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Great Festivals - I attended quite few festivals in the late 70's and then left it until 2011 to get that sitting in a field live music experience again.

Bob Dylan & the biggest Festival - 1978 was a busy summer for live music and I attended three festivals. The year was bookended with 60,000 at Knebworth on 24th June, featuring Tom Petty, Jefferson Starship (without Grace Slick, who'd been sent home in disgrace, due to her 'erratic behaviour') & Genesis.


Bob Dylan in 1978 with 200,000 people for 6

The Sevenoaks crew - I'm in the middle in shades
I was back at Knebworth with another 45,000 on 9th September to see, amongst others, The Boomtown Rats, Frank Zappa & Peter Gabriel. Between the two trips to Knebworth House, we had Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading and 200,000 others at Blackbushe Aerodrome on the 15th July.

Dylan was a must see, so a load of us headed up to Camberley. I'll be honest, I don't remember a huge amount about the day or the specifics of Bob's performance. It did take eight hours to get out of the car park and home and it was easily the biggest crowd I've ever spent a day with and of course I can say I was there and saw Dylan.

The stage viewed from our encampment Yes, that is Bob Dylan in the middle and I took it with a telephoto lens!


First Festival with Matt - 1st July 2011 - I live quite near the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood and over the previous few years they had had Dylan, Neil Young and an assortment of other old legends on the bill. I'd been tempted to go, but had never got round to it.
My son Matt, had started listening to the Eagles after I had bombarded him with a few of their tunes, including a live version of 'Take it easy' that I played in the car. It's introduced as: 'This is a song about the drive home'. The gig was to be a few day's after my planned 24-Hour time trial, the preparation for which had obsessed me for most of the year. The bill featured a healthy combination of old (my era) & new (Matt's generation) acts, so I suggested to Matt a bit of quality father & son time and sent off for the tickets - Just a cool £70 more per head than I had paid to see Bob back in 1978!

My legs were still pretty heavy from my previous weekend's exertions and I'd forgotten just how much walking about you do at a festival. The event was well organised and the sound was pretty good, with the exception of a PA failure in the middle of the nostalgic for me, 10cc (actually 2.5cc, as there was only one original member) set. I was pleased to see that there had been some improvements over the years, especially in the provision of toilets (nuff said) and there was plenty of choice of food & drink outlets. Everything was rather expensive and it all seemed a bit corporate & sanitised, but I suppose that's just me with my old hippy hat on.

Hop Farm Festival Programme - 1/07/11
Matt, honestly, this is what all guys in their 50's wear to festivals Step on it Joe - The Eagles rockin the fast lane - Photo: CM

Matt & I check out the Eagles at the Hop Farm Festival
Matt ready for his first festival complete with sheet-music for Wasted Time, just in case Don needed it?
Matt and a girl in cycling sunglasses The best view in the house I wonder which ex-Killers front-man is been blocked by this girl's hand
The Eagles arrived in their chopper (the only act to fly in) and duly opened with Hotel California.   They had a ten-piece band and delivered most of their standards in a very slick Hi-Fi kind of way.

I'm not sure what was missing, but they're even older than me, rather creaky and it just lacked the energy that so drove rock music for me when I was a young man. That's not their fault and they finished with Desperado (which was a highlight for Matt) and headed for their helicopter, whilst Matt & I trudged off and joined the queue to get back to the car and out of the car park. That worked pretty smoothly and we were soon on the open highway and 60 minutes later back home.

Matt & I visit the Press Tent
It was a much smaller festival than Blackbushe, with about 20,000 as opposed to the massive 200,000 that came to see Dylan in 1978. It was great sharing the experience with Matt and as Mick Jagger would sing, 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll but I (still) like It, Like it, Yes I do'.   Part 1: Great Gigs

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