Who remembers the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music?
It was a mega-musical event – held in June, 1970 at the Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallet – and boasting perhaps the greatest UK music festival line-up of all time.
The headliners were Led Zeppelin – who were apparently paid £20,000 for their performance – and they shared a bill with the likes of Canned Heat, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds and Colosseum – amongst many others.
The whole wonderful week-end organised by a trailblazing rock promoter called Freddy Bannister- who died last year aged 84.
He was also the mastermind behind the Bath Festival of Blues in 1969 and he inaugurated the regular festivals at Knebworth House that have earned it the nickname ‘the stately home of rock.’
Freddy’s Bath festival was said to have inspired Michael Eavis to create his own version at Glastonbury.
You might like to know that a rare and well-preserved poster for the Shepton Mallet gig was recently sold on-line via the Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham. It realised £2779.48 including the buyers premium.
Martin – at the auction house told me –
“The poster was found by myself when the seller brought in some vinyl records to sell and mentioned that he had a few “old posters in the car that probably weren’t worth much.
There are various versions of this poster and this one is actually considered less desirable by some as it has Led Zep as the headline act – whereas earlier versions had them second on the bill.”
Not a bad profit for an old poster in the boot of a car eh?
The Bath and West event was of course held during the same summer at the Isle of Wight Festival which ‘Yours Truly’ attended. I asked Martin if a programme from the event would fetch anything near as much at auction.
He told me:
‘We have sold the Isle Of Wight programme for £60-80 on numerous occasions.’
Think l will hang onto it.
Going back to the late Freddy Bannister and his links with out city. Apparently he had a long association with Bath Pavilion and back in 1963 even booked The Beatle to play there!
NB. Feature image was taken by me at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight in 1970!