Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bath's blues festivals

I'm not much a festival fan - but in my current Canned Heat phase I was caused to read up on some classic festivals and it's quite an interesting subject. Bath's Blues festival of 1969 was, if you like, Britain's Monterey with Led Zeppelin and the Nice stealing the show. This took place in Bath with the Pavillion acting as a backstage area with bands setting up in front of where the sport centre now stands. This was followed up the next year with a bigger festival at the Bath and West show ground Shepton Mallet and was the precursor of the concept that became Glastonbury showing movies like King Kong and having giant projections of the bands. Bath's 1970 festival had Zappa, Canned Heat, Floyd, Zep and many others but a log jam with band's equipment threw the schedule into chaos with Canned Heat playing 6.00 am Sunday morning instead of headlining. This festival even had its own Hell's Angel security and of course John Peel was present at both events. The fame of these key music festivals has suffered over the years as there is no one film record of it unlike the Isle of Wight, Hyde Park etc but if you want to see some great festival footage the weekend before the second Bath was the huge Dutch festival Kralingen which has the reputation of being Europe's Woodstock - there is a great film of it 'Stamping Ground' up in parts on Youtube featuring Canned Heat and an early Mickey Finn T Rex. The crowd scenes are what make these festival films - seeing people frollicking on a lake in what looked like giant plastic pyramid tea bags is a good antidote to this wet wintry weather.