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 Dennis Zimbelman The acrimony in the main arena was mirrored backstage , with several members of Purple ( we can guess who ) having an altercation before the show which lead to their separate portacabins ( no pre concert socialising or bonding taking place for these guys ! ) having to be turned round so neither had to look at each other when they left or entered their palatial mobile homes.... However, even the privileged have to rough it sometimes and Richie Blackmore had to make his way to the stage clutching a brolly in one hand , protecting his guitar with this uncool device. He also wore gumboots to keep out the mud ! Much of the event was recorded by the good old BBC and 3 and a half hours were broadcast on FM . However, no video exists of the show apart from a three minute BBC tv feature , which we would LOVE to get hold of for review purposes. See the Recordings page for more detail.... Like Donington , there was the mother of all fireworks displays at the end of the show -which was overall a relatively quiet one, as a limit of 90DB had been imposed by the authorities, which would have not been too impressive for fans at the rear of the arena . As the PA was gargantuan , capable of an output of 250,000 watts , this was rather disappointing for both fans and organisers alike . Knebworth Festival 1985 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman In common with his Donington festival policy , Loasby discouraged camping (as well as almost everything else) but this did not prevent many people turning up early. The first campers arrived on the Monday BEFORE the festival, but fortunately the Cobbolds ( who own Knebworth House) were far more understanding and had provided a campsite within the park. We will never understand why promoters discourage camping as it allows a gradual buildup of people at these giant events and also allows a much longer time period for the crowds to disperse. Those under the influence have longer to get fit enough to drive safely and the traffic problems are far less than when you have 80,000 people all trying to leave the site at once. There was no liquor licence which meant that fans arriving would scull everything down at once , thus getting completely pissed very quickly, or they would smuggle in spirits disguised as water or juice, once again getting drunk more swiftly than if they had to drink beer and line up at a bar to get served. Whatever, the absence of the license and the bans on cans and bottles did not prevent an almost constant hail of bottles and cans ( many urine filled ) descending on the heads of luckless attendees throughout much of the day. This was par for the course at most outdoor heavy rock concerts of the day, but it was a new phenomenon at Knebworth, which had always been a pretty safe environment for the audience on previous occasions. Knebworth Festival 1985 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The second Knebworth rock festival of the decade ( we won't count the Jazz fests or the Christian Green Field festivals held in 82/83 ), funds were provided by a consortium which included Paul Loasby, who was the promoter of the Monsters of Rock festival held at Castle Donington . The object was to provide a major concert venue for the sole 1985 UK concert of the reformed Mark 2 Deep Purple . Although there was a licence for 100,000,( which caused all sorts of problems, mainly due to police costs, which were excessive ) around 80,000 punters showed on the day . The weather was appalling, it rained and rained , so much that this show is now referred to as "Mudworth " by those who were in attendance. During the 70s Knebworth had been very lucky with its weather, the weather gods of of the 80s were not so kind ! The problems with the policing costs led to a court hearing , which went in favour of the plod, so the festival was essentially without a license only eight days before it was due to proceed !. Further meetings were held and , since numbers were likely to be less than 100,000 the police dropped their fees down to 30 grand, ( they were hardly needed , as Knebworth was nearly always trouble free and the promoters were providing 450 stewards anyway ). After all this hassle, the police presence did little to prevent the huge traffic jams that occurred after the event . Knebworth Festival 1985 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The Return of Knebworth Fayre . June 22nd 1985. Deep Purple , Scorpions, Meat Loaf , UFO, Mountain, Blackfoot , Mama's Boys, Alaska. Knebworth Festival 1985 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The first Knebworth festival of the decade and also the first financed by Capital Radio and Allied Breweries. The promoter was also a fresh face , as Freddy Banister's company had gone into liquidation after the 1979 disaster . The Cobbold's ( owners of Knebworth House) had to meet strict restrictions on attendance numbers and hours of performance , but this show attracted a very different crowd to that of Led Zeppelin, so they need not have worried unduly ! Although there was a licence for 100,000, only 43,000 punters showed on the day . The weather was not good and it was very wet at times as we can see from the photo on the right . Capital took a financial bath, as the event cost 500,000 pounds to stage and recouped far less than that . The festivities began at 12.pm and finished half an hour early at 11.pm !. This was an unheard of occurrence as most Knebworth's were notorious for overrunning and for crowds having to put up with countless hours of waiting as "technical problems" were sorted out onstage. This early finish would have suited most of the concert goers as very few camped out or partied excessively and most appeared to want to go home to their warm beds rather than stay up all night boozing themselves senseless around foul smelling rubbish fuelled fires in the campsite. Only around 15000 camped out on the Friday night .... What a relatively boring lot ! Didn't they know what festivals are REALLY about ! BUT they did have a can fight during the Beach Boys set , so they were not that much out of the norm of the 80s .... A sea of plastic sheeting © Ian Knebworth Festival 1980 at Knebworth House of Rock U.K. Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The Knebworth Park Festivals. Knebworth Park Concert . June 21st 1980. The Beach Boys, Santana, Mike Oldfield, The Blues Band , Elkie Brooks, Lindisfarne. Knebworth Festival 1980 at Knebworth House of Rock U.K. Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman There is no doubt that Zeppelin's management believed that they had been misled as to the number of tickets that were sold at the first show, ( the press were reporting an audience of around 200, 000, which is not unusual , as they always exaggerate as a matter of course and rarely let reality get in the way of a good story ) , so a gentlemen's' agreement between promoter and band to re-negotiate their fees for the second show if attendances were not looking good was dropped and Grant insisted in taking over the gate on the second concert to check ticket sales. This led to a great deal of unpleasantness between promoter and management . Bannister says that when he received the ticket receipts for the second show from the Zeppelin camp , they amounted to 40,000 attendees , including prepaid tickets . The costs incurred with actually constructing the gigantic stage and lighting rig that Zeppelin specified, as well as keeping it intact for two weekends, plus the cleanup of the site twice and the additional costs that were needed to provide policing and security , were to prove the straw that broke the camels back. The financial loss suffered by Bannister led to the liquidation of the Bannister's company, as they had had to shell out substantial fees to both Zeppelin and the company who were providing the sound and lighting . They had needed the second weekend to be a success if they were to make any profit and as this did not occur they had to bow out of festival promotion, a great shame as Freddy Bannister had been one of the better UK promoters , tending to provide facilities for the crowd that were absent at a number of other similar ventures of the era. Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman However, if we take Bannister's own estimate of total paid attendance as 150,000 then the sum reduces by half and then we see that it might have been very hard to justify any profit , even if Zep had reduced their fee substantially, as they initially had proposed to do when weekend two looked like it would only attract a small crowd, as Freddie states in his book. Also, the million pound sum mentioned on some sites as Zep's fee doesn't bear scrutiny. The licence was for 100,000 people per show. At £7:50 a ticket that equates to £1.5 million take at the gate, deduct a million for Zep and there's not much left over to cover the other costs, policing, other acts, stage , sound system, the Cobbolds- it just doesn't make economic sense unless Bannister was deliberately planning to sell far more tickets each night than he was allowed to, which we doubt would have happened as he would have risked losing his licence to hold more events at the site. Also ,there was no way he could definitely know that he would attract 100,000 or more for the second show . its possible we suppose if he was desperate, but why would he have agreed to pay such a vast sum when he knew he could not have covered his costs unless he could pack an audience that was over twice the size of his agreed limit into a site that was designed to hold 100,000 ? The sad truth is that nobody can definitively state how many attended, (we've taken our figures from Freddie Bannister estimates, Mr Pruette and lastly the festival welfare services, who give figures of 150,000/200,000 for the first weekend and 80,000 for the second - although they don't give any sources for their estimates ) . Its notoriously difficult to estimate numbers in any crowd and you can make any sorts of claims about crowd sizes depending on your motivation.We prefer to be conservative in our estimates rather then bandy about vast numbers because they sound good ! We will allow that there could have been a large number of gatecrashers ( a section of fence was breached on the first weekend ) and there is always the possibility of those on the gate letting people in for cash in hand rather than issuing tickets, but for those events to have collectively amounted to over double the agreed audience, we have to say....we don't buy it ....... Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman Given the overblown mythology that surrounds the band , and given that their manager was by all accounts becoming much harder to deal with and tended to suspect almost everyone of dubious intentions towards his boys, perhaps this is a possibility that should at least be considered by anyone who wants to remain objective about this whole sorry affair. If the figures are what the Zep camp stated, how come Bannister's company went into liquidation? Lets do some quick calculations, say 300,000 in total attended over both weekends at £7:50 each, that equates to £2,250,000 . If Zeppelin were paid one million, as some sources quote , it still leaves £1,250,000 in the kitty . The stage and sound system apparently cost around £100,000, Bannister mentions that he offered Ian Dury £100,000 in an attempt to pad the bill to get more people to attend, so say we take a ball park figure of another £500,000 for the rest of the bands (as none of them were MAJOR acts in their own right ) that still leaves £750,000 to cover the rest of the costs, it should have been possible to make a decent profit. Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman Although Zeppelin had still a BIG audience in the UK , there appears that there were not enough fans prepared to attend two concerts on consecutive weekends in sufficient numbers to make the second concert viable . Although over 100,000 punters attended the first concert , according to Bannister only 40,000 made it through the gates on the 11th (although some sources estimate it as high as 80,000). Whatever, far fewer people attended on the 11th and Zeppelin's management were in charge of the money .As a result of the overestimation of the popularity of Zeppelin by all concerned , big money was lost on the second weekend- but probably it was only Bannister who took a beating . Just how many attended will probably always be a bone of contention. Figures of 250,000 on the 4th are being bandied about and the total estimate for both weekends is often given as 400,000. Sorry, we don't buy that , photos we have of the concert grounds on the second weekend clearly show large patches of unoccupied space , attendance for this weekend was definitely far less than on the first. Freddie Bannister argues in his book that the projected figures given by Grant for attendance on the first weekend just do not add up. He quotes figures from the report by Mr Pruette , the licencing officer for the 1976 Stones concert held on the same sized site , which estimates one acre can reasonably be expected to take about 3,000 people ( Department of Environment Report on Pop Festivals ). To accomodate 250,000 persons therefore would require a site of more than 83 acres. The actual size of the concert site was 36.4 acres and this included the stage area . click image to view posters of all Knebworth concerts Mr Pruette further stated that even with an estimate of 4,000 persons per acre, only 24 acres were densely occupied and 8 acres were lightly occupied , this gave a total of 109,000 people which was the number Freddie Bannister had given to Grant . Has anyone considered the possibility that this is correct and that others involved are massaging the figures so that they complie with the ethos that "Zeppelin are the biggest band ever and have to break ALL records ? ". Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman August 4th 1979. Led Zeppelin, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes,The New Commander Cody Band, Fairport Convention ,Chas and Dave. August 11th 1979. Led Zeppelin, New Barbarians, Todd Rundgren's Utopia , Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes,The New Commander Cody Band,Chas and Dave. Master of ceremonies: Nicky Horne The final Knebworth festival of the decade and also the final festival promoted by veteran promoter Freddie Bannister at Knebworth (or elsewhere for that matter ).The return to the UK of Led Zeppelin, after a four year hiatus, was to prove an artistic success but a financial disaster for the luckless promoter, who was , it appears , a victim of circumstances, not all of his own creating . Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The Knebworth Park Festivals. Knebworth Park Concerts Knebworth Festival 1979 Setlists AUG 4 1979 Date Saturday, August 4, 1979 - Saturday, August 11, 1979 Venue Knebworth House, Knebworth, England So far there are setlists of 13 gigs. Saturday, August 4, 1979 Chas & Dave Commander Cody Band Fairport Convention Led Zeppelin Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes Utopia Add Setlist Saturday, August 11, 1979 Chas & Dave Commander Cody Band Keith Richards Led Zeppelin Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes The New Barbarians Utopia Add Setlist August 4th & 11th 1979. Knebworth Festival 1979 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman However , substitute gear was found and the band ( sans Grace ,who had been sent back to the states in disgrace due to her erratic behaviour ) played a lengthy set which featured many of their best songs from the Volunteers era as well as others from Dragonfly . Within a year veteran vocalist Marty Balin had left the band as well and The Starship was never the same after this . Knebworth 1978 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman Bannister found a good selection of bands to support his headliners- mega prog band Genesis-who obviously drew the majority of the audience , many of whom traveled to Knebworth from the continent and beyond. The best of the support acts was undoubtedly Jefferson Starship, who initially were in doubt to appear after having just had their equipment completely trashed by an outraged tutonic crowd after aborting a show in Germany because Grace Slick was "indisposed". Knebworth 1978 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman After again tasting success in 1976 with the Rolling Stones as prime punter bait , promoter Freddie Bannister pulled his head in during 1977, as he could not find a big enough draw card to risk the considerable sums needed to stage such a vast undertaking . However he was back again in 1978 with the first of two slightly smaller shows than he had previously promoted.The first, with Genesis as the main act , drew around 80,000 fans . Knebworth 1978 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The Knebworth Park Festivals A Midsummer Night's Dream: 6-24-78. Genesis, Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Devo, Brand X, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Roy Harper. Knebworth 1978 at Knebworth House of Rock U K Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman These pages are intended to be a celebration of the festival, the third in a long line of one day events held at Knebworth Park by the promoter Freddy Bannister . You will find here as many details of the day as we can muster, most especially oral recollections of those who attended, details of performances , photos ,reviews ( can anyone help with providing some more of these ?) , band personnel, set lists , audience and soundboard recordings and links where available, We 'd also like to thank the following people for contributing to the development of the pages so far. Richard Arridge, Garry Bodenham , Henry Cobbold, Neil Rice ,Chris Wojecki , Martin Stame , Freddy Bannister, Pete Piwowarski, Parcan, Graham Edgar ,Ove Strindh and Chris Atkins. Thankee gents .... Knebworth Fair 1976 Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman The Stones also insisted that the promoter should attempt to try to instill a carnival atmosphere at the show by hiring a large number of clowns , buskers and other circus acts , who were supposed to entertain the crowd between sets. This was only partly successful , as in every big festival, people were not keen to move from their spots once they had possessed them and therefore many of the acts were not seen by the majority of the crowd. The stage itself was in the shape of a giant tongue ( modelled on the Stones logo which allowed Jagger to parade himself nicely ) but which also meant the audience were further away from most of the performers than ever . Knebworth Fair 1976 Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman Unfortunately sound problems dogged some of the acts, with some gargantuan delays which bored the crowd and made the show over-run, thus threatening the promoters licence .The Stones however, played one of the longest shows of their career , which no doubt made up for the lengthy delay they made the punters endure so that their lighting effects could be seen properly in full darkness. Knebworth Fair 1976 Feb 17, 2019
 Dennis Zimbelman Bannister assembled a workmanlike parade of artists to compliment the Stones( although he was careful NOT to pick any bands who were likely to upstage the old prancers ). As it was , Don Harrison flopped , Hot Tuna were quite well received, 10cc were not, Lynyrd Skynyrd blew many people away with their long rendition of Freebird and Todd Rundgren enhanced his popularity with a hot set , the first of four appearances at Knebworth festivals between 1976 and 1979. Knebworth Fair 1976 Feb 17, 2019