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  The Crystal Palace Garden Parties.





June 3rd 1972.

Richie Havens
Sha Na Na 
Beach Boys 
Joe Cocker and the 
Chris Stainton All Stars.


     The programme states that the show was filmed for the  US TV Network NBC and would be shown on 18th July .Audio was recorded on the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit .This plan definitely went ahead , as copies of part of the Beach Boys set are out there on Youtube. 

    Melody Maker of May 72 stated :
 The Beach Boys will complete the bill at the first Crystal Palace concert this summer on June 3rd and the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio is to be used to mix the sound.

    Already booked are Richie Havens Sha Na Na and Melanie, who will be making the Crystal Place her only live performance during her short stay in the country. 

"We are hoping to get the best ever sound at an outdoor event by setting up the Stones mobile unit "Mike Alfandary of John Smith promotions told the MM this week." Jim Marshall is building a new JBL -Lancing PA system specially for the event , so combined with Ian Stewart , the Stones sound man on the mobile ,we should have studio quality sound at the volume sufficient to reach even the most distant factions of the audience ."


    Alfandary has plans to stage a medieval pageant during the concert . Further details to be announced later.  The venue holds 15,000 and tickets at one pound 75 pence are on sale , they cost two pounds on the day. 


Steve Thomas writes
Went to visit an old mate this morning and have a good chinwag about the festivals that we attended the first one we talked about was Crystal Palace 72 beach boys etc.

            What we can remember was the lack of any atmosphere, nobody was really looking that happy, in fact some of them down right fucking miserable, we have put this down to it been mostly the London crowd, and the weather was cold for that time of year, plus there was one humdinger of a thunder storm brewing up, Richie Havens if I remember did a excellent gig (in fact he blew me away, when he did his version of "God bless the child who's got his own") and started to get the crowd together, Melanie did her usual excellent gig, but half way though it they (stage engineers) turned off the power due to the thunder storm hanging around the Crystal Palace area , she did her best to carry on without any power but in the end the crowd  started to shout that they could not hear her, and so they put the power back on  and she finished her set,( brave woman).



The Beach Boys Crystal Palace Bowl 1972
      The Beach Boys did not go down that well, you cannot sing about surfing and the sunshine, when the weather was fucking cold and raining, and I think they just wanted to do their gig and get out of there before someone on stage got fried or lit up like a Christmas tree, next was the star of the show Joe Cocker, it was now getting dark, and raining heavy when Joe went onto the stage, he soon got the crowd rocking and rolling even if most of them felt like shit due to the weather, in fact there was quite a good atmosphere going on by now, I think this was due to posers and the I want to be notice freaks pissing off and leaving the die hard music freaks to brave the elements and enjoy them selves. Then the storm started to brew up quite heavy again and the power started to go off and on at intermittent times again but Joe kept on like a good professional he is, I was at the front of the stage for about half the gig and then decided to go up to the top of the hill and have a look down on the bowl .

        It turned out to be an excellent choice and I will try to explain it to you why, you have to imagine it because it was dark, raining cats & dogs and the only lights about were the vast array of different coloured lights coming off the stage. Then just as Joe was singing ("She came in though the bathroom window") a massive fork lightening bolt went to earth just behind the stage, lighting up the bowl and the audience alike and seemed to hang about for ages, it was brilliant and the best lighting show I've  ever seen and it was all natural. Mind you I don't think every body saw it my way, I think it put the shits up quite a few people. So in my mind Joe did a brilliant gig in sound and sight that day.

        What else is there to say, well I remember that there was a very low presence of our friends the police or if they were there they must have been in plain clothes, cannot say if there were any busts , I never saw any.

  All in all not a bad out at all.

Wet but happy crowd members seen during the Beach Boyz set ......


was at the June 3rd '72 garden party and at risk of being a downhead/too realistic, mate it chucked rain quite hard from 9.30/10 AM Saturday until 12.15 AM Sunday (all day cold heavy rain relentless), people even wore plastic carrier bags as hats a futile attempt to keep dry. ( see above photo )

As time passed on during the garden party nobody seemed to care any longer as wet is wet is wet.
All soggy but the fun over rode the weather.

Beach Boys crew took yonks and ages to set up, but their set as with Richie Havens, Melanie, Joe Cocker (who had to depart early in a foolish attempt to get to west london) were excellent... i cannot remember sha na na ... i must have gone on a cloud inspection... can't remember the obervations.

i recall that there were an bunch of americans in front of where i was, one of them offered me an american beer - about the strength of our lemonade ! he then attempted (unintentionally) to set himself on fire by dropping his joint end on a plastic box and lying down on it !!! the best part of it was that he said hey hey hey man just going on a burn up ! great fun.

the almost infamous bill (UBI) dwyer of windsor free festival (the man who had the balls to DEMAND HM mrs windsor (housewife and queen) attended the festival at windsor !!!!! ) yeah, he was there too, trying to tell the unlistening public about the frowny family (sad square faces) verses the commune (smileys = round happy faces), unlistening except maybe me, cos i was listening AH ha... god or whatever maybe there turn to bless u brother UBI.

all sorts of people (don't go on about london crowds please cos folk travel from far and wide for gigs, in those days especially to london), were there, even an asshole from the wretched school that i was forced to attend.
old keith moon bless him as a brother (a bit crazy all be it), arrived by bloody helicopter (the mad moon in drag!), elton (our very own queen) john played keyboards wiv the beach boys. richie havens has always been a man who could lift my spirits... melanie made me listen when i was 14 and 15 years old, and later on too.

Elton backstage ......

.....and onstage with the Beach Boys

oh and meeself, well i am now nearly 51 years old and to my own calculation a bit past it, BUT, in my secret space in what is left of my mind or brain, i wish we the people had taken over about a quarter of london as a giant squat gig and had the party for as long as could be done, well at least 3 years !!!. so long as it was within a bus journey of my room beside a road off of ladbroke grove. but that area was one of the best places in the world for many a year in those days.
all the best folks.

14 years old when at the event, account written 18th May 2007.

von OWL
searching for that definite hammer and chisel

Just found your website and the report on the Joe Cocker gig at the Palace. I was there with several friends and we stayed right through the rain till the end. There was definitely a film crew on site that day because they filmed me rolling a 'cigarette', I was wearing a top hat and red silk lined cloak, my forehead was painted with a large egyptian ank! It was a lot of fun! The music was ace and Cocker was king for the day. How time changes us all, if anyone has a copy of the NBC film I would live to get a copy
Best wishes

Well we don't have the film but we have some stills taken from the Beach Boys set , which indicates it was pretty wet most of the time...

Great rock festivals site!

An addition from personal memory.

At the Crystal Palace Bowl in the pouring rain in June 1972, towards the end of Melanie’s set, the crowd was calling out requests. I found myself adding my voice to the growing clamour for "Ruby Tuesday", but Melanie’s response was to deliver another “new” Stones number that she had been working on – a haunting ethereal version of Wild Horses.

I also recall the sheer energy of Sha Na Na’s performance. They raised the spirits of the crowd with an all-action rendition of “Who wrote the book of love?” – band members sliding in on their knees from stage right and stage left like footballers celebrating a goal.

The best day in the worst weather.


Tim Davis

    A number of photos of the artists who performed at this Garden Party seen from a backstage perspective can be seen here

Visit the photogallery to see more Beach Boys and crowd pix .

 Melanie Safka's set list

Some Day I’ll Be a Farmer
Beautiful People
Ring the Living Bell
What Have They Done to My Song Ma
Bitter Bad
Peace Will Come
Together Alone

audience tape : quality fair.

Thanks to Brian for this info


July 29th 72 

Arlo Guthrie. Osibisa, Stone the Crows, Edgar Winter , Roxy Music, Loggins and Messina .

(compere - Pete Drummond )

From the NME.

     THE SUN KING made a welcome appearance over the weekend at Crystal Palace on Saturday. With 6,000 tickets sold in advance the weather proved to be a prime factor for the thousands who bought their tickets on the day", and the organisation was extremely orderly. The only downer was the fact that the audience and artists were separated by a body of water which brought a slight, communication delay as well as making the crowd squint to see the on stage activity.


Roxy Music
Crystal Palace
London, England

Virginia Plain
The Bob
Would You Believe
Sea Breezes
If There Is Something
ReMake/ReModel (incomplete)

Ticket courtesy

September 2nd 1972.

Yes, Lindisfarne ,Capability Brown , Mahavishnu Orchestra, Gary Wright's Wonderwheel.

        Another one of those strange mishmashes of a bill, one wonders just who the promoters were trying to appeal to, as a Mahavishnu fan I might possibly have been attracted to Yes at the time, but none of the other bands. Likewise yer typical Lindisfarne punter would not likely to have fancied the instrumental chops and spiritual/fanciful inclinations ( respectively ) of McLaughlin and Yes.

This Yes bootleg shows that at least one of the acts was recorded from this show. 

      • Opening  .
      • Siberian Khatru .
      • I've Seen All Good People .
      • Mood For  A Day .
      • And You And I .
      • Heart Of The Sunrise .
      • Close To The Edge.
      • Roundabout
      • Yours Is No Disgrace 
        • Audience B- 

The great John McLaughlin blisses out at Crystal Palace 1972. 

Ticket courtesy of Gerald Sills

Erik Moore remembers
hi, I went to the garden party that featured yes in 1972. I was only just 16 at the time and went mainly to see yes (I seem to remember that it was rick wakemans first gig with them and he made the most incredible wrong note cock up at the beginning of the first number - I think they went downhill from the moment he joined). It was a very hot day and my main memories of it were of failing to buy a program, despite numerous pa announcements telling us where to go , and how absolutely amazing the Mahavishnu Orchestra were (and how dreadful lindisfarne were-I can't even remember the other bands!)

many thanks,


McLaughlin probable set list

Meeting of the spirits
You know you know
Dance of Maya
Lotus on irish streams
The Noonward Race


The 'Crystal Palace Garden Party V' and the 'Rock at the Oval' festivals were very important to the development of my musical taste. First of all, the Crystal Palace. I went up to this one from South Wales with a few school mates, just before going to University. The main attraction was Yes, with the debut their new drummer Alan White, and the premier of "Close to the Edge". For me, however, the surprise, no, the shock of the day was the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I had no idea who they were, but their set was a revelation and set me off on the long journey into Jazz; from Mahavishnu to Miles Davis and just follow the various threads from him !

Bob Meyrick


I was at Garden Party # 5, which kicked off with Mahavishnu.

But also that day we saw Roxy which I noticed were on the GP4 poster.

I know I was not completely compis mentis during the show that day, but I remember Roxy.

Is it possible that they filled in at a late date for someone else at #5?

Richard Godwin

Garden party features

   We have been endeavouring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us

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