That’s what the Bardney scene was all about…

This article from the Boston Standard of Friday 2 June 1972 may not be directly related to Boston Grammar School, nor is the school mentioned in it, but it is about the Bardney Pop Festival of that year, a festival founded by BGS old boy, Barry Spikings (BGS 1950-55) who went on to be a Hollywood Producer, winning the Best Film Oscar in 1978 for The Deer Hunter.

This clipping among others from the collection of Philip Johnston (BGS head 1970-78) can now be found in the Old Bostonian Association museum at the school.

There are a few short sections of the article missing, marked with […].

I don’t think the reviewer really appreciated the festival as much as we might hope and some of his comments will prove very controversial in hindsight, and maybe even were at the time.

The carnival is over. The Bardney pop circus has rolled up its canvas and left only the deep-rutted rubbish tip of Tupholme Manor estate and the memory of the half-hearted cheer when John Peel announced another festival to be held in August at or near the same site.
It would have been nice to have been able to say things like “the world came to Bardney at the weekend” but only the odd corner turned up. About a quarter of the unofficial pre-festival crowd estimates actually came.

But the general estimate of 50,000 was somewhere around the figure given by the organisers before the festival, and it was a manageable number.

Friday’s festivities were kicked off by Alexis Korner and his new band consituting [sic] ex-members of King Crimson. They played a solid opening set in high winds and showers. Instrumentally faultless, but not to everyone’s liking, maybe because of the weather, 

Real Blues 

Doctor Ross, the one-man blues band, who mostly works on the assembly lines of General Motors these days, doing only the occasional tour, was the second of the four Friday acts. I missed most of his set while sheltering from the rain but he was well received by the plastic-sheeted audience, and […] another set on Saturday and he really ripped it out for one of the best sets of the first two days. 

Gallagher enjoys his work so much and he feeds his enthusiasm to the crowd.

Saturday’s bill had a lot of high spots to choose from. The rain came down again in the morning and Nazareth’s “roadies” were screaming to the band not to touch their microphones which were “live”. They had to back off for the last two numbers and turn them into instrumentals.

Head, Hands and Feet, closely followed by Wishbone Ash, played magnificent sets in much drier weather which held out for the rest of the day. Both were much appreciated by a wind-dried crowd who needed something to get them over the rain and the insipid roxy music and locomotive GT. 

Heavy Line-up

The Strawbs, with a heavy line-up, gave a nice selection of sounds to a now de-plasticated audience who were just beginning to get into the right frame of mind to appreciate some music. Not that festival audiences are truly appreciative. They are mostly just good handclappers shouting for the quieter bands to get off stage. But when they’re feeling warm and dry, anything goes. 

Then we came to the crux of the day – Stone the Crows and The Faces.

This was Stone the Crows first appearance since Les Harvey was electrocuted on stage in Swansea nearly a […]

Brewers Droop played some good-time funky music mixed with much bawdy humour. The music was happy and smiling but the humour degenerated in their last number.

Spencer Davis made his first appearance in Britain for two years accompanied by the superb pedal steel guitarist, sneaky Pete Kleinow, formerly of the Flying Burrito Brothers. He was poorly received by a crowd knowing nothing more than heavy walls of sound, but we were treated to one of the nicer sets of the festival with a beautiful balance of country blues and country rock.

Then we had some magic. The Incredible String Band started it. Robin Williamson’s burring accent makes everyone feel relaxed and happy and their music adds to the sensation. 
Lindisfarne followed and it seemed that the entire poulation of Newcastle was there to greet them. They played one of the most enjoyable sets of the weekend.

The crowd went wild at the end and the ovation was deafening. 

The Average White Band were not memorable, but The Persuasions, without instruments, sang some marvellous harmonies despite a temporary break in electonics during the first number. 

Flying Circus

Slade, for some peculiar reason, brought the house down with their harsh sound. They even got two encores, and brought an embarrassed Stanley Baker on stage to say a few [words.]

Then we had a real treat. Three of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus did a set and brought roars of “more” at the end of their jokes. 

Last act of the day was the Beach Boys. They started badly with a lengthy tuning session but quickly had the audience on their feet with a mixture of their new, heavier style and the old surfing songs, plus some old time greats.

The final day was mostly dry and the acts were mostly very good. I only heard the last bit of the last Jackson Heights number but John Peel said it was a grand set, so take it from him,

Vinegar Joe was gutsy and rocked beautifully with Elkie Brooks ripping out the vocals.

Atomic Rooster were horribly tedious, but The Sutherland Bothers and Genesis were excellent, though scarcely apprectated. The semi-classical Genesis were too much for a hard rock audience. 

Funky Sound

Don McLean was little short of brilliant and surprisingly his beautiful guitar playing and lyrics were well received.

Status Quo were very loud and very ordinary. 

Humble Pie really socked it to them and now that Clem Clempson has joined on guitar to team up with Marriott they are one of the best little funky bands around. 

Sha-Na-Na did their usual thing – pure rock and roll and stage athletics and got the best reception of the festival, doing […].

Joe Cocker climaxed the weekend, and played a two-hour set. He went down well, but there was something lacking. Perhaps it was that so many people were leaving, or perhaps it was that memories of his old numbers have yet to fade to leave room for the new ones to come in. 

In any event, I left the arena after an hour and a half feeling very tired and not quite up to listening in depth.

Mike Cartwright

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