The First Reading Festival – 1971

On 25th-27th June 1971, National Jazz and Blues Festival , was held at Reading for the first time. I went down to Reading with my friends: Dave, Rose and Sheila.

It was a magic event nearly but not quite spoilt by the strip-searching of the female festival-goers at Reading station. This was the festival where the police dressed up as hippies but forgot to change their Doc Martins. There were regular police helicopter flights over the festival. They probably were trying drown the magic sounds but they got a rousing ‘V’ sign from most of the crowd.

This is a photograph taken by a friend Imbi:


At the time he didn’t know that he had taken a photograph of Dave and me:


The list of bands appearing is unbelievable: Arthur Brown, East of Eden, Lindisfarne, Ralph McTell, Wishbone Ash, Renaissance, Genesis, Sha Na Na, Colleseum, Rory Gallagher, Ian Matthews, Medecine, Head, Van der Graaf Generator, Osibisa, Al Kooper and many more.

The highlight for me was Renaissance with Annie Haslam looking and sounding beautiful:



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