Spalding set to sizzle as Barbecue ‘67 is relived over Bank Holiday weekend

The original poster from the famous Barbeque '67 which was held at the now demolished Tulip Bulb Auction Hall.
The original poster from the famous Barbeque '67 which was held at the now demolished Tulip Bulb Auction Hall.
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The ‘Summer of Love’ will be brought back to life next weekend as one of the greatest rock concerts in musical history is celebrated.

This year’s Spalding Beer and Music Festival kicks off the celebrations at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend, marking the 50th anniversary of Barbeque ‘67 - which saw legends Jimi Hendrix, Cream (with Eric Clapton) and Pink Floyd play in Spalding.

John Campbell with Are You Experienced? who are playing at the Punchbowl pub in Spalding on Bank Holiday Monday.

John Campbell with Are You Experienced? who are playing at the Punchbowl pub in Spalding on Bank Holiday Monday.

Arguably described as ‘the world’s first ever rock festival’, Barbeque ‘67, came before both Woodstock and the Glastonbury Festival.

The concert was held on May 29 in 1967 at the now demolished Tulip Bulb Auction Hall and saw the venue packed to the rafters.

For that night, Spalding become ‘the coolest place on earth’ with the football ground “transformed into a camp for a hippy invasion and Hendrix dangling bed sheets out of the windows of his room at the Red Lion Hotel”.

Organisers of the Spalding Beer and Music Festival (Spalding and District Round Table and Spalding and District Ladies’ Circle) have secured three of the original acts from the infamous festival to play on Saturday night (May 27).

Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band, Sounds Force 5 and Zoot Money will take to the stage at the event, in what festival chairman Sam Nundy says is “a great coup”.

He said: “Barbeque ‘67 was a hugely significant event in Spalding’s history and with our event coinciding with the 50th anniversary of it, we’re thrilled to have them playing.

“It came about as Mark Le Sage who plays with the band Zebra (who are playing at the festival on the Friday night), linked up with Colin Ward who was an original member of Sound Force 5. “Over the years, Colin has kept in touch with the other bands so we managed to get them here.

“Many people will remember Barbeque ‘67, or have parents who were there.”

The Spalding Beer and Music Festival will run from Friday, May 26, until Sunday, May 28, at the Castle Sports Complex and Sam says organisers have been working hard to make it “even better” than the first one last year, which saw a staggering 4,000 visitors across the weekend.

He said: “We’ve taken on board feedback from people from last year and will have the main bar inside this year.

“We’ve got better sound equipment, more toilets, picnic benches and catering vehicles outside and inflatables and activities in the family area (on the Castle Sports Field).

“We started this event for the community and we really want people to come along to support Spalding and the local area and enjoy it.

“Last year, the event raised £15,000 for the local community and every single penny was put back into the town.”

Other acts appearing at the beer and music festival include Zebra, Sarah O’Brien and her band Miss O’Brien’s Boys, Revolver, The Ultraviolet, The Mill Grips, The Manipulators and Special Groove. Visitors will be able to enjoy the music with a choice of 90 real ales and ciders.

Discount pre-purchase tickets are on sale at or via a link on the Facebook page Spalding Beer and Music Festival, where they are running a name the festival beer competition. The winner gets free entry and free drinks.

○ In another scoop for Spalding, the late Jimi Hendrix’s sister Janie, has given her personal endorsement to an upcoming performance by tribute band ‘Are You Experienced?’ at the Punchbowl pub on Bank Holiday Monday.

Described as ‘the nearest thing to seeing the great man himself’ the band is fronted by John Campbell, who is said to do all the Hendrix tricks such as playing the guitar behind his head and plucking the strings with his teeth. The band plan to play a set list to replicate what would have been heard on the day and will take to the stage at 4pm - the exact time the original event would have started.

Reuben Holmes, who has helped organise the gig with Pete Williams, landlord of the pub in New Road, said: “I’ve been planning this for two years and when you think about Barbeque ‘67 it’s Hendrix that people talk about because, sadly, he’s no longer with us.

“I’ve been in touch with Jimi Hendrix’s sister Janie in America, who is CEO of the Experience Hendrix Organisation, and she has given us her endorsement.”

Are You Experienced? play at the Punchbowl from 4pm on the Bank Holiday Monday. Tickets are £3 in advance or £5 on the door.

Alongside the live music there will also be music of the period playing and a raffle/auction to help raise funds for Spalding Academy head girl Ellis Taylor-Williams, who is aiming to visit Africa to aid a school construction project and give English tuition to local people.

○ This Saturday (May 20) Uptown Vinyl Records at the Spalding Lifestyle Centre on Pinchbeck Road, is remembering Barbeque ‘67 with a performance by Ray Fenwick and guests.

Ray was a member of the Spencer Davis Group from 1967-1969 and also played with the Ian Gillan Band.

The event is free and runs from 12 midday until 5pm. Donations can be made to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The memories of people who were at the original festival will be brought to the stage in the play ‘Barbeque ‘67 Revisited’, at Spalding’s South Holland Centre on June 8.

Devised by Nottingham-based theatre company Excavate and Transported, its creators have been working alongside people who saw the legends on stage in Spalding and remember moments such as when Hendrix set fire to his guitar.

The hour and ten minutes long play, will be full of “great music”, humour and stories and starts at 7.30pm. It is a ‘pay what you like event’ but tickets must be booked at the Box Office.

An exhibition linked to the production will be held at the South Holland Centre in the autumn.