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The Buxton Festival.
Booth Farm ,Buxton. Derbyshire. July 21st 1973.
Last update Feb 2012
Edgar Broughton Band Groundhogs
Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Roy Wood and Wizard .
© Gary Bodenham
At last , thanks to intrepid fans Garry Bodenham and Chris Keegan , we have a pictorial record of the 73 festival . Garry writes ......
|My memories of Buxton '73 are dominated by two things - mud and Hells Angels, both of which increased in nuisance value as the day progressed. There was some excellent music despite this - Edgar Broughton, Medicine Head, Canned Heat and Nazareth played their hearts out, and the Alex Harvey Band eventually won us over despite initial misgivings about the dodgy costumes.|
The Angels arrived in force and proceeded to drink the site dry. Initially they paid for the booze, but when the money ran out a deputation was sent into the audience to collect donations of 10p per person. It must have been the biggest mass mugging in history, but provided the catchphrase for the rest of our holiday -"Give us ten pee or else!" As the Angels got drunker they occupied the front stage area, but this soon turned to a quagmire and eventually sludge covered bodies could be seen wallowing like pre-historic creatures waiting to grab anybody who got too close. Some of them occupied the stage for most of the day, but when Chuck Berry came on the stage it was packed with mud caked Angels.
The Edgar Broughton Band at Buxton 1973. © Gary Bodenham
Medicine Head © Gary Bodenham
20 minutes into his set Chuck was showing one of the Angels how to do his
duck-walk properly. He did a magnificent one from one end of the stage to
the other and disappeared into the wings. The band played on, the Angels
bopped, and Chuck legged it to his car and drove off at high speed, never
to return! Maybe thats why he insists on cash up-front.....
Despite the weather, ( which genius established a festival site in the area of the highest rainfall in England?) and the Angels, me and my two mates had a great time, and I returned the next year for even more rain and mud.
Terry Battersby writes
When we next played in the area at a college, some serious looking gentlemen were shown into our dressing room. They introduced themselves as members of the constabulary, bought us a drink and thanked us for our efforts at Buxton, and averting what could easily have been a riot! Apparently we got a mention in the Police Gazette.
The Droop split up in 1974, but in 1990 our second album, recorded in 1973/74 and featuring Mark Knopfler, Pick Withers and Dave Edmunds, was re-released. Music Week wrote: "This was the forerunner of Dire Straits". Who'd have thought it?!
from Steve Darrington, who welcomes contact
Greatcoats were the order of the day ......brrrrrrrr ! © Chris Keegan .
Chris Sawden adds
It's only a tiny extra snippet but I remember Hot Chocolate playing Buxton '73 who you haven't listed, and the RAIN!
But Tim Hardman disagrees with this
No way were Hot Chocolate billed nor did they appear at this festival. They would have been killed !
Everything else is pretty much as described. After necking a fair amount of Pernod, I got right down the front during Nazareth and after a frenzy of idiot-dancing, ended up in a pool of mud in a right mess. The St. John's Ambulance Brigade carted me off under the stage where there was a makeshift hospital and I soon sobered up listening to the acid casualties screaming away behind hospital screens. After a while, I began to hear Chuck Berry tuning up on stage above me. Faced with the dilemma of safety and warmth versus watching Chuck, it was no contest and I "escaped" from the hospital.
I came out in front of the stage and to my horror saw that the Hell's Angels were absolutely everywhere including about fifty actually on stage with Chuck. Chuck then did his "short" set and disappeared into the night leaving me wishing I was back in the hospital. It was bitterly cold and windy and I was settling down for the night in a ditch when a guy in my class at college walked by and "rescued" me. He had just passed his driving test and had his own car so I got dropped off at my door. Very lucky.
© Chris Keegan .
Steve Hambelton reveals the existence of recordings of the 73 shows
Just took a look at your Buxton Festival site. Great, I went to that one and it brings back so many memories of a time long gone. It comes a surprise to me that Hot Chocolate played there - I certainly don't remember it and they are not listed in the programme (which I have a muddy copy of still - I would be happy to scan this for you if you wish - I also have 74's)
I also had a good recording of the Broughton set and the Medicine Head set but I lent them out to a friend at Ashton-u-Lyne college and never got them back.
The highlight for me was Edgar Broughton Band. They included in their set -
Side by side - Gone Blue - Poppy
Medicine Head played One & one is one - Pictures in the Sky - How does it
feel - amongst others.
SAHB played Crazy Horses for the first time there.
I remember the sun breaking through for Edgar Broughton at an appropriate point in one of the songs, although I don't remember at what point. The same thing happened in 74 for Streetwalkers during "My Friend the Sun" during the line " He's there in the distance if you care to see..."
I remember watching Alex Harvey "negotiate" with the rampant Hells Angels from the edge of the stage - they had indulged in a mud fight throughout Canned Heat's slot and the prospects of the concert continuing looked decidedly dodgy.
Alex Harvey is supposed to have placated the Hell's Angels who took over the stage during the Chuck Berry set.
An audience recording exits of the SAHB set.
Yet again, it rained heavily all day, but when SAHB played the rain stopped, not to start again until they had left the stage. Groundhogs and Roy Wood and Wizard were supposed to perform, but Roy Wood only walked on the stage and walked off directly. He declared that the weather was too bad to perform , but it didn't stop any of the other acts.
Had a look at the Buxton pages....Oh God. I was at two of them, one trying to avoid the angels and both trying to keep warm and dry. My memories are pretty hazy but I remember the rain and the rain and the rain and Edgar Broughton, dressed in a judo outfit, who in response to something being thrown on stage invited the culprit to step up so he could 'fucking take him apart' or words to that effect. Anyway somewhere I have a program for one of the two I was at.
Very much enjoyed the nostalgia of seeing the 73 festival pictures. Thanks I spent the first afternoon in the local hospital having my stomach pumped.
I was about 17 and had drank half a bottle of whiskey to keep the cold out. My friend Dave Ganey came along with me to find his wallet, Not sure if he ever got it but we hitched back to the festival, I remember people trying to throw empty cans at Brewer's droop for sport.
I remember the cold wet wind. About a hundred of us with no sleeping bags sleeping in a marquee.
Someone shouting the name "Hector McGee" all night long!!
Ah we were so sentient in those days. We really knew how to look after the planet and feel superior to the rest of the crazy world.
And to think that I now, aged 46 give my 13 year old a hard time if he goes out too late to concerts! "Still hypocritical after all these years"
The curious stage - one side of which appears to be built of brick !----possibly built on an old air raid shelter according to some.....
This was a miserable festival in an exposed position. There was more beer than dope. I remember that people mostly endured it rather than enjoyed it.
I hitch-hiked there, but didn't quite make it to the festival site on my first night, so camped in a field in the dark. I was woken up in the middle of the night by a group of curious cows trampling on my guy ropes and sticking their big wet noses through the tent flap and blowing all over me. In the morning I discovered that I had set up my tent on a cow pat, so my sleeping bag was covered in shit.
I met someone in the morning, also staggering up what seemed like an endless hill to the festival site. We became friends for the festival and, because there seemed a shortage of dope, filled up on beer from the local pub.
I remember Chuck Berry's set because his tour of Britain that year was legendary for the short sets - often as short as 15 minutes.
By the time he came on stage the Hell's Angels had established themselves on stage. He played for about 15 minutes without once speaking to the crowd. The Hell's Angels in constant attendance, dancing with him. Then he came up to the mic.
"Now that I've warmed up, here's the concert!" he called out. The crowd roared!
It was a good set. In fact, I'm sure he did an encore.
I remember Alex Harvey climbing all over the scaffolding and putting down an energetic performance.
I remember Roy Wood not appearing. The rumour was that he was afraid of the Hell's Angels.
I and my festival friend stayed behind to help clear up some of the mess. We were interviewed by a local journalist who took a photo of us picking up the trash. I wonder if that still survives?
I was at Buxton '73 and I was so pleased to see this site!
I remember a local group called Chopper opening up the festival. They were great and obviously versatile. I remember John Peel saying they were off to do cabaret that evening.
I saw: Chopper, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Medicine Head, Canned Heat, Edgar Broughton Band....we went after that - though I did hear Nazareth come on stage, as we disappeared up the road, saying: "You're f***ing wet now aren't you!"
Cheers, and great site!
© Chris Keegan .
The weekend started off badly and got steadily got worse. Getting on the bus in Buxton to go up to the site some nutter pulled a knife out accusing me of pushing in the queue - fortunately his mates calmed him down.
Overnight wasnt too bad - but the day itself was awful. Drunk Hells Angels and a police force that did'nt seem interested in keeping people safe. AND RAIN. And more rain.
I seem to remember bands getting stick from the Angels, cos all they wanted to see was Chuck Berry.
I think John Peel went home after a Party can of beer flew past his earhole. Did Groundhogs and Roy Wood refuse to play because of the weather or because of the Angels' attitude?
Finally Chuck came on - hooray. A couple of duck walks, Angels prostrating themselves. Chuck tried to leave after fifteen minutes , but HAD to come back and do Johnny B.Goode - then he legged it.
We managed to wend our way back to Buxton, thinking we would have to sleep on the pavement - but some fine people had opened a church hall (or somesuch). We got to sleep on the floor with a whole bunch of very tired and bedraggled souls - did the organisers do soup as well?
BUXTON FESTIVAL REMEMBERED – SORT OF!
In the summer of 1973 we went to our first big outdoor rock festival. I arrived there literally wrapped in the American flag. It was a huge moth-eaten relic from the Second World War, a time in England when the term ‘Over Sexed, Over Fed and Over Here’ had been coined by disgruntled Brits envious of the American allied-forces relative wealth, and suspicious of their apparently classless New World style and exuberance. I knew all this from stories my Mum and Dad had told me. My Mum, who was as beautiful as any Hollywood starlet , had sung in a band at the end of WWII called 'The Accordian Serenaders'. She’d been exposed to the 'sweet nothings' of G.I.’s looking to take a bride back to The States, but somehow she’d resisted that yellow brick road in favour of staying in Kansas…I mean northern England. Kansas is probably where she would've ended up despite the silver tongued, soldier boys tales of Hollywood and New York City. My Dad's stories of the time were mostly about pub fights between local lads and G.I.'s on R&R., nothing different there.
I’d bought the flag from a junk stall at a local cattle market for ten bob. I wanted to use it as a bed spread or wall hanging in my bedroom – a place that was fast becoming my own private Oz. The flag was much too big for a wall hanging but it fitted my bed after folding it several times, and there it remained, my very own ‘counter-culture-pane’. So now I wasn’t just wearing the flag in its many sewn-on forms, I was sleeping under the bloody thing as well; lying there in my attic bedroom like some dead president. Laying in a state, you could say, of post pubescent confusion (wet) dreaming of Oz!
So anyway, after six months of use as the counterpane on my bed, undisturbed except for the usual activities of a boy moving through fifteen to sixteen. I unceremoniously stripped the flag from its resting place, rolled it up tightly and stuffed it into my old Cub Scouts rucksack. We were off to the high moors, off to The Buxton Rock Festival. It was being held inside an old rusty perimeter fence, which, like my flag was also a relic of WWII. The fence encompassed a particularly bleak section of ‘Howling Wilderness’. A ‘no mans land’ that had been used as a secret munitions dump for thousands of tons of allied ordnance for use in Britain and America’s tag team assault on Germany.
Back then the barren moorland must have been an ants-nest of heavily camouflaged martial activity. Now the place swarmed with an army of bell-bottomed, longhaired characters who looked like they'd just stepped out of a Robert Crumb cartoon. They dragged their soggy, denim and Indian print arses through the heather and sheep shit and it looked to me like a refugee camp for asylum seekers to Oz. It was a great roaming herd of woolly-Afghan wearing humanity competing rather well I thought, for space appearance and smell, with the full-time resident sheep.
Before setting out from home, I'd decided that I could substitute my sleeping bag with the American flag, thereby providing myself with a hip, daytime accessory and nighttime bed all in one. This proved wrong on both counts. On the first night wrapped in the gossamer thin, scratchy fabric of the flag on the cold floor of Nij's tent I got no sleep at all. I spent the whole night shivering and moaning, wishing more than ever to be in the Land of Oz, and not just this tundra-like facsimile
The following day it was raining…again! I staggered around like Uncle Sam's zombie nephew waiting for it to be fun. Then just as I thought the fun was about to start, during an Oz - invoking performance by the American, hippy, blues band Canned Heat, my rained on, sleep deprived spirits took a harsh blow, as did my cranium. When an almost full can of Tartan bitter hit me square in the back of the head. The beer-filled missile was thrown at me by a troglodyte disguised as a hippy in bellbottoms, Afghan coat and Mr Natural shirt he threatened me with a second can of Tartan while advising me to "sit down you cunt, and get rid of that fucking flag!"
You see, in my delusion and excitement at seeing Canned Heat, I'd unfurled the soggy banner and spread it out with the help of a hapless, LSD victim. We'd struggled with the soiled, wet, flag against a sturdy moorland breeze managing to stretch it across an area just big enough to block the view of the Tartan wielding Mr Natural and his grim looking friends. Nij and my good mate Joker from 'All Boys Secondary Modern' had sensibly refused to assist me in the raising of Old Glory, it was just myself and the mud covered tripping hippy raising it like some pathetic, counter-culture, Iwa Jima .Though unlike the brave U.S. Marines of that captured Japanese atoll, our courage was quickly routed. I gathered up Old Glory as fast as possible, stuffed it back into my Cub Scout rucksack and sat down to watch the rest of the show, nursing my aching head, my soiled pride and the half can of Tartan bitter.
Campsite at the 73 Buxton festival- those who were sensible brought cars to kip in © Gary Bodenham
Me and my chum Andy had decided to go camping in Cornwall and to start the trip off at Buxton, mainly because Edgard Broughton was playing and he was our man at the time. Hence we were laden with huge rucsacs full of enough gear for two weeks away. Several people waiting for the Buxton bus in Sheffield, who were also going to the festival, laughed at us. In the event, because of the diabolical weather, we were glad we had stove, tents, sleeping bags, extra clothes etc.
Anyway, we got a bus to Buxton but for some reason decided to walk out to the site. As we toiled up the moorland road we noticed a camper van in a layby with two scraggly old people outside it. Did we want a cup of tea, they enquired. Somewhat suspiciously we said yes and they duly brewed up, asking is who we were most interested to see at the festival. When we said Edgar Broughton they told us they were Edgar's mum and dad. Yeah, yeah, but they insisted and said they'd wave from the stage. We took it with a pinch of salt, thanked for the brew and continued to the blasted heath that was the Buxton site.
Memories of the weekend are vague - not through substances, of which we could find none - but I recall lots of Hells Angels fighting in the mud near the front of the stage and a general feeling that we were witness to some form of doomsday scenario. I seem to recall that you could camp on site for the 73 festival but not for the 74 one?
Anyway we stuck it out and were particularly impressed with Edgar's gig (had some photos, now lost, of him laying with his head hanging over the front of the stage). He certainly played Poppies and Out Demons Out (during which time the sun made an appearance). I was right down the front with my friend (who has necked a load of Coleus plant infusion and was out of it) and noticed an old bloke behind the speakers throwing joss sticks out to the crowd. Edgar's dad!
I remember Nazareth were pretty good, even though I wouldn't have ever listend to them otherwise, SAHB were brilliant and Bewer's Droop not bad. Chuck Berry was also good. I was told by one of the organisers that he played such a short set and left because he wanted cash in his hand for an encore before he came back on and they wouldn't give him any!
Whoever planned a festival at this site must have been frigging crazy ! © Chris Keegan .
I was at Buxton 73 ,IT WAS WET,WET,WETTER.
We took with us lots of white microdot acid.
The moronic Hells Angels totally ruined the festival,we could not enjoy our trips because of these.
Sensational Alex Harvey,Edgar Broughton was the star performers.
Alex opened with Crazy Horses an Osmonds heavy metal track, Zal Cleminson was awesome that day dressed in his clown suit ripping up the stage with some great riffs.
Medicine Head was not worth mentioning ,nor was Nazareth.
Chuck taught a moronic angel how to duck walk,and that was about all worth mentioning in his truncated set.
Hails of party seven cans raining on all the front people also bottles from hells angels, put a lot of innocent people in hospital while tripping.
John Peel did a great job of mc amongst all the rain and angels.
All night we heard calls of "Wally" which was people looking for acid.
This was my first festival,and I attended as many as I could after that.
Medicine Head entertaining the troops © Gary Bodenham
Who could forget it? I remember John Peel writing in Sounds the following week that medals should have been handed out for anyone who braved it. The Buxton '73 with bar. The weather was atrocious. Freezing cold, intemittent rain. Memory is selective, but Medicine Head were fantastic, Canned Heat also, and the SAHB were sublime. Even with the undeveloped sense of satire of a 17 year old, Crazy Horses was a wonderfully memorable piss-take of the Osmonds. I wish I'd known more about the SAHB. The Whistle Test performances now available show how good they were. Alex RIP. I got so cold that I ended up in the tent at the top of the hill, shaking uncontrollably. People nervously moving away from me. I was turned away from the train station by an officious hippy-hating copper, and ended up spending the night on the floor of a phone kiosk in Buxton, moving to a park shelter in the early morning. And I were lucky. A passing press photographer took a few photos of me - 'festival debris' - I was far too shagged to do anything except stare blankly in his direction - always wonder if I ended up on a tabloid page.
I remember the rain, the Hell's Angels and all the rest of the stuff that has been mentioned.
Does anyone remember when Canned Heat came on stage, Bob Hite had trouble with his microphone early in the set, sounding a bit like Norman Collier doing his microphone act. I remember Bob the Bear showed the patience of a saint in not swearing at the time. I remember some people from Congleton handing out Jesus saves fliers, and also people from Release handing out some stuff. I have these still in my possession.
Just stumbled across your site. Brilliant! Really stirred some memories.
73 - I went with my mate Will Plant. We lived in Staffordshire, about thirty miles from Buxton, and got there via a bus to Leek, then another to the site, equipped with a couple of Party 7's. Not a lot to add. The weather was foul, raining heavily for most of the day. The Hells Angels almost wrecked the entire event, constantly fighting and harassing people. You didn't dare make eye contact with them. I remember one of them lying in the mud screaming in agony with his shin bone broken into a 90 degree angle, courtesy of a steel toe-cap, while his 'mates' stood around laughing! Evil bastards.
SAHB were stunning, musically and visually. It was the first time I'd heard/seen them, and loved them ever since. Crazy Horses - sublime!
Medicine Head - really enjoyed their set.
Brewers Droop - All I can remember is them singing a song called 'I can See Your Pubic Hair'!
Nazareth - For me, they were the stars of the festival. I braved the elements (and the Hells Angels) and went down to the front of the stage to watch them. They played a brilliant set. My mate and I got our photos in Sounds and Melody Maker wrapped in polythene watching them.
Chuck Berry - Great to see, but by this time I'd found a young lady named Nina who came from Cumbria to cuddle up to, so wasn't paying 'too' much attention. (Prior to Nina, the only warmth I could find was plastic mugs of tomato soup and bread rolls, which on reflection, probably saved my life).
After the music had finished, around midnight, I sadly said my goodbyes to Nina, and my mate and I decided to hitch home. We ended up walking all the way, and got home at about nine o'clock the following morning. (Sunday). I went straight to bed, but my mate, who was heavily into golf, played 18 holes with his Dad the same day. Surprisingly, he didn't show up for work until Wednesday!
Nick The Goat
Hi there. I was Googling for some pics of Buxton 73 as I'd been watching the ultimate Woodstock DVD and got to thinking about it when I came across the website. Sorry I've got no snaps but here's a bit of info someone might remember.
I was home on leave from the merchant navy and hitched to Buxton from Liverpool for that festival. A gang of us went, but split up as we got lifts so as me and a mate had the tent, and knowing there would be a lot of people there, we arranged to shout a password so we could find each other and the word was "Wally." An unusual name we thought so there wouldn’t be a problem, but wrong. On reaching the site we stood near enough to the gathering crowds, but far enough away to be noticed and started to shout the password. After a few attempts every fucker started shouting Wally so we were goosed with that one.
We did eventually find each other though and found out that my cousin had met some other friends there and invited them all to stay in our tent – brilliant – about 15 of us in a 5 man tent climbing all over each other.
I remember the dark clouds looming overhead as Edgar Broughton came on stage and I don’t know what he was on but he welcomed us and then shouted “Hey people, look at all these fucking round claids.” (rain clouds)
Not long after Broughton’s announcement it pissed down and mud was the order of the day, and night. I was never into the “hey peace man” thing so once some of the angels, who were trying some people on for cash, cigs and booze etc, had established I was the one in the gang that wouldn’t be fucked with they left us alone. Can’t believe that was nearly 40 years ago. Seems like yesterday.
Couple of other things that folk might remember about the 73 gig was the food and drink vendors that were ripping people off with extortionate prices because the site was fucking miles from anywhere. Another was the Christian tent with disciples hunting for more disciples. The girl who was to become my wife was there, although, not with me and, not amongst the God squad and when the rain came she sheltered and slept in the Christian tent, only to wake and find her purse had been stolen – what can you say?
At the end of the last day we were caked in mud and my sleeping bag was well and truly knackered, probably due to the fact that I’d got in it with my Doc Martins still on. The tent was torn and wasn’t worth taking home so I got up at the first speck of sunlight and left all the lazy buggers to sleep it off. I figured I’d at least get myself a seat on a train if there was one available and there was. It pissed down all the way to the station as I hoofed it on Shank’s pony and by the time I’d got there I was squeaky clean.
Remembering the late great John Peel as well always brings to mind a favourite radio show – "The Great Easton Express." I had no idea that Phil Easton died in 2009. All in all a bit of a disaster for a festival, but hats off to those bands that had the balls to step up and play when they could see it was a potentially out of control situation. Health and Safety was just an unwritten agreement and left to common sense in those days eh? Lol.
We have the memories; albeit slightly faded ones and most people there were of good spirit and just wanting to dig the bands and the sounds. Yes, the angels had a lot to answer for because most people were intimidated by them and as we now know through experience; angels depend on people feeling intimidated in order to get their own way.
I’m glad someone has archived these festivals – well done, and will put a link back on my website. I’ll pop in from time to time to hopefully see some more updates and maybe more pictures. If anyone who was there and remembers me, was a Wally shouter or just wants to jawbone further about those days then they can contact me through my site at www.jobopooks.co.uk
Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Setlist: Crazy Horses
Giddy Up a Ding Dong
Dance To The Music
Tomorrow Belongs To Me
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