How Pink Floyd’s 1968 Lewes Town Hall show helped light up the Pan! Dripping Yarns with David Arnold

Lewes FC Pink Floyd poster
Lewes FC Pink Floyd poster

Eye-catching posters set the scene for matchdays at Lewes FC these days; and they don’t come much more imaginative than the latest one that’s promoting tomorrow’s Rooks v Margate game.

he poster is inspired by a Pink Floyd concert staged in Lewes Town Hall on Friday 19th January 1968. As a Lewes schoolboy at the time, I remember the buzz and excitement when a rash of fluorescent pink posters went up all around the town announcing the visit of this up and coming band with their amazing “1000 Watt Light Show”.

Pink Floyd had first caught my attention the previous year when they released a song called Arnold Layne.

Discounting Tony Blackburn’s famous Radio 1 dog, Arnold, my surname hadn’t featured on many pop songs up to that point so I was pleased with the publicity. Until I found out that the Arnold in question was a character notorious for stealing female underwear from washing lines!

Anyway, apart from it marking the 45th anniversary of this gig, you might be wondering where the connection comes with Lewes FC. I certainly did. But then I discovered the astonishing fact that the concert was actually staged as a fund-raiser for the Rooks, with the profits going towards buying the club’s first-ever set of floodlights.

Lewes fan Norman Ashdown came up with the idea. Still a regular visitor to the Pan today, back then Norman was on the football club’s management committee. In 1965 Lewes had won the County League title and earned promotion to the Athenian League. To progress further some serious ground development was called for, with the provision of floodlights soon becoming an urgent need.

As always, funds were hard to come by: step in music enthusiast Norman who thought that bringing big name bands to Lewes could be a route to making some serious money. As well as thinking up the idea, he did all the legwork, from booking the groups and the Town Hall to organising the publicity and bar.

Actually, Pink Floyd were not Norman’s first choice. He first tried for Jimi Hendrix but found the £700 asking price too high. Instead he got Floyd for £500. The band had released their first album Piper at the Gates of Dawn the previous summer.