Saturday, 10 May 2008

Bickershaw Festival remembered after 26 years

26 years ago I spent my birthday at the Bickershaw Festival which ran from May 5 to 7 in 1972. This interesting fact was brought to my attention recently when I was told about the DVD of the Bickershaw Festival!

Twenty-six years on there are still people that remember! People that remember enough to produce a DVD. There are people that devoted web-sites to the festival. It must have been a life changing event - at least for some!

There was plenty of music of quality to look back on. Unfortunately the technology then was very different to today's technology. Today I could do a better job of filming and recording a concert on my cell-phone! If you wanted something filmed or recorded properly in those days you needed crews of professionals with bulky and expensive equipment.

So my brother's verdict was 'disappointing'. Sound was poor. Images were poor. Unfortunately it doesn't really add up to all that much - but for anyone who was there, or who wants a glimpse of life in the underground of 1972 then try to check it out! The world is a very changed place and no-one today would put up with the conditions then.

The lineup was impressive and included The Grateful Dead, Dr John, Donovan, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band and many more.

The media had predicted a mud-bath, and with a venue near Manchester that boasts the wettest climate and 4 days (!!*!!) of sunshine per year, they could hardly have got it wrong!

I managed to procure a tent and arrived early. Once the tent was pitched we made our way onto the festival grounds. The ground was already quite muddy. A number of entrepreneurial types had taken it upon themselves to sell large polythene sheeting and weather-proof disposable sleeping bags. These provided us with warmth and shelter for the three days of mud, rain and music.

By the time the first night's music had finished in the early hours of the morning the tent had become history - a figment of my imagination never to be seen again. In fact it wasn't needed - there was very little time between one artist and the next.

We slept in the sleeping bags and stood under polythene day and night. Saturday's music finished at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. As far as the food goes I don't remember eating at all! Perhaps I survived for three days and nights without food. Who knows.

For more information check out Mole Express with some great coverage!

The festival has never been repeated. Poor organisation and controls resulted in the promoters losing a lot of money. The locals were not happy about the 40,000 hippies streaming across their land. The weather proved to be a hindrance. But the festival is still remembered as one of the high points in British music festivals.

Finally we get to the cost of the event. £2.50. Yes, that was what it cost to see about 20 of the world's top rock bands then. Even in those days it was a price that anyone could afford! Today's concerts require a mortgage!

1 comment:

GeologyJoe said...

Sounds like it was a good time.