Hawkwind biographer Ian Abrahams reviews all things SpaceRock related, from CDs and DVDs to Demos and Myspace Pages. Plus Psych, Stoner, Garage, Krautrock and whatever else strikes a power chord or two!
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Saturday, 21 May 2016
Festivalized - R2 (Rock 'N' Reel) Review
Boff Whalley reviews 'Festivalized' in the new issue of R2 (Rock 'N' Reel) magazine:
Ian Abrahams &
I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book, to be honest.
The cover, typesetting and general layout are a computer-generated mess of
fuzzy images and jumbled styles. But I sat down and started reading, and
reading, and I was quickly drawn into a warm mud bath of circled tents and
vehicles, guitar noise everywhere, smoke, fire, and all-night conversations.
It’s a great book, in fact. With little running commentary
it gathers the words of a huge cast of people, - famous, infamous, and
not-at-all famous – and allows them to tell the fascinating history of the UK
festival scene from its first stirrings (hippies, tipis, and bits of
scaffolding pole), through its wayward, unexpected and shocking journey
(countercultural takeovers, Hell’s Angels, punks, media fame) and eventually to
its fizzling-out, slumped in a corner of a field on a horrific come-down after
a night where nobody was sure if Hawkwind actually turned up and played or not.
Or, in the case of a particularly nasty festival at Telscombe Cliffs in 1990,
whether Hawkwind had managed to get out alive.
It's an amazing narrative, a classic tale of rise and fall,
and the way it’s told by all the different voices makes it hum with the truth.
When I was a kid in Lancashire I went to the annual Deeply Vale festivals,
firstly as a cynical young punk but gradually recognising the love and effort –
chiefly put in by ‘the hippies’ – that went into building the festival scene,
in creating an outside phenomenon that could be fun, wild and beautiful whilst
being everything that parents and politicians were scared of… let’s hear it for
live music, fires, drugs, and sex!
This is a book whose story is ultimately sad, since its
punchline is a summerful of ‘boutique festivals’ fleecing huge amounts of money
from the wealthy end of the middle class in their fancy wellies hoping to catch
some American R&B diva on the main stage. But within this history of the
festival scene there is a huge amount of love, of community, of defiance, and
of hope. And that’s a story worth telling.