The Archive.

updated Dec 2011

The Ninth National Jazz and Blues Festival.
8th-10th August 1969.
Plumpton Race Track.
East Sussex.

  Local press accounts.
Big thanks goes to Kieran McCann for the donation of his collection of cuttings  from the local press. Although there is the usual litany of complaints , fears by locals that they will be murdered in their beds and Tory MP's complaining about the noise and drug taking, there are quite a few details about the bands , festival logistics and the sound problems that dogged the first night.

Day 2: 9th August 1969.
The Plumpton Pilgrimage.
    It was all systems go at Plumpton today as thousands of fans descended on the village for the second day of the Ninth National Jazz, Blues and Pop Festival.

    Mr. Brian Sommerville, festival spokesman, said :

"the Saturday attendance at last year's festival was between 50,000 and 60,000. This year the advance bookings have been bigger than ever before, so we are expecting at least this number and possibly more."
    Almost 10,000 youngsters slept on the festival site last night, many of them in the open air. Hundreds more slept under hedges by the side of the roads. But despite the villagers fears there were no signs of trouble. The security officer , Douglas  Fairweather, who was on patrol all night in a mini-moke, said:
"After midnight the area was as quiet as a grave.A lot of young people went out looking for excitement after the festival had finished but all they found were country lanes so they just went to sleep.".
    Mr. Alan Carter. in charge of catering at the festival camp site, said he had already sold 30,000 bottles of soft drinks and 7000 sandwiches and had served 3.000 meals. '
"The festival has hardly started yet so-l just can't imagine how much food we are going to get through over the weekend."


A spokesman for the organizers said today that an electrical fault which stopped a performance by The Soft Machine last night was caused by the group's own equipment.
He added: "There is adequate power laid on at the race course and as far as we know, the failure was not our fault.''
The Soft Machine's drummer collapsed in tears on stage when a power failure brought the opening night to a halt last night.

  A security force which included mini skirted dolly-gjrls with walkie-talkie radios kept the crowd in check. The Soft Machine had called off a tour of Europe to play at the festival. But the electricity breakdown reduced their act from an hour to 6 minutes.

  Even the bars were thrown into darkness and thousands of youngsters performed a slow hand-clap.

  The power failure hit the festival six minutes after the Soft Machine had begun their stint.It was temporarily put right , but when the group resumed it was a mere thirty seconds before the electricity failed again.

   The group's drummer 24-year old Robert Wyatt kicked away his drums and broke down into tears . He was helped off the stage in a state of collapse. Afterwards the group's manager, 26 year -old Sean Murphy said: "Robert is too upset to talk to anyone. He is crying his eyes out. He takes his music very seriously. He has had five 4 years of classical -training. "
  By the time the fault was finally  corrected, their scheduled hour was over and they did not reappear. The festival organizers believe that overloading may have caused the breakdown.

    An estimated 25,000 fans were at the opening night of the three day festival. On the whole they were restrained and well behaved, and there was no violence. Thousands had brought their own tents and bedded  down on the prepared camping site. Others were charged 2s. each to sleep in huge marquees, but the organizers segregated the boys from the girls.
Many preferred to try and find a place to kip outside the festival ground but the 200 strong special  security force laid on by the organizers - including off-duty policemen and soldiers on leave as well as mini skirted nurses ,students and even school teachers stayed up all night patrolling the village and rounded them up.
    Some of the villagers formed their own unofficial vigilante patrol, and offered lifts to fans to get them out of the village.
Earlier- housewives had stood at the gates of their homes watching the youngsters arrive. At one stage yesterday after noon the queue at the camping site was half a mile long.

    Fans, some from the United States, Canada and all over Europe-many. colourfully dressed, boys wearing beads. and ribbons in their hair. A great number were barefoot. Throughout the festival groups  are playing simultaneously on two stages -one in the open air and the other in a giant marquee behind the festival's own "mini village" which has been set out in tents to try to make the festival self-supporting. This includes a discotheque , fashion boutiques, record and book shops. a camping equipment
supermarket, a coffee shop. a dairy and food stores.
More than -40 groups are appearing. The total Festival budget exceeds 15.000 pounds

    Tonight (from 6;30 p.m.) fans can hear ;
The Who, Chicken Shack, Yes, Fat Mattress, Spirit of John Morgan, John Surman, Aynsley Dunbar, King Crimson, SteamHammer, Groundhogs, Gypsy, Ice Cream and the Wallace Collection.
    Tomorrow afternoon (from 2 p.m.) there's ;
 Pentangle, Jo Ann Kelly, Magna Carta  and Ron Geesin. In the evening (from 6.30) there will be the Principal cast of "Hair," plus the Nice, the Family, Chris Barber, Clouds, Blodwyn Pig, Eclection, Keel Hartley, Julian's Treatment, Affinity, Hard .Meat, Babylon, Cuby's Blues band, Circus, and Hardin and York.

You can view many great photos of the acts at Plumpton by visiting the Repfoto site .

1969 Festival Menu
Known recordings of the 1969 Plumpton festival.
With set lists and recording details if available.
If you have any more details of tapes of the event then
Contact us

The early festivals.

You can find out the complete line ups of the first festivals if you follow the links below.

Festivals 65-83

Most of these have fairly complete documentation .

Richmond 1965
Windsor 1966
 Windsor 1967
Sunbury 1968
Plumpton 1969
Plumpton 1970
Reading 1971
Reading 1972
Reading 1973
Reading 1974

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