The Archive.

updated Jan 2021

The Ninth National Jazz and Blues Festival.
8th-10th August 1969.
Plumpton Race Track.
East Sussex.

Probably the last year that seats were provided in the main arena. Looks like the Strawbs onstage.© Random Punter.

    In 1969 the Festival  relocated yet again and in fact had trouble finding a new home . Plans were made to move to West Drayton in Middlesex but the local council refused permission to use the site, so the venue was hurriedly changed to East Sussex , thus the changes made to the poster seen in the link below. This did not help with setting up the stage or equipment  and there were power problems on the opening night during Soft Machine's set - although this was attributed to a fault in the Soft's gear. This was further compounded by another break of over an hour due to lack of power , which led to Pink Floyd playing their set in the early hours of Saturday morning when a good part of the audience had gone to sleep. The weather was HOT, in fact the festival ran out of water at one stage - you can read more about this in the press accounts.


Ninth National Jazz and Blues Festival crowd

Photo courtesy Manfred Westphal

Oops, wrong site...

The usual flyers were changed at the last moment with a crude sticker giving the Plumpton details , this is one that got away....

Rare flyer for the festival at the original West Drayton site

    A modern day viewer might consider the order of some of the acts and the priority given to them on the poster as  really weird - I mean Fat Mattress out ranking the mighty King Crimson - but since we are looking at things in retrospect , its not really fair , as some of these bands were in their infancy at the time ( apparently Fat Mattress didn't show up in time to perform anyway ) 

  What is noticeable is that the festival organizers were still trying to squeeze in as many acts as possible in as short a time as possible- sets were still ridiculously short and it barely gave some bands time to warm up. The flip side to this was that the festival goer got to see many new bands for a very modest price and a lot of new talent obtained exposure to a large audience - and if you cut it, then you had a very good boost to your career, with lots of press coverage in all the major rock papers.

  The Menu below gives you access to all the info we have available to date. The local press accounts  are quite informative , but we could always do with more personal accounts , which bring the festival to life .

  The Marquee club handout and other pamphlets are courtesy of Wolfgang Fuerst and Pieter van der Wal, to whom we extend our heartfelt thanks. 


Breaktrhu at Plumpton

Photo courtesy Repfoto© 1969.

You can view many great photos of the acts here at


    I received this e-mail from drummer Richard Thomas, who played in the band Breakthru on Saturday afternoon who had this to say about the festival.

     "I loved playing that one. It was the first big festival I played at, Breakthru was a loud raucous group, playing a mixture of soul and prog rock. I remember we came on after a couple of pretty dreary acts... I can't be sure but looking it your timeline I suspect Roy Harper played in front of us. (He was pretty dreary) Anyway I remember that as soon as we started playing the press rushed forward taking lots of pics and the crowd was very happy to hear some noise! The band that really impressed me there was 'Yes'. I had never seen a band like them, their drummer Bill Bruford completely knocked me out, still one of my all time favourites to this day as are Yes themselves , for all their pretentiousness.

    Following that festival I used to go and watch Yes at the Marquee in London as often as possible. I was 'made-up' when later on Steve Howe (already one of my favourite guitarists) joined them, but lost interest after Bruford left and went with Robert Fripp. These days I am still a musician by the way, but nowadays I no longer drum. I have a studio at home, and I compose for TV and film... nothing on a great scale but it keeps things paid. "

(A photo of Breakthru at Woburn 67 can be seen here)

The site that never was .....


and this from Paul Gardner of Dry Ice who played Plumpton on the Saturday night


   Just stumbled across your site,much to my delight.I was one of the 2 lead guitars in Dry Ice who played an evening slot on the second stage on the sat.We,as far as I remember, didn`t suffer any equipment problems or power cuts and just wanted to finish our set so we could go and see The Who........who were great,as were the Bonzos.We spent most of the day in the bar (water only) as we were totally skint. Ran out of petrol on the way back to London.
I went on to form Pluto with Alan Warner from The Foundations and Terry Sullivan,our drummer,,joined Renaissance,so I am the only one of the 3 not to have had a no.1 hit. Happy memories........keep up the good work!!!!!!

Regards......Paul Gardner.

Steven Chibnall also was there

NJABF Plumpton 1969 all three days. This is pretty well covered in your newspaper reports. All I will add is that there was a lot of hostility towards the 'plastic hippies' who constituted the cast of Hair. They were booed off stage. Pink Floyd were a joy beneath the stars. I had heard King Crimson on the John Peel show and was looking forward to their set in the Marquee with great anticipation. I was not disappointed and the memory of Fripp sitting in black velvet beneath the white canvas is still one of my favourites.

very likely the last year the audience was seated.


Hi, Fantastic website, it brought back so many memories. Unfortunately I have forgotten more than I remember!

My mum had started going to festivals in 67, maybe she had got fed up with marching from Aldermaston to London with CND. She was friends with Ron Bartholomew, famous as the leader of the plumbers at the Marquee/NJF festivals that eventually became Reading. I think he got her a job running the left luggage tent which meant when we came in 1968 my sisters and I could roam free backstage. I also think she had some connection with Barbara Pendleton, but I don’t think she really knew where they knew each other from.

I went to the Sunbury festival in 1968, when I was 11. I saw Jethro Tull, Nice, Sonja and others that I can’t remember. During the Nice set I was warned to keep back from the edge of the stage in case Emerson pushed his Hammond off. Ian Anderson came on like a tramp with a scruffy plastic bag, scratching his head and muttering about Top of the Pops; all very bacchanalian for a young lad. After the Jethro Tull set I was taken to a big marquee, which I think was the Beer Tent, where I got some food and saw various names, particularly remember Glen Cornick and Sonja. All this gave me major bragging rights when I got back to school, although I suspect most people never believed the stories I told, particularly as my stories became ever more exotic over later years.

At Plumpton I was hanging around the Artist bar astounded to recognise John Entwhistle and John McVie standing around chatting and drinking. Thinking I would be tolerated longer if I made myself useful, I started collecting used glasses. Later I saw Keith Moon larking about for a Japanese journalist who was taking pictures of him holding his magazine. I put a half full beer glass down on a table to enjoy the entertainment when Keith sat on the table upending the glass and soaking his trousers. I legged it as he thrashed around swearing about this incident. I remember Keith played in long johns/shorts that evening, which Pete Townsend referred to as being because Keith had somehow lost his trousers earlier in the day. I also met and photographed several members of the Bonzos, I knew them from Do Not Adjust Your Set. If I find any of these photos I will forward them.

I remember watching Soft Machine (including Wyatts meltdown because of the power cuts) on Friday. On Saturday; Strawbs, Bonzos, Yes, Chicken Shack and The Who, who were fantastic. On Sunday I only remember Pentangle, Family and The Nice. I must have seen more but the brain cells have died..

Mike Smart



Hi - sorry, I don't have any tapes or recordings, but I was in the muddly little tent when King Crimson played, back in 69. If I'm not mistaken, they were preceded by Steamhammer.
Crimson were, indeed, mind blowing.

1969 Festival Menu
Known recordings of the 1969 Plumpton festival.
With set lists and recording details if available.
If you have any more details of tapes of the event then
Contact us

1969 Festival Menu
Known recordings of the 1969 Plumpton festival.
With set lists and recording details if available.
If you have any more details of tapes of the event then
Contact us


The early festivals.

You can find out the complete line ups of the first festivals if you follow the links below.

Festivals 65-83

Most of these have fairly complete documentation .

Richmond 1965
Windsor 1966
 Windsor 1967
Sunbury 1968
Plumpton 1969
Plumpton 1970
Reading 1971
Reading 1972
Reading 1973
Reading 1974

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