Various Artists Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present: Incident At A Free Festival

Label
Ace Records
Released
1st December 2023

Format Info

2LP with Signed Postcard
CD with signed postcard

“Incident At a Free Festival” is a tribute to the mid-afternoon slots at Deeply Vale, Bickershaw, Krumlin, Weeley, and Plumpton – early 70s festivals that don’t get the column inches afforded the Isle of Wight or Glastonbury Fayre, but which would have been rites of passage for thousands of kids. Bands lower down the bill would have been charged with waking up the gentle hippies and appealing to both the greasy bikers and the girls in knee-high boots who wanted to wiggle their hips. And the best way to do that was with volume, riffs and percussion.

Compiled by the venerated Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne, this is the heavier side of the early 70s they summarised on the acclaimed “English Weather” collection. There’s an air of menace and illicit thrills among tracks by Andwella, Stack Waddy and Leaf Hound (whose “Grower of Mushroom” album is worth well over £1,000). Bigger names include the rabble-rousing Edgar Broughton Band and kings of the festival freakout, Hawkwind. They are represented by the rare Ejection single.

For every mystical Tyrannosaurus Rex performance there was something like Atomic Rooster’s Tomorrow Night or Curved Air’s Back Street Luv to capture the spirit of the day and stir the loins of festival goers; the tracks on “Incident At a Free Festival” were inspired by both Chicago’s percussive wig-outs and the Pink Fairies’ anarchic spirit. The sounds were heavy and frequently funky, with a definite scent of danger. Their message was clear and simple: clap your hands, stamp your feet, hold on to your mind.

So, put on your wellies in your living room, drop the needle or fire up the CD player and enjoy.

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