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Last update March 2012 .
Cardiff Castle Open Air Concerts
Cardiff Castle was the venue for a series of outdoor concerts in the 70s, held rather infrequently and occasionally against opposition from the local council, the first proposed concert- by those sons of Satan , the Rolling Stones- was unfortunately cancelled due to this outbreak of wanton puritanism by those in government. Fortunately, this proved to be a temporary state of things and the first concert to go ahead was held in 1975.
The Castle itself is a weird sort of mutant beast that is a melange of various architectural styles. Some of it is very old and other bits date from Victorian times when the Marquis of Bute made a fortune in the coal trade and , instead of improving the lot of his workers by providing better accomodation, spent a fortune on the castle , with gilt ceilings and other fripperies providing a mind melding experience for visitors. Later on the family gifted the castle to the City of Cardiff, so the Welsh taxpayer is now responsible for its upkeep.
There is a large open lawned expanse in the centre of the castle grounds and this is where the one day concerts were held .
Left : Poster for the cancelled Rolling Stones concert that should have been held in 1973
12th July 1975.
Dj Pete Drummond
A truly wet festival, it sluiced down for much of the day . but the event went ahead anyway. Apparently the crowd was 15,000 strong , but thousands could not get tickets and were turned away at the gate. It only stopped raining at the start of Steeleye Span's set ,otherwise the grounds were saturated and the audience were repeatedly warned to stay away from any electrical devices as there was a distinct danger of electrocution. 10CC began their set with a volley of flares and overall , despite the rain, the bands were given a good reception by the audience.
Judging by the program, this event was some sort of benefit, but just who for seems to be shrouded in the mists of time, can anyone provide more information ?
Also has anyone got any photographs of the gig?
just 17 then and I went with some guys I had started a band with. It pissed
down all day. The main thing I remember was seeing Thin Lizzy introducing new
guy Scott Gorham on guitar. Lizzy showed us all a huge difference in their approach
to music with a much more Hard Rock sound than before. They were great and this
gave us just a glimpse of how truly great they were to become.
I remember Steeleye Span playing All around my hat which had done well as a single. The rest of their set was the real pioneering folk-rock that they and Fairport had established.
10cc were great. They performed most of the new album The original soundtrack. They had played at the Cardiff Capitol a few months earlier and this was the same set but the big venue really suited them. A lot of the older people in the crowd ( and these people who were only 3 or 4 years older actually ) booed 10cc moaning that they were a pop group headlining a RockShow. At this time in Rock history there was a sort of tyranny where if you liked what The Sweet, T.Rex and Slade were doing you kept it to yourself. Boys my age liked these groups as well as liking Zep, Purple, Sabs etc. but it was uncool to admit it.
10cc went on to play astoundingly well, some of the older ones still huffed and puffed but the mojority of the crowd soon picked up that this was something special.
to that gig with 3 mates, we drove down from Builth Wells and it poured with
rain all the way. Despite the weather forecast, we were in denim jackets, Levi’s
and red flash pumps. On arrival in Cardiff we headed into the Angel and drank
until we were chucked out (almost forcibly as this was before all day opening).
By 3:30 we were in a massive queue getting soaked to the skin. By the time we
got into the Castle the 1st act was over and before the 2nd came on we were
so wet and miserable two of us, Harry and myself, abandoned the gig as the pubs
were open again by then. After more beer in Cardiff and Merthyr, we were back
in our local before last orders. This was surely the greatest gig I went to
that I didn’t hear a single note of music at!
I was 18 at the time and remember this one well. My memories of the weather
are exactly the same as another contributor. It chucked it down all day and
10cc were the last on and most people abandoned the covered grandstand to get closer, despite the wet. I think that everyone was, by this time, so wet anyway that none of us cared and some were so wet and mud splattered that they were even sitting down in it. Traditional festival weather really!!!
Steeley Span were very disappointing. I more than suspect that they hadn’t done a sound-check because none of us could hear them. There was constant heckling from the crowd while they were on, along the lines – ‘turn it up, turn it up’. Particularly disappointing for me as they were the main reason I went.
Thin Lizzy for me, turned out to be the highlight. They were quite simply the best of the acts. They really rocked – enough said really!
Man - Curiously I have no memory of them at all.
MC John Peel
July 24th 1976
By contrast, the first concert of 1976 was blazingly hot . Openers were Welsh act Budgie ( it seems that the promoters took the chance to give local bands an opportunity to get some big exposure time at a large venue as Man has also been given a slot in 1975 ).
won one fan at least ......
'Breaking all the house rules'. My jaw dropped, Burke Shelly (who I'd never heard of at that time) belting out the lyrics backed by his own faultless bass riffs which formed the backdrop of the whole idea complimented by Tony Bourge' brilliant lead breaks with Steve Williams kicking the other two up the arse with solid rock drumming. It was awesome. The naive youngster was now not quite so, the eyes opened by this fantastic sound that belted out across the castles surroundings.
Ticket for the Quo show courtesy Phil ...
1976 concert was a big disappointment because Rainbow did not play. They
could not get their Rainbow on stage so pulled out.
Manfred Mann's Earthband
Frankie Miller's Full House
DJ Bob Harris
MC John Peel
September 10th 1976
Advert courtesy Giovanni Pantano
The stage at the Queen concert 1976 © Greg Litjens
I went to this gig. There were six bands due to play (from about 2 in the afternoon) including Richie Blackmore's Rainbow (who may have pulled out), Andy Fairweather Low and the other support bands I can't remember. Queen came on in the evening. It was raining badly throughout their set and many of the crowd were forced to buy plastic sheets to cover the rain. Well worth it though. Queen were spectacular. It would be good to see a listing as other people may have other information.
remember that the people
selling the black bin bags upped the price when it started bucketing down, I’ve
never seen rain like it in the UK.
1976 was a very hot summer and it broke that day.
When Freddie came on stage he said (in his white leotard) “ Hello darlings have you got your rain coats on? I’ve got mine”. Bob Harris who was the compare that day applauded us all as did Brian.
I saw Queen 7 times and they where never better than what was their first open air concert
manfred manns earthband played blinded by the light for the 1st time in public..queen came on & the heavens opened up..they were awesome & nobody moved just got soaked but never moved,freddie addressed the crowd "how the ! beep ! are you just standing there "thanks “
I've just been looking at your website about concerts in Cardiff Castle in 1976.
I was handling all the ticket sales for the two concerts that summer and the Queen concert was held at the end of the summer .... I think it was Friday September 10th and it poured with rain. I remember that after the success of the Status Quo concert on 24th July the two guys who organised the concerts decided to do a second one that summer but it was all a bit rushed and the Castle wasn't available on another Saturday as it was booked up with weddings so a Friday was chosen which was unfortunate as the ticket sales were very slow. I seem to remember that they lost money on the Queen concert.
I hope this is helpful
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow cancelled out of this show and were replaced by Manfred Mann
Queens likely setlist
(no recording appears to exist )
Ticket courtesy Giovanni Pantano
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