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1980 KNEBWORTH 80: The Beach Boys, Santana, Mike Oldfield, Elkie Brooks, Lindisfarne, The Blues Band. Attendance 45,000.

...after the chaos of the year before, the local council warned that this was the Cobbolds' last chance. New promoter Andy Hudson, working for Capital Radio, produced a slicker event, improved facilities... it even ended half an hour early. Shame about the 5,000 ping pong balls dropped by a B17 Flying Fortress into the wrong field...

...in 1981, the Police cancelled Capital Radio's Jazz Festival on Clapham Common due to the possibilty of street rioting. Knebworth's Jazz Years were born...

 

 

1981/2 THE JAZZ YEARS: Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Sarah Vaughan, BB King, Jimmy Cliff, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and many many more... Attendance 50,000 over a few days.

...the jazz crowd was a completely different affair. It was whole families, sandwiches, the sound of corks popping and dogs barking. Benny Goodman refused to use microphones and Ella Fitzgerald came to tea. Could anything be more laid back? - Well, yes...


1982/3THE GREEN BELT: Cliff Richard, etc... Attendance: 65,000 over two years.

...the Green Belt shows were Christian Festivals. They were 4-day events, with many different tents and seminars on worship, etc... It was so peaceful that four policemen turned up and two went home. Organisation though was a disaster. The site ran out of water. The music overran. The whole event finally came to an end when Lord Cobbold, in his dressing gown, pulled the plug at 3AM on Tuesday morning.

 

In 1985 it was back to business...


1985 THE RETURN OF THE KNEBWORTH FAYRE: Deep Purple, Scorpions, Meat Loaf, UFO, Blackfoot, Mountain, Mama's Boys. Attendance: 80,000


...although with different promoters, Andy Hudson was back in the driving seat organising the site, with the only concert in England for the newly reformed Deep Purple. The police almost scuppered the show by charging £60,000 for their presence. The council refused to provide a drink license or allow camping. It all looked a little strained. Then it rained.. The crowd stood up, and bottles started flying. For the first time Lord & Lady Cobbold had to give up the arena for the backstage enclosure. The mud was everywhere. Getting out required every farmer's tractor in the area, and the rubbish solidified into the ground...


..1986 IT'S A KIND OF MAGIC: Queen, Status Quo, Big Country, Belouis Some. Attendance 120,000

...the last gig ever played by Queen, and a huge sell out. Having stolen the show at Live Aid the year before, the band were at the top of their form and the show was spectacular. The sun shone. The crowd was relaxed.



Only as the people began to disperse was it discovered that somebody had been stabbed in the audience during the show. Due to the size of the crowd the ambulance couldn't reach him in time to save him.


As the '80s played out, few bands appeared able to play a venue of Knebworth's size. Knebworth was beginning to look like a dinosaur, with Wembley fast becoming the outdoor venue of choice...


 

The Knebworth House Gift Shop

House, Gardens and Park
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