Concerts Wiki

The Bickershaw Festival was a rock festival held in Bickershaw (Wigan, Lancashire), England, between 5 and 7 May 1972. Except for the 1976–79 Deeply Vale Festivals, Bickershaw was the only major north-west multi-day festival with camping. The organisers of the Deeply Vale Festivals say it was the Bickershaw Festival that inspired them to put on a north-west music festival with camping.

The Bickershaw Festival was assembled under the auspices of a Manchester businessmen, a Wigan market trader and Jeremy Beadle, before he achieved fame as a television presenter. Jeremy booked the West Coast bands and was artistic policy maker. Chris Hewitt of Ozit Morpheus Records and manager of Tractor, worked with Jeremy and was involved in distribution of publicity and tickets. Although the organisers put together a line-up of United Kingdom and American acts such as the Grateful Dead, Captain Beefheart, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dr John, Hawkwind, The Kinks, Country Joe McDonald, The Incredible String Band, Donovan, Wishbone Ash, Maynard Ferguson, and a host of mixed-media acts such as high divers and clowns, the festival suffered from several major deficiencies.

The artist line-up was inspirational to many of the audience, including teenager Joe Strummer, who said it was his favourite concert, especially the late-night set from Captain Beefheart, and to Elvis Costello. Costello stood in the mud amazed by the five-hour set from the Grateful Dead, the performance which convinced him he should start a band. Future rock journalist and rock biographer Mick Middles, then aged 16, travelled there on a moped just to watch the Grateful Dead on the Sunday.

There were problems, the site was prone to flooding and there was standing water on the site. The weather was wet, it rained before the festival opened and then showered for most of the three days of the festival. A tank used by a high-dive act was emptied directly onto the area in front of the stage, resulting in a sea of mud. Security on the gates was inefficient. Tickets were taken and resold to those who were entering the site, or were not checked. Festival goers simply got passouts and sold their ticket at half price to people arriving. As a consequence the organisers lost money. By Sunday, all semblance of organization had disappeared and locals wandered freely onto the site to watch the Grateful Dead. By this time much of the site was awash with mud.

No Shows Memphis Slim Quicksilver Messenger Service Spirit Third Ear Band Roy Harper

FRIDAY: Memphis Slim was a no-show, as were Roy Harper and the Third Ear Band making the talent in the early part of the evening pretty thin on the ground. Things got moving with Hawkwind, Wishbone Ash and Dr. John

SATURDAY: A much stronger day, building gradually to Captain Beefheart's set, which actually took place on Sunday at 4am. There was a morning jazz bash with Mike Westbrook followed by afternoon sets by The Incredible String Band and Donovan. Next came Captain Beyond, Sam Apple Pie and Cheech and Chong before the Kinks took the stage drunker than normal and reportedly threw their piano off stage. Flaming Groovies were next followed by Family. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band came on around four in the morning and the Pacific Gas & Electric had the unenviable task of following them.

SUNDAY: Everything started late due to the fact that the Saturday show actually finished around 6am Sunday. There were six acts this day with the Grateful Dead closing, finishing around 4am Monday morning after playing for over four hours.

Friday May 5th

  • Joe's Lights (Lightshow for the festival)
  • Staircase
  • Tom McMasters and friends
  • Stackridge
  • Hawkwind
  • Jonathan Kelly
  • Wishbone Ash
  • Dr John

Saturday May 6th

  • Brotherhood of Breath
  • Maynard Ferguson Band
  • Mike Westbrook Band
  • Linda Lewis
  • Incredible String Band
  • Donovan
  • Captain Beyond
  • Sam Apple Pie
  • Cheech & Chong
  • The Kinks
  • The Flaming Groovies
  • Family
  • Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
  • Pacific, Gas & Electric

Sunday May 7th

  • Haydock Brass Band
  • Neophonic Symphony Orchestra
  • Brinsley Schwarz
  • Country Joe McDonald
  • New Riders of the Purple Sage
  • The Grateful Dead