Manfred Mann headlined the Oxfordshire Woodstock concert
Woodstock has gone down in pop music history for its iconic festival in August 1969 and is the subject of the new comedy film 'Taking Woodstock'.
But did you know that it was not the first outdoor pop concert of that name?
Woodstock in Oxfordshire hosted the original in 1967 in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, organised by Oxford manager and promoter Adrian Hopkins.
Star acts like Manfred Mann, Jeff Beck and PP Arnold played on the same stage as local groups for a charity gig.
Poster for the 1967 Woodstock Pop Concert at Blenheim Palace
Adrian Hopkins was a successful Oxford music promoter and manager in the 60s who went on to manage many big artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash and Thin Lizzy and has recently been working with Cliff Richard.
He was asked by the St. John Ambulance to organise a fundraising pop concert which took place just in front of Blenheim Palace on 23 July 1967, the first of its kind.
Normally, Adrian would arrange for well known bands to play in the county alongside some of the local groups, so being asked to organise such a big concert was both a challenge and an honour.
He was interviewed recently on BBC Oxford by Trevor Hayward for the 60s music series 'Bringing Back The Good Times'. He spoke about his early days as an Oxford band manager and gig promoter, his links with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Rod Stewart and many more well known artists, and reminisced about the Woodstock concert which was attended by around 3000 people.
One of Adrian's local bands The Falling Leaves also played at the concert and they got together again in October 2009 for a rare gig to launch Trevor Hayward's book Rocking in Oxford, about the local music scene in the 60s and 70s. Adrian took time out from his busy schedule to introduce them on stage at the old 'Corn Dolly' music venue in Oxford.
(see the TV report here)
Bringing Back The Good Times presenter and producer Mark Watson said: "We have had loads of great memories like Adrian's on the show over the past two years, documenting what the local music scene was like, but his story is special as it combines the local bands and the star names he brought to the county.
"As well as talking to artists both big and local, we have had an excellent response from the listeners who have come forward to give us their memories which I have really enjoyed hearing as unfortunately I was too young to go to concerts at the time."
One of those listeners was 'Veasey' who was at the Woodstock concert and emailed the show from his home in Maidenhead to say: "I lived in Oxford in the early 60s because of the mod music scene. I was a regular at The Gaff in Banbury, The Stage Club in Oxford and The Bridge in Wheatley.
"I saw Jimi Hendrix at the Corn Exchange in Newbury, PP Arnold with The Nice at Woodstock (UK), lots of nights with Geno and the Ram Jam Band and Amen Corner at the Stage Club. I am now in my early 60s and married with two grandchildren but still remember the best time of my life!"
The Nice who performed with PP Arnold at the concert
The 1967 concert was the first at Blenheim Palace which would go on to host concerts by Barry Manilow, Jamie Cullum, The Bee Gees, Lulu, Gabrielle, Van Morrison, Joan Armatrading, Chris de Burgh, Supergrass, The Happy Mondays, James Blunt, Westlife and many classical music events.
So does 'Taking Woodstock' make the connection between the two venues? Does it answer the rumours that people turned up at Blenheim Palace in 1969 to go to the music festival of peace and love?
Not exactly, but if you have the answers, memories or pictures of the Oxfordshire event, we would love to hear from you.
Bringing Back The Good Times is a series of bank holiday programmes on BBC Oxford. To find out more about the show and how to tell us your memories of Oxfordshire's 60s music scene,click here.
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