Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

1967 – The Summer of Love and the Very First Rock Festival in The World

Around this time of year, more or less fifty years ago, began the Summer of Love. Out of those who were there, who can remember whether it was Mick Jagger or Harold Wilson that said: “If you can remember the sixties you weren’t there”? That’s if it wasn’t John Lennon. Or maybe it was Doctor Timothy Leary? Remember him? Of course, you don’t. For the life of me, I can’t remember, so I must’ve been there.

Sorry, for the inconvenience but, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary, this article has been slightly re-edited and re-published elsewhere on the site. The full experience can now be enjoyed by clicking onto this link. It’s well-worth the extra effort.

11 comments on “1967 – The Summer of Love and the Very First Rock Festival in The World

  1. Bernard Knight
    July 3, 2016

    I’m not sure how I arrived at this post, but I’m glad I did. The best thing I’ve read on ‘t www for some time. The combination of local trivia and momentous music is a joy to behold.


  2. Vince 'Ozzy' Osborn
    November 5, 2015

    Yes I was fortunate enough to be there to, seventeen at the time. We had got tickets through mates at The Burlesque, Leicester’s great all nighter as mentioned in Family’s song of the same name.
    There was a coach load of us as I recall. When we got there it was a fight to get in as hundreds had turned up without tickets. We eventually battled through crowd outside and made it into the gig, a huge metal shed with a band on stage we had never heard of. In fact I remember us saying earlier when we looked at the poster ‘who’s this Pink Floyd, wish it was Eddy Floyd’, as most of us were predominantly soul fans at the time.
    Their light show and sound impressed me and later that year I brought Piper at the Gates of Dawn the first week of it’s release and played it non stop, much to the initial derision of many of my mates.
    Zoot Mooney was solid and the Move a superb live band.
    By the time Cream took the stage I had elbowed and weaved my way to within roughly three equally sweaty folks from the front of the stage. The PA system wasn’t the best, being that close more than made up for it though.
    Great to hear Jack and Ginger again, as I had been fortunate enough to see them a couple times with the Graham Bond Organisation and now this time with ‘slowhand’, they were brilliant.
    By more great fortune were I had landed up in the sea of rockin rollin humanity when Hendrix eventually took the stage, he was standing right in front of me, well about five metres away. Ha!
    With teeth, claw, fire and majestic dexterous elegance, sonically spell bond we were as you would have been.
    Although I had on a couple of previous occasions seen and immensely enjoyed Geno and his fantastic show band I don’ t recall his closing show that night, must have been still spell bound by the ‘Experience’. Thanks for creating the opportunity to share some wonderful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      November 5, 2015

      Great times! Talking of Family, Charlie Whitney was a very good friend of mine at the time and we used to go to a lot of gigs. We even met up at the Blind Faith gig at Hyde Park. Rick Grech was playing bass, of course, so Charlie got to to go back stage to mingle with the famous.

      I wrote a bit about Charlie and some more Leicester bands of the the 60s here: Old Bones put Leicester on The World Map


      • Vince 'Ozzy' Osborn
        November 5, 2015

        Enjoyed your ‘Old Bones put Leicester on The World Map’ article which triggered more reminiscences.
        Richard 111’s grave was found on the other side of a playground wall I bounced a ball off as a kid at Alderman Newtons School.
        Rick Grech played with my brother Martin in his first band the Berkeley Squares before he left to join the Farinas/Family.
        I recall my brother helping Rick learn to play the guitar as he had previously only played the violin, when they started practising at our house.
        Another Leicester lad of musical fame not given mention here yet – Pick Withers (Dire Straits) a mate for years before I moved down under and we subsequently lost touch.
        Great to learn Mick Pini is still playing the blues, had some hilarious visits from him when I had a flat on the Melton Road. One day he scared the crap out of the passengers on the top deck of a bus that had stopped outside our window, when his large frizzy tumbleweed head appeared above the window ledge complete with a gorilla mask that we had furnished him with.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. rangewriter
    October 20, 2014

    I was there, but not THERE there! Hmmmmmmm, let me think about what I just said.


    • Bryan Hemming
      October 20, 2014

      Sounds like you’ve been spending too many days on your own in the woods at mushroom-picking time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. colltales
    October 18, 2014

    So nice that you can say, I’ve been there. I always thought it was unfair to me, in a first world problem kind of way, that I wasn’t in this country, or England, when those guys were in their prime, or at least, alive and kicking and breaking guitars and notions about what music should be about. They were right, of course, but I suspect that to say that you only remember it because you weren’t there has to do with the fact that even those who were, either couldn’t remember the specifics, or had no idea which of the acts they were witnessing were going to become prime history, and which were never that great to begin with. Of course, there’s a lot of unresolved envy from my part when I say that. I admit it, I’m jealous when people that I now know tell me they were in Woodstock, or the Fillmore, or saw so and so playing in Greenwich Village. But, in my defense, I did track a lot of historical venues and places where my heroes performed, included Bethel, Haight-Ashbury (where I took a selfie with my two fingers up, in a love and peace kind of way. It was all decades later but so what?), Cafe WahWah, Village Gate, went to see Paul and Ringo and Pete and Eric and Mick & Co., and everyone I could, including Ella and Ray Charles and BB King, but not yet Little Richard or Chuck Berry (and so many others in my ever neglected bucket list). As for the expression, I’m not sure it was any of those you’ve mentioned who uttered it for the first time, but an ‘comprehensive,’ 2-minute Internet research should produce the author. And in the end, the love you take, and all that. Thanks for this post, Bryan.


    • Bryan Hemming
      October 18, 2014

      It was Robin Williams, but I had to look it up a few months ago. My friends and I just happened to be born, more or less, at the right time in, more or less, one of the right places. There were a lot of other bands we were fortunate enough to see over this period, and I intend to write more over the next few months. There are times I can hardly believe, who I saw, who I met, and even who I knew. Thanks, Wesley.


  5. Mick Reynolds
    October 17, 2014

    This article bought back some wonderful memories Bryan, I too was at this event in Spalding, it was actually staged in one of the massive bulb warehouses. What a line up though, where on earth could you go these days to experience that and all for a £1?
    The promoter, his name escapes me at present, was actually a Lincolnshire guy who put on many a concert around those times, what foresight he had!
    One other note, you mention Black Widow, Clive Jones, one of their founding members died yesterday, he’d been suffering from cancer for some time.
    Do you ever hear anything from Mick Kouzaris?
    Take care Bryan and keep up your writing of these historical events.


    • Bryan Hemming
      October 17, 2014

      The promoter was a guy called Brian Thomson. While writing this I thought I remembered seeing you there, and I seem to recall you being with a couple of the members of Legay, Dave McCarthy, might have been one. I didn’t include it because I like to be as sure as I can about stuff. That doesn’t mean I don’t get things wrong; it was almost fifty years ago!

      Mick Kouzaris and I have exchanged a couple of emails over the last few years, after I searched him out on the net. He writes just like he used to talk effin’ and blindin’ all over the bleedin’ shop.

      Sorry to hear about Clive Jones, though he was one member of Black Widow I didn’t really know.

      Nice to hear from you, again, Mick. I’ll keep writing as long as people like you keep reading. Thanks!


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