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Created June 2007 .Updated June 2008 formatted at 1280 X 1024 resolution .

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Edinburgh Rock Festival.

Royal Highland Showgrounds. Ingliston .


Sept 1st 1979.

Van Morrison

Talking Heads

The Chieftains

Steel Pulse


The Undertones

The Cheetahs.

photos courtesy Gordon G

Images are in the public domain, sourced from the Scottish Archives..

visit You Tube to see an animated version of these photos


  A commercially ill fated festival held in the showgrounds at Ingliston near Edinburgh, good weather, good organisation but perhaps too diverse a bill that did not appeal to a wide enough audience .

  The pairing of Van and the Cheiftains with a New wave set of acts was probably not a good idea in 1979 when audiences were quite polarised as to their likes and dislikes. 12,000 was not a big enough audience to justify another outing in 1980 .

Confusion abounds, this bootleg cover of Van's set at Ingliston presumes the show took place in a concert hall as part of the Edinburgh Festival- wrong ! Advert on left confirms date and place as the showgrounds.

Amazed to find this - was telling my brother about it as it was the first and last rock festival I ever attended.
I'd just spent two and a half months at a summer holiday job in Montrose at what was then the Cadbury Schweppes factory (specialising in canned fruit and veg). I lived in a tent on the campsite near the beach for most of that time.

I remember the day at Ingliston started bright and sunny, if very blowy. My mates and I (students from Belfast and other guys from Glasgow we'd met in Montrose), pitched our tents in the Ingliston campsite, which was a struggle in the strong breeze.
Much later, after about 10pm or so, it started raining quite heavily.

I vaguely remember Squeeze and some of the other acts. I remember Van Morrison who was the last to perform. He came on really late - almost an hour after the previous act, and seemed quite grumpy - which I understand is normal for him. He kept his back to the audience for much of his performance.

During Toni Marcus's violin solo in one song, he switched off her amp so we had about 20-30 seconds of silence from her! Not sure if it was accidental or deliberate, but I didn't see any indication of an apology.
Best wishes

Colm Devlin

Edinburgh Rock Festival.

September Ist 1979
Field Worker's Report- Festival Welfare services

   The festival was held at the Royal Highland Showground, 8 miles outside Edinburgh.

    A field had been set aside next to the Showground for people to camp in the night before and the night after the concert. Approximately 500 people had camped there on Friday night. There were porta-cabin toilets and water supply, and plenty of rubbish containers on the campsite.

   The Showground proved to be quite an ideal site for a small festival. There were dozens of permanently installed toilets ,a mains water supply and grandstands for people to watch the concert from when it rained. Permanent bars and. catering halls provided refreshments, along with temporary units brought in to sell whole foods, soft drinks, chocolates', ice creams and tobacco. There was a good selection of food and the prices were reasonable.

A casualty is hauled away for treatment , Ingliston 1979

    Although alcoholic drinks were not allowed to be brought onto the site, licensed bars were open all day and there were some cases of excessive consumption.The searches for bottles and cans at the gates caused some queues to buiId up outside the gates and there was some tension at times in the waiting crowds as a result. There were no pass outs allowed, so people could not leave the site without having to pay again for re admission.
    The Red Cross Society had a permanent unit on site next to the Police headquarters. were fairly busy dealing with minor casualties, some resulting from alcohol excesses. The Police kept a very low profile and the security staff were pleasant.

     Also on site was a "festival village" under cover, for goods concessions. There was a small fairground and several theatre groups performing around the site.

opening act - The Cheetahs

    Attendance at the Festival was small ,maximum estimated at 12,000. There were a lot of young children present, and plenty of space and amusements for them. There was also a lost children's point, but no general information service.
   There were plenty of rubbish containers (oil drums) scattered around and the site was kept quite clean. Some fires were the arena at night and much litter burnt.
    Generally the atmosphere at the festival was very pleasant and thefacilities and organisation seemed very good.

The promoters- Pete Irving and Barry White

Aerial view of the showgrounds

Steel Pulse onstage -click photos to see larger images.

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Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

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