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 3: 10th August 1969.
The verdict of 70,00 pop  fans
Swinging Plumpton !.
By John Marley.

    The Ninth National Jazz , pop and Blues festival ended in spectacular fashion at Plumpton racecourse last night. The British pop group The Nice wound up the three day open-alr extravaganza accompanied on stage by a 40 piece symphony orchestra.

Joseph Egar, famous conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra , flew in from the states to conduct .The 40 piece outfit was was made up from various orchestras including  the London Symphony.

    During the closing two, hours thousands of fans went wild . They lit rubbish. bonfires around the ground faster then the the festivals 2OO-strong security force could put them out  and the fire brigade wars asked to  stand  by.
At one stage officials feared the marquee might go up in flames.
and the fire brigade were told: "Be ready for a call."
In another incident. compere John Gee was pelted with tin cans and various flying objects. Youngsters had been shouting for another encore by Family , but compere Gee told them there time didn't permit . And the fans let fly.
  There was an incident  too involving the cast of the hippy musical "Hair" After performing numbers from the west End show the cast walked off the stage without waiting for applause. During their act, organ plugs had twice been pulled out by mistake. One of the principals , Linda Kendrick said 
"It was a disaster. Everything went wrong, the microphones,  everything, even the piano was out of tune. It was an embarrassment ". 
Earlier In the day the festival was without water for several hours. Demand exceeded supply and the pressure dropped to nil. Thousands of hot, thirsty youngsters  descended on Plumpton village in search of water. 

   Villagers responded to the call. Many put huge buckets and containers outside their houses.  Outside one house a notice said: 

"Drinking water. Take a glassful if you are thirsty." 
Outside another house a  villager stacked up crates of milk bottles full of water and put up a notice saying .
"Help yourself, but please don't break the bottles."
The Mid Sussex Water Company sent out men who opened a valve from the Oldham reservoir. And water was restored to the festival ground. 

Chicken Shack's Stan Webb
looning it up on Sunday night . 

    Although no  final figures are yet available , festival publicist Brian Sommerville estimated last night that the total attendance had approached 70,000- which would be ten thousand more then last year when the festival was held at Sunbury.
The festival went off without any signs of violence. But a number of people left rather poorer than when they arrived. Then, was quite a bit of pilfering , said Brian Sommerville. Aynsley Dunbar ,one of the stars of the Saturday night , had a 400 pound bass guitar stolen from the artists drawing room. 

    Throughout the festival , plain clothes drug squad detectives mingled with the youngsters. On Saturday night the concert was 50 minutes late finishing, it finally ended at 12;35 am . Two people rang the police to complain , one of them Mr Martin Maddan, Conservative MP for Hove , who lives in the village.

seen grooving to the music 

    One member of the Saturday night audience who watched The Who and whotook more than average interest was Peter Tree of Inholmes Park Rd, Burgess Hill. Peter was one of the original members of the group five years ago , when they used to play Brighton's Florida Rooms. He pulled out after a clash of musical taste and now the Who are one of Britain's top three groups, while Peter works as a settler in the bookmakers in Haywards Heath. 
    How does he feel now. 
"I've no regrets "he said, "I know the Who have hit it big, but I'm not sorry I quit .In the early days the group were struggling and I only earned 10 pound a week. Now I earn 30 pound a week so I'm not complaining . The group are still good friends of mine ."
    Peter who is 26 said he may now try to break into the pop song market.

   Among the groups appearing Last night were The Affinity, which include three former Sussex university students ? Lynton Naif ? organ , Grant Serpill ? drums and Mo Foster- bass. In their University days the three were in the  the University of Sussex jazz trio. Now they have teamed up professionally with guitarist Mike Jopp and singer Lynda Hoyle and Plumpton was their first festival booking. 

    This then was Plumpton 1969- an extravagant miscellany of campers, hot dogs , doughnuts, spotlights, hippies, lollipops , sunshine and shattering noise.
    It was where the water ran out , the cigarettes ran out and were obtainable on the black market at 10s for 20 and where finally the noise has run out. All that remains over the next couple of  days is dismantling the giant stage , taking  down the  marquees and clearing away piles and piles of litter which are all the fans have left to remember them by. 

    Only yards away from one another , but worlds apart in every other respect, were the thundering beat scene and the village cricket match yesterday afternoon. The amplified pop sounds rang out loud and clear over the normally sedate little cricket field and the wickets tumbled as never before. Plumpton cricket club were delighted, their opponents , a team from Wandsworth, were skittled out 24 all out. " We couldn't concentrate with all that noise ", said their crest fallen captain.

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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