The Archive.

Whitsun Festival .
May 23-24th 1970.
Plumpton Race Track. Streat. East Sussex.

Last update Aug 2003 .

Ginger Baker's Air Force , Richie Havens, Julie Driscoll, Hard Meat, King Crimson, Christine Perfect, Judas Jump, Keith Tippet Group, Fairfield Parlour, May Blitz, Black Widow , Chicken Shack, Black Sabbath, Gracious , Audience, Jan Dukes De Grey , Maple Oak, Poppa Ben Hook ,Roy Harper, Savoy Brown , Warm Dust

(nb: some artists featured on the poster may not have appeared )

  Saturday 23rd May

"Its quieter than a normal day at the racecourse."  

Today was one big problem for the organisers of the mammoth pop extravaganza at plumpton racecourse. First came the news that top american blues singer richie havens was stranded at san Francisco . Then came the dismal fact that less then two hours before the start of the two day festival, only 3.000 fans had arrived at Plumpton.
Festival director John Hammett said yesterday that he had to sell at least 12,000 tickets to break even on his 28,000 pound budget . And he forecast that 30,000 young people would make the Plumpton pilgrimage. By noon yesterday these figures began to look just a little optimistic . Many trains were arriving at Plumpton from London and Brighton were only part full and there were few travellers on the roads into the village.
The fact remains that although the social scene is all important for many fans , you can’t have a big festival without big names . And big names are noticeable at Plumpton by their absence .

Telephone Call.
Richie Havens , who is billed as the star attraction at tonight’s show, was booked six months ago for a three thousand seven hundred and fifty pound fee. But Mr Hammett received a telephone call from his London agent at today stating that Havens was 6,000 miles from Plumpton - in San Francisco.

Early this afternoon, the festival organisers were still trying to find out what had happened to Havens . And they were attempting to book a top act form the rival festival at Newcastle on Lyme . Said Mr Hammett "we have been unable to clarify the situation. All we know is that Havens is apparently stuck in San Francisco , where it is the middle of the night . If we can’t get either Havens of a substitute band , then we are in trouble. It could turn today's concert into a near disaster."

( apparently Havens did eventually appear, but most probably on the Sunday )

Special Marquees.
About 800 fans slept on the racecourse last night . There are facilities for 6,000 in special marquees and an additional 60 acres set aside for camping .Uniformed security guards with dogs patrolled the area , but as expected , there were no incidents. And there were no calls to the special “ dial a rescue ‘ squad , set up to deal with trouble in the area.
It certainly looks as if it will be a peaceful festival . Perhaps too peaceful from the organisers point of view. As one local policeman said "its quieter than a normal day at the racecourse. "

    If you have photos, recollections, set lists, newspaper reports or tapes of the event then Contact me and I'll add them to the site.

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