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Remember When: Swinging Sixties.

Byline: Compiled by Paul Delplanque

THEY SAY if you can remember the Sixties then you can't have been there.

But is there anyone who remembers Teespop 68?

Back in August, 1968, Teesside held its very own rock festival.

The event, named "Teespop 68" was organised by a young impresario called John McCoy.

The line-up included some of the most famous names on the music scene at that time.

Yet today, hardly anyone seems to remember it... perhaps this was Teesside's forgotten rock festival.

Topping the bill was none other than Traffic with Steve Winwood, who had already charted with the legendary Hole In My Shoe.

Equally famous was Ben E King, one time front-man of The Drifters, who recorded the classic Save The Last Dance For Me and his great solo hits Spanish Harlem and Stand By Me.

Also on the bill were The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who already had a cult following after their successful album Gorilla and would soon hit the Top 10 with The Urban Spaceman.

Supporting these more famous acts was Joe Cocker's Grease Band - the same Joe Cocker who was also soon to have a huge hit with the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends. Other bands included The Alan Bown Set and Amboy Dukes.

Eston Recreation Ground on the Trunk Road to Redcar was chosen as the venue, where two stages and two marquees were erected.

John confidently expected more than the 2,500 fans that he needed to break-even to turn up.

As it happened, only 2,000 bought tickets but as John said at the time: "I suppose there were a few gatecrashers, because there must have been more than 2,500 in the marquee."

The festival got off to a good start with local bands Rivers Invitation, The Chelfont Line and Tramline being introduced by veteran R&B man Long John Baldry who acted as compere.

Joe Cocker's Grease band did not disappoint the crowd with their high octane set of classic rockers.

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band presented their own unique repertoire much to the amused bewilderment of the crowd.

After a storming set by Ben E King, Traffic closed the show just before the police literally pulled the plug half an hour early at 11.30pm.

Most of the artists decided not to go home but went to the Kirk at Kirklevington, which John ran at the time, for a private party. "It was a great way to end a memorable day, if you were there," remembered John, who also managed a young Chris Rea.

So that is what we know about Teespop 68 - Teesside's forgotten rock festival - but it is probably a lot more than many of us knew before.

Unless you were there in '68 of course, in which case we want to hear from you. Post us a comment and tell us all about it... man.

Tell us

To view more photographs and memories about Teespop 68, click on to visit www.gazettelive.co.uk/ rememberwhen And if you have memories to share with us, click on to the rememberwhen blog

CAPTION(S):

ROCK ON: Ben E King, above, and Steve Winwood of Traffic, below right, rocked Teespop 68, left. The Festival was the brainchild of impresario John McCoy, below left
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2008
Words:550
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