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Last updated Dec 2013-
info regarding new commemorative box set of the festival
The view from the mud.
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personal experiences of the festival to the Website. Preserve the memories
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We had a big crowd from Exeter staying at our house in Bath on Friday night, and we all set out first thing Saturday morning. Quite a lot of people I knew had got jobs as ticket collectors / security at the festival, and some of them made large sums of money re-selling tickets, and letting people in for cash.
I have a recollection of a very long acoustic and electric set by Donovan on the Saturday afternoon (I note that you have Sunday for this).Apparently a lot of acts were caught up in the traffic jam on the way to the festival and Donovan was the only person who was ready to go. Some people got bored with him being on for such a long time, but as the alternative was nobody, I think he was doing us a favour.
There was an act called Joe Jammer who appeared a lot over the weekend as a sort of standby band. I have no idea who or what they were.
Santana and Flock were very capable West Coast bands who played afternoon sets (which day?), but again I wasn't knocked out by what they did. I think Santana would have gone down a storm on a really sunny day.
unknown photographer - from the collection of Sam G
My recollection of the Mothers was that they were rather disappointing. I think that the whole event was just too big for a 'humorous' band to get across. I saw them indoors a couple of times (Albert Hall and Festival Hall) and they were great, but the sheer scale of the event seemed to cut them down to size.
unknown photographer - from the collection of Sam G
I am fairly sure that Hot Tuna came on before Zeppelin. I thought that Tuna played the best set of the festival, but there was no doubt that Zeppelin got the biggest applause of any act over the weekend. Tuna were doing a high-energy electric jam which I remember as just guitar bass and drums. Did they have a keyboard player as well?
Zeppelin definitely stole the show. Several of my mates were there specifically to see Zeppelin (not me, I hasten to add). I have often noticed that acts which work well in one type of setting don't come over in another. When I saw Zeppelin at the Marquee (when they were still the New Yardbirds) their whole act seemed way over the top, but at a big festival their 'larger than life' approach obviously won people over. Iguess this was the beginning of 'stadium rock'.
My memory says that Johnny Winter played on the Saturday night, but who knows? Very flash anyway, good rock'n'roll.
The Floyd and Mayall were on during the early hours of Sunday (i.e. very late Saturday night) - like 1 or 2 am. Amazing fireworks during 'AtomHeart Mother' - altogether an impressive Floyd performance.
I was extremely surprised to see Peter Green playing with Mayall - PG had left Fleetwood Mac earlier in 1970 and was supposed to be putting a solo career together. In Martin Celmins' book on Peter Green, a girlfriend remembers Green talking to Carlos Santana before Fleetwood Mac played, but she is obviously confused - she must be referring to the Mayall set. (this could've been the 1969 festival ) Canned Heat probably came on during this part of the show, but I was falling asleep by then.
After staying up late to catch those acts, I was moderately
shattered by the Sunday. Consequently, I am in a complete muddle about which
of the bands played during Saturday daytime and which played during
Sunday daytime. Anyhow, when it began to rain during the Airplane
set, which was definitely in
the middle of Sunday evening, my group called it a day and left before
the Byrds and Dr John had played. The chronology at the end
of Sunday must therefore be something like Airplane, Byrds, Dr John.
Everyone that stayed on said that the Byrds and Dr John were the best
acts they saw! Apparently there were worries about the electrics because
of the rain, which is why the Byrds played a mainly acoustic set.
- Mike Godwin
On arrival we sat on the bank at the top right of the field behind the wire looking for a way in. A girl and boy came running down from behind us and lay down sliding beneath the wire - there were about a dozen of us sitting - and we all made a dive for that area of the fence - as we ran down inside -we saw the marshalls starting to run up to the breach - as we got among people, we laid down on the grass as though we'd been there all the time - till it quietened down- Of course when we went to the village we were issued with 'pass outs' without a request to see tickets.
I know that on the Saturday afternoon we had a pass out to go looking for food, the nearest village was sold out of everything and the only thing they had in the drink line was a bottle of sherry - nothing to quensh our thirst- also no food . I think I managed a packet of biscuits - I saw Johnny Winter & Santana but slept in a sleeping bag in the open air towards the top of the field - oblivious to Pink Floyd though I remember fireworks as well as other 'strange' lights circling the sky throughout the night - I was awakened with the slight rain fall hitting my face probably 7am. Recollections of Canned Heat music still in my mind -
We left during the Jefferson Airplane spot for our coaches but could have stayed another hour easily by the time the coaches left. We dropped off in Middlesbrough being escorted in by Police escort- then the driver said if we had any drugs just to drop them on the floor - before letting the police search the bus - on arrival in Hartlepool - the car park exits were sealed by police and we were hearded back onto the coach for a further drug search before being allowed to leave..
memories of Bath - on friend 'Ken' had been 'cooling off' in one of the side
tents on the saturday night watching the film 'The Birds' Alfred Hitchcock
- when he left the tent he was in time to see the fireworks going off during
'Pink Floyd' -
Another Friend 'John' didn't make the festival but was in the area and actually got a lift in the 'Zeppelin' (american) road caravan being driven to the site by one of Zep's roadies - they helped him set up the sleeping area for the night - of course the Caravan did not arive at the site because of the traffic jams and Zepplin actuallly blamed this for them not being quite prepared.
Jochen Laschinsky ©
gives a different perspective....
just picked up yr excellent website. It never fails to astound me that people remember the Isle of Wight as THE great festival and forget this. I was there from about 2pm on Saturday when Blodwyn Pig were on ( Blodwyn Pig acually played the 1969 festival ) ; I'd gone with 2 friends just post "A" level and, by sheer luck overheard someone say that they'd need more security and people on the gate as far more people had turned up than anticipated.
My mates were put on the gates (and made money) and because I'm a fairly big bloke I was put on security with instructions to report to the press enclosure in front of the stage!!!!. So I saw the whole thing (apart from when I eventually had to crash) from bang in front, apart from a couple of excursions backstage and, at one point, on-stage to deliver a message while John Hiseman's Collosseum played. As you remember the late 60s - early 70s was THE time for drum solos and I never saw anything better than Hiseman played that afternoon and I still recall "Walking In The Park" blazing out.
I'd gone mainly to see the US bands, Airplane, Tuna, Byrds , It's A Beautiful Day etc. reckoning that Zeppelin were over-rated but, well, they stole the show for me. Page's old man's coat lives in my memory and the violin bow....and the fact that the Hell's Angels (Cheltenham) who'd briefly left the area, couldn't get back in. Oh, they were the real (British) article) allright. they gave some poor bloke a stomping right in front of me and big though I am I didn't interfere with 6 of them.
What else? I met Peter Green - shared a joint with him, said Hi to Frank Zappa. got bloody wet, bought a copy of Jefferson Airplane's single "Mexico", was awestruck by "Atom Heart Mother" (Floyd took 2 hours to set up) saw Hot Tuna which was basically the Airplane without Grace Slick and missed The Byrds . I had the best of times...
Strange how things change - I dimly remember Fairport and RT - but most of all, for me, there was the disappointment of the rain and lightening ending the set by the Airplane.
was also the festival were someone asked if anyone had seen her boyfriend
- described as wearing jeans and with long hair - to which an American, (or
Englishman pretending to be American?!) replied was 'sure
- - he walked past a few minutes ago - that way' - and off she went.
Heaven knows how many years ago that was but it still brings a smile.
Photo© Charles Tyler 1970.
I like festivals myself but haven't attended that many over the years. I went to Womad for the first time last year and intend to make it my festival of choice from now on. Interesting to read about the Bath festival at Shepton mallet in 1970 as I well remember going to that one. It was actually a badly organised disaster but I enjoyed it. I was a gauche young kid who spent the weekend in awe of what I thought of as a crowd of really cool hippie types that I yearned to be like, but at the time I hadn't even so much as smoked a joint!
The organiser must have been ripped off for thousands as all the guys who were supposed to be selling tickets at the entrance were actually taking people aside to sell them a ticket at half price and pocket the cash. I believe I paid £1.50 or something like that. A field of bell tents was also helpfully provided by the organisers which of course everyone folded up and took home with them.
There were woefully inadequate toilet and food facilities, and none of the bands could make it to the site because the roads were blocked, so Donovan played a set about three times over until the other acts could arrive, which was good of him. This meant that the music played all night and I remember seeing the Byrds at about five in the morning. They had to play acoustically because of the rain but they were great to see, as were many of the other bands which I now feel priviliged to have seen.
I found something about a memorable event in my life - "the
bath festival of blues and progressive music" which was an english 3-day rock
festival on par with woodstock, that i went to right after graduating in 1970
from london central high. We had about 20 people with us and had
a great time at a beautiful time of our lives. It's coming up to the
thirty year anniversary this week! Wow!! Cool!!!
Having moved there the year before, from '69 california, this concert was like california coming over there to catch up with me (i mean the cal music scene, which i felt was exploding with talent and innovating the world-wide music scene at that time.). Check out that concert lineup!!
(I also found a cerp from a guy who may have explained where some nekkid dancers came from!! If they were americans, they weren't connected to anyone in our high school group.)
" Um, I remember sitting cross legged on the grass on the perimeter of the crowds that Saturday arvo...the sun a streaming. An American came up, smiled at me, sat down and invited me to to be a naked dancer when Airplane hit the stage. Simply turn up backstage around 8pm (I'm guessing on the time). I missed the appointment - but sure enough, there were naked dancers when Airplane played...I could have been there! "
Fact is, the nekkid dancers started when johnny winter came out jamming - surprising us and the crowd with his brilliance (and the dancers too, i guess?). It was amazing that he could still play with two gurls and a guy dancing wildly, right next to him and swinging their arms everywhere - winter was watching their arms flailing more than looking at his guitar neck.
Like a guy who was really fried, walking through the crowd and suddenly flopping down next to me in a conveniently open spot, where two of my friends had just vacated to go use the rest area. I told the guy the spots were taken but it was apparent he was totally impervious to the outside world - so we just let him sit there with his eyes closed till the guys got back. After a couple of minutes, he started to do some weird things like rubbing his face and then pulling some hair out - the sun was out and a little warm, so he started ripping off his clothes, one piece at a time and throwing each article as far as he could in different directions till he was totally nekkid (this was before any nekkid dancers hit the stage). Then he went back to just being still with his eyes closed. I'll never forget how surprised the two girls in front of him were when they turned around to see who threw some pants in front of them:) LOL!!
By this time my two buddies got back - their jaws hit the ground and wanted to know who that was and why did i let him flop there. They kind of kneeled to the side as we wondered what to do with him. We didn't have to think long because he just suddenly stood up and walked away (his eyes still closed) towards the middle of the crowd and then walked all the way to the back while everyone was cheering and standing to take pictures of the poor, nekkid guy. He was a "happening event" there for sure!! (i felt for him because soon after that the sun went away and it got chilly).
The concert went on all 24 hours of the days and each band played on longer than normal to allow for other acts to arrive though the thick traffic. Violins were hip then as jimmy page seemed to be using a bow with his guitar for half the songs they played. I still don't know what those instruments were that the floyd brought out for their set. The airplane and hot tuna used the violin bows too.
Remember the "Flock" and "It's a beautiful day"? (The latter
was the theme group of our graduating class - that first album of theirs was
played at all the parties we staged in the last weeks before our graduation.)
Towards the end of the senior days there, we had used music as the tool to
incorporate just about every senior in our class into our party scene, no
matter what their particular leanings were. That feeling of cohesiveness fit
well with the times - they were some beautiful days alright!!
I think it rained that night and remember waking up in a sleeping bag soggy and wet but unconcerned. There were announcements over the pa system asking for "so and so" to come to the first aid tent as their friend, brother, partner were tripping. Guys with long snakly hair were openly selling hash and other drugs.
home was horrible, it took ages to find the people we were with and drive
out of the area and home to Oxford. But I've never forgotten the atmosphere
and how friendly everyone was to each other, it was the best and nothing I've
been to since can eclipse it.
What can I say that's not already been said on your web site?? The thought of seeing all these top American bands at one time was too much. There were about 8 of us who hitch-hiked (in pairs) from Lancaster down to Shepton Mallett where we planned to meet up with another friend from London. My brother and I had the most trouble getting lifts. We were OK to the Midlands but then had to walk for miles along a dual carriageway on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. There were some cruel drivers around that day, stopping 100s of yards ahead of us, making us run to their car, only to drive off laughing. I'd taken my college scarf as it generally made getting lifts a little easier. However its black and gold stripes attracted the attention of a group of West Brom thugs on the back of an open truck going in the opposite direction, who, mistaking the colours for a Wolves scarf, threatened to come back and "f***ing sort us out". Discretion being the better part of valour, I hid my scarf until we were well clear of the Midlands. As dusk approached we only reached the outskirts of Bristol and the lifts had all but dried up, so we spent some of our precious little money on a bus in the general direction of Bath , a bus which trundled around every housing estate in Bristol and the surrounding area, stopping at every bus stop to pick up and let down. We despaired of ever reaching the festival.
Not knowing the area, we all needed somewhere to meet up so had agreed in advance that we'd all wait up outside the local village post office (bound to have one!) in Shepton Mallet. My brother and I arrived towards midnight on the Friday after our 16 hour journey, expecting to see our erstwhile comrades sitting on the Post Office steps. Imagine our (somewhat naïve) surprise when we got there to find about 2000 other people sitting in front of the post office and no sign of our friends (who'd arrived many hours earlier). Eventually some of them came looking for us and we made our way to the site and set up camp. (I went back there this summer and it seemed a long way from Shepton Mallet to the showground ? I don't know if it’s moved since but I don’t remember it being that long a walk).
Jochen Laschinsky ©
Saturday morning the heavens opened and most everyone got soaked. I seem to remember there were a couple of public phone boxes on (or maybe just outside) the site so several of us squeezed in and remained relatively dry. One of our friends, who had a Saturday job back in Lancaster, had planned to ring in sick to avoid losing her job .I remember the look of horror on her face as the operator put her through to her employer with the words "will you take a long distance phone call from Bath…." ? somehow she busked it, describing a mercy dash down the length of the country to visit a sick aunt.
As with Hollywood, I have no recollection of the "village" at the festival (as you'd now find at Glastonbury) -maybe just a few tents selling records and suchlike. All I really remember is the music arena and the camping fields. I know, looking at the layout in the program, that I'm wrong- maybe we just never bothered visiting everywhere.
During both days, we set up in front of the stage, about 50 or so yards back, so we had a pretty good view of all the acts. We had a large plastic sheet (God knows where we got it from as we hadn't brought it with us) which we all sat on to try and stay dry (when it rained, we pulled it over our heads). Throughout the day(s), as people spilled drinks on it, and a passing stranger a strawberry yoghurt, the idea of sitting on the wet grass came to seem more and more attractive. Being blasé, we didn't watch every act during some we just sat around talking. My friend Colin had only really gone along to see the Floyd much to his great disappointment we just couldn't wake him up when they finally came on at whatever time in the morning it was. Similarly, my brother shook me and shook me to wake me up for both the Byrds and the Airplane but, both times, even though I was vaguely aware of what he was telling me, I was more interested in sleep by then. (This was the second time I'd missed the Airplane! I was supposed to go with a friend to the Roundhouse in 68 to see them with the Doors ? Carol , are you reading this??).
Pink Floyd were pretty spectacular in the early hours of the morning. I'd seen them perform Atom Heart Mother (under other names) a few times before, but this was the first time with an orchestra and choir. The finale (at around 3.00am?) saw the stage shrouded in orange light and smoke, with rockets (if I remember rightly) lighting up the night sky.
The stage was in darkness just before Johnny Winter came on. You could make out vague shapes moving around on stage but couldn’t see who they were. As someone plugged a guitar into a live amp it gave out a loud ‘farting’sound ? at this, an American sitting just behind me leaped to his feet crying "That’s Johnny, it’s Johnny, I can tell it’s Johnny". The same guy asked my friend from London if he could borrow a match to light up his joint. My friend replied that he could if they could share it (which they did) - no problem, except I always wondered what the American guy would have done if he'd realised that he was sharing his joint with a member of the Metropolitan Police's finest.
Frank Zappa ? I remember it was pretty hot by the time he came on and we all started getting burned by the sun ? maybe I’m mistaken about this given his comments on the tape about how cold it is (perhaps it was Santana who brought out the sun?). I certainly remember it being hot in the afternoon of the second day. Donovan I think put in an appearance on both days to fill in gaps in the schedules ? possibly acoustic on his own on the first day, and with his electric band The Open Road on the second. Or maybe both of these just a single appearance??
I remember the Angels being there. As I recall it there was a farmer’s gate which led through from the camping area to the area in front of the stage, and the Angels and their bikes (about 30 of them) were hanging around on both sides of the gate so everyone had to walk through between them. Despite the bravado suggested by others who've written in to your site, we were pretty apprehensive and I remember telling my brother not to catch their eyes as we walked past.
We returned to our tent late one night to find someone in it, lying on his back, casually burning holes in the roof canvas with his cigarette. He was pretty out of it so, although we were pretty pissed off, we just let him stumble off into the night. (That same tent ? suitably patched up ? was subsequently stolen at Bickershaw in 72 but that, as they say, is another story).
Pete "Gripper" Campbell ? if you see this, how’re you doing? This was a friend from Manchester University that we bumped into at the festival. No idea that each other would be there but good to see him anyway.
The journey home on the Monday morning was as bad as the journey down. We split back up into our pairs and attempted to hitch. Of course, all roads in the area were clogged with people every few feet, similarly hoping for lifts. We decided to just walk and get off the main roads and hope for luck on some quieter roads………..nah, nah nah - big mistake! Yep, there was no competition for lifts but, similarly, there was no traffic. We walked for miles, seeing no-one and no cars. I seem to recall that it was a pretty hot day. In the middle of nowhere, we came across a roadside stall selling fruit and soft drinks. Between us we had enough for a couple of apples and a bottle of fruit juice, which we bought and shared. At some point we got a lift which dropped us in the Midlands somewhere, but on another similarly deserted road. After we'd walked some more miles with no passing traffic, a Ford Transit van suddenly stopped ahead of us, the back doors flew open and there were Colin and Marijka, two of our friends from Lancaster ! they’d seen us walking and persuaded the driver to take two more. I don’t remember what time we arrived home, we certainly slept overnight on the roadside near a motorway sliproad, so it must have been sometime on the Tuesday , very tired, very broke, and extremely hungry.
That and the Hollywood Festival, coming only a month apart, were a wonderful time and hold a special place in my memory ? much more so than subsequent events like Bickershaw and various others I attended. The only time I got anything approaching the same buzz was my one trip to Glastonbury in 1995, a quarter of a century later.
Bath - built a little shelter (well, actually quite a big one) from the boarding round the side of the stage and crash barriers, wrapped up with assorted bits of plastic - room for four or five (very close) friends to sleep snug as a bug in a rug. Did a lot of sleeping and missed more name bands than ever before in human history. Slept through the Byrds - can you believe it? Remember the amazingly hypnotic drum solo by Jon Hiseman of Colosseum on the Saturday afternoon. Was trying to get to somewhere in the front of the crowd to this frenetic, throbbing, powerful, rhythmic, explosive backbeat. Thought Zeppelin were pretty crappy - very disappointed.
Most untogether. Like me really!
I was there! Yes the Bath Festival was a gas. I went with Dave Slade and his girlfriend, and Sue Smith. We drove there in Daves Morris Minor. I remember sheltering under a plastic sheeet in the rain all night in front of the stage. There was a delay and I recall the show going on through the night and watching Dr John, the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane in the small hours of the morning. Yes it was a really great line up - much better than the Isle of Wight which always seems to attract more comment. I am sure I have still got a copy of the programme that you show on your website. Great stuff!
I located your site because I had just been watching the Glastonbury festival on TV and was telling my kids about Bath 1970.
We travelled down from Liverpool on the midnight train Friday night and had a great time, starting off with a security guy lifting the fence for 7 of us to get in although we all had tickets!
at the 1970 Bath Festival, a great experience overall which was topped off,
for me, with the Byrds playing Eight Miles High as the sun came up on the
last morning (Monday, I'm pretty sure). Their images were being beamed over
our cold, wet heads on two giant screens at either side of the stage, but
by that time enough people had left and we had managed to get close enough
to the stage to make out individual players.
Photo© Terry Farebrother
Came across your site yesterday, and what a buzz it was to be reminded of what for me one of my great memories. I was still in school at the time and went on my own, so was able to squeeze into a good position for the weekend, but not able to move until early morning, when I went to sleep in a cinema tent ( I recall Fahrenheit 541? was on at the time). I attach some pics that someone I met there sent me, not long after the festival, so I would hope you may be able to use them.
I recall Johnny Winter, Colosseum, Steppenwolf, Hot Tuna as being my personal faves and I recall enjoying maynard ferguson immensely. My disappointments were Frank Zappa - I thought they mostly wasted the slot, I still am a strong advocate of his music and that was the only time I saw him and am saddened that my only memory is disappointment. You mentioned King Kong on the set list I wish I could recall that as I love that tune. The other disappointment was when I woke in the morning I could hear this wonderful blues so I made my way to the stage.. it got better and better so I started to run. As I turned the corner I was met with "goodbye and thank you" would you believe it I'd missed my hero Peter Green - was I sick!. Anyway I've talked too much about the disappointments - the highlights go on for ever, the bands, the friendship of the people, it was just great.
one other thing is when I got home the six o'clock news had a bit about the festival and all they showed was hells angels kicking seven bells out of someone (or each other) anyway I was so cross that the spirit of friendship that I had experienced was so opposite to what the media wanted to show.
1970. -Not so sunny! -Arriving to the sound of Maynard Ferguson's Band.You're right to say they were applauded politely .Was the bass player(normally Dave Lynnane)absent? Joe Jammer being onstage interminably and playing(more than once!)'She caught the Katy?and left me a mule to ride'. -Big screen projection during Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. -Donovan's set.I am 99.9% sure he sang(at great length)'There was an old lady who swallowed a spider'! -Expecting 'Hot Rats' and getting doo-wop from Frank Zappa.
I was at Bath in 1970. Still have a vivid memory of crashing in a sleeping bag somewhere on the path from the stage to the porta bogs, surfacing out of the sleeping bag at some time in the early morning (It must have been as there was just enough light to see by) and coming face to face with this apparition, a scrawny red eyed dude, as pale as can be like some vampire drifting through the morning. Only later, after I woke up properly did I realise I had probably scared the crap out of Johnny Winter.
I am a big bloke and in those days sported full beard and hair (you know the uniform) I had sat up suddenly and shoved my head and shoulders out of the bag. I sleep light and the noise distrubed me and I always surface in major grump mode. I know I did the old "whassat?" and he legged it.
I am now living in Perth (WA)
See you are OZ based. Like your site, had a good browse especially as I was a dedicated festival goer in the UK up until I left for Canada in 1974
I have fond memories of the Bath 70 festival and that whole period. I attended the first "pop proms" at the Albert hall in 1969. I know I was going to see Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band and Family. Sadly, Fairport didn't play as they had just lost their drummer in a crash. At that time I remember seeing the original "T-Rex" at Fairfields Hall, Croydon. The support acts were Ravi Shankar and a mime called "David Jones" (David Bowie). I gave up on my History A Level to train uptown to the Rolling Stones Free Concert in Hyde Park. Partial blame for my poor academic showing is awarded to reading "Lord of the Rings" and glueing my ears to Free's "Tons of Sobs".
I remember being at the Bath festival from the start. I was amazed as each band got progressively better. I certainly remember Fairport, Coliseum, Donovan and Steppenwolf early on. I went to get a burger when Maynard Ferguson began. I was so exhausted by the early hours that I heard only one track each of Pink Floyd, Canned Heat and the special John Mayall band assembled (what a regret). I got to the edge of the press barrier for Johnny Winter and Frank Zappa. Johnny Winter was stunning on the big screens. the Mothers were totally freaky but great.
Led Zeppelin were just tremendous. I can remember the huge standing ovation they got - they really were the mainliners. We left after that as the weather was closing in. I recall a film crew with camera and lights filming down a fast-food queue that I was in. I have always said that I hope it is never shown because of the state I was in. Now, I wish it could be found as a tribute to a great festival. I believe that Bath 1970 was the last great rock festival in the UK. IOW had so many bad vibes whereas Bath 70 was a really calm and happy festival. When people ask me where my crazier/happy side comes from I always tell them.. "I stood on the ridge at the back of the Bath festival in 1970 - breathed in deeply - and have never been the same since!"
So, how in hell did they get the van there ? © Derek Hallsall
I arrived in London in June
1970 after travelling overland from Australia.
I was staying in a youth hostel in central London when I saw the poster advertising the Bath concert
I was a fan of Jefferson Airplane and I had Surrealistic Pillow in my collection and, even though I hadnt heard of many of the bands playing, I thought what the hell, Ill go to Bath.I hitched to Bath and I recall walking to the concert site and that there were people everywhere and there was a real buzz in the air.
Ill always remember coming over the hill, looking down and seeing what looked like millions of tents.
I had read about Woodstock but didnt expect to see what I saw. Actually I didnt know what to expect.
I dont recall paying to enter but I do recall that the fence on the perimeter was down and people were just walking in.
I was fortunate enough to get quite close to the stage. All that I had with me was a ground sheet , sleeping bag, camera and some food.
I recall the sound system being fairly ordinary but because there was enough going on around me the music was secondary at that stage.
Because of the crowd I pretty well stayed in the same spot most of the time.
Getting food and finding a toilet was a marathon task and I recall that food became non existent after a while and that people were saying that Bath had sold out of everything.
There seemed to be long delays between acts , which made the crowd restless. The only reason that I can recall Johnny Winter is that he was the guy with the long white hair.
Im not sure whether it was the Saturday or the Sunday but, like other people, I remember Donovan playing for what seemed like an eternity - so much so that the crowd started booing and yelling.
Sunday night became cold and wet and Jefferson Airplane had just started with their great light show and, as the drizzle got heavier, it wasnt long before the Airplane called their act off because of the wet. For me, that was a huge disappointment.
I believe that it was around 2 or 3 in the morning when the Airplane started playing and I seem to recall that the Airplane came on after Pink Floyd, but the memory fades over time.
I have an overwhelming memory of the cold and wet but I was fortunate to have bought a ground sheet and sleeping bag with me.
After some time there was acoustic music but because the sound system wasnt that great I had no idea who was playing.
By this time people were leaving in droves.
I have only now found out that it was the Byrds playing acoustic. Can you believe it?
I stayed on hoping that the rain would stop and that the Airplane would come back on stage but the rain kept on and on and I got colder and colder and I decided to pack it in and head back to London.
I caught a train from Bath and arrived back in London early Monday morning, wet, cold and somewhat bedraggled.
Despite the weather Bath was a fantastic ray of sunshine during my time on the road and I am glad that I took some photographs for the memories and I also would like to express my thanks to this site for maintaining those memories.
John from Adelaide,
South Australia - ex York,
Have just found this site quite by accident and I can't believe it exists. This festival is one of the highlights of my life even though I was pretty uncool compared to some of the other dudes there. But I was there!
About five of us had travelled down from York on the Friday night in the guards van of a British rail train that stunk of fish. It took about eight hours to get to Bristol, because people kept pulling the communication chord and the cops kept coming on looking for drugs. On Saturday morning we changed trains at Bristol and carried on to Castle Cairey station where there were trains arriving every two minutes and only one guy checking tickets. Eventually every one piled across the lines and bypassed the ticket man. On arrival at the station, buses had been put on to take us to the festival sight and my friends said- get on that bus John -which I did. My friends did not get on the bus and I never saw them again until Monday. I had the ground sheet and one of them had the tent. Fortunately for me there were a few other people on my bus from who I recognised and so I stayed with them.
We got a really good position about 20 yards from the stage and the the ground sheets came in real handy. It rained on and off all the weekend but it must have been pretty hot at times, because I came back with a suntan. Any way it was fantastic. Joe Jammer were one of the first bands on and I think filled in again on the Sunday. Donovan I don't think was on the bill, he was in the audience and he helped out, because Fairport were running late and had to be flown in by helicopter. And he did do an up tempo version "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly". Ainsley Dunbar drummed for Peter Green and John Mayall as I remember. Hot Tuna became Jefferson Airplane as other band members came on stage. Zepplin were the highlight as more and more people arrived just to see them. But we mustn't forget the others, Colosseum, Steppenwolf, Santana, The Mothers, Canned Heat, It's a Beautiful day. It was unbelievable and it'll never happen again, but I was there.
On the Monday we did nothing but talk about the whole event there were just so many stories to tell of our experiences from that great weekend. I think enough has been said about what groups played and when they came on, so I won't go on.
I will just finish by saying that as I walked along the road back to the station in the pouring rain with thousands of others, it felt like we'd all been on some kind of pilgramage. Perhaps we had.
Thanks for having this site and allowing me to share my memories. I thought I was isolated.
Photo© Terry Farebrother
From Ray Davis
Went into your site recently
Do remember TV cameras
with TV X written on them
Don't remember the rain
I stayed on the hill directly
in front of the stage
Don't have any photos
Did go to the 1969 festival
which was held in the city
John Mayall's acoustic
set were booed off the stage
Saw the poster for that
in a recent auction
unknown photographer - from the collection of Sam G
Chris Dawson throws light on Formerly Fat Harry's appearance even though they were not on the bill
Great site which brought back lots of memories. I think I can shed some light on the appearance of Formerly Fat Harry. We drove down to Shepton Mallet from Brighton and arrived on the Friday evening. FFH were playing on a temporary stage somewhere on the festival site.
They were also the first band to appear on the Saturday when the festival got underway. They came on about mid-day and were followed by (in order) Joe Jammer, Keef Hartley, Maynard Ferguson, Colosseum, Fairport Convention, It's a Beautiful Day, Steppenwolf, Johnny Winter........ By this time it was 2 am and we crashed out, being vaguely aware of Pink Floyd but missing John Mayall and Canned Heat.
Music started again on Sunday about 1.00 pm with Joe Jammer, followed by Donovan, then Santana, Flock, Zappa, Zep, Hot Tuna....... At this time tiredness again caught up and we missed Dr John, Country Joe, Moody Blues, Byrds and Jefferson Airplane.
As far as I was concerned, the highlights were Johnny Winter and Led Zeppelin, who did about 5 encores.
I was 19 at the time and had been to the Isle of Wight the previous year.
Bath though, must have been
the greatest uk festival of all time. It was an amazing line-up of bands and
I remember having a great time, despite the weather. The reason that I can
recall so much about the bands is that throughout the late 60's and early
70's I kept a list of all the bands I'd seen.
What a great site.
The Bath Festival was one of the most memorable weekends of my life. The overall vibes and music of the event have been unmatched since. My brother was married on the Saturday but hey, draughty church hall with the family, the sister-in-law's relatives and a crap disco or the best line-up of rock bands ever assembled in the UK. No competition. He understood!
Oblivious to the crap around him !
unknown photographer - from the collection of Sam G
Johnny Winter was great , it was the first time I'd seen or heard of Johnny but he blew me away and I went right out and bought the Progressive Blues Experiment and Johnny Winter albums. The next time I saw him was on my 21st birthday at the Big Apple club above the Regent cinema in Brighton. This would have been 11 February 1971. Again he was amazing. I've seen him a few times since and he's never let me down. Another point. The full title of the Donovan song is Rikki Tikki Tavi and can be found on Open Road, a great album that includes"Celtic Rock". Wish I could find it on CD.
Hey, I keep going back to your site and finding things. Hawkwind played in the car park in the early hours of Saturday morning certainly. Didn't actually see them but heard them. Re: Posters. I certainly remember seeing the left one on a public hoarding (approx 4ft x 2.5ft.). It's the first thing I saw about the festival. Re: Joe Jammer. They opened the festival and were followed by Formally Fat Harry. I did see John Mayall's band but can't add anything to your skit. I do remember waking about 5.00am on the Sunday morning and sticking my head up through the couple of feet of mist that covered the ground to see Canned Heat setting up. It was then bizarre to see heads popping up through the mist all around the site. Those were the days. Damn the Night Assemblies Bill. Once again I've enjoyed the site and put it on my favourites. Thanks for reading my ramblings.
I have just found your site and thought you might want my memories. PARTIAL RECALL. - The Bath Festival 1970. In June 1970 I was temporarily a 16 year old full on Hippie. I could be found most nights at one of the many rock venues of the period, (The Marquee club, The Speakeasy, EEL Pie Island, The Temple etc.). I was a temporary Hippie because I had just left school and had some free time before starting my apprenticeship with BOAC on the 10th of August.
I recall reading a
Rolling Stone article on the death of rock music during the train journey
to Castle Cary. As I walked onto the festival site the Maynard Fergurson Band
were playing and the sun was shining from a patchy sky. I had arrived with
nothing but the clothes I was wearing, £10 and my ticket to the festival.
Later on the rain came and one of three most excellent and kind Mexican guys,(they
were Canned Heat fans), sitting nearby, gave me a blanket and sheet of polythene.
I also remember that the only food I ate that weekend, was some bread and
strong Cheddar cheese distributed, (thrown), free from the back of a lorry.
The Keef Hartley Band , Colosseum, Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, Frank Zappa, Santana,
Flock and Led Zep were excellent. After the Zep set I walked to the station,
got on a train ( eventually ) and got ripped off of my watch by the ticket
collector at the London end of my journey. On my arrival home my by then evil
stepmother went spare and insisted that I change my clothes and have a bath
immediately....I can now appreciate that this was probably not an unreasonable
Anyway, that festival was a defining experience for me.....
Thanks for a wonderful site.
I was at 1970 Bath.
I am an American living in Seattle, my daughter of 16 who attends the local
punk festivals recently asked me if I've ever been to a rock festival. My
two friends and I were bicycling through England, long-haired hippie philosopher
types, and we happened onto the 1970 bath rock festival one week before it
"Big Tree" who stood nearly 7 feet tall, bearded and at least 400 lbs enticed us to help set up tents with the bait of free admission, stage passes and all the Taunton our bellies could hold. The latter did it for us three 17 year old kids, and we worked feverishly setting up tents. We ended up setting up microphones and amps for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Unfortunately, I was too stoned to appreciate it... but vague memories keep popping back into my head. The greatest moment for me was Country Joe's haunting Jean Deprez, a Robert Service poem which I have since memorized.
Just a line to say what a great site this is for a magic time. I travelled home on the 29th which was my 18 th birthday. I was beginning to think that I had imagined going as this was never touted around like the Isle of Wight festivals. No film or festival albums appeared, I was gutted. My recollections are hazy ( its age dont ya know ).
Zeppelin were great but a bit dodgy at the end, Donovan doing an acoustic set as a filler much to the crowds delight, then doing an electric set much to the crowds annoyance.
Canned Heat great, Fairport who I had seen loads of times- anyway magic- and the Byrds brilliant set under bad condiotions, I'm sure there was some iffy stuff but thankfully time has dimmed them and it remains 3 days that will live with me forever. Thanks for the effort.
I'd just like
to point out that contrary to your comment on the Frendz magazine review of
the 1970 Bath Festival, Formerly Fat Harry (featuring Fish member, Bruce Barthol)
most definitely did perform. In fact they played TWICE. On the Friday night
before the festival they played a brilliant free set on the back of a flatbed
truck outside the festival site. The following morning, they played again
on the main stage. They were either first on, or second after Joe Jammer.
No doubt about it!
This is the first time I have checked back on my festival history and lo and behold as I checked up on the Bath festival 1970 up you cropped again.It certainly seems to be a labour of love for you.Thanks a lot for doing it .Its brilliant.
I have nothing extraordinary to add to 1970.All the things you mention are typical I imagine.The timings going to pot was a bummer.We were in our tent knackered when Pink Floyd came on. As yourself we were not too bothered as we were seeing them regularly.We slept through the acts after that.
Enjoyed Donovans later unscripted appearance and particularly remember Its A Beautiful Day.It must be the violin thing sticking in the mind. There was certainly some very hot weather at times. I fell asleep Sunday afternoon and woke up with half my face pale and damp and half my face beetroot red and blistered. Not too clever as at that stage I had still not left HM forces and was due on duty the day after.No one could work out how in those days of love and peace we could wander about in kaftans and beads at festivals but still be in the Army. Believe you me we were playing at the game of soldiers.It gave us the chance to go travel and go to festivals.I spent several years in Germany at Dusseldorf which in those days was right on the touring map and I saw dozens of stadium concerts in Dusseldorf and Essen.My eldest daughter heard Led Zeppelin about three weeks before she was born and to this day has excellent musical taste.
Sorry for the
ramble.It is just great to talk about those halcyon days.
Cheers for now
For certain Pink Fairies played outside the venue, I saw them. Cannot add to Hawkwind though..
Here they are in all their glory- The Pink Fairies playing free at Bath.
Photo© Terry Farebrother
Found your site while Googling to find out whether I'd seen Santana at Bath without remembering it.
Wonderful archive, thanks to you and all the other contributors for it. They brought back the occasion so vividly, I almost felt damp. (John Peel said in the mid-70s that there should be campaign medals for all who survived festivals which had shocking conditions. As far as I remember, his mooted Star Of Bath was the equivalent of a VC, with the Bickershaw Medal not far behind).
I journeyed from Preston with my pal Paul Simons and 2 other lads in a Fiat 500....comfort be buggered, let's just get there! I must have been the only person to arrive at Bath with a tie on, having set off at Friday lunchtime in my office clothes.
I most vividly remember the rain, but there was some hot sun (at least during Zappa, whatever it was like on the stage). The only food I remember having over the weekend was chunks of Cheddar cheese, slabs of bread and apples which were sold together on a paper plate at an as-then exorbitant price.
The highlight for me was the Floyd, and I'm sure Atom Heart Mother was announced as The Amazing Pudding. Am I the only one who remembers a nude male ballet dancer during AHM? And definitely a real dancer, not some stoned nutter. I agree with all who said Johnny Winter, Led Zep and Colosseum were superb. Re the Byrds, I remember it as being more like 3am when they came on, and full daylight (5.30?) when they finished. I wasn't a big fan before but was convinced by the time they finished. Thanks Paul for forcing me to stay awake.
Happily I've not lost my music mania and now go to gigs and festivals with my kids - but not in a tie!
Andy Wright, Voorschoten, Holland
Many years later I have great memories of the Bath festival,the rain and the way the sun burst thro' the clouds.I was walking home on Friday night in Dumfries Scotland and a bunch of my friends bundled me onto a bus and told me we were going to Bath to a music festival ,what a fantastic time.I was amazed at the number of old friends I bumped into in a crowd of over 150,000 people.
Years later living in California and being affiliated with the music industry I became friends with a lot of the musicians that played on that day it's funny how life plays out.It was the most memorable music event in my life..walking into the little pub in Sheppton Mallet for a pint of scrumpy..the local Hells Angels giving us rides thro the traffic jams..staying away from the brown acid..the colorful tents selling everything and anything 60;s..waiting in a line 2miles long with Gary Irving, Mike Waller and Johnny Mulaney for fish and chips only to get up to the window 3 hours later and find out he was sold out..so tired and out of my mind on the bus back I tried to jump off because I thought there was a gorilla driving the bus ..ah well that's another story..a lot of the guys I went with are gone now,Bobby, Brian,Tunch and more ..33 years later I get chills when I hear goin' up country..
all the best
U.S.A. via [Scotland forever]
After the festival-
unknown photographer - from the collection of Sam G
was there with my mates,
(all from Newcastle) one of which was a student photographer. Will check with
with him for any pics !
Brings back memories. Yeah it did RAIN left my old 2 man US army tent there...
Just discovered your site
and enjoying a huge trip down memory lane. ThePink Fairies played outside
the festival site on the back of a flatbed
lorry. I saw them play and was told that I had missed Hawkwind. A stand out for me was Donovan. We sat there and wondered who the hell was
murdering the shit out of Donovan songs, only to hear at the end of the set it was Donovan himself.
During Steppenwolf I found
myself stood next to an American fan who was wearing a tie dye boiler suit
and psychedelic wellies. He found Steppenwolf to be "far out" I
think he was the first American I'd met and Zappa's Who Needs The Peace Corps
just kept coming into my head.
Not seen any mention yet of the "swimming pool" with the Matey in it and the entrepreneurs selling Marvel milk powder boiled in a tin can over an open fire when hypothermia was beginning to set in.
I'd hitched down from Liverpool and on our way back we were on the hard shoulder of the M6 on the Wednesbury turn off and just making a paste sarnie when a diplomatic car stopped and asked if we knew the way to Liverpool. I kid you not! I persuaded the driver it would be easier if we showed him and we were given a lift with some South American dignitary and his wife who were going to a meeting at the Town Hall.
They never batted an eye
as two long haired, wet, and somewhat whiffy individuals
joined them in their car for the remainder of their journey.
I'll get back to the site. I'm enjoying the read.
Audio- visual Records
Reviews, photo collections and general information
Articles Recollections Photo Collections (recollections of attendees)
- Crowd Pix
- Crowd photo gallery 2.
- Crowd photos 3
- The Farebrother Collection - July 2007
- Site Pix
- New crowd photos Nov 2002
- Photo archive of festival site /crowd
- More Crowd photos- June 2005
- New crowd photos - June 2006
- Frank Zappa Gallery - Sept 2008
- Ainsley Dunbar/Peter Grant backstage Sept 2008
- The Lost Roll of Film Jan 2013 - many new colour pics !!!!
8 mm Film Archive
Ross Mortimore's streaming Quicktime movie of the crowd features clear images of the stage PA , Colosseum onstage and bikers with Canned Heat at Bath as a soundtrack provided courtesy of Bob C .
Bandwidth and copyright restrictions mean we cant host audio/video so you will have to do with stills at the moment until we can do an alternative stream elsewhere. Please don't bug us to add it , we will do it when we have the time.
links menu to site map, ticket. pass out, transport, drug bust, films and festival arrangements.
External Links to Bath related merchandise ( with which we have NO commerical links whatsoever )
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1970 Bath Festival we have brought out a special commemorative set. Anyone interested can view it on http://www.rockmusic-offer.co.uk/
A limited edition of reprints of the 1969 and 1970 Bath festival posters and Freddie Bannisters books on the Bath ,Lincoln 71 and Knebworth festivals can be bought online from the link below :
Rock festival memorabilia from various festivals can be viewed at the main Rock memorabilia page ,
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