Punk Rock Festival First Ever
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City Rock Festival Sept 17th 1977

 

Hosted By John Peel

The Damned (never played see below)

Eddie And The Hot Rods

Doctors Of Madness

Lew Lewis Band

Chelsea

Slaughter And The Dogs

Asward

Fruit Eating Bears

John Cooper Clarke

Glory

Solid Waste

tickets £3.00 advance or £3.50p on the gate

 


 

 


City Rock Badge

City rock, the first ever punk festival in September 1977 and hosted by John Peel, but unfortunately things did not go to plan. Bob Mardon promoter who attempted to save Chelmsford City Football Club and make it as a big time promoter found his show ending in shambles. Only 1500 young punks turned up for the event on a perfect sunny September day, in fact only 500 tickets had been sold in advance of the show.

Bob Mardon Promoter (right)

Promoter  Bob Mardon an ex-college dance organiser announced after coming out of hiding that he was broke with personal debt of £14.000. Now in 1977 that was a lot of money with the new Ford Capri selling at £3000 and a 3 bedroom house at about £10.000, average wage £78.00 per week.


First Punk Rock Show Ever

The day before the show local newspapers report and speculate on the event reporting a mass security operation in the town to deal with the 15000 punks expected all with a reputation of anti social behaviour. A spokesman from the event said “we have enough bouncers to handle anything unless it turns into a riot, inside the ground there will be 90 bouncers and seven patrol dogs while police will monitor the situation outside the stadium”

A late publicity campain was launched with 3500 posters splashed around centrel London. Mardon was now under exstream pressure as builders demanded cash for alteration work at the football ground but remained posative about the show expecting a late rush on tickets. Asked how many people would attend he said "we don't know what will happen, it's like going to play a football match without knowing if we will win. we hope we can"

Martin Havelin local record shop owner and board member at CCFC is also involved and was hoping to raise £5000 for the football club. It was reported after that he had in fact lost £7000 of his own money.

On Stage At City Rock 77

Despite only 1500 punks and music fans turning up, the show went on. Comparing John Peel introduced the artist onto the stage. I was at the festival, I had looked forward to the event ever since its announcement. I was a part time punk, as if I had gone to work looking anything remotely like a punk you would have been sent home or sacked. So before a punk gig I would spray my hair sliver, gel and spike it up. I had an old Baddow Comprehensive School blazer that was ripped with chains hanging, A swastika badge pinned on, old ripped drain pipe jeans with anti social graffiti on, with silver DM's and anything I could wear that would disgust people.



The Jam Pull and Billy Idol's Generation X Pull Out

The Jam and Generation X pull out of the show due to poor ticket sales and the head-liner's are rapidly replaced by Barry Master's band from Southend On Sea “Eddie and The Hot Rods” .

Things backstage at the show soon started to turn sour as angry bouncers demanded payment from Mardon who had locked himself into the his office at the ground. News got out on Anglia TV that stewards had left the site and anyone could now get get in for nothing, this did attract a few more into the stadium. Some friends of mine the Harrison family been Sue, John and Mark came along after hearing the TV report and filled us in on the media reports. But Punks in the ground were now getting angry as news spread that the show may be cancelled, John Peel appealed for calm but was pelted with bottles as the punks became increasingly mad. Plastic bags full of urine were also thrown onto the stage, with one  band "Asward" been pelted of stage, Peel said "one more can thrown and the band will walk off and  immediately they were pelted bt many cans.

Despite this all the bands on the bill above played apart from the Damned who refused to play unless they were paid. (they felt gilty after and returned to the Chancellor Hall some weeks later and played for free.) As Richard Strange played with his band Doctors Of Madness one dis crumpled scaffolder who was not going to be paid started to dismantle the stage during the performance this continued when Eddie and The Hot Rods closed the festival.

Punks Delight

As Punks enjoy the music my biggest fears for the festival had become a reality as it was turning into a major flop. I had talked at length at the time with fellow punk mates and we felt that the band to have filled that stadium at the time would have been the Sex Pistols. In hindsight its easy to look back but here is my pefect line up for 1977 The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, Sham 69, X Ray Spex, Generation X, Buzzcocks, Sioxsie And The Banshees, The Adverts.


Eddie And The Hot Rods

 Eddie And The Hot Rods from 1977, top of the bill at City Rock play there legendary hit single “do anything you wanna do”.

Doctors Of Madness

Doctors Of Madness the Penultimate act from the first ever Punk Festival play the classic track Suicide City perhaps an alternative title for Bob Mardons festival. As they played at Chelmsford the stage was been dismantled.


Slaughter & The Dogs - Mystery Girl

This track from the live LP Rapid Dogs called Mystery Girls, includes images from the City RocK 77 Show.

Lew Lewis Band
Lew Lewis and his band performing the classic "Louie Louie" on the famous french TV show "Chorus".  

 




 

Duncan Egleton Looks Back At The Chelmsford Punk Festival 1977 & The Damned / 999 Free Chancellor Hall Gig

 

I have a bit of a confession to make; I never went to this one. I did have a good reason though, a week before the festival we were out celebrating with one of the lads I went to school withs, 19th birthday. Gary Cove. We had a night out at Chelmsford’s only night club at the time, Deejays. If you remember it, it was at a time when everything shut at 11. I can even recall that the closing times for pubs used to be 10.30 during the week and 11 at the weekend and I think that Sundays used to be 10. In the summer it got better as the weekdays changed to 11. Anyway Deejays used to be quite a scary place, a hangout for the Melbourne and Boarded Barns lads, all a little bit older than us with fearsome reputations. They always played the Feelgood classic “Back in the night” there and to get the late licence they had to sell Chicken and Chips in a basket. That night I had shitloads of beer (and chicken and chips) and was so pissed I did not remember a thing until I awoke in hospital the next day. My leg was in a full plaster and was broken. Apparently while walking home along Parkway where the Kings Head meadow used to be (now Tesco home and wear), I tried to be a matador with a passing motorbike and came of worse. I can not remember a thing but my mates thought I had killed the motorbiker as he was screaming and rolling about in agony, so they tried to carry me off away from any Police investigation. The biker had a couple of grazes and I had a broken leg which kept me off work for 6 months. The motorbike hit the railings of the meadow and put a big dent into them. Luckily for me my dad had an insurance which covered all of costs. The thieving bastards from the council even charged for the railings. I wouldn’t have minded but that dent was there until the railings were taken away when they built on there several years later.

 

I was absolutley gutted that I couldn’t go as it’s not everyday that your town hosts a national festival which was going to be so well attended to put the town well on the map. I can remember the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming event. A new bridge over the River Can had

 to be built ( see image click to enlarge), the local papers were full of the prospect of the invaiding filth that was to come. Anyway the rest is history, a flop. Typical Chelmsford. I felt sorry for the people involved, Martin Haviland; I think he used to own a real cool record shop in New London Rd, Ecstasy Records. This was a proper record shop where you could listen to anything you wanted to on headphones. That’s if you could get a pair due to all the old hippies in there, who never seemed to do or be anywhere else. The festival was all that was wrong with Chelmsford at the time, it was never supported and seen as a benifit for the town. Much like the Chelmsford Spectacular, the council gave up on that, when it made a loss, seeming to worry more about a handfull of people who take their dogs for a walk than the majority of people. This was a great family weekend now sadly gone. How long was it before Chelmsford got more night clubs other than Deejays? There are now a host of clubs and bars (sadly too late for me) which youngsters come from miles to go to for a night out, who reckon Chelmsford is a great place to live.

 

It’s a shame as I was only housebound for about 2 weeks but the festival was just the week after. I did get to see the Damned at the free gig at (90p to cover hall cost's, see ticket) the Chancellor. Trying to get up

those stairs with a plaster on was hard work. A few of my mates went on an emergency rush to London to stick up posters around the capital the night before the City Punk festival to try to drum up support. I know that one of them has a few in his loft still. A nice piece of local history. If I had of been there, it would have been the Damned and Slaughter and the dogs that I would have like too seen. Nowadays it would be Lew Lewis and the Rods.

 

A good festival lineup for those times would be Patti Smith Band, The Jam, The Pistols, Dr Feelgood, the Clash, Penetration, 999, Iggy Pop and I would have loved to have seen handsome Dick Manitoba with the Dictators.

 

I broke my wrist the year after playing football luckilly nothing since then.

 

Duncan

 

 

 

COMMENTS (new March 2010)

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All text and photo's on this page from Maurice Hyde and Duncan Egleton

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Neville Crozier (The Fruit Eating Bears) Comments:

Hi I have just uploaded to YouTube our opening "City Rock" track (sound only) "Croydon Girls" introduced by JOHN PEEL .