Tag Archives: Festivals

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

May 10, 1969

Notts County Football Ground,

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

1969 festival #4

Although Nottingham was only a one-day festival, it advertised that it would have 12 performances during its 11 hours, about a third of that Woodstock thing a few months later.

Because I cannot find much specific information about Nottingham, as I had to do with Rockarama, 1969’s first festival, I will simply give some bios about the bands and include an appropriate YouTube video if possible.

Readers who have links or personal experience with the festival, please comment and I’ll adjust this post. Thanks.

Fleetwood Mac

This performance was one of many on their 1969 Mr Wonderful tour.  They had begun the year in Chicago at the Kinetic Playground opening for the Byrds and Muddy Waters. They would end the year at exactly the same place, but this time as a solo. Their schedule that year was grueling to say the least. Band members were Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green,  Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Danny Kirwan.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd. One Pink Floyd data site says that they were there on their The Man and the Journey tour, but that’s it.  Another has a setlist:

The Man:

  1. Grantchester Meadows
  2. Work
  3. Teatime
  4. Biding My Time
  5. Up the Khyber
  6. Quicksilver
  7. Cymbaline
  8. Grantchester Meadows

The Journey

  1. Green Is the Colour
  2. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
  3. The Narrow Way: Part 3
  4. The PInk Jungle
  5. Let There Be More Light
  6. A Saucerful of Secrets
  7. Behold the Temple of Light
  8. Celestial Voices
  9. (Encore) Interstellar Overdrive.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival


Beatle fans may remember that Decca Records had chosen the Tremeloes over them after their January 1, 1962 audition.  The Tremeloes went through various personnel changes by 1969, including the departure of Brian Poole whose name was originally part of the band’s name. Their style certainly fit the “Pop” of this festival’s name. (Call Me) Number One was one of their big hits in 1969. They are still performing, at least some of them are.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival


It was the Tremeloes who’d “discovered” the Gaylords and recommended the band to Peter Walsh, their manager. The first thing Walsh did was change their name. Not surprisingly, the name occurred to him during breakfast. The band gained a great reputation, but did not succeed financially. They stuck it out and decided to try a more commercial approach which worked when they covered, before the Beatles’ “White Album” release, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” It became a #1 hit in England. For American listener, it was their 1969 song, “Reflections of My Life” that is most remembered.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Georgie Fame

Fame was a successful musician well-before 1969.  He’d had several songs on the British charts.  His greatest chart success was in 1967 when “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” became a number one hit in the UK, and No. 7 in the US. Fame continues to play and has a long list of credits.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Love Sculpture

From AllMusic: A British blues-rock band of the late ’60s that, despite being very good, would normally be relegated to footnote status if it were not for the fact that the lead guitarist of this trio was the soon-to-be-famous Dave Edmunds. Like many similar bands of the times, Love Sculpture was really a showpiece for Edmunds’ guitar-playing talents (which on the first LP are considerable), and little else. The covers are well-chosen, slightly revved-up, but mostly reverent versions of blues classics. They had a fluke hit in 1968 with a cover of the classical piece “Sabre Dance,” rearranged for guitar. After two LPs, Love Sculpture split up in 1970. 

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

The Move

From AllMusic: The Move were the best and most important British group of the late ’60s that never made a significant dent in the American market. Through the band’s several phases (which were sometimes dictated more by image than musical direction), their chief asset was guitarist and songwriter Roy Wood, who combined a knack for Beatlesque pop with a peculiarly British, and occasionally morbid, sense of humor.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Keef Hartley Band

Drummer Keef Hartley had been a part of John Mayall’s band before Hartley formed his own band in 1968. True to his humorous relationship with Mayall, the first track on the band’s premiere album, Halfbreed, is called “Hearts and Flowers” in which there is a tongue-in-cheek phone call in which Mayall fires Hartley.  As any Woodstock alum knows, the band played at Woodstock, but is one of the lesser known bands who did.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Status Quo

From AllMusic: Status Quo are one of Britain’s longest-running bands, staying together for over six decades. During much of that time, the group was only successful in the U.K., where they racked up a string of Top Ten singles over the decades. In America, the Quo were ignored after they abandoned psychedelia for heavy boogie rock in the early ’70s. Before that, the band managed to reach number 12 in the U.S. with the psychedelic classic “Pictures of Matchstick Men” (a Top Ten hit in the U.K.). Following that single, the group suffered a lean period for the next few years before the band members decided to refashion themselves as a hard rock boogie band in 1970 with their Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon album. The Quo have basically recycled the same simple boogie on each successive album and single, yet their popularity has never waned in Britain. If anything, their very predictability ensured the group a large following.

The band continues to tour and has an informative site. Here is a song from 1968 because it is more familiar to some American listeners.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Duster Bennett

Definitely reflecting the blues in Nottingham’s day,  Anthony Bennett was born in Welshpool, Wales in 1946, and in the mid-60s he relocated to London to study. There was a flourishing Blues club scene in South-West London and soon he began playing there as a one-man-band, billed as Duster Bennett. His skill as a harp player got him some session work, as the Blues sound of The Stones and The Animals meant that even mainstream pop records often had a taste of ‘Mississippi Sax’. In the clubs, Duster sounded a lot like a loose-limbed Jimmy Reed as he played guitar with his harp held in a neck-rack and a bass drum/hi-hat combo, and in 1967 he was signed to Mike Vernon‘s Blue Horizon label. His first album, ‘Smiling Like I’m Happy’ featured help from Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, and songs by Jimmy McCracklinMagic Sam and Juke Boy Bonner alongside his own material. Duster was a popular act on the Blues scene, with club and concert gigs almost every night, where he was often joined by his girlfriend Stella Sutton on backing vocals, and he opened many tours for visiting American Blues stars. [from All About Blues Music site]

After performing with Memphis Slim on 26 March 1976, in Burslem Stoke on Trent, Bennett was driving home in a Ford Transit van in Warwickshire when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The van collided with a truck and Bennett was killed

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Dream Police

From the Rocking Scots siteA very adventurous band in the numbers they covered such as Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carrie’ and Traffic’s ‘No Face, No Name, No number’. The band quickly became one of Scotland’s bigger crowd pullers

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Van Der Graaf Generator

From AllMusicAn eye-opening trip to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury during the summer of 1967 inspired British-born drummer Chris Judge Smith to compose a list of possible names for the rock group he wished to form. Upon his return to Manchester University, he began performing with singer/songwriter Peter Hammill and keyboardist Nick Peame; employing one of the names from Judge Smith‘s list, the band dubbed itself Van der Graaf Generator (after a machine that creates static electricity), eventually earning an intense cult following as one of the era’s preeminent art rock groups.

The band, as many bands, had and would undergo many personnel changes and is still active.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Introduced by…

You will see on the promotional poster that John Peel, Ed. Steward did the introductions.

John Peel

From a BBC site:  John Peel was one of Britain’s most loved broadcasters.

With a whiplash wit, a dry delivery and a total adoration and love of music in all its forms, Peel was a true one-off.

There was more to John Peel than spinning discs, curating the famous Peel Sessions and supporting bands with names like You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath and Napalm Death.

You may not know that he ‘did time’ in the army and he battled bullies at a posh boarding school. Glad to say he came out on top and with a healthy disregard for authority.

Ed Stewart

From a BBC site: He was one of the first presenters on Radio 1 when it launched in 1967, and went on to become a regular Top of the Pops presenter in the 1970s.

He was a regular Radio 2 presenter for 15 years, and during that time broadcast from the summits of Ben Nevis and Snowdon, Mount Vesuvius volcano in Italy, and also live from the Falkland Islands.

Nottingham Pop & Blues Festival

Next 1969 festival: Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival

1969 Harlem Cultural Festival

1969 Harlem Cultural Festival

later known as the “Black Woodstock”
Mount Morris Park, NYC
1969 festival #18

Forty-two 1969 Festivals +1

June 29 – August 24, 1969: consisted of six free Sunday afternoon concerts held between June 29 and Aurgust 24. The  total attendance was some 300,000 people.

Held in Harlem at Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park), it was a self-consciously urban affair, a concert series rather than a one-off, and already in its third year. The New York City Parks Department and Maxwell House co-sponsored the series.

The festival was hosted and promoted by the effervescent Tony Lawrence, a New York night club singer. [NYT article]


June 29:

  • Abbey Lincoln
  • Edwin Hawkins Singer
  • George Kerby
  • Olatunji
  • Max Roach
  • Sly & the Family Stone
July 13:

  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Staple Singers
  • Herman Stevens & The Voices of Faith
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson & the Operation Breadbasket Band
July 20:

  • Stevie Wonder
  • David Ruffin
  • Chuck Jackson
  • Gladys Knight & the Pips
  • Lou Parks Dancers
July 27:

  • Mongo Santamaria
  • Ray Barretto
  • Cal Tjader
  • Herbie Mann
  • Harlem Festival Calypso Band
August 17:

  • Nina Simone
  • BB King
  • Hugh Masakela
  • Harlem Festival Jazz Band
August 24:

  • La Rocque Bey & Co.
  • Listen My Brothers & Co
1969 Harlem Cultural Festival


New York’s affiliate television station WNEW Metromedia Channel 5 (now FOX) broadcast hour-long specials of the footage on Saturday evenings at 10:30 PM in June–August 1969.


In October of ’69, writer Raymond Robinson took to the pages of the New York Amsterdam News. He said that the world would lionize Woodstock, and forget about Harlem. “The only time the white press concerns itself with the black community is during a riot or major disturbance,” he wrote of the shows, which had taken place during an eight-week period without a single report of violence.

Summer of Soul” 

Producer Hal Tulchin filmed the full concert series,  but studios turned down his offers to sell the footage. The reels sat in Tulchin’s basement for a half century until his death in 2017, when producers David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent obtained the never-before-seen footage. They brought it to The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, who made his directorial debut with  “Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) in 2021. The movie premiered on January 28, 2021 at the virtual Sundance Film Festival.

From a USA Today article, Questlove said at a post-screening  Q & A: “I instantly kind of scoffed. I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I know everything that happened in music history. There’s no way you’re going to tell me this gathering happened and no one knew about it.’ But sure enough, that was the case. Once they showed me raw footage, I just sat there with my jaw dropped, like, ‘How has this been forgotten?'”

Questlove won the Grand Jury prize and the Audience prize in the nonfiction category of the festival.

1969 Harlem Cultural Festival

My Viewing

On July 1, 2021, I was able to see the film. By July, various news media had  covered the film’s forthcoming general release.

Even with those previews, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A concert film can simply be that: a selection of performance.  The movie Woodstock won an Oscar for Best Documentary because not only did it show many outstanding performances, it told the story of the event as well.

Summer of Love does the same thing and in some ways in an even broader way. Woodstock the movie is not particularly political. That a half million young people, most of whom were likely against the Vietnam War, for the use of cannabis, against the status quo, and other counter-cultural views and behaviors, gave the movie a political subtext.

Summer of Love is overtly political and often includes footage of the civil rights movement and the plight of Harlem’s residents. Because the festival overlapped the USA’s successful landing on the moon, even that event is referred to. The views of Harlem’s residents stand in stark contrast to the general awe and praise by white America.

Woodstock alum can be understandably enthralled with the event and the movie. I’ve met dozens of people who say they were there and how great an experience they had but from their observations weren’t actually there and even move who say they wish they’d gone. There is a lot of emotional investment in the event and to deny its historic significance would diminish their own self-worth.

Summer of Love does not demean Woodstock, but does demonstrate the power of live performances in general and the power of live Black (as well as Latino) performances in particular. I kept thinking while watching Summer of Love, “The reaction of Woodstock’s attendees would have been astounding to this performer had Woodstock Ventures invited them to the festival.”

After the viewing, my parting attempt at a pithy headline was, “I’ll put up Mahalia and Mavis to any Woodstock performance.” And there were many others as well, including Stevie Wonder, The Staples Singers, BB King, Nina Simone, well, just go back up to the list above.

By the way, those Black performers were touring that summer and some of their gigs did sometimes include other festivals.

Go watch the film.


On March 27, 2022, Thompson’s Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) won the Oscar for Best Original Documentary at the 94th Academy Awards. His directorial debut won over AtticaFlee, and Writing With Fire. He shares the award with producers Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein.

“This is such a stunning moment for me right now, but it’s not about me,” Questlove said. “It’s about marginalized people in Harlem that needed to heal from pain. Just know that in 2022, this is not just a 1969 story about marginalized people in Harlem.” He took a pause, saying he was overwhelmed by the moment.

1969 Harlem Cultural Festival

Next 1969 festival: Newport Jazz Festival

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

September 14, 1969

Toledo Raceway Park

1969 Festival #43

From the Pizza Don’t Go Bad site:

Four short weeks after Jimi Hendrix closed the generation-defining Woodstock Festival with a soul-stirring, whammy-bar laden performance of the Star Bangled Banner, Toledo fans got a homegrown opportunity to air out their freak flags courtesy of the daylong Toledo Pop Festival.Culled primarily from the S.E. Michigan/N.W. Ohio axis of high-energy rock’n’roll, the day’s slightly disparate line-up featured a virtual who’s who of Rust Belt axe-slingers: Brothers Wayne Kramer and the late-great Fred “Sonic” Smith from the MC5; Ted Nugent from the Amboy Dukes; The Frost’s Dick Wagner, who would later go on to co-write, record, and tour extensively with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, among others; Ron Koss of Savage Grace; Gary Quackenbush of SRC; Steve Correll of The Rationals; and, the soon-to-be-known-as “Leather Tuscadero” in the persona of one Miss Suzi Quatro, performing bass, vocal and jail-bait duties for the Pleasure Seekers, a band consisting chiefly of her brothers and sisters.

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

PDGB wonders if the concert promoter’s somewhat curious decision to place feel-good hit-makers The Turtles atop a bill filled largely with outfits known for their aggressive, potentially incendiary histrionics was -at least in part- a conscious decision intended to serve as a musical blow-off valve, The Turtles cheery melodies and infectious lyrics helping to ease the attendees transition from frenzied jam kick-outing to the parking lot slough that awaited them. Then again, maybe they just needed a big name to sell some tickets.

Either way, we’re sure the inevitable twenty minute-plus live rendition of “Happy Together” didn’t go unnoticed, reshuffling the synapses of numerous first-time psychedelic users so completely that even now, some forty-years later, the simple act of hearing said melody errantly whistled by passerby is capable of triggering intense psychotic episodes of such severity that even immediate medical attention followed by years of therapy can’t guarantee the return of normal brain activity. Way to go Boomers!

Held at Toledo Raceway Park (which we assume is the Horse racing facility of approximately the same name that still stands in North Toledo today) the $5.00 admission ($4.25 Advance) was an unbelievable bargain, even adjusted for inflation. 

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival: Gold Rush Festival