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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971.
Weeley was a BIG festival and as such it needed a robust sound system with plenty of grunt . Marshall was well known as a manufacturer of amplifiaction equipment that suited the sound of many heavy bands . Marshall were so keen to promote their involvement with Weeley that they issued this blurb .
"Marshall installed the entire PA system., a 42 channel console mixer. 4 ,000 watts amplification feeding high power horn speakers , all amounting to fantastic volume without a murmer of distortion "
Which all seems pretty small biccies to us nowadays, but was considered gargantuan at the time. WEM were involved in providing systems for most of the festivals at this era, so perhaps Marshall were trying to show that they could do the job equally as well. Whatever, sound systems like this were considered small by 1974 when the Knebworth festival system was 20,000 watts and could be heard miles away .
Phil Hearn, who was part of the crew who put this system together , sent us this interesting report
Starting from playing in a band and roadying between gigs (which of course was a lot) a friend and I met David Simons a radio 1 DJ who managed Fairfield Parlour, we loaned him a small PA and he said if he could return the favour he would try and help. We were punting Manfred Manns’ WEM system around whilst maintaining it for him. We were approached by the promoters to supply for the festival and duly accepted but, didn’t have a big enough system. Dave Simons knew Jim Marshall, get the picture?
After a meal with Jim at his local restaurant he decided what great promo for his gear, and got Ken Flegg his then designer to come up with 40 channels of mixing due to the fact that was the size of the orchestra with Barclay James Harvest. A complete system was put together by Marshall products just for the gig. The system was just larger than normal mildly flared 4x12 columns with celestion horns and drivers, a multitude of 250 watt power amps, also first time use. The picture you have on your site shows a large Kelsey and Morris system under raps which was only going to be used by some of the bigger bands, Rod Stewart etc. However when it was hooked up it was not powerful enough and complaints came from the back that people could not hear, we coupled it up to our system as well which saved the day. Still most people I talk to have no idea where Weeley is let alone anything about one of the best festivals I ever had the pleasure of mixing. You just have a view of the back of my head on your first from stage picture on the archive, I have a very similar shot with my dog standing on the front of the stage.
Above. top left : 42 channel mixer , top right : mixing Barcley James Harvest.
Bottom : PA left hand stacks swathed in plastic . Right : close up of right hand stack.
click on images to see larger versions . Pix courtesy of Garry Bodenham .
Updated Jan 2016
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Thanks to Celia Bouquet , Keven Herridge ,Rich Deakin , Garry Bodenham , Redrich, Bill Greenwell ,John Sellick, Kieran McCann, Lin Bensley ,Brian Nugent, Steve Cook , Bill Greenwell and Phil Jones for the donation of articles and pix that have enabled the construction of this site.
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