Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Hyde Park free concerts of 1968-70

Given the strength of my nostalgia for an era I barely remember, I was bound to be delighted by the news that the Rolling Stones are to play Hyde Park this summer. The band gave a famous free concert there 44 years ago immediately after the death of the band's founder Brian Jones.

That delight did not last long. Today came news that this year's event will be far from free. Huffington Post reports:
"You Can’t Always Get What You Want," according to one famous Rolling Stones track. Fans might want to heed that advice, as a furious backlash has erupted online over the $500 price of some tickets at the band's upcoming London gig. 
Standing-room tickets at the front of the Hyde Park venue in London are going for £330 (just over $500), with the cheapest tickets at the back of the park going for £95 ($144). 
Mail Online quotes irate fans lashing out against the high prices online. "'I'm not paying £100 to stand in a field 300 metres from the screen," said one.
When you add in the commercialism and security that is bound to surround this summer's concert, there is no doubt that The Man has triumphed.

It really was different in the sixites. The Rolling Stones concert was one 12 free events that took place in Hyde Park over three summers from 1968 to 1970. Accounts of who turned up to play vary widely - if you remember it... - but there is an authoritative list on the UK Rock Festivals site.

A month before the Stones played the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith made their debut. A review on the Amazon page for the DVD of the concert recalls:
The audience shots give an idea of how many people turned up. No Police and stewards in those days you just turned up found a place to sit and enjoyed the gig.
So to get back at The Man, here are Blind Faith in the summer of 1969.

1 comment:

wolfi said...

We just ran the Blind Faith DVD and others during the really cold and nasty weather here in Hungary before Easter and enjoyed it again.

To think that Eric and Steve are still going strong after 45 years ...

There'll be concerts by them (separately, I'm sorry to say) this summer all over Europe.