a little sketchy, particularly the first one in 1968. They were organised on a shoe string, which might account for the lack of publicity, but I still have the poster, designed by Elizabeth MacKay, for the three 1969 concerts. By May 1969 we had learnt a little more about how to do it and how to secure the acts. We had previously attracted some not altogether welcome publicity when we retained the services of the local chapter of the Hells Angels for crowd control. Fortunately they behaved with suitable decorum as they did at the Rolling Stones Hyde Park concert in July 1969 but unlike, in December of that same year, when retained on a far larger scale in the intense atmosphere at Altamont, California. The weather was kind, although a bit chilly, for the May 1969 concerts and the notion of free concerts geared for the local community with major attractions was an entirely novel and enthusiastically received experience.

In the following years, 1970-2 we organised the three concerts at the Roundhouse and subsequently Camden discontinued the Fringe Festival. Alfandari and Goldsmith had teamed up to manage groups and promote events until they split in the mid '70s, Goldsmith going it alone and Alfandari managing Genesis and later setting up a cigar importing business. I continued my architectural career.

David Lloyd Jones


The poster for the first three 1969 concerts © Elizabeth MacKay

September 4th 1968 - Jefferson Airplane and Fairport Convention.

Euge Gannon was at this one

It was pouring for the Jefferson Airplane and I remember Grace Slick saying 'what is wrong with you people, it's raining, go home'.The Jefferson Airplane show had to be early in the evening or in the Summer as it was still light. There were not too many people there due to the heavy rain. I was a blues fan and would not been too interested in a hippy band but I wanted to see what the hype was all about .I think they did a few numbers before I quit to go for a drink.

Chris Jones was also there and gives this detailed account.

I went to the Parliament Hill JA/Fairport gig with a friend, and these are our recollections:
Parliament Hill, London UK
(free concert, Fairport Convention opened - Sandy Denny was late getting from the airport)
It was actually on Wednesday 4 September - I recently found an old diary which recorded the occasion and this is what I put in it at the time:
"Saw Fairport Convention & Jefferson Airplane at Hampstead Heath - fucking far out - pissed with rain - went with Ray Day."
Paul Kantner thanked the few hundred of us who were there and said (something along the lines of),

"You folks are marvellous to come when it's raining so hard. Back home in San Francisco nobody would have turned up. We're used to it being eighty in California."
Then Grace said, "If it ain't eighty, it ain't hot."

Grace was beautiful. The band were hot (Fairport convention were pretty damn good too).
Part of the reason that the number who witnessed the event was so small was that there was almost no advanced publicity. My friend Ray and I found out almost by accident - and felt extremely lucky to be one of the few people who were there to see and hear it. We were able to get very close to the stage - it was almost like a private performance.
Ray remembers the setlist as follows (I don't really remember the details at all - hmm, wonder why?)

Paul was wearing an Afghan, Jack was wearing the cardigan he wore on Pointed Head, Grace had a black number on.
They had a big stack of Marshall Amps which Fairport used afterwards.
Sandy turned up when the Fairports were playing Stormy Weather.


I also went to the JA/Fairport show at Parliament Hill on Wednesday 4 September 1968.
That gig is one of my fondest '60s moments'. I only found out about it a day of so before from a tiny advert in "it' (Int. Times). But I just HAD to see JA - they were playing at the Roundhouse with the Doors that weekend - out of my league - but then this free concert just appeared!!! a real "so-there-is-a-god!" moment.

I never realised that it was put on by Camden Council (gawd bless 'em). I went to William Ellis School on Parliament Hill, who's back gate is only about 100 yards from the corrugated-iron band stand where they had the gig. (We exited from that gate on cross country runs when it was too wet to play rugby - wonderful times!) Richard Thompson was at WES as well and I had always imagined that it was some local thing set up by Fairport.
Geoffrey Watson


MM 1969

Three free concerts featuring top underground groups will be held at the Bandstand, Parliament Hill Fields, London during May.
Tomorrow (Friday) the first concert, part of Camden Borough Fringe Festival will run from 10 pm to 3 am with Pink Floyd, Pretty Things, Roy Harper, Pete Brown and his Battered Ornaments, Jody Grind and Musica Electronics Viva.
On Sunday May 18 from 2 pm to 8 pm the groups will be Procol Harum, Soft Machine, John Fahey, Third Ear Band, Blossom Toes, Forest and possibly Fairport Convention.
On May 30 from 10 pm to 3 am they will be Fleetwood Mac, Group Therapy, Edgar Broughton Band, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Duster Bennett and Bridget St. John.

Stage at Camden May 18th 1969

All 1969 Camden festival photos courtesy Repfoto © to see more click on the link

At the all nighters refreshments will be available and lighting provided All the groups will be playing free and there will be no charge for admission.


  • 1968 Jefferson Airplane , Fairport, etc
  • 5- 09- 69-:Pink Floyd ,Roy Harper, The Pretty Things, Pete Brown's Battered Ornaments & Jody Grind.
  • 5-18- 69 :Procol Harum, Soft Machine, Third Ear Band , Yes & Blossom Toes.
  • 5-30-69:Fleetwood Mac. Taste ,Edgar Broughton, Duster Bennett . (This concert was disrupted by drunken elements in the crowd)
  • 1970 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.
  • 1971 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.
  • 1972 Roundhouse concerts- pay shows.

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