When Pink Floyd and The Who played at Plumpton

ROUSER’S article on February 18 about the possibility of reviving the Plumpton Jazz, Blues and Pop Festival – which died in 1970 – has generated a great deal of interest.

Said local man Kevin March: “Reading your article on the festival, I thought you would be interested to know that I am the proud owner of the original flyer from the 1969 ninth festival.

“The line-up included Pink Floyd on the Friday, The Who on the Saturday and The nice on the Sunday. Other acts included, Yes, The Family, Chicken Shack, Fat Mattress, the Bonzo Dogs and many others.

“I attended the Saturday performance at a cost of £1!”

And Newhaven man Ian Everest said: “I was at both festivals that took place on the racecourse in 1969 and 1970.

“Prior to arriving at Plumpton the annual festival had led a fairly nomadic existence. It started in 1961 at the Richmond Athletic Sports Ground in Surrey and stayed there until 1965. It then moved on to Windsor Racecourse in 1966 and 1967 and then Kempton Park Racecourse in 1968.

“It was originally planned that the 1969 festival would take place at West Drayton in Middlesex but the local council refused permission to use the site, and at late notice Plumpton was given the go-ahead.

“Unlike the massive stages of the current festivals, the Plumpton stage was very small and seemed to made of scaffold tubes and tarpaulins (see picture).

“The late notice of setting up the stage and sound systems led to power problems on the Friday night and Pink Floyd finished their set in the early hours of Saturday morning – I would think well past the licenced time.

“On Saturday, the Who played the rock-opera Tommy. I believe it was the first time they had performed it live. Roger Daltrey adapted the words for the 20,000 or so people who were listening when he sang: ‘From Soho down to Plumpton I must have played them all.’

“The 1969 event went off well and I don’t remember any problems occurring. So back we went in 1970 to see it again. We were fortunate to be there as the Hove MP who lived in Plumpton and five other people had gone to the High Court and asked for an injunction to stop it on the grounds that it was a nuisance, damaging, annoying and a disturbance.

“After another superb weekend of live music, we all made arrangement to return the following year.

“Unfortunately, that was to be Plumpton’s final festival – the organisers felt that it hadn’t exactly been welcomed by the good folk of Plumpton and didn’t want another confrontation in the High Court. In 1971 it moved to Reading and it’s still taking place there.

“So sorry Mr Rouser, I don’t think you’re going to get it back to Plumpton. You’ll just have to join me at Glastonbury – and I’m not the oldest person there!’’

Rouser believes there’s still hope for Plumpton. People these days are more used to outdoor events. Bring back the rockin’ oldies.