Nigel's Eyes

20221026 Tropical Island Discs - 4

This project is making slow progress! The first in the series was in 2016 and I seem to have neglected it since 2017. Well, five years on, it's back...

Have you ever woken up in a tent, the smell of soggy ground seeping in and discovered that your wallet is missing?

Welcome to the special hell that is British summer music festivals or was, in the 1970s and 80s.

The food was terrible which meant the toilets were worse. There were no showers. The whole event seems, today, like a major health hazard. But, oddly, no one ever seemed to become ill.

I saw some great bands, and some that were awful. For years, the go-to festival was Knebworth and for many it still is. One year, I was in a queue to leave during the third song by The Beach Boys, the year that "Thank you, Brian, that was beautiful" was a lie.

In 1979, we had Led Zeppelin, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, Fairport Convention and others,

In 1980 there were The Beach Boys, Santana, Mike Oldfield, The Blues Band, Elkie Brooks and Lindisfarne.

In 1986 the line-up included Queen, Status Quo and Big Country.

I'm pretty sure I saw The Who at Knebworth but can't find any record of that gig.

Oddly, what sticks in my mind most is the soaring guitars of Big Country, But there's also the thousands singing We Will Rock you with Queen and the sheer joy of Southside Johnny's set and We Won't Get Fooled Again with the Who (was I really there, or were they?).

Trying to choose one song from all of that is like being asked to choose between your children.

So I'm going to cheat and give you, the reader, a fuzzy sounding, average film quality, treat.

It's not one song: it's the entire Led Zep set from 1979. I've still got the lapel badge.