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Cambridge Rock Festival is celebrating its non-corporate roots


By Alex Spencer


Music lovers who want to experience the spirit of early rock festivals are being encouraged to try out the Cambridge Rock Festival.

The event is is celebrating 50 years since it all started as a free event during the summer of love on Midsummer Common.

Cambridge rock festival. (13724486)
Cambridge rock festival. (13724486)

On the programme, back in June 1969, was unknown singer “Dave Bowie” along with many of the leading artists of the underground music scene including Family , King Crimson , Roy Harper and D.J. John Peel.

Although the festival has not been running continuously since then, the organisers will be marking its history with a display of original posters and say this year’s festival remains true to its roots.

Cambridge Rock Festival.Pic - Richard Marsham. (13724494)
Cambridge Rock Festival.Pic - Richard Marsham. (13724494)

Ian Stuart, one of the organisers, said: “It was arguably the first free rock festival in the UK.

“We like to think we are still in the spirit of the original festivals as we have no corporate sponsorship and its basically all run by volunteers.

“It’s very friendly and laid back. When you go to the bar, there’s a good chance you will be standing next to the guy who has just come off the stage and is also having a beer. You don’t get that at Glastonbury or Download or Hyde park. There are no VIP areas at all. The bands park up and camp at the back of the stage.

Cambridge rock festival. (13724489)
Cambridge rock festival. (13724489)

“While this years event is no longer free, it still represents great value for money and tries to stay true to the spirit and ethos of those times by avoiding Corporate Sponsorship and the impersonal atmosphere of too many music festivals by putting the music first and by cultivating a friendly relaxed atmosphere

“We attract many of the best names in classic rock, prog and blues and many bands have told us that our enthusiastic volunteers provide one of the best run and friendliest festivals they play.”

The Cambridge Rock Festival is returning to Haggis Farm Polo Club, Barton, on July 25 to 28.

Don Airey Cambridge Rock Festival. (13724475)
Don Airey Cambridge Rock Festival. (13724475)

Among this years headliners are Deep Purples Don Airey, melodic rockers FM and Cats in Space , prog pioneers Caravan , hard-rock legends Atomic Rooster , Franck Carducci , blues stars Ben Poole and Chris Bevington , soul review Jackie Wilson Says and the unique talents of John Otway plus tribute acts to the like of Pink Floyd ,Yes and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Also this year will be a free post-music astronomy night, planned for Saturday after 11pm.This will depend upon the weather but will include a free expert lecture ‘Aurora – When Where and Why’ and/or the chance to see what’s up in the skies through various telescopes available on site.

Camping is available a five minute walk from the stage, but the site is easily accessible for day visitors.

Both Day and Weekend Tickets are now available from the Festival Website at cambridgerockfestival.co.uk with prices ranging from £115 for the full 4 days ,£45 for day tickets and with discounts for Children/Under 16s.



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