Ever since I put Weeley Festival on, I’ve been asked by many people how it was that I came to organise such a huge event.  I thought it was about time that I told my story...

My father before me used to put on Armed Forces dances during the War.  He had a large collection of records which inspired me to collect my own records. Then, I trained as a Theatre Technician with the National Theatre Company, under Laurence Olivier, learning about lighting, sound and stage production.  At a party I’d seen a DJ work and thought it would be a good way for me to earn a living.  I asked him how to do it and he told me.  In those days there were no college courses - you just went and bought the equipment and hoped that your own choices in records would work.  I went and bought a mobile discotheque with lighting and started gigging around London and the south; mostly pubs and clubs.

I met Freddie Bannister, who was a local promoter of bands, and started presenting and DJing at some of his gigs.  Then, when the 1969 Bath Festival started, he asked me if I would work alongside John Peel as a presenter/DJ. The following year at Bath 1970, I had a similar role, as well as working as stage manager.  Early in 1971, the Clacton Round Table, in Essex, had decided that they wanted to liven up their summer fundraising drive by putting on a pop festival.  They called Freddie Bannister and he recommended me as being able to help them.  I went to Clacton and met with Vic Speck who, as a Lloyds Underwriter, was going to front the money for the whole event.  They had already booked Mungo Jerry and wanted me to try to book some other important bands and take care of the production.  They in turn would sort out the site.  With my contacts it didn’t take me long to put a show together.  I’d been given a budget of £12,000!  Even in those days it wasn’t very much.  Freddie Bannister had paid more than this to Led Zeppelin the year before.  However, this event was not to be a purely commercial event because, as a forerunner of Live Aid, the profits were to go to charity.  I managed to get most of the bands’ management to keep their prices low.