Our friend Mary Finnigan is involved this month with a legendary revival. Here’s her report:
In 1969 David Bowie lived in Foxgrove Road, Beckenham, sharing a flat with the journalist Mary Finnigan. They launched a Folk Club at the Three Tuns pub (now a Zizzi pizza restaurant) which attracted a huge following from all over south London and beyond – and later morphed into The Beckenham Arts Lab.
The 2013 festival is a reprise of the 1969 Free Festival staged at the Croydon Road Recreation Ground by David Bowie and his friends at the Beckenham Arts Lab. Amory Kane’s performance was one of the 1969 highlights. He says the invitation to play again this year was irresistible:
“I love beyond measure to be in the UK at any time because it is the land of my childhood, but this trip is really special – I have vivid happy memories of the Arts Lab festival and I’m delighted to be coming back.”
The 2013 festival is being organised as a fund raiser to renovate the iconic Victorian bandstand in the Croydon Road Recreation Ground where David Bowie, Amory Kane, Bridget St John, Keith Christmas,The Strawbs and other musicians from the psychedelic era performed on a sunny August afternoon 44 years ago. The money raised by the auction of David’s signed memorabilia will go into the bandstand fund:
“We are thrilled at David’s generosity” says organiser Natasha “And I’ll say a big thank you to him on the day.”
The 2013 festival aims to recreate the magic of the original event. Performances include The Thin White Duke Bowie tribute band, Bill Liesegang (who also played in 1969), Keval, Raf and O, Low Rent Tractors and Scott Fuller and John Aldington. There will be stalls provided by Gingham Goose Craft Markets, face painting, refreshments, a raffle and other attractions.
In 1969 the festival was free. Thanks to generous donations by individuals including Angie Bowie, Calvin Mark Lee and DJ Tim Goffe, it raised £200 (app £800 today) for the Arts Lab. Contemporary regulations make it impossible to replicate free entry, so there will be a charge of £5.00 to cover expenses, with voluntary contributions towards the bandstand restoration fund.
On September 15 the fun starts at 2.00pm, with non stop live music from 3 to 6 pm.
photo: Angie Bowie, Mary Finnigan, smoking in front of the bandstand, 1969. Check those flares. (c) Mary Finnigan/Slipped Disc