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The Great Western Express Festival.

Bardney . Lincolnshire.
May 26th-29th 1972.

      The View from the Mud : oral histories.

Part One

Humble Pie get it on at the Great Western Festival 1972 © Chris Keegan .

It appears that by this time the absurd 30 metre deep press pit had been breached by fans



     I was an Australian working in London at the time and went to the great Western express festival in May 72 when I was just 18.

The highlights that I remember where Rory Gallagher, who performed both Friday night and Saturday, Humble Pie (good heavy blues) and the Faces (although Rod Stewart had a lot of trouble singing in tune and kept complaining about the cold weather). Don Mclean delivered a great acoustic set including singing Vincent whilst it was pouring with rain.

Joe Cocker was totally stoned and kept fiddling with his hair and had to be supported by one of the backup singers in between each song, but when he sang he was perfect.

The weather was average to lousy, but it didn't kill the atmosphere. All in all I have very fond memories, including sharing a tent with 2 Londoners and a yank (who never ever went to the toilet in those 3 and a half days)


Ron Baker

Scan of the Festival T shirt in a remarkable state of preservation kindly provided by Jonathon Amos of Bedford WA, who quoth

"Fascinated to read your page on the GWF. Here is a scan of my 28 year old t-shirt. Oh dear, the things we do to amuse ourselves as we get older!

Getting nice and cosy amongst the straw © Cynthia Bateman


    I was talking to a couple of friends recently and started talking about the old days and some of the festivals I attended. As an afterthought I got home and did a search and was amazed and pleased to find your site on Lincoln. Just thought I would drop you a note with a few memories of the event, I was 19 at the time and still remember it well.


  Three weeks after the mud at Bickershaw I drove my van down to the Great Western Festival, on the way down, having an empty van I picked up a couple of guys hitching. On arrival it started to rain and as I drove up to the site I was stopped by the police, my first thoughts were here we go search time, but hold on the sergeant asked me did I have any room and seeing as my van was virtually empty I was commandeered into giving a lift to 10 wet bobbies. Just behind me in the traffic line was an orange and yellow dayglow London taxi whose occupants thought it was hilarious.

Photo © Pete Pearson

    Can you imagine the reaction I got from fellow campers when I parked up and a stack of police climbed out, it took about 2 days before anyone would come near me!

On to the festival itself, some very vivid memories

    One of the most poignant was Stone the Crows singer Maggie Bell. Her boyfriend Les Harvey brother of the late Alex Harvey had been electrocuted three weeks earlier on stage and there had been many rumours about if they would play and who would be on guitar, even up to a day before there were rumours that Peter Green would make a come back.
They did play and Steve Howe (Yes) apparently stepped in the day before and for me the most memorable moment was when halfway through the set Maggie dedicated the song "Fool on the Hill" in memory of Les, she sang the song with tears in her eyes and I have never yet heard anyone put so much emotion into a song.

   The line up says that Rory Gallagher played on the Friday night and that Helen Reddy played on the Sat, I seem to remember that Helen was pregnant at the time and did not feel well enough to perform, instead Rory went on again and did another set on the Saturday.I remember staying up one night to watch the Marlon Brando film "The Wild One"

   Other highlights included the place going "crazee" with Slade. The chance to see the cast of Monty Python perform live (a lot of people still won't believe me on that one).and many other well remembered sets. .I seem to remember a lot of other things going on as well as the music, there was one area where they had a machine producing foam to a depth of about 5 foot. As mentioned above I had a van and fortunately did not have to sleep rough as did many others.

     When I got home after the festival I was watching a news report on TV and they actually showed some news footage with me walking past. I hope these memories are of interest to you and I’d just like to thank you for jogging my memory.

Photo© Peter Dawson

     Thanks for the website, which confirmed that I didn't hallucinate the Festival, but that it really happened! My memories of it include being in one of the famous "collapsing tents" on the first night after arrival. Fortunately, I was in a small tent within it (can't remember whose), which was just missed by one of the large tent's poles. As far as I remember, the collapse was inevitable given the strength of the winds. We crawled out from the wreckage and took shelter in a Radha Krishna Temple tent for the night, leaving as soon as possible in the morning as the chanting was driving us nuts.

    I managed to meet with a friend, Tom Ritchie, who had befriended a sailor, who was straight in both senses of the word! However, he spent most of the festival stoned as Tom and I smoked continuously in the tent. I vaguely remember being joined by another freak who ate hedgehog and squirrel!

   As far as the music is concerned, the acts that have stood out in my mind after all these years are the Beach Boys (10-piece I think, and soooooo slick that it made most of the other acts sound like they were rehearsing), Don McLean (amazing clear voice holding the crowd enraptured), the Faces (rough and great fun, the perfect festival band), Lindisfarne (also a stalwart of festivals), Monty Python (against the odds, it worked!), and the Monday line-up from Quo onwards (including Joe Cocker!!!)
Strangely, I don't remember Genesis or Roxy Music at all, although I was a fan of both.

     I was already a fan of Brewer's Droop, who were a sort of cajun pub band with titles like "I can see your pubic hair" and "Hearthrug Pie". Mark Knopfler, later of Dire Straits spent some time in the band, although I couldn't swear he was with them at the time of the festival.

    Other (shaky) memories include an electronic banner (like the news thing in Leicester Square) that was mainly used for broadcasting jokes, a field of foam, circus acts, someone selling dope from a cinema-usherette type ice-cream tray, everyone in the crowd quietly sitting down so that we could identify the plain-clothes police, and a field populated with females squatting on un-shielded toilets.

    Despite the bad start, the crowd's humour was good, the atmosphere was good and I had a great time.
Frank Gilbert

From Barrie Audis

     I was born and bred in Bardney and moved to Cornwall in September 1972 and up to Droitwich in 1976 and have been here ever since.
I remember the festival well ,especially Buddy Miles ,Rory Gallagher ,The Faces, Humble Pie Beach Boys, Don Maclean, Joe Cocker who was totally out of it and Sh Na Na. I cannot recall the others at present. I'm sure Ten Years After was on also but I may be getting mixed up with Plumpton, Reading, Leicester or Bath.
I remember having free tickets ,helping to oppose any wild claims by well to do villagers (the ones who had moved to the village not the real locals) I spoke at length on the festivals behalf at 2 meetings in Bardney village hall. I was a student at Lincolnshire Agricultural College at the time and took 40 students with me to the meetings.
Most of the locals welcomed music fans to the village as there were 2 groups from Bardney The Scepres and The Javelins .The latter one I was bass gutarist for 7 years until I left for Cornwall. Many of the locals provided drinks at their garden gates for fans who had walked the long 10 miles from Lincoln.
My Mother worked in the Artists resturant and can remember the Steve Marriott from Humble Pie picking her up and giving her a kiss -she was only small . In fact at my Mothers funeral in September this year (she was 93) the vicar who had been a long friend of my Mother's commented in the obituary how she had worked at the festival and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

All the best

Barrie Audis.

Derek Garland

What a great start we had. My pals Phil, Andy and myself spent the Thursday night at the Orchid Ballroom in Purley to see the strange combination of Status Quo supporting Slade. After a great set by Quo, we were threatened with knives by some dodgy looking skinheads and retired to the bar where we chatted to Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt during Slade.
Afterwards, we walked round to Phil's Ford Anglia to find that someone had smashed the side window. It was too late to do anything about it as we were off to Bardney. I remember getting petrol in Park Lane and then mistakenly driving the wrong way up a one way street with four lanes. Yes, there was "road rage" back then too!!
    Anyway, we got there eventually and pitched our tent. Unfortunately, there was some crazy guy running about throwing an iron railing around the campsite as a javelin. As this ripped our tent, narrowly missing our heads, we near pooped ourselves and made a dash for the safety of the car for a sleep. As we were so wet and cold with the broken window and no dry clothes, we left the site to drive round with the heater on. I remember missing Rory Gallagher and waking up the next day to hear him in the distance. We assumed it was a tape and thereby missed him completely.
The Saturday itself was a real test with on and off downpours and we were all pretty pissed off. I do remember being impressed by Stone The Crows, but the biggest memory was the length of time waiting for the Faces to appear, only for them to put on the most shambolic, drunken performance ever.They really took the piss!!

    So, things were going bad, but at least the sun was out on Sunday. I decided to take my shirt off to screams from the others. Off to the medical facility for me as a strange rash had appeared practically overnight. And that was it, I was sent home with Glandular Fever.
    All in all, not my best festival, but since I was too young to fight in the war, I suppose this was as gruelling as it could get.


   Well, I was there, with a mate. Both of us were army cooks and loved rock music. Like another contributor, I liked Genesis and Roxy, but don't recall seeing them.
Of course being cooks we were.... how shall we say .. well stocked up wih grub. So much so that bacon and bangers were given away.
I recall Gallagher being on 2 nights, the rain, mud, the foam fight with John Peel playing east of Eden's Jig A Jig single, Slade bringing on Stanley Baker and I did tape Brewer's Droop on my cheapie cassette recoreder but it didn't come out.
I also remember people walking out on Joe Cocker.We did too, to get to the bus. My mate then told me he'd lost his wallet and we started to walk back to look for it. Surprise.. he found it. I called him a lying w****r as the chances of doing that were so slim. I reckon he'd put it in a different pocket.

Dave Elson

Aerial view of the festival

Robert Williams
    Went with me mate "The Slug". We were only there for the Saturday and Sunday but still had a great time. Highlights for me on Saturday were the Strawbs and Stone the Crows, the Slug liked Roxy Music but I don't remember being much impressed. Fun thing but I have no recollection of the Faces.
    Sunday for me was the Beach Boys set and stomping in the mud along with Slade. The Persuasion also did a great set even though a large number in the crowd booed them on to the stage. Remember a "brave" set by Steve Goodman, standing in the pouring rain wearing a large Stetson hat. I think he was on the main stage early on the Sunday.
And then there was huge applause for the actor Stanley Baker who was something to do with the organisation of the event? Also recall eating Spam Burgers and some yanks who were standing by us wondering when the group Monty Python were going to play. Funny old thing the memory.

Big Will

Photo© Peter Dawson

    I was on the road at that time , hitching up and down the country;I hitched from Newquay and got to the festival site a couple of weeks prior, so we helped build it, earned £2 a day , enough for your dope, got in free and got a job washing up in the band's restaurant,or until Rory Gallagher came on the Friday nite then it was all over and outside to watch the acts.Loved R.G.[twice] ,Beach Boys ,Slade,Humble Pie Sha na na Faces ,Roxy Music, Cocker et al, everything was going great then my mate slipped me some acid thru the fence and things just turned surreal .I was wandering about backstage, saw some of Cocker from the front, next thing I meet a dealer outside the Faces caravan, now vacant ,so I pulled him inside and scored a sugar bag;mescaline,coke,seconal,tuinol all for what is now silly money.He was so paranoid, after he left me he threw his briefcase in the lake ,so I was told weeks later by someone else who met him. This was Monday nite , festival over, and me and my friends were just getting going, so much so that the next thing I remember is coming round on the good end of a water pipe on Friday morning in a house in Bradford.I went home ,Wakefield, for one night and then hitched down to London on Saturday for Cocker and the Beach Boys at Crystal Palace.So that was my Lincoln festival, kinda stuck in my mind, I had a lucky escape, my mates looked after me to the point where one of them wanted to shoot me full of speed to bring me round, but was talked out of it.

Happy days.
No more festivals after that,I spent my time working and surfing in Newquay.

Paul Bagnall

    I was just idling around the web and found your page devoted to the Tupholme music festival. A couple of years ago the Horncastle News asked for reminiscences. I sent this response .

   Your feature on the 1972 Tupholme Pop Festival in the August 25 edition of the Horncastle News gave me quite a jolt of nostalgia. This was such a seminal event during my adolescence that I could not resist sending you some vivid memories I still have of the occasion. In fact, all though I moved to the USA more than 13 years ago, I still have the original festival program in my book case in Seattle.
   In 1972, I was a 16 year old student at the Horncastle Grammar school. In April of that year, we heard a rumor that security guards were being hired from the local population to patrol the fences of the festival. Smelling a perfect opportunity to hear the music for free, a number of us showed up for the recruitment meeting in Bardney. The meeting was conducted in a tent by Stanley Baker, the movie star (of "Zulu" fame and very glamorous in brand new green wellingtons and sheepskin coat), who was one of the festival promoters. Of course, we were all too young to be hired, but we were all given free tickets for our trouble.

Photo© Peter Dawson

    On May 26th, we pitched a tent about 75 yards from the stage and spent the next 4 days enveloped in terrific music and surrounded by an ocean of people as far as the eye could see.

    In the footnote of your article, you asked whether the Beach Boys actually turned up to play. You bet they did, and were one one of the highlights of the festival. They were going through their "big beards and hats" phase. They took the stage about 11pm and closed 2 hours later with "Good Vibrations" and "Caroline No". Reclusive genius Brian Wilson was introduced but did not play with the band.

    For middle-aged rock fans, some other standout memories from the 4 days: Rory Gallagher playing a stellar 10 minute guitar solo at lunchtime on the first day, and then playing a second time the next day as a replacement for Buddy Miles who did not show up; Stone the Crows playing an emotional set late at night - 2 months earlier, founder member and guitarist Les Harvey had been electrocuted to death on stage, and this was the band's first show since the tragedy- guitarist Steve Howe of Yes guested for the night; Heads Hands and Feet's last show before guitar legend Albert Lee left for fame in America with Emmylou Harris and the Everley Brothers; organist Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster (who remembers them!) wearing an outrageous neon pink fur jacket; Elkie Brooks, of Vinegar Joe, not so sophisticated in red satin hotpants, very big hair and a lively vocabulary; Slade playing surprisingly well live for a "pop group"; the Average White Band, Focus, and Roxy Music, before they were famous; another emotional set on the last night by Joe Cocker with the
Chris Stainton Big Band - his first show after years of seclusion with alcohol and drug addiction.

    I don't remember the rain at all, even though others say it poured. I guess 16 year olds are waterproof or have selective memories. I do remember the ubiquitous sweet smell of pot, and
the hourly announcements by John Peel for "Annabel" (or whoever), to meet "Kevin" (or whoever) at the Release Tent, where "Simon" (or whoever) "is having a bad trip". My mother showing up- initially to my enormous embarrassment- and staying for the rest of the festival and aquitting herself quite well- "hey man, your mum's pretty cool".

    Thanks for letting me share this flood of impressions from 27 years ago. I don't feel any older. Anyone else remember those great times? In fact, anyone remember the great Bardeny
Folk Festival of 1970 (or 1971?) with James Taylor, the Byrds, Steeleye Span, and Pentangle? There's a challenge.


Nigel Bush

Photo© Peter Dawson

     Came across your site by accident when I was looking for stuff about Glastonbury. I'm going this summer and it'll be my first festival for 27 years or so, and my wife's first.
I was still at school and we hitched up without tickets. Living in London we'd long since sussed all the ways to get into places such as the Albert Hall and Hammersmith Odeon for nothing. However, when we were confronted by Great Western's prison camp-style fence we thought this might be a problem.

    As I recall it took some hours to figure out a way round. Actually it was quite easy. In various places people had managed to lift parts of the corrugated iron so you could slip through. There was security on the other side, but for 50p a head they could be persuaded to turn a blind eye. As somebody else mentioned the passout system was fairly lax. So you could leave your gear with your mates, squeeze through the fence and then pick up a passout. Then you'd walk in through the gate with your rucksack. We did this a few times, raising enough to pay for a bus home and striking a blow against the bread-heads profiting from the show. Or so we thought.

    Having enough money for the bus probably didn't make us too popular with our fellow passengers. The foam's already been mentioned. It was great fun to play in. Unfortunately I think it was created from some sort of animal by-product. Everybody who'd been in it stank. My other non-musical memories are of a couple in a tent one evening who didn't realise that the lamp they were using was projecting their exertions onto the side of their tent. Well, they didn't realise until their act climaxed to a rousing cheer from a large section of the audience. Tents were pitched throughout the crowd rather than in a campsite area.

    I also remember the organisers trying to cure the mud with bales of hay. The idea was to break them up to cover the ground, but loads of people built little houses with the bales. These lasted, I think, until there was a massive hay fight which seemed to occupy most of the crowd.
Musical memories are vaguer. Rory Gallagher, the Faces, the Beach Boys - especially the Beach Boys - and Monty Python. Actually very few of my festival memories are of the music. It's a shame really because I look at the line-ups on your site from festivals I went to and think: "I wish I'd seen them." Or maybe I did...

Thanks for the memories.

Nick Clayton

    My girlfriend and I hitchiked to Lincoln from South Wales.
We remember the collapse of the big tent, we were in it at the time. In the morning the tent seemed to have disappeared.  Everybody had helped themselves to pieces of the canvas to make their own little tents, (including us). The spam burgers tasted like cardboard and the foam was fun.

Bands were brilliant as far as I can remember (or so my girlfriend, who's now my wife, tells me). 
One night of the four nights we were there some person by the name of "Wally" appeared to be lost in the crowd because another person was wandering about shouting "Wally, Wally where are you"  I recall that this went on throughout the night and by the morning the whole crowd was shouting "Where's Wally".  Is this correct?  Does anybody else remember this or is it just a figment of my imagination. Or was there something in the Spam Burgers that we should not have been ingesting?
.Hitchiked back home, only needed two lifts for the journey.
They were the "good old days"

Tom Richards

Straw can be useful stuff ! © Cynthia Bateman


    What a pleasant surprise to find the site, and what memories it brings back after more than 30 years! Thanks so much for keeping it alive.
We found your site after a friend and I "re-discovered" our souvenir program of the festival just the other day (September 2003), and spent a happy hour reading through and reminiscing. I don't think I realized at the time what an important event it was, both in the artists that we saw and in the fact that it was looking like it would be the last of the really great "pop festivals" of that age.
And I remember the weather. That storm on the first night destroyed our tent, but luckily we had a friend living only about five miles away so we ended up crashing there in the early hours, and then making our way back again for the start of the next day's music.
More than anything else, it's interesting to reflect on the way the world has changed since then - not least in that you aren't likely to get a souvenir program for anything for 10 pence anywhere again! And I guess I wonder what happened to all those friends who were so close in those days, and have now moved on and moved away. Maybe a tinge of sadness is always a part of happy memories.


Alex Homer

Rory Gallagher at Lincoln 72

Photo courtesy © Repfoto

   Another one where it rained - most of the main things have been said already - Gallagher played twice and was brilliant both times - the Faces gave their usual shambolic performance and we wouldn't have wanted them any other way - the Beach Boys managing to perform a Las Vegas cabaret act in the middle of a field in Lincolnshire - I never ever seem to recall having a tent or any shelter at these things - I remember rigging something up with a length of polythene and some sticks - I also remember the stage cover was very arty but was pointless in that it didn't cover the bands.

  One thing I notice from picture is that the equipment used in those days seems so inadequate or maybe its a case of overkill nowadays. Everything else is a blur - which is as it should be - I'm glad others remember the foam and I can remember that the lorry with the machine producing it had "sludgegulper" painted on the sides in huge letters which might account for the smells another writer remembers.

Nig Richards


   Its just yesterday I swear. I stayed in the Lincoln Youth Hostel for a couple of nights then walked to Bardney with a bunch of beautiful strangers from Norway and Canada . We stopped at the packed out pub for a cold one and "Horse With No Name" was playiing on the jukebox ,the atmosphere was electric.

   Rory was brilliant that night then the wind blew so hard that the giant tent came down. Oddly enough there was a very cozy barn behind the stage where we all camped in our sleeping
bags, it was a godsend.

   30 yrs later I contacted the Hostel for info on those long lost souls but they had tossed their records already , shame on me for waiting too long. I hope they all found happiness.

Wilf Jones

         some of my best memories at GWE.
Humble Pie whom I saw many times around the country amazing band, and sitting on plastic wrapped in plastic bloody cold but singing along to Don Mclean american Pie excellent, some great bands, Free another top band brought my copy of Free at last from stall ended up with soggy cover but still a great album


    Went to the Lincoln Festival with my school friend Janey on the Friday afternoon when I was a mere 15 years old.  We had decided to go for a laugh, without money, food, tents, sleeping bags or clothes or anything other than niave enthusiasm. When I told my mum we were off (she didn't believe me) she gave me 50p for chips and beer and expected me back by 10.30pm.  We managed to hitchike from Peterborough with a couple of military types, but very nice regardless.  They managed to sneak us in through the gate (just had to duck down beneath their rucksacks) and let us sleep in their tent that night.  I remember the noise, the damp, the chaos and the smell of patchouli and pot mixed in with the stench from the "toilets".  I also remember the the stink from the foam, which was great to play in until it then started to dry and go solid making everyone look like startled Manga cartoon characters. 

Photo © Peter Dawson

    The Friday night bands were a blur, but I do remember Rory Gallagher, Stone the Crows, Monty Python and the Beach Boys.  Also the cartoons that were played on screens all night long to drown out the sound of the constant rain!  They helped when we didn't have a tent after it had been demolished by a group of drunken Geordies who couldn't find their way in to their own tent.  The one thing that saved me was the great bunch of blokes merrily cooking for the five thousand giving me my only meal for the whole four days - a bacon butty! 

    My friend managed to sleep with most of the people who went and missed the bands.  At one point I left her to it and went to see Rory Gallagher on the Saturday and it took me four hours to find where we were camping (a blanket and a straw bale sufficed!).  It took even longer to find her on the Sunday night and we only met as I waited by the entrances as I knew she had to ring her folks and the only phone was in the village.

    When I got home late Monday, my mum thought I had been up the road, but then saw me on the news later that night looking ultra uncool soaked to the skin with with my Birdie T-shirt on, holding up a tent and with someone's roll up in my hand!  Grounded was not the word for the aftermath of a bloody good weekends adventure.  Needless to say, the subsequent festivals were done a much more civilised scale.


God it was strange finding such a site, it's well interesting.
Anyway I was aged 17yrs when me & two mates went to this festival, it took us a while to get there from the "wirral" and I vaguely remember the following:
Making our way through the crowds to stake our patch whilst Roxy Music got booed & bottled off the stage, Eno was twiddling his knobs too much!
The Faces, always a great band in my eyes.
Beach Boys only time I ever saw 'em, great set.
Slade getting one of the biggest receptions from the crowd, didn't expect that!
Seeing Joe Cocker, a bit rough
I might be wrong on this but Stanley Baker coming on stage and announcing something ?
Lying down in a sleeping bag (covered in plastic) watching some movies on a large screen most the night.
There was a machine pumping foam into a field, it spread the foam 100yrds & about 10ft high in places, I thought it would be great to take a large breath and run right through it. Halfway across I tripped in a hole and fell flat on my face, sucking in foam not air I crawled out the other side gasping, I was helped to the St Johns tent & treated, no-one would have found me in there for hours!
Tryin' to get home with no money!

HeY jOe
(great site,cheers)

I came across your site as a result of a conversation with my 15 year old Son who is into bands such as Yes, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and so on.  It caused me to reminisce about my first festival experience aged 17 which was the Great Western at Lincoln and he asked me which bands had played.  As far as I remember non of the above put in a performance though the rain & mud certainly did.
I spent 3 days in & out of a 6 foot ICI fertiliser bag (no tent) most of the time on the bank of a ditch so at least the water would drain away.  At one point I seem to remember Noddy Holder saying to the bedraggled crowd something like 'Look I know it's pissing down but grab a bird, have feel, stamp yer feet & have a good time!'
Another prominent memory is the huge area of foam sprayed from a tower for people to play in and get even more wet & mud covered if that was possible.  Me & a crowd of about 8 mates went and one lad who was a bit of a Mummy's boy was seen off at the mini bus departure point by his Mum much to his huge embarrassment and our merciless piss taking.  And to make matters worse she'd packed him up with Jaffa cakes and a scarf, you get the picture I'm sure.  He was the one who bought a tab of acid which was in fact aspirin or something, no trip but no headache either!

Thanks for the memories & the site.


Me and about about 6 or 7 music fanatics living on Guernsey at the time, decided to have a weeks holiday, and split it between London and the festival. We all shacked up in a friend of a friends flat. I'm still not sure whether we were expected or not!! Anyway, we made it down via the train, in one piece, carrying blankets,and odd bits of food (I think) I remember, we found our way in, got as near as we could to the front, which was reasonably close, and stayed put for the entire 3 days. We fancied one or two of the acts in the "Bands of Tomorrow" tent, such as Patto, Budgie and Jade Warrior, etc., But we daren't move in case we couldn't get back to our places!! I have no recollection of eating or sleeping (or even going to the toilet!!) But I suppose we must've done at some point!
I remember some wench, just constantly smoking joints, and in the end she honked up all over my blanket, which actually belonged to my mates mate who owned the flat. (His name was Brian Jones...honest!!) 

I remember Rory Gallagher was absolutely brilliant. I'd not taken much notice of him as a solo artist, since Taste split. I remember they announced that Helen Reddy couldn't make it, because she was in hospital having a baby. I think she was having a baby at the idea of having to perform in front of all those rock fans. I bet she gave her agent what for, when she found out she'd been booked for a rock festival. Anyway the whole audience gave out a cheer at that news. Not sure if they were cheering the fact that she was having a baby, or because they wouldn't have to put up with her performance. Anyway, when the announcement came that Rory Gallagher was going to fill in her slot, that really hit the spot!! The cheers were deafening, and if it were possible, Rory's set was even better than the previous night's!!
Looking at the poster, the main acts I really remember were Humble Pie (this was one of their 1st if not the 1st gigs with the new replacement for Peter Frampton, Dave "Clem" Clemson, from Bakerloo.) They were very good, too .The crowd hit the ceiling when they broke into "I Don't Need no Doctor".

Noddy Holder of Slade at Lincoln 72

Photo courtesy © Repfoto


Lindisfarne were on absolutely top form, too. I remember some guy, naked, suddenly leaping up to do some form of "idiot dancing" during their set, and all of a sudden, a great hail of lighted cigarette ends flew at him, and I've never seen somebody drop to the ground so quickly!! We couldn't stop laughing!!
I remember the Faces who weren't bad at all -we remarked on his (Stewart's) Gold Lame jacket. Cocker was completely out of it, and this was the first performance of his I'd seen since the Greaseband days. What a let down. Hugely disappointing. The Beach Boys, to me, at the time apart from a great version of "Wouldn't it be nice, weren't a patch on their 60's incarnation.
I remember particularly looking forward to Wishbone Ash, a favourite of mine. They were trialling a new type of speakers called "Horn Speakers". The wind ended up blowing most of the sound away, leaving them not inaudible, but a lot less clearer than they should have been. I was looking forward to them playing Jailbait, "Error of my Ways" and other favourites, but they took up most of their set with the 1st performance of the new  LP, "Argus" No bad thing at all now virtually unanimously regarded as their best album. But back then, it was completely new to these ears. I wish I could remember more of their set!!

Cliff and Ian looking bloody cold at Lincoln 1972 Photo © Ian Cater


I remember seeing Vinegar Joe, Nazareth & Roxy Music, but I'm afraid nothing much sticks out in my mind apart from the friend next to me remarking what a powerful voice that Elkie Brookes had. I remember being completely unimpressed with Slade, No recollection of Stone The Crows, to my shame!!
In 1972, Status Quo were a great live act. We really enjoyed them, and Genesis were a completely unknown entity at that time. I really enjoyed their set, and became a firm fan of theirs. I went out and bought "Nursery Crymes" when I got back. plus all the others, until Gabriel left. I seem also to have a recollection of CCS being there. I'm sure they were despite no mention of them. What a wailing racket they made tuning up!! Sounding like an enormous catfight!!
Although not being a great fan of the singer/songwriter, at the time, I did like Don McLean's set, despite I recall, certain sections of the audience who were booing him. Completely out of place and uncalled for, I thought.
At the time, after the great debacle and fiasco that was the 1970 I.O.W Festival, the future for the big outdoor festival was extremely dodgy, and although it wasn't on the huge grand bill and audience wise as some of it's predecessors, it was considered to be the biggest since the 1970 I.O.W., and as such looked at many points during it's inception that it wouldn't make it, and when Stanley Baker came on, and spelled it all out, it almost felt like a fight for freedom, and he got one of the biggest cheers of the festival.
 Much of the rest of the bill, I have very little or no recollection of some - I wish I did. I can't understand why I can't recall Focus, who were and are firm favourites, also I can't understand why I can't recall The Strawbs, can it be I was asleep while some of these were on?? I remember the Spencer Davis Group coming on and being totally unimpressed with them.
I remember Atomic Rooster, Vincent Cranes antics with his keyboards, (you're not getting me saying, with his organ!!) have unfortunately over ridden any memory of the music, which was good, on record.
Well, that's about the extent of my memories, We went back to the friends friend's flat, who berated me for abandoning the blanket that had been puked on by the over indulgent wench in front of us!! No way, man!!!, I said. (Clichés were (and probably still are!!) my middle name)
And before I finally back out let's have a namecheck for the whole group of us who went; most of whom I haven't clapped eyes on since I left Guernsey in 1977. Apart from myself, Mark Williamson (Will), Collin Inder (Cindy) Fred Rollins (formerly of "Fred & the Filth", Guernsey's Answer to The Stooges!!) and Graham Higgins (Higgy) and if I've left anybody out, sincerest of sincere apologies.

All the Best
David Hardy (Ydrah) (Hudois)
P.S. Before I go I must mention that at the end of the festival, as we were all slowly dribbling out I remember everyone was shouting "Wally" at/to everybody else in the locality, and to this day I haven't managed to discover what if anything it was in aid of !!
PPS Thanks for a great site. it really has brought back a lot of memories. I haven't even looked at the Bath Festival, 1970 page yet, which I was also at!!

Well I never thought I'd live to see the day. Such a strange thing to be doing looking at old pics of that mad time. I went to lincoln festival after Bickershaw. I dont remember the weather being too bad, but I did take loads of drugs, mainly acid.

I arrived about a week or even earlier before it all started. I met some guys from (?) and crashed in their tent. I was a proper Hippy you see. That is i never had any money, or anything else for that matter. The guys were kind and gave me a blanket . I ponced around generally and literally. There was an old derelict house in a field nearby where i spent a lot of time smoking other peoples dope etc.

Bedraggled and wet the day finally arrived . It was Happening ! Then the 'how do we get in free ' scenario started. After walking around the perimeter fence for hours i decided to stay in one place near the entrance. Stand around long enough and something will happen I thought. It did , someone tore down a few sheets of corrugated iron and in about 20 of us galloped.

I'm very sorry but the only musical thing i remember was Rod and the faces for about ten minutes. i was very into taking lots of acid and cannabis and looking back now being a bit bewildered . Seemed like a good idea at the time - but took along time to get over - ommmmmm.

Any way the greatest thing that happened to me was that coming out for a break one of the guys handing out the pass outs gave me 40 of them and told me to give them to some nice people. I did give half of them away but sold the rest and seem to remember making about 40 pounds. Which was a fortune to me then !!!!

I then proceeded to do what any God fearing lazy good for nuthin long hair would do . I squandered the lot mainly on drugs . I remember there being some stuff that was said to be 'mescalin' in light blue caps. i took lots of that with some other no good hangers on that followed me around till the dough ran out ! I also have a vague memory of eating sausage an mash !?

After what seems like a long time it was all over. I had found and managed to hang on to what was referred to in those days as a 'chick' . We were underneath some straw bales 'getting it together man' when amidst loud shouts and hurtling straw bales we were pulled out of a fire. I still suspect her rejected boyfriend had started it . I remember Baba O Reilly playing (although this must have been Tuesday morning. It was a magical time in some ways. Me an my 'chick' hitch hiked out of there. We stayed together for at least 3 weeks . Which was a record for me at the time. I must have been 19. The year b4 Windsor free festival. But thats another story.
Thank you for a great site guys !! It's hard to believe looking back that any of it happened at all. But it did and this is the evidence. . . . . you'll be pleased to know that I am a worthwhile member of society now.

Terry Reader

Photo © Ian Cater


Just visited the website and having been there, what memories it brought back!!

We arrived in a transit van on the Friday night and after having a quick look around the site and a listen to what was going on, quickly retired to the van as it started to chuck it down.

If I remember correctly Rory Gallagher came back on the Saturday morning and did a session, and I thought that the Saturday night was rounded off by Slade at midnight - A sea of straw bales.....

Other memories, living off burgers, dope by the pocket full, the busts being posted on the giant screens and Bryan Ferry with a quiff.....Blue Weaver (The Strawbs) trying to get some volume out of his melotron for Grave New World and Sha Na Na running around like loonies!

Back home in the early hours of the Monday morning, and my mum not letting me get some kip until I'd had a bath to get rid of a weekend's (20 quid?) worth of grime and fun!

Chris S.

I attended the Great Western Express festival of 1972. Me and a mate from school (Clive Davies) escaped from school sports day on the Friday afternoon and were chased into Coventry town centre by two facsist prefects trying to recapture us. We got a bus to Leicester and hitched the rest of the way,getting a lift in an Austin A30 to the festival site.
Friday night weather was appalling and we were too late to see any of the acts.Luckily Rory Gallagher played again on Saturday so we didn't miss too much.
Memories of bands were: Roxy Music,unheard of at the time, being on at about 11 o'clock in the morning. Lindisfarne being brilliant, Status Quo swearing a lot,Faces,with Rod resplendant in gold jacket,sloppy but brilliant.Beach Boys saying they would play all night if we wanted them to.Monty Python performing live on stage for the first time. Sha Na Na doing their set without uttering a single word between each number. Slade,a band who previously didn't even like, were the stars of the festival,encouraging an enormous straw fight. Joe Cocker stoned out of his head.
We went back to our tent to find everything had been nicked. We also refused to buy fish and chips for the rip-off price of 30p !!! We managed to hitch home in a Morris Traveller,the driver very kindly dropping me off at the bottom of my street in Coventry.I opened the door at my parents house to find that Exile On Main St. had arrived courtesy of Virgin Records.
By the way, every one shouting 'Wally' was carried on from a previous festival where 'Wally of Wheely' was created.
I can't believe it was 35 years ago that I went to the Lincoln Festival as a mere 16year old. Extremely Happy Days!
Regards to all fellow attendees

Tony Unwin


The GWE Festival started on May 26th but in those days I actually used to plan things and our tickets arrived thru the mail on May 5th. Just a couple of 17 year old school kids I went with a mate of mine called Phil. I think he and I (and maybe 2 or 3 others) were the only ones in our school that had dared defy school policy and grew our hair over the ears and over the collar. Wow!! I guess we were making some kind of statement also by taking time out during the exams season.

We travelled from Somerset by train (change at Derby!) and got to Lincoln by early afternoon. Quite an adventure carrying a tent and food (I think) etc. Then there was a bus special to the festival site at Bardney and we got to see Rory Gallagher. I remember being amazed by his playing and at the end of every song he said "hope you liked it." Then he would introduce the next song, ending "I hope you like it" .... Rain, loads of it - and because of that RG offered to return later.

The next day, thanks to the prolonged rain followed by torrential rain, there was MUD! The highlights for me were Roxy Music, Wishbone Ash, Maggie Bell/ Stone the Crows, plus Rod Stewart/ Faces. But even better was to come.

The Faces at Lincoln 72

Photo courtesy © Repfoto

On the Sunday I think there was a little sunshine so Phil and I went for a walk. There was rumour of a public loo in the village of Bardney, but i don't remember seeing any houses - just this single stone-built loo in the middle of nowhere. It seemed like a long walk to get there and we fouond a long orderly Q - the wait was NOT worth the experience. Also we had missed the 1st 3 bands for that!! Back at the festival everyone was shouting out "Wally". I have a strong recollection that this was a new tradition that datedback to a previous (recent) festival when someone was trying to find their dog - called Wally!! Anyway, we got to see saw Lindesfarne, Slade, Average White Band, Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Beach Boys, Rory again.

Monty Python was totally amazing - not just because of the Parrot Sketch, 5 minute Argument, Silly Walks etc. but somehow there was a massive straw fight, as by now the straw bales had dried out and it seemed like everybody was going laughing and agressive at the same time. Great fun.

The next day there was more rain and we got to see Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Status Quo, Don McLean, Humble Pie, Sha Na Na, then a long wait for Joe Cocker. I was more into Humble Pie but I thought Don Mc was great and Sha Na Na were great live. It was dark as we packed our tent then queued for a coach back to Lincoln. A train the next day to Birmingham then home to
Somerset for midday and a bath!!

David Brown


Photo © Ian Cater

Hi there,

Yes I can help a bit as I was in Tea and Symphony, that weird bunch of guys from Birmingham.

We played the Great Western Festival, Buxton on a couple of occasions (I think)

Regards and keep up the good work. Its amazing this computer thingy.

Over the past 6 months I have made contact with guys from Audience, Brewers Droop who I have not seen since we toured in the early 1970's.

Regards and keep it going

Pete Chatfield

Myself and 2 friends thumbed lifts from leeds to near the festival site where a pick up truck gave us and others a ride over the final leg.[ I presume to help keep the roads clear].The bands were absolutely great but the site was ankle deep in mud.Because of the rain some tents couldnt take it and some people had got bales of straw and made shelters from it {they looked a lot more cosy than us in tents]..

On the second day we went to the village to get bread etc, but it had sold out of everything drinkable and edible,so we walked all the way back with many others and as we were extremely hungry we joined the queue for the soup and bread the salvation army was giving out [a real life saver I thought at the time].The overall atmosphere was great and I saw nor heard any trouble whatsover .

Looking back now I have only happy memories of a wonderful 4 days enjoyed by all.


My mate and I were still only sixteen but, encouraged by seeing FAMOUS BANDS whilst reclining in the lovely local Lancashire mud of Bickershaw a fortnight or so before, we decided to go to this Lincoln Pop Festival do (where’s Lincoln then?). We hitched down through Cheshire, (surviving a lift from drunken lorry driver playing chicken with cars on a country lane), had to walk out of Macclesfield with our packs on, up the longest hill in the world, before getting a lift all the rest of the way, through the night, with a bloke and his girlfriend in a Moggie Minor (thanks whoever you were).

Got there, paid our money, got camped and found some other mates from Blackpool. Watched bands, had a laugh etc. Rory Gallagher sticks in the mind a bit – repetition?

For some reason my tent was outside the main enclosure and on the Sunday we’d been out to cook beans or something and were returning to the main gate when we heard a little shout and saw this curly headed youth seemingly half air-borne, bouncing across the field towards us with a big smile on. 'You want to buy a quid deal?” says youth. 'Hmm, maybe, let’s have a look'– inspect reasonable quantity of blackish lumps wrapped up like a sweetie in a Rizla. 'OK'– money and substance change hands and we head back to tent to skin up.

Just heating a bit of it in some foil when flaps of tent pulled open and deep voice says 'Alright lads, what you smokin’ in there?' Hauled outside while badge waving blokes in tweed jackets rifle quickly through our belongings and snatch up foil containing EVIDENCE. This is obviously a put-up job, a statistical exercise, a farce! If I ever see that lad again… However, unbeknown to plods I have 85% of stash clutched in my sweaty left hand and while they are emptying my rucksack I drop small package on floor, put my foot on it and press down. Arrested, processed, given choice of owning up or both being busted (nasty eh?) and eventually returned to site. Nobody at tent but – joy unbounded – stash where I left it!

Return to main site in time to find mates, tell story, receive massive cheers when stash revealed, get smashed and be entertained by Slade, Monty Python, Beach Boys. Hurrah!

As for the rest of the fest – I remember Don McLean being fairly indistinguishable from his overplayed records but Humble Pie (our faves), Sha Na Na (particularly the throat-clearing before the finale of 'Blue Moon') and Joe Cocker all being utterly amazing. I also remember passing the straw-strewn stage entrance and observing Stevie Marriott walking by, supported either side by two blond ladies in short skirts and uttering the immortal words 'D’yawanna see my ‘elicopta?'

Back home in Lancs I get a caution at the Police Station and promised never to do it again.

Yeah, right!

Neville D

Recollections :Part two

This site contains all relevant information we can find about this festival, known recordings, set lists,  bands who played, band personnel , time-line, articles , links to other sites dealing with this festival and oral histories of those who attended. Copyright of contributors work remains with them , please respect this and do not publish unless granted their permission.

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  we have been endeavouring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so I 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.

If you can contribute in any way, with tapes, reviews from the music press, photos or personal histories, please Contact us

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