Recalling the night when Pink Floyd came to Lewes

Psychedelic: Pink Floyd in 1967 with Syd Barrett second from left. Photograph by Andrew Whittuck
Psychedelic: Pink Floyd in 1967 with Syd Barrett second from left. Photograph by Andrew Whittuck

The 50th anniversary of an historic music event in Lewes will be celebrated in style next month.

It was on January 19, 1968, that Pink Floyd performed at Lewes Town Hall – and legendary founding lead guitarist and songwriter Syd Barrett played his last gig with the band.

It was also the beginning of David Gilmour’s career with a line-up that became one of the most commercially successful and influential in popular music history.

To commemorate the landmark year, Radio Lewes is to broadcast a special show featuring people who had involvement at the time.

Jenny Spires, Barrett’s girlfriend, will be a guest on the programme, talking about him and her recollections of Pink Floyd. The broadcast will also include people who promoted or attended the concert and the memories of that night from the original support band, Granny’s Intentions.

It will be available from January 12 and for at least a month afterwards on the internet on the Radio Lewes site www.radiolewes.org.uk

The anniversary will also be marked by an exhibition at Lewes Town Hall from January 15 featuring exclusive photographs of Syd Barrett from the Barrett family, and other memorabilia associated with Pink Floyd and David Gilmour.

Original concert-goers and others with memories of Floyd at the time are invited to contact Greg Taylor at gmtgst@hotmail.com or call 07751 790646.

A rash of fluorescent pink posters had appeared across Lewes announcing the visit of the up and coming band with their amazing ‘1,000 Watt Light Show’.

The concert was staged as a fund-raiser for Lewes Football Club with the profits going towards buying the first-ever floodlights at The Dripping Pan. Music enthusiast Norman Ashdown, who was on the club’s management committee, thought bringing big name bands to Lewes would make 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.

Pink Floyd were not actually Norman’s first choice. He first tried for Jimi Hendrix but found the £700 asking price too high. Instead he got Floyd for £500.

Syd Barrett, who died in 2006, was largely responsible for writing Floyd’s debut studio album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.