Back in ’67 it was Geno Washington that most people in Spalding wanted to see.
“He was the big name at the time and even though Jimi (Hendrix) was on the top of the bill, the buzz was all about Geno,” remembers Doug Kendall, who was 17 at the time of Barbeque ’67.
“We were soul boys back then and followed people like Otis Redding (who died later that year in a plane crash), Ike and Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. In the charts it was people like Engelbert Humperdinck, Des O’Connor and Ken Dodd. I don’t know who was buying those records!
“So what happened in ’67 was a turning point. Something significant happened – a move from pop, through to soul and flower power.”
Doug was one of the hundreds who crammed into the now demolished Tulip Bulb Auction Hall on May 29, Bank Holiday Monday 1967, to see Geno, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Move, local band Sounds Force 5, and Zoot Money.
He added: “There was a massive queue to get in, women fainting, you had to keep your hands in your pockets because you couldn’t move. There were even people under the stage with their fingers poking through the cracks. I saw Jimi’s head through a cloud of smoke on the stage... the atmosphere was great.”
Colin Ward, drummer and original member of Sounds Force 5, played at the concert in 1967 and shared the bill once again with Geno and Zoot Money at the Spalding Beer Festival at the weekend.
He told the Spalding Guardian: “That night was quite phenomenal. Pink Floyd were only just starting out and to be backstage with Jimi Hendrix and Geno... it was not an us and them scenario. They were not ‘we are big stars and you are not.’ It was different back then. Our guitarist at the time, Rob Munton, from Surfleet, had a special guitar strap and Jimi asked if he could borrow it. Rob gave it to him and he kept it.
“It wasn’t just historic to us, it was historic in rock music terms and it predates all the big festivals; it pre-dates Woodstock. It was a moment in time and it was really quite wonderful.”
Alan Shailes was 18 at the time of Barbecue ’67. He said: “My friend, who I came with, still has his ticket. There were about eight of us who came over from Wisbech. One of us had a car and we all piled in, three in the pig pen at the back. I spent my money on clothes. I didn’t drink. We were all Mods. Clothes were the most important thing. Most people went to see Geno Washington. He was the biggest star in Spalding that day.
“When we came over and found it was a pound to get in we thought that was a lot. We had a good scout round. We all chipped in and one person went in and opened the toilet doors and the rest of us all climbed in. Because we didn’t have a ticket we couldn’t get a pass out. So we were stuck in there for the whole day.”
Mike and Jo Gray, from Pinchbeck, were also there that night. Mike remembers: “I came in with Sounds Force Five, with Colin who played drums at the time. I used to go to school with him. They had a rather ridiculous pass-out system. They made a corridor out of partitioning and that went around a corner. There was a guy at the top of the corridor giving out pass-outs and there was a guy round the corner, unbeknownst to the first, also giving out pass-outs. We were getting two pass-outs. And then going to the front of the queue outside, selling the pass-outs for 10 bob (50p) and then coming in and going round again. In those days I was earning £7 or £8 a week. So in a couple of hours I had a week’s wages.
“The smoke, the noise and the atmosphere was what it was all about. It was an enormous do.”