4th to 6th July

8th annual Summer of Love Party


I’d said that this year I felt as if I wasn’t as organised as usual but when I arrived on site the stage was in position, the loos were there, the marquee was being erected and the generator had just arrived. Pete the lighting man was there, and made me a coffee as soon as I arrived, despite the fact we’d forgotten to tell him about it! The sound system arrived shortly after me so I must have been organised after all.


Everything was soon rigged and the first performer on stage. I think I spent most of the rest of the day wandering around talking to people which included Sam Andrew from Big Brother & the Holding Company and the lovely Shelagh MacDonald.


The highlight of the day musically was the San Francisco nights package with Bex Marshall, the former members and Sam Andrew. After they’d finished I wandered up to the bar and caught Johnny Bee on the acoustic stage and then wandered down to sit by the campfire. Quote of the day was overheard here: “of course we have his and hers ponchos” I headed off to bed around half one.


When I woke up the following morning the first thing I noticed was it was raining! I had no idea what time it was as my mobile had gone flat. I managed to get it powered up enough to find it was 6am and I was just about to go back to sleep when I remembered that the man with the Hammond organ was coming down to test it off the spare phase but then I remembered that I didn’t have any 16 to 13 amp adapters left. I knew I had the bits to make one up so I figured I’d get up and do that. I fired up the generator and made a coffee and sat on the drum riser to make up the cable. When I’d finished I went to plug it in and realised I’d put the wrong plug on so I had to take it off and do it again!


John finally made it over from America after having his flight cancelled twice and it was great to catch up with him. There was some great music too, none more so than Shelagh MacDonald who was wonderful despite having injured her finger and being unable to play the guitar. He tried to accompany herself on keyboard but as she hadn’t played it live for years gave up and sang unaccompanied instead. There were great versions of Stargazer and let no man steal your thyme.


We also had folk legend Martin Simpson on who turned in a wonderful set which included a song that almost had me in tears about a soldier and a donkey. He also sang lord barnard and little musgrave which was the second time we’d heard the story that day as the first band Mary Jane had played Matty Groves which is another version of it. I can now remember at least 4 acts playing a version of this now! TC & the Moneymakers played some great blues before we finished off with a Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown Street who unfortunately we ended up having to stop as we overran. It was pouring down by this time so no sitting round the campfire tonight


It was still raining the next morning but I was up early pulling the cables out. Each morning I collected enough abandoned plastic glasses to enable me to swap them for some homegrown honey…..actually the word homegrown reminds me of another quote: “you can tell it’s a hippy festival – someone offered us drugs in lieu of entrance fee”


I had get away early as I had to head back, drop stuff off, have a shower and then drive over to Caterham to pick up Sarah from her mum’s.

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