Nottingham Festival 1972

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Looking through some of the old memorabilia I've got in the back of a cupboard I came across the leaflet for the 1972 Nottingham Festival - cover shown below.

This would have been the third year the Festival was held, and seems to be the only one I kept a leaflet for. It's interesting to look at some of the events listed, and I thought I'd mention them here in case they brought back any memories. I haven't included everything, just what strike me as the highlights, with some distinguished names:

The Festival ran from 8th to 23rd July 1972

At the Playhouse:

17th July - Emlyn Williams as 'Dylan Thomas Growing Up'

18th & 19th July - Bernard Miles presented his one man show

20th July - David Kossoff in 'A Funny Kind of Evening'

20th & 21st July - Marcel Marceau - 'world's greatest mime artist'

22nd July (am) - 'Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' performed by the Middleton Primary School (remember at the time this was little more than a piece to be performed by schools and was before Rice & Lloyd Webber really got going)

22nd July - Cleo Laine and John Dankworth

Late Night at the Playhouse:

10th July - Jake Thackray

11th July - Libby Morris

12th July - Spike Milligan

19th July - Cy Grant

Festival Theatre, Albany Hotel

9th July - David Rappaport and Christopher Langham in 'The Stonehenge Follies'

10th July - Richard Stilgoe

15th July - an edition of BBC radio's 'Gardener's Question Time'

16th July - Jazz with Humphrey Lyttelton and his band

17th July - Radio 2's 'Open House' with Pete Murray

21st July - Radio 2's Tony Brandon Show at 11.30am

21st July - Radio 1's 'Speak Easy' with Jimmy Saville at 7.15pm (no comment)

Albert Hall

8th July - London Symphony Orchestra with Andre Previn

10th July - Gabrieli String Quartet

11th July - The Settlers

18th July - New Philharmonia Orchestra with soloist Paul Tortelier

21st July - Combined Brass Bands and Male Voice Choirs with Harry Mortimer

Broad Street Concert Hall

14th July - The King's Singers

19th July - 'Liszt - On and Off the Beaten Track' - music by Liszt with dramatic recitation and narration by John Neville

21st July - Radio 4's 'Any Questions' introduced by David Jacobs

Newark Parish Church

17th July - Academy of St. Martin-in-the Fields with Neville Marriner

Mansfield Civic Theatre

22nd July - The Swingle Singers

Nottingham Palais

20th July - Festival Dance with Syd Lawrence and his orchestra

Commodore Banqueting Rooms

23rd July - Jazz Spectrum with George Melly

Theatre Royal (that's where I was to be found!)

10th - 22nd July - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company


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Nice post, Merthyr Imp. I found this article regarding the first Nottingham Festival which I found interesting. I noticed one of the acts was the late, great, Rory Gallagher.

The festival dream that turned into a financial nightmare

By This is Nottingham | Posted: July 08, 2010

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    Daredevil riders: Above left, Members of the Royal Artillery motorcycle display team. Right, penning the sheep.
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    Fair maid: Anna Freyne who was the first Maid Marian for Nottingham Festival in 1970.
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    Festival fun: Above, an aerial view of Wollaton Park at the first festival. Right, Tar Baby takes to the air. Below, the Sheriff's Golden Arrow archery competition.
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    Daredevil riders: Above left, Members of the Royal Artillery motorcycle display team. Right, penning the sheep.

Forty years ago, councillors ploughed thousands of pounds into creating the Nottingham Festival, aimed at putting the city on the entertainment map. But, as Andy Smart recalls, its 13-year history was dogged by controversy.
"THE biggest, most stupendous ...", trumpeted the Evening Post ... "we will rival Edinburgh".
Such was the optimism surrounding the first Nottingham Festival 40 years ago.
It was an idea dreamed up by a city hotel chief to boost visitor numbers and enthusiastically supported by councillors who pumped £25,000 into the first event.
In these cost-conscious days that would be the equivalent of more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Under the direction of Richard Gregson-Williams and run by a committee of councillors and private sector representatives, the 1970 festival presented an action-packed 16-day programme of events, drawing massive crowds.
During the middle weekend, more than 50,000 people flocked to Wollaton Park to watch attractions including a no-holds barred jousting tournament.
Princess Margaret was among the crowd, witnessing star stuntmen like Fred 'Nosher' Powell knock seven bells out of each other, at least half dozen of them needing medical treatment.
There was every type of music from the rock of Rory Gallagher to the operatic splendour of Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, drama at the Playhouse, fireworks, show-jumping and the biggest balloon race seen in Britain for 20 years.
There was also the odd hiccup – like the row over Maid Marian's crown. It had been specially made for 19-year-old Festival queen Anna Freyne by Sherwood jeweler Brian Barton, at considerable effort and expense.
But 30 minutes before she was due to appear at the tournament in Wollaton Park, in the presence of Princess Margaret, Anna was told she could not wear the crown.
"I was told it might offend Princess Margaret," she explained. But director Gregson-Williams later said: "I would have told Anna to wear the crown, I'm sure it would not have offended the Princess."
The balloon display also had a hitch. Nottingham Balloon Club historian Robin Macey says: "It is now exactly 40 years ago since the first modern hot air balloon was seen in Nottingham. About 20 hot air and gas balloons flew from Wollaton Park in the festival.
"The first balloon to launch on Friday, July 17, was called Tar Baby (reg EI-ATM) and was piloted by 34-year-old Maurice Cronin from the Dublin Balloon Club. The Lord Mayor, Coun Oscar Watkinson, was scheduled to fly in that first balloon but could not be found when Tar Baby was ready to launch, so a radio journalist, George Luce, stepped in the basket at the last minute. A recording made during the flight was later broadcast on the You & Yours programme on Radio 4. Coun Watkinson flew instead the following day.
"The first flight turned out to be very dramatic and could easily have ended in tragedy. The balloon got caught in a thermal over the city centre and came partly undone – the pilot had to burn like mad and managed to make an emergency landing in a small front garden just off Carlton Road with less than a pint of fuel left.
"Equipment today is much safer and this sort of accident would never happen – balloons no longer rely on a one-inch wide Velcro strip down one side to remain sealed and cannot accidentally come undone during flight. Pilots today are much more aware about thermals and would not launch in hot conditions when thermals are likely."
The balloon event in 1970 was the first of three annual balloon festivals held in Wollaton Park. Publicity material for the 1972 event described it as the most important annual balloon race in Europe. An even bigger balloon event was planned for 1973 but was cancelled after major cuts to the funding of Nottingham Festival.
In fact, finance was at the root of the festival's biggest problems.
The organising committee, which included high-profile local politicians Bill Derbyshire and Eric Foster, created a separate company to run the event but made critical errors, later revealed by an official inquiry led by then deputy town clerk Michael Hammond. He later told Bygones that "... they became rather lax. They issued order forms on Corporation stationery, incurred expenses not underwritten by the city and built up quite a deficit."
The vision had been for a profitable festival which would enable the company to repay all the bills initially paid by the Corporation.
But the festival lost money from the off – more than £20,000 in the first two years – and when creditors started hassling the city for their money, the finance committee pulled the plug, refusing to meet the debts.
The festival company was wound up, prompting creditors including Standard Fireworks, to sue.
Mr Hammond, who later became chief executive and town clerk before he retired, was tasked with leading an inquiry into the financial debacle. "It was a witch-hunt really," he later recalled. "Everyone involved was hauled before this McCarthyite committee and ... made to feel as uncomfortable as possible."
Although the inquiry decided everyone had acted with the best of intentions, Bill Derbyshire was deeply hurt by the furore, calling it "this stinking business".
Nevertheless, the festival limped along until 1983.
"We got the Department of the Environment to agree to take no action if payments were found to be unlawful and in the end, the Corporation decided to pay and it all came right eventually," explained Mr Hammond.
The end came, not through financial restraints or lack of support, but because Nottingham moved on. The opening of the Royal Concert Hall, together with the Theatre Royal, Playhouse and other front- line venues, meant the city could enjoy the arts for 12 months of the year, not just a few days each summer.

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I'd give my right arm (and other bits) to see those two appear any where these days. Unfortunately, it ain't going to happen.

Admission price to see them was just 40p.

It's a shame they lost money, as I think those early Festivals at least did give everyone a lift and make you think something exciting was going on - there seemed to be something for everyone, and so much happening.

Remember the plastic tent thing they had in the Market Square?

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We all still miss you Rory !!!!!! I still play something most days.

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By contrast, a group of us wanted to organise a proper Robin Hood Festival (at no cost to the council) a couple of years ago and the tourism committee turned it down as it would 'bring in too many tourists at the same time)

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Totally agree with you Poohbear. I understand the new Slab Square cost around £8m. You wouldn't imagine wheelchair access to cost that much ...... because that's what we have, a big flat boring area which is capable of housing the occasional big wheel, a beach in the school summer holidays and a Christmas market. There is ONE local family making money out of all those events.

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That's typical council thinking for you. Do nothing and don't upset the norm. A Robin Hood Festival sounds great. Other cities have Dr Who, Star Trek and various other festivals and conventions. I bet they don't complain about extra tourists !

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#9 talk about a waste of money,have you seen the bridge near us at at Bestwood village crossing the railway/tram line?

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Looking at that old photo of the Market Square, it's noticeable that today's version has absolutely no greenery at all. In the old versions there were always various trees, shrubs, flower beds etc etc. On an average day now, it's the total lack of colour which makes it so boring.

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Yes Benjamin, what an absolute eyesore. What's up with better lighting and self locking gates. I don't want to sound callous but don't people look right, left and right again these days. I shan't put what I really think but totally unnecessary springs to mind. You want to see the half wits at Basford Crossing at 3.30pm when school is out. I've seen kids clamber over the gate, saunter in front of trams and cycle the wrong way over the crossing. I'm amazed they're isn't a fatality every week.

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By contrast, a group of us wanted to organise a proper Robin Hood Festival (at no cost to the council) a couple of years ago and the tourism committee turned it down as it would 'bring in too many tourists at the same time)

We would.t want that now would we! :)

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remember in the sixties going to stop the night with my friend on hill rd bestwood i hated walking across that bit of track day and late nights to get to and from her house it was dangerous then and even more so know with the tram if it saves just one life being lost benjimin its worth every penny in very recent years at least 3 lives gone and that not even thinking about the effects it had on train tram drivers who hit or had near misses.

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Yes Babs, but surely the pedestrians must bear the responsibility when using the crossing. Don't folk look left and right these days. I suspect a gross lack of concentration is mainly to blame.

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#17.I DIDNT say a bridge was"nt needed because it certainly was,what i objected to was the size,a simple up and over would have solved the problem.instead we got a massive structure zig zagging about 200 yds a real eye sore.costing a fortune.

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That's just in case someone in a wheelchair needs to cross. I agree though, it's bloody gruesome.

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I still think folk should be more observant. Many in that area seem totally oblivious to anything surrounding them.

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NO mate it was a scary experience especialy in the dark or bad weather,i was always worried about my family useing it.

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