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Madeley, Newcastle-under-Lyme,
May 23rd and 24th 1970.

    Music press accounts .

      All the chat about endless streams of superstars flocking to the Hollywood festival to sit in  with various groups turned out to be so much waffle. Not one turned up.
This may have disappointed a few but the vast majority of the crowd ( estimated at stem where near 45,000) was well pleased with the two days of good sounds. Records for 24 hours  a day and live acts for 14 hours a day.

     Nobody could have seriously expected Messrs Clapton , Townshend , Page, Jones and Plant to play together , so it wasn't that much of a shock when they didn't . America's over rated Grateful Dead had to make do without the benefit of Britain's best and accordingly suffered.

         The Dead have been together in one form or another for six years and I would have expected something better after all this time . They played for too long and became tedious with only occasional bursts of energy and little inventiveness  . Various numbers from their Live Dead album were played but this didn't prevent a string of people leaving the concert area for the village during their act.

    On the other hand , Screaming Lord Sutch and Heavy friends were a surprise hit . They had the job of opening the festival- not counting the Krishna team who went on earlier but they did not really count as a an act. Sutch began with Chuck Berry's  Roll Over Beethoven and then Don't You Just Know  It, during which two birds dressed as outcasts from St Trinians cavorted about the large and high stage.
His friends who couldn't really get into anything musically satisfying because of the nature of the act , kept up a  succession of rock numbers like Great Balls of Fire . For Jerry Lee Lewis's number Sutch lit a fire on-stage and almost ignited a giant structure which had been inflated in front of the stage . He also had smoke bombs set off in the audience which caused a minor stampede.

    Backstage all was orderly and peaceful . The omnipresent Jack Barrie did his usual stirling job of organizing the catering 15 hours a day , the stage managers kept everything going and Bill Hough looked after the sound expertly . The stewards were the epitome of cool and provoked no bad scenes which usually  mar festivals.

    Family went on stage to a fantastic ovation that had even the hardened journalists  climbing over scaffolding to see what was going on. Its about time this fine group got the recognition they so rightly deserve and Hollywood could be just what they needed. Family's Roger Chapman really does freak out on stage , waving his sweater round and round his head , rolling and rocking about  the stage , knocking the mike stand for six and shaking his bands about in such the manner of Joe Cocker . Strangely , none of this detracts from the music and if anything , makes it all the more exciting and original.

    The act consisted mostly of album tracks , A song For me being particularly good . The title song from the third LP , it raced along and included a nice section of violin playing by Johnny Weider and Rob Townshend excelling  on drums A first rate performance.

    The night got a bit cold and after a gloriously sunny day , people begin to really feel shivery . Lots of little campfires sprang up all over the place , with fans cooking bangers and things.
The police were wonderful, keeping themselves to themselves and being helpful rather than restrictive.

    One hell of a commotion broke out during Mungo Jerry's set . A group that I'd never encountered previously , they did a storm and had to be booked for the following day . They started off starting just like a skiffle group , but got into jug band music and country blues things , tearing the place apart. Rock Island Line and Midnight Special were both very good as was Dust Pneumonia Blues. The crowd kept yelling for in the summertime, the new single that singer and lead guitarist Ray Dorset wrote but things were going so well on the Sunday that the groups didn't want to slow the action  down and it was left to the disc Jockey to play it at the end of the proceedings.

    Substitute for the James Gang, Tony Joe White should have preceded Ginger Bakers Air force , but he followed them after all. When he went into John Lee Hookers Boom Boom , all seemed well, but after a time all his numbers began to sound the same and boredom set in. . He generated quite a bit of enthusiasm in the crowd but he appeared so, late that most people were very tired.

    Ginger Bakers Air Force played for about two hours and were phenomenal
Ginger is obviously the driving force and with his superb command of the drums, but the massive squadron on-stage with him generate a powerhouse of noise that really gets a the audience going .It took a little time to really get together but when it did it was tremendous.
Denny Laine recaptured a lot of the Moody Blues feel on I just Don't Want To Go On Without You and got a lot of loud applause- obviously a lot of Moodies fans about there. Bob Dylan's Million Dollar Bash had a new t treatment  that had Ginger going berserk and the newly married Graham Bond producing some fine sounds from his organ . Three girl singers provided excellent vocals that were too good to be called backings.
Rick Grech's You Look like you could use some rest. from the new album, had Graham on alto sax contrasting nicely with the brass. After the tepid reviews I've been seeing about the group , I was happy to see them all proved wrong .


     Sunday dawned bright , clear and hot . About 20, 00 fans were in front of the stage at 7;30 am to listen to the discotheque . I must point out that I wasn't up at that time but our insomniac photographer Stuart Richman was and he told me . John Robson who used to be one of the Nice's roadies and now works with Emmo's new group , was a smiling tower of strength backstage and peaceful publicist BP Fallon spread good feelings with his sincere happiness.

     Black Sabbath are basically a rock act but there's more than I hint of progression and all went well for them Tony Iommi is an amazing lead guitarist and proved his worth many times . None more than on Wicked World which was done as a deserved encore.

     What Ginger Baker did for air force so John Hiseman did for Colosseum . As with Ginger's band they took a little while to get going,. with  Jon and Dick Heckstall Smith doing stirling work. Things began to swing later on and it wasn't long before the musical fireworks began to fly.

     My Old mates Traffic were wandering around backstage during the afternoon and people were wondering what to expect now that Dave Mason seems to have permanently departed the ranks.

We were soon to find out .

    There were the familiar Traffic numbers like Medicated Goo and Forty Thousand Headmen , but a lot of new stuff that shows the groups present direction . Steve had obviously had some thoughts about folk and he introduced one number thus. we're going to try a folk song , its called John Barleycorn .
Jim Capaldi left his drums to join Steve at the centre mic . He  banged an tambourine and sang with Steve who was on acoustic guitar and it turned out to be a good song. A number called Every Mothers Son which is from the next album and one title called Who Knows what tomorrow may bring went down well.

   Mason is obviously missed - a bit of the heaviness is gone , but the sound is pure and exciting and still swings away as in days of old. Chris Wood drives along on tenor sax and flute capturing some delightful phrases and Steve roars about in fine style. Jim's drumming sounded even better than last time I heard Traffic and I'm sure they will soon be on top. And so to Jose Feliciano, what can you say about this man, His praises have been sung around the world and he proved Sunday night that he deserved every one of them.


THE HOLLY WOOD Festival, held last weekend, at Newcastle-under-Lyme, reached its peak around Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, the crowd reached about 10,000 in number and they braved the cool weather while placidly observing groups like Titus Groan. Later in the day, Family managed to arouse uproarious applause, followed by the success of Mungo Jerry. Tony Joe White was late in arriving and found himself standing backstage in what was then cold weather while Ginger Baker's Air Force banged through nearly three hours with the hillside population pleading for more. He went on following what should have been the close with a drummer that did not fit his style.

    Early Sunday morning, the hordes increased to nearly 30,000 and Colosseum took over the sunny afternoon with ease. The best reception of all the bands was ripped from the crowd by the Grateful Dead, who played for 3 hours and 10 minutes stirring even a dozen Hells Angels on police duty. In the dark, Jose Feliciano did an extremely good and lengthy set, followed by Traffic's shattering finale.

Right:, the crowd dancin' to the Grateful Dead

Hollywood festival menu

Many thanks go to Garry Marsh for his fantastic archival material which has enabled us to construct most of the site. Also to Martin Williams for his oral history and colour photo of the stage and site ,Simon Phillips for all the Grateful Dead archival material and Bob Colover for the film footage .

    We have been endeavoring 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.

  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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