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Last update Jan 2021

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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971


Part of the vast crowd © Daniele Nurisso

    Weeley, although apparently attracting a very large crowd, (estimated to be 110,000 ), was one of those festivals that just seemed to have been ignored by the rock media. However, due to the kindness of the folks listed at the bottom of the page, we can now find out just who played and when. You can find out why the festival was held and some of the wilder goings on as related by the underground press.

Weeley stage © John Sellick

The arena © Adam Tailor

© Garry Bodenham

   Over the past few years we now have developed a very complete picture of the festival , and this has been largely due to you , the readers . We have received photographs of both bands and audience, a huge number of anecdotes , underground press accounts and many documents relating to the PA, stage and festival arena. An amazing contribution by fans and attendees , thank you so much for your efforts !

    During this time there have been several short TV documentaries on the festival and another is in the planning stages ,which has reminded many people of their time at the event . In addition we have also been able to feature some photos of the festival taken by Robert Ellis of Repfoto, which is a fantastic archive of rock photographs on the net , available for view and for purchase.

Right: Rod Stewart and Ron Wood onstage at Weeley .

Photo© R Ellis Repfoto 1971.


    The festival was projected by the Clacton Round Table in order to raise funds for charity . It was reputedly an alternative plan -normally they ran a Donkey Derby ! They probably should have just stuck with the asses , but I suppose they thought they might raise more money with a rock festival . There were problems with counterfeit tickets, as they were absurdly easy to copy and as you can see above from the advert they could be ordered in advance. The festival was not terribly well organised, toilets were primitive, consisting of a slit trench, with scaffolding suspended over the drop and a plank as a back , no doors - spartan in the extreme. There was a lack of facilities for preparing food and this led to people lighting rubbish fires ,which in the dry conditions , rapidly got out of control .

   However, it was no disaster either and apart from the fires and the skirmishes between Angels and piemen, it managed to deliver most of the acts in a fairly reasonable fashion and at least the local council wasn't offside , as at Phun City. In fact , this festival is held in high regard by many , judging by the number of posts we have had in response to the formation of these pages, more so than any other festival, apart from the Isle of Wight 1970.


Rare shot of the Weeley stage © Emagen


    Although many people think that the Wally chant started at Weeley, ( lets face it '"Wally of Weeley "just has certain ring to it ) we believe it began in 1970 at the Isle Of Wight Festival , as Roger Gray testifies .

The Wally saga started at the IOW festival the year before.  I was at both, and there must have been a fair number who were, so it's no surprise that the 'WALLY' chant started up again at Weeley.  At the IOW in '70, my fiancee and I were sitting next to a crowd from Yeovil - sometime during (I think) the second day, in a break between bands, one of them said to his mates "Is that Wally over there?", pointing at someone picking their way through the crowd about 50 yards away.  They agreed it was, and started shouting at him "Wally! Wally! Over here mate", etc.  Within a minute, we, and others around, joined in, all shouting "Wally - over here".  Soon, hundreds of people were shouting, and before the next band played, the chorus was taken up by thousands around the arena.  The irony is that our neighbours never got to talk to Wally, because there were so many people shouting out his name from every direction, he (if he even realised it was him they were shouting for) never looked in their direction.  So, as I said, with so many people from '70 IOW going to '71 Weeley, it's no surprise that the "Wally" shouts started again during the more boring moments.


Mungo Jerry onstage © John Sellick

Ernie Cole has another version

I've have just found your website and I notice the item regarding Wally. The story is correct- it did start at the IOW although I did not get to know Wally - but I do know he was Canadian. I know this as it was his two friends looking for him. They stepped over me and my pal Dave calling his name I asked 'what's the problem 'and their answer was ' we are lost and can not find our friend Wally' so doing the right thing we got out of our sleeping bags to give them a hand . The rest is history.

Ernie Cole

Other accounts from the IOW support this version, or instead of a person called Wally, the name applies to a dog, we have even had one guy claiming he was THE Wally, but he could not produce any corroborating evidence. Either way , the "Wally of Weeley" legend , is in some respects , a myth. Pity, as it makes nice alliteration....

The chant took a long time to wear thin , according to John E who wrote :

Just been reading about the Wally from Weeley/IOW chants. This was still going when I attended my first festival, Reading Rock, in 1983, don't know if it survived much later as I don't recall it at Knebworth in 1985....

John E


   A nice Weeley Festival report has survived in the BBC archives, and now is available for the world to hear, instead of gathering dust on a shelf. Have a listen to the sound footage here.

   Theres also an excellent page of Weeley Photos taken by a crowd member, this includes some very cool close-ups. All on one page though, so it may take while to download. Click on the photo on the left to view.

Updated Jan 2021

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Thanks to Celia Bouquet , Keven Herridge ,Rich Deakin , Garry Bodenham , Redrich, Bill Greenwell ,John Sellick, Kieran McCann, Lin Bensley ,Brian Nugent, Steve Cook , Bill Greenwell and Phil Jones for the donation of articles and pix that have enabled the construction of this site.

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