I don't do them anymore but the early 1970's were a real eye-opener

I’ve never done Glastonbury but yes, I did 1970 Isle of Wight, I celebrated my 15th Birthday there.


Older brother Eddie, Mick Sheehan and me hitched to the festival a week ahead and were some of the earliest settlers. We watched the site gradually fill, lived off tinned beans and just waited for Hendrix.
The Who were one of best bands, The Doors were a bore and ELP used a Moog live on stage which made me very happy.
I remember we took a walk to the cliffs on Saturday afternoon when the air was full of stuff I’d never heard before. I asked one of the guys camped on the high ground “Who’s this?” – the reply was curt “this is Miles Davis man” as if I should have known – I have never forgotten those sounds.


Weeley Festival was a year later and felt different.
Marc Bolan’s duo with Mickie Finn known as Tyrannosaurus Rex had sprouted into T.Rex and had dominated the teen music scene for months. The reception wasn’t good but Marc won the hostile crowd around and delivered a ripping set for a perceived ‘teeny-bop’ band.


Then, Barclay James Harvest turned-up with a full orchestra. They were brilliant but I now know how Robert John Godfrey (The Enid) was ripped-off and so now reflect upon this event with a different perspective.




Bickershaw, Wigan Lancs. 5th May – 7th May 1972
If only we’d known who organized this using a time machine into the 1980’s, this festival would have been an empty field. ‘Game for a laugh’ may linger as vague TV memory for most but its host, the late Jeremy Beadle was the man at the helm.
I’ve come to realize Jeremy Beadle was actually quite a fine and generous person, an avid collector of books and a ‘really nice bloke’, but come on Jeremy you created The Bickershaw Festival!
Jeremy 1971ish – “I’ve got this daft idea…..bear with me, how about we stage a rock festival on a former slag heap near Wigan next spring?” Yeh, Jeremy, it’s your round.
The tenacity of the Beadlemeister created something to behold – mud, mud, mud acts not turning up mud, mud rain, mud plastic sheeting, mud; then there was Dr John the Night tripper who gave us Ju-ju and glitter in the mud. Wishbone Ash were not scheduled but proved to be one of the top acts, then there was Hawkwind. Amongst the foul, muddy and slippery mess we watched Hawkwind rip it all apart and were transported to another place.
Not the most enjoyable of experiences but I’m glad I did it……hang on, I’ve just remembered the ‘High diver’ who had a pool near to the stage – the entry wave drenched all those nearest the stage and formed an even muddier mess.
Ahhhhh, memories.