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Formatted at 1280 X 1024 res or higher -Updated March 2023


June 19-21st 1981

Aswad, Decline and Fall, Gong, Gordon Gilltrap,Ginger Baker, Hawkwind, John Cooper Clarke. Judy Tzuke, Matumbi, Nick Pickett,Robert Hunter, Roy Harper, Supercharge, Taj Mahal, Talisman,New Order, Rab Noakes,The Jazz Sluts, The Sound , Hinkleys Heroes, Beverley Martin, Chicken Shack, Pete Drummond.


   Although it is reported that many recordings were made by the sound crew from the soundboard and sold to punters to raise funds for CND, there do not seem to be all that many in circulation. Hawkwind's set is certainly been widely traded.The original cassette was released on behalf of CND.

It appears that Henry Williamson of Mother Gong recorded most of the sets , read on !

Gilli Smyth ramps it up : Mother Gong Glastonbury Festival 1981 © Chumba Shanks.


Hi Excellent Archivists
As writer for Mother Gong I remember well playing the Pyramid in 1981. Excerpts of the 8 track recording were used on Robot Woman 1, released on vinyl by Butt/ Shanghai records also in 1981.

The 1981 experience was much more musically pleasant than that in 1979, which was marred by extraordinary and unparalleled sound problems.
A few years ago we released the Mother Gong sets from Glastonbury 79 and 81 on CD via Voiceprint.
Our lineup was Gilli Smyth - voice and space whisper, myself on Guitar and vocal, Didier Malberbe - saxes and flutes, Guy Evans - Drums, Dane Cranenburg - Bass.

We had been in the studio for two weeks before the gig and kicked off with a couple of instrumentals from Jan and Didier which impressed the jazz rockers with their complex time lines and odd Hungarian harmonies and thence to the first rendition of the Sci Fi Musical 'Robot Woman'. The story , loosely based on a fusion of Asimovs 'I Robot' and the feminist dialogs about housework and mothering versus more outward creativity occupied the band until 1987.

We had a rocking gig and I remember very clearly the odd feeling of being a very tall magnet in a sea of iron filings all dancing in circular waves. Each and every beat resulted in a pulse of movement radiating at the speed of sound to the horizon as people bopped to the beat, and I found I had to concentrate hard to avoid being totally distracted by the pulsating magnetic vision. Oh - and the generator ran out of fuel, as it almost always did despite a vast array of willing hands, and ex diesel mechanics trying to find how to bleed the injectors on a 500 KVA monster with no real instructions. There were many opinions. It took a while.

We recorded most of the festival onto 8 track tapes, which I still have, from the desk, and gave copies to those artists who asked for them. I still have Roys set on 1/4 inch. Some of the solo acts just went straight to two track stereo as the mixes and sound system was really excellent, from the wonderful Tony Andrews and John Newsham. Stting at the back of the auditorium was a bit like sitting in a giant control room but with no bad acoustic reflections whatsoever. I was really impressed. If you didnt like mud then you should not have been there but I was a veteran of the 1971 festival where I had become an involuntary mascot, so I felt completely at home. I had also given the festival a free small 3 KVA generator to help with the building of the cowshed/pyramid, so there was a connection to the staging as well.

Thats me in the photo by Paul Sivyer. I'm playing a Gretch country gentleman ( light green) that I bought in New York for $200 after the first Zoo Manifestival tour in 1978 with NewYorkGong, MotherGong Bill Laswell, Material, Yosko Seffer and many other luminaries, but thats another story.
I really enjoyed Taj, Aswad, Matumbi and Roy. Not so much into New Order than though i knew they were IMPORTANT.
It was nice, relaxed festival and compared to the recent ones I have attended, was much more fun to be at, less of a survival course.

Best from OZ
Harry Williamson

Harry now resides in Melbourne where he runs Springstudio


Ottersongs (released 1982)


  • Evidance
  • Disco At The End Of The World -Woman's Place
  • Robot Woman
  • Machine Song
  • The Sea
  • Searching The Airwaves
  • Military Procession
  • Customs Man - Rapist
  • Fire
  • Chinese Puzzle
  • Red Alert
  • Stars
  • Australia
  • What's Going On

    Gilli Smyth {Lyrics and vocals}
    Harry Williamson {Guitar, vocals}
    Didier Malherbe {Sax, flute}
    Jan Emeric {Guitar}
    Guy Evans {Drums}
    Dane Kronenberg {Bass}

Mothergong -

Glastonbury Festival 1979 – 1981

Official release A selection of the best tracks of Mothergong's two Glastonbury Festival performances.

Flamedog records.

  • Dogs
  • Dreaming It
  • Rats Amok
  • Robot Woman I
  • Birds So High
  • Beautiful Country
  • Evidance
  • Disco at the End of the World
  • Robot Woman 2
  • Wild Child
  • Machine Song
  • Searching the Airwaves
  • Customs Man

    Personnel: 1979
    Gilli Smyth {Lyrics and vocals}
    Didier Malherbe {Sax, flute}
    Eduardo Niebla {Guitar}
    Mo Vicarage {Synth}
    Trevor Darks {Bass}
    Ermano Ghizio Erba {Drums}]


  • 6-20-81
  • Master Of The Universe
  • Motorway City
  • Shot Down In The Night
  • Virgin Of The World
  • Angels Of Death
  • Magnu, Dust Of Time
  • Instrumental
  • PSI Power
  • Sonic Attack
  • Who's Gonna Win The War?

Hawkwind Glasto-81 © Paul Seaton

© Bodge

Roy Harper 06-19-81, Glastonbury Festival,

(with The Roy Harper Band)
soundboard recording

  • One Of Those Days In England
  • Referendum,
  • I Am A Child
  • I Hate The White Man
  • Casualty
  • Tom Tiddler's Ground
  • The Game
  • True Story.

Info sourced from Roy Harper HQ

Looking for cover art

New Order

  • In a lonely place.
  • Dreams never end.
  • Truth.
  • The him.
  • Procession.
  • Senses.
  • Denial.
  • Everythings gone green.

06/20/81 A- 52 minutes, probably soundboard .

One track from Glastonbury 81 "In a Lonely Place" has been released on a boxed set entitled

" Retro"

There is apparently video footage of the Sounds Adrian Borland playing with New Order , no idea how long the clip goes for .

New Order Gallery- Glastonbury 1981- stills taken from video recording.

New Order Glasto 1981

Photo © Paul Seaton

Robert Hunter

Audience 45.

  • Jack Straw
  • Gallo Del Cielo
  • Cruel White Water
  • Brown-Eyed Women
  • Tiger Rose, It > Alabama Getaway
  • Truckin'
  • Boys In The Barroom
  • Ripple.

6-19-81 45 minutes

Looking for cover art



John Cooper-Clarke

6-19-81 45 minutes

  • Salome Maloney
  • Gaberdine Angus
  • The Pest
  • The Day My Pad Went mad
  • Majorca
  • (I married A) Monster From Outer Space
  • Bronze Adonis
  • Psycle Sluts
  • Health Fanatic
  • Ten Years In An Open Neck Shirt
  • Twat
  • Never See A Nipple In The Daily Express
  • Obsession*
  • Chickentown
  • Kung Fu International
  • Holiday Romance*
  • Beasley Street

*Title may be innaccurate

Setlist courtesy Nick Sadler. Taken from an audience tape that we thought was lost ! But we've found another one .....

Right: John Cooper Clarke onstage -Glastonbury 1981

Photo © Paul Seaton

Looking for cover art



60 mins SBD

looking for setlist and cover art !


Left and below

Aswad onstage -Glastonbury 1981

Photos © Paul Seaton


Mother Gong onstage in 1981 , sometime on Sunday.

Photo© Bodge

Photo© Bodge

The Archive is as usual interested in this topic as regards to it being an aspect of social history of the counterculture , traveller and rock festival scene of the 60s to the late 80s and does not condone or encourage the consumption of any substances ,illegal or legal which may lead to mental or physical incapacitation by those who consume them .

Glastonbury Festival pages .

Glastonbury Fayre pages 1970-79

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Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

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