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The Glorious and Magical 7-7-77 Glastonbury Fayre.

July 1977.

A music press report .
    Meanwhile back on Planet earth "What is reality? what is reality, I write this on Saturday , no sorry Sunday "anywhere else at all Sunstroke would come across as decidedly bizarre , a halfhearted punkoid psychedelic six piece featuring a slinky black panther lady on congas (who changes diaphanous see through gowns onstage before your very eyes - while still stylishly stroking dem skins ) and deadpan pataphysical lyrics like the above .One song is cockilly described as a cross between Elvis Presley and Kurt Vonnegurt and the singer keeps on asking the audience if they want rock and roll or a bit of space . The sunstroke standard of musical talent and invention is high, if at times deliberately surreal The attitude is one of mock arrogance. Yes these guys come form da city. Bristol Gardens , in treey , but decadent West London no less.
    For the record Sunstroke are playing the Glastonbury free festival , a celebration of 7/7/77 marked simply , from the main road - FUN . Situated on a beautiful ley line ridge near Street in Somerset , attended by upwards of 3,000 people advertised solely by word of mouth . MC'ing was performed by a dope pipe selling lunatic in Indian headdress, tinted shades and levi shorts , given to reciting the rain chant from Woodstock and singing and dancing with all the bands .
In the context then, of this decidedly bizarre festival ( the weirdos wore clothes and the straights stuck to hashish and acid ) Sunstroke seemed oddly normal. The audience listened intently , idiot danced or did the lysergic pogo and had a good laugh during the bands two well received sets.
   Among the better known names present were Edgar and Steve Broughton with their respective latest outfits, Here and Now ( of course) and the members of Skywhale .
Edgar Broughton confidently restored a reputation eroded by years of rampant untogetherness and a resulatant apathy- although one is temporarily at a loss to divine why he has parted with his brother, for both bands sounded, to these ears , similar- fresher and cleaner then the Broughtons of yore - plus the brothers appeared to be sharing a tent . Edgar is a vastly underrated songwriter , the proficiency and vigour of the band -Childermass, should correct this lack of critical and popular recognition . To his credit he denied repeated requests for Out Demons Out with the words ., 'it still needs saying, but not by me'- and not here either - the last thing this magical festival needed was a heavy political exorcism .
   Here and Now more than made their presence felt , after a lacklustre performance on Thursday afternoon, and an undignified if spontaneous participation in the Glastonbury Zodiac Band - a mammoth jam starring NikTurner ( a sublime sax player, make no mistake, he really should get a band together soon ) on Friday , Saturday evening saw them tuning once more into the music of the spheres . It was an especially exhilarating phenomenon for those who had taken note of the dropping time - 7pm, on the daily BIT broad sheet .
    It was disappointing the complete Skywhale did not play , for in the Bristol musicians jam , featuring several of their members, their numbers seemed somewhat nondescript .
T he music went on 24 hours a day, often from more then one source simultaneously . Apart from the main stage ( the mixing tower from last years Knebworth festival,) private vans broadcast recorded sounds (lots of Gong , Beatles, Lamb Lies Down On Broadway , Spirit , Cheech and Chong )and impromptu percussion jams frequently filled the air .
Everyone got superhumanly stoned.
    Not that it was all squalid degeneracy . The Tipi People ( nee Wallies ) have started a Save the Horse charity , collections for which brought some down from London to roam the festival site. It has been the vision and dogged persistence of the Tipi people ( in particular that of their guiding light Sid Rawles, that has kept the free festival spirit alive over the past few years.
A lso a grateful thanks must go to the organisational efforts of BIT and Release most definitely without whom ....
    Other bands worthy of mention and worth watching out for the future . Corina and Friends, Rotbang, Desperate Straights and Planets - as different in detail from one another as chalk and cheese ( respectively - folkie, punkoid, progressive and space )but each with a similar ly exciting , optimistic Aquarian quality distinguishing them from the rest of the music scene with its bright shining newness.
    I just wish that I could remember the name of the solo guitarist whose FX axemanship converted a box of wood into a heavenly chorus . Never mind , we got plenty more goes on the free festival front this summer alone ; next week Windscale , then the North country Fair, Meigan ,,, the world !!!!!

Free rock festivals of the 60s 70s and 80s

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