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Preserving A 1970s Music Poster Prompts Memories

12th National Jazz Blues and Rock Festival, Reading

Do you have old posters rolled up and stored in tubes?  If yes, then it’s time to flatten them out. Paper holds its form and becomes permanently curled if stored rolled up for too long.

After flattening and weighting this poster, (a museum colleague used to call this ‘relaxing’ the artifact) I have encapsulated it with Mylar (inert acid free, non-sticky plastic) front, with an acid free card backing.

This encapsulation will keep the poster flat, and protect it from the environment.

Reading Festival 1975

What is the story behind this poster? This artifact prompted many memories for me.

…. and just look at the price!

“Portsmouth Airport, Reading Festivals, George Melly and Mud!”

The 1975 line-up included George Melly (1926-2007) and the Feet Warmers, who later performed at the Portmouth Arts and Festival in 1979, when I worked in the Festival office. We had brought “The Waverley” an operational paddle-boat to Portsmouth and five jazz bands performed on board.

I have many memories of Reading Festivals. I first one I attended was in August 1973. Traveling to the event was an adventure – that I undertook alone!  I had just returned from visiting a friend in Guernsey, arriving back to the long-gone Portsmouth airport.

This tiny airport in the centre of the City (Island of Portsmouth), closed in December 1973. The first flight I took on my own, was usual. To get board the plane, we were each given a number, and had to enter via a specific doors when called, ie one and five in this door, two and eight over there etc. I was further surprised when the air hostess, left the plane after giving her talk about emergency exists and life jackets!

Arriving safely back in Portsmouth, I caught a train from Portchester village station to Reading, then walked to the festival ground. To meet up with my friends, I was to find a rented Southern Self Drive pale blue Ford Transit van.  Well, I couldn’t believe just how many similar vans were there! It was Friday evening, and the bands were still playing so I waited at the exit gate and watched as hoards of people poured out.  I was beginning to believe that I would spend the night alone curled up with only the blanket I had bought with me…. then, I saw a very tall chap with a mop of curly hair towering above the other heads…. Lucky for me it, was a friend’s brother and I was able to connect with my buddies.

Among the many live music outdoor festivals Knebworth, Milton Keynes, Donnington Park, Blackbush, and more….  I attended Reading several times.

Another memory… in 1977 the weather was particularly wet, even for England! That year my transport was on the back of a motorbike. The camp ground was soggy and wet, making camping in tents and keeping the bike standing upright a challenge.

The concert grounds turned into liquid mud several feet deep. The heel of my boot broke off, and we had to watch out for glass bottles and beer cans under the layers of mud built up each day. There was no sitting down to watch the music that year! The festival management kindly handed out two black bin-liners with pieces of string to us all. These acted as make-shift waders!  I found this image on the internet, and sharing it below, for fun!

Fond memories…..