Seven­ties’ pop fes­ti­val HQ now of­fers quiet life in the coun­try

Ban­quet House Farm is part of pop mu­sic his­tory and now it’s for sale. Sharon Dale talks fes­ti­vals past and present with its own­ers.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WOOD­STOCK with its free love, fab­u­lous acts and 400,000-strong crowd thrilled a gen­er­a­tion in 1969 and none more so than two mu­sic lovers from Hal­i­fax.

“Oh, to have been there for Joan Baez, Janis Jo­plin, the Grate­ful Dead and Hen­drix’s blis­ter­ing ren­di­tion of the Star Span­gled Banner,” they sighed over a few pints that be­came rocket fuel for an am­bi­tious plan – why not bring a bit of Wood­stock to West York­shire?

The en­ter­pris­ing pair, Derek McEwen and Brian High­ley, ar­ranged to rent 12 acres of land in Krum­lin, near Bark­island, for the week­end of Au­gust 14-16 1970, and be­gan so­lic­it­ing rock and pop’s big­gest names. The posters promised that The Who would head­line and The Pretty Things, Fair­port Con­ven­tion, El­ton John and Alan Price were dead certs.

The HQ for the York­shire folk, blues and jazz fes­ti­val, later known as the Krum­lin Pop Fes­ti­val, was Ban­quet House Farm, where the tak­ings were kept and the per­form­ers queued up to be paid.

The event didn’t go quite as planned, thanks to forged tick­ets, foul weather and gate­crash­ers, but mem­o­ries live on, and last year a mini fes­ti­val for friends and fam­ily was staged by Ian and Jeanette Hark­ness,

The cou­ple have lived at Ban­quet House Farm for the past 10 years and wanted to mark the 40th an­niver­sary of a fes­ti­val that Ian re­mem­bers well, as he was there in the midst of the may­hem.

“I and some other reg­u­lars vol­un­teered to help the land­lord of our lo­cal pub run the pub­lic bar at the fes­ti­val,” says Ian, who was 23 at the time.

“But, strangely, I didn’t re­mem­ber the house as I was in the field and saw it from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

“I only re­alised when a chap called John Whar­ton knocked on the door and told us he was re­search­ing a book on the fes­ti­val and that this place was the nerve cen­tre.”

Ian and Jeanette, who runs her own train­ing and de­vel­op­ment com­pany, Pos­i­tive Days, bought a part of pop mu­sic his­tory 10 years ago af­ter fall­ing in love with the house and its stun­ning lo­ca­tion.

“It was out of our price range but we agreed that we wouldn’t go on hol­i­day for a few years, which was fine as we thought liv­ing here would be like be­ing on hol­i­day ev­ery day,” says Jeanette.

The prop­erty has three re­cep­tion rooms and four bed­rooms and comes with an ad­join­ing barn, which has plan­ning per­mis­sion for a fivebed­room home. It is now up for sale as the Hark­nesses have de­cided to down­size, though they aren’t go­ing far,

“That’s the best bit. We wanted to down­size so we could do some trav­el­ling and thought we’d have to move away to a lit­tle cot­tage, but, luck­ily, we now have per­mis­sion to con­vert the sta­ble block,” says Jeanette, who doesn’t rule out hav­ing an­other mini mu­si­cal gather­ing.

“The tribute we had last year was for 150 peo­ple and we man­aged to get a cou­ple of the orig­i­nal Krum­lin per­form­ers, Zoot Money and Roger Sut­cliffe, to play. We all dressed up in ’70s’ gear and raised money for lo­cal char­i­ties. It was great fun and I’d love to do it again.

“The orig­i­nal fes­ti­val was a bit of a disas­ter but it is re­mem­bered fondly. It was a valiant ef­fort; if it had worked out, it could have been an­other Glas­ton­bury.”

Ian and Jeanette com­piled this rem­i­nis­cence of the Krum­lin Pop Fes­ti­val:

From that evening in the pub, in De­cem­ber 1969 ,when the or­gan­is­ers de­cided to stage a mu­sic fes­ti­val, plans pro­gressed. They se­cured a site, though lo­cal res­i­dents ex­pressed a view that the quiet coun­try­side around Krum­lin would be in­vaded by beardies and weirdies.

By July, how­ever, there were fi­nan­cial prob­lems. The “big name” had not been an­nounced de­spite the in­crease in ticket prices. The Who were ap­par­ently booked for a fee of £5,000, though this was de­nied later by their agents and they ap­peared at the Isle of Wight Fes­ti­val in­stead. Pink Floyd re­placed them for £5,000 and half was paid up front, but they never turned up on the day.

Many other names had been men­tioned, some prob­a­bly even ap­proached, and in­cluded Led Zep­pelin, Jimi Hen­drix, Ray Charles, Si­mon and Gar­funkel and Frank Zappa.

On the beer front, the per­form­ers’ bar, which proved to be the busiest place in the whole fes­ti­val, was to be run by Brian Wick­ham, of the Fleece, at Rip­pon­den, and the pub­lic bar by Jack Bunting, of the Up­per Ge­orge. Be­ing a cus­tomer of the UG, Ian Hark­ness vol­un­teered for bar duty.

Fri­day morn­ing dawned to clear blue skies and all seemed set fair for a good fes­ti­val. Sur­pris­ingly, no-one seemed to know which act was to kick off. Billy Con­nolly, a mu­si­cian then, formed half of a group called The Hum­ble­bums, along with Gerry Raf­ferty.

He sug­gested that if the or­gan­is­ers’ sec­re­tary would give him a big kiss, they would go on first. She duly obliged and the show was on the road.

El­ton John, who was on the brink of star­dom, fol­lowed, giv­ing an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance. Next was Ge­orgie Fame.

Fri­day evening be­come quite cold but things were go­ing OK.

Satur­day ar­rived to good weather, which car­ried on into the af­ter­noon. Pink Floyd didn’t show and The Move ap­par­ently ar­rived but did not get the chance to play.

How­ever, Fair­port Con­ven­tion, Atomic Rooster, The Pretty Things, Ralph McTell, Alexis Korner and many oth­ers did per­form.

Many artists wouldn’t per­form with­out see­ing some cash but there wasn’t any. The only two po­ten­tial sources were the gate re­ceipts and the per­form­ers’ beer tent. Reg­u­lar pa­trols were made around the turn­stiles and the bar till.

Per­form­ers made good use of this bar dur­ing the long pe­ri­ods of in­ac­tion with the un­for­tu­nate re­sult that many were very drunk if and when they ac­tu­ally went on stage.

Then, early evening, the heav­ens opened, winds be­came gale force and the tem­per­a­ture dropped dra­mat­i­cally. Bands played on un­til the early hours of the morn­ing but the winds be­came stronger and the crowds ei­ther re­treated to their tents, the beer tent or un­der plas­tic sheet­ing.

Alan Price and Zoot Money were the last to per­form. Man­fred Mann were wait­ing in the wings when it was fi­nally de­cided that con­di­tions were too dan­ger­ous to con­tinue.

The fes­ti­val fin­ished in the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing. The or­gan­is­ers lost a lot of money and the only peo­ple who made a killing were a com­pany who brought a load of plas­tic sheet­ing to be made into pon­chos, and the lo­cal farm­ers who towed cars off the site.

Dur­ing the night, the beer tent was in­un­dated with drenched and freez­ing fes­ti­val-go­ers and the main tent posts snapped, leav­ing peo­ple to tun­nel their way out. Many were seen with a pack of beer tucked un­der their arm as they dis­ap­peared into the dis­tance. The scene was one of dev­as­ta­tion and there were sev­eral re­ported cases of ex­po­sure.

“Yes, it was disas­ter, but I felt sorry for the or­gan­is­ers as most of the prob­lems were down to the weather,” says Ian. “They gave it a good go and it was ground­break­ing for the time.”

TOP: Ban­quet House Farm, which was fes­ti­val HQ and is now for sale. Left to right: The tran­quil scene to­day, Alan Price with Danny Thompson and fes­ti­val go­ers be­fore the rain came down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.