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


        Hollywood - The Way We Were. Pt 2.

Farmer Ted revisited.
    Those who attended the festival are bound to remember the farmer who rented the field to the organisers. Ted is still going strong and he reminisces with the local newspaper about his role in presenting the festival.

  Thirty years ago, Traders in surrounding villages sold out of barbed wire and mesh fencing as residents protected their homes against a feared invasion of hippies and drop outs from the pop festival. Despite opposition from different quarters including councillors, the local MP and neighbours ,the event went ahead. 

  An estimated 45,000 music fans converged on the 30 acre field at Ted Askeys farm at Finney Green to rock to greats such as Black Sabbath, air Force, Traffic and Free.

   The organisers erected a 10 ft fence , costing some 3000 pounds ,to keep the flower bedecked hippies and the rest of the fans on the site.,  And despite the crowds , in the aftermath of the open air extravaganza , police reported a trouble free weekend and ambulance men dealt with 10 cases of drug overdoses...
   The two day festival had been one of peaceful music making , said the organizers and fans alike. Farmer Ted - as he became known -gave up farming in the early 70s and is now 83, . He still lives in the Madeley area with his wife Margaret, who is three years younger.

   Over the years , he has steadfastly refused to disclose how much money he was received for the weekend rental of his field from the festival organisers, the London based Red Bus Company. Throughout the controversy  he maintained a sense of humour and still does when he relates memories of that weekend.
   "I found twelve odd shoes in the field after the festival so there must have been twelve people, somewhere wandering around with only one shoe on. The field was a natural amphitheatre because there was a flat two acres at the bottom that was surrounded by an embankment, it was the perfect place for  a pop festival. I remember the organisers bringing the blind guitarist Jose Feliciano on the site in a Jaguar on the Sunday night. "

   Farmer Ted was on the festival site throughout the weekend and  even became a temporary hippie. He was taken on the stage at the end of the event and thanked for allowing his field to be used for the event . Fans clapped and cheered him for several minutes.

   Ted remembers ,
"It all came about because I used to collect pig swill from Keele University. Some of the student s came to the farm and told me about the festival idea. Then the Red Bus took it over . I thought it would be a bit of a concert. I didn't realize that it was going to be a big event at the beginning ,but there was very little trouble apart from the fans  burning every piece of wooden railing they could find for their fires. They drank the Crewe Arms pub in Madeley  dry and local shops did very well out of the event . "

   Ted was bemused by some of the sights he saw that weekend .
"Some of the fans were high on drugs . Half of them were in rags , damn long coats dragging on the floor . There were people there from America "he says .

Meanwhile life back at the farmhouse was continuing as normal for Margaret and the rest of the family.

"I remember seeing a lot of people walking up and own the lane  but we didn't have anyone trespassing into the garden. They didn't do any damage. I went to the site once , saw all the crowds and went back home .The weather was fine that weekend, if it had been wet it would have been a washout."

   Local girls recollect their visit to the festival.

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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