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June 29th 1968.
The first concert of its kind in the Park and for many the best. The way that John Peel describes this concert is very similar to the way I felt when I saw Traffic in the second concert a month later. It seems the early concerts were special in a way that could not be replicated when they became much bigger and tied in to the music industry moguls.
I was at this first free Hyde Park festival and talked to John on his boat, from mine!
Can't remember too much about it for the usual reasons, but I recall that this was actually the SECOND festival as the very first was not announced or publicised, it just happened, with a small flat bed truck parked on the walkway in the "cockpit" and with the amps and PA running from a flying lead plugged into one of the pathway lamps, which were not very high luckily!
We all knew of it by word of mouth and there were really only about a couple of hundred there, the Floyd one had thousands as the whole cockpit was pretty full.
I went to most of them and remember the Blind Faith one as the best, followed closely by the Pink Floyd one at Parliament Hill Fields, using the quadraphonic, (steered), four way sound system....
PS: Best gig ever was The Cream at the Camden Roundhouse, very early on with the train turntable rails still in place, the train opening not filled in and water dripping down from a hole in the roof onto Eric!
PSS: Strangest gig ever was the very first use of the Roundhouse with the Pink Floyd playing off the back of a Hay Wain, and Soft Machine, (with Kevin Ayers "playing" a motor bike at one point!), oh - and various famous peeps trying not to look obvious dressed up as Arabs, (blame the free suger lumps).
I wasn't lucky enough to attend this show, so I can't add anything apart from Pink Floyd'sset list.
Let There Be More Light, Set The Controls For The Heart Of the Sun, Saucerful Of Secrets, Interstellar Overdrive.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason remembers
The one in '68 was wonderful because it was much more a picnic in the park than a mini-Woodstock. A lovely day. It was important for us too because it reminded us of our, uh, roots -- whether spurious or not. They
Roy Harper remembers :
Bob: the atmosphere of the concerts in those days in the park, I'm just making direct comparisons with the two events, but there was a lovely freedom and wonderful sort of feeling about those places in those daysI don't know of any recordings of this concert , Pink Floyd would be the most likely to have been taped. If you have any info to add about recording availability, photos, reviews, etc Contact us
Roy: I remember that first one in the cockpit with, I think the first one was the best one, with the Pink Floyd, Me....Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jethro Tull
Roy: I think that was the best one, I don't think it ever got better than that one, I ended up playing Nick's drums at one point with him.... I was, I had the tympany sticks on the cymbals....that was a brilliant atmosphere. There was only about ten or fifteen thousand people turned up but it was a brilliant thing that
Bob: well nobody paid any money, there weren't sort of corporate balloons you know, above the place and stuff like this
Bob: which there were in the summer this year. I must say it felt completely different, the whole corporate influence has grown so much hasn't it?
Roy: it's out of order, Harvey Goldsmith still owes me fifteen hundred quid (laughs)
- from a radio interview with Bob Harris
Don Needham kindly sent me this snippet of info about the existence of film of this concert
"very brief b&w film clip of Jethro Tull's performance at the first Hyde Park free concert 29/6/68 appeared on a documentary about Tull called "Fish n' Sheep n' Rock n' Roll" made for Channel 4 on British TV back in 1987. It looks like it comes from a newsreel but suggests there is probably more footage of the event in existence."
Don has also provided some stills from the clip , one of which is shown on opposite.
To see the rest of the stills visit
Roy Harper © James Olsen
I was at this concert, it was certainly the best of all of the ones I went to - One thing I remember was that first on stage was a busker who normally played his saxaphone (?) on Charing Cross bridge - Anyone else remember him, who he was?
( it was Lol Coxhill : Ed )
That was a fabulous day - first the concert in the park - great music and a guy in a yellow monk's robes going around selling the International Times at an inflated price. A bit annoyed until you opened the paper and found that it contained some waccy baccy. Harper didn't only sing McGoohan's blues, he also sang Sergeant Sunshine. T Rex were everywhere that summer, a bit fed up with them, actually. This was the first sighting of Tull for me, though, but saw them again later that summer at the National Jazz and Blues Festival. The day was rounded off in exactly the right way at the Albert Hall, just across the park, watching the Incredible String Band.
From Martin Shankleman
Ah I was there, a 15 year old schoolboy at my first rock show. I sat in the front row, feet from the stage, and was stunned. ( No golden circles or vip areas then) Harper played one song, McGoohans Blues , Tyrannosaurus Rex sat cross legged on the stage. Marc with his curly hair and larry the lamb vocal style, Steve the bongo man drinking orange juice from a plastic container. I know they played Deborah.
Jethro Tull were extra-ordinary, the first tramp blues band. Highlights included Ode to a Cuckoo, Cats Squirrel and Stormy Monday.
Finally the Floyd , how could they play without Syd, and who was the new bloke on guitar? I'm pretty sure they played just 3 numbers , because they said they had a gig in Brighton that evening. Interstellar Overdrive first, stunning. Then, Set the Controls for Heart of the Sun, with Waters manically banging the huge gong. Finally A Saucerful of Secrets, which no-one had ever heard before. Perhaps the most bizarre piece of music they ever played, and I can still remember the moment when the sound of Rick Wright's organ soared as he started the final majestic chord sequence. At the end I picked up a steel bar Gilmour used for the psychedelic guitar swoops, thinking it was imbued with the Floyd's magic. It sat in my bedside drawers for years, until my mum threw it away.
And I thought all rock shows would be that good.
Really was a fantastic event! The saxophonist was Lol Coxhill, who used to play regularly at that time on Charing Cross Bridge. He's still doing gigs. I too remember Roy Harper's "McGoohan's Blues" - probably the musical highlight of the concert for me. If I remember correctly, he played at an all-nighter that same night at Les Cousins folk club in Greek Street - so, all in all, the definitive musical day of my life!! And when I mention the Hyde Park gig to anyone, they always ask "was that with Syd Barrett?!"
I saw Pink Floyd, Roy Harper, Jethro Tull, and Tyrannosaurus Rex one magical afternoon at the cockpit Hyde Park
It was advertised in International Times
Everybody was brilliant
I saw other concerts at the same location, not to certain of the artists but The Third Ear Band Played at one of them
Also attended a concert at the bandstand in Hyde Park which featured The Move (yes The Move)
I can remember some guy in a sackcloth poncho who turned up everywhere and read out poems
" They’re trying to involve me in masturbation
For artificial insemination"
I think he travelled under the name of Magic Mick but I’m not to certain
Concert reviews and info -1968-71
(These pages include large photogalleries of the concert, most especially King Crimson and Jack Bruce. )
Concert reviews and info -1974-76( all updated Nov 2018)