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Remembering when Baston hosted the likes of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Yes and Mud – as event is revived for new generation

A quiet and picturesque village was once the epicentre of rock n roll – and a new festival plans to revive some of that fun.

The organisers of the Baston Beats festival, which is set to take place next month, uncovered a treasure trove of tales from the likes of Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Yes and their appearances in the village when they began working on the project.

Niamh Addy and Christina Pitchford, who both live in the village, wanted to hold an event to raise funds for Bourne mental health charity Don’t Lose Help while also rejuvenating the once-popular event which saw rock royalty descend on the area.

An advert for the Black Sabbath gig in The Journal
An advert for the Black Sabbath gig in The Journal

“When we first moved here seven years ago, we heard about Baston Beats,” Christina explained.

“My husband Googled it and stumbled upon all of these events from the 60s and 70s where Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Fairport Convention played.

“At first we were really confused – we wondered if there was another Baston – but it’s true, everyone did come here.”

Baston Beats posters from the past show some of the amazing stars who descended on the village
Baston Beats posters from the past show some of the amazing stars who descended on the village

Niamh, whose artist neighbour Samuel Thorp used posters of old to recreate a similar design for this year’s event, joined Christina in taking a deep-dive into the anecdotes from the past.

“When I started researching about the bands I actually made contact with some people who’ve been to the concerts,” she said.

“I've gleaned some of the band knowledge and history from Paul Young of the ‘They Played Peterborough’ website and Peter Sharp and it went from there.

“We learnt that The Equals played and Eddy Grant was the lead singer, The Mud played before they dropped the ‘the’ from their name and PP Arnold, who was Tina Turner’s main backing singer, also performed.

“So many of the huge names from the 1960s and 70s played. My mother in law said that if a band was on Top Of The Pops, a few weeks later they’d be playing in Baston.”

The duo also learned that heavy metal legends Black Sabbath were booked to play before they made it big in the charts. But a short while after they hit the top ten with their infamous track Paranoid, they rocked up in the village.

“They were contractually obliged to carry on with the dates they had agreed to play even though they were huge at that point,” Christina explained.

“Apparently they could be heard from Bourne!”

Baston Beats returns on July 15 and 16 2023
Baston Beats returns on July 15 and 16 2023

Organised by the Baston Community Association, the events would take place in a marquee said to be more than 140 feet long with an oak floor in the summer before moving to the Bourne Corn Exhange in the winter.

Deborah Jackson, the daughter of one of the committee members, has fond memories of hanging out with rock royalty.

She said: “I was only a child at the height of the music events at Baston but I have a good memory of them and, unusually, attended a lot of the gigs as my mum was the secretary of the Baston Playing Field Association and was actively involved in booking the bands.

“There was always great excitement in the village when we saw the lorries and vans arriving to erect the big marquee where the bands would perform. The village children used to go to the playing field to watch the marquee erection – and no doubt, make nuisances of ourselves.

“The bands I remember are The Tremeloes, The Move, The Flowerpot Men, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Love Affair, Marmalade, The Flirtations, Cupid’s Inspiration, The Ivy League and Geno Washington.

“My friend tells a story of us being pushed on the swings by the members of Mungo Jerry but I don’t actually remember that. I remember being passed up onto the stage with the Marmalade during one of their songs, much to the envy of the older girls in the audience – and I also got to go backstage with The Move.

“I remember being traumatised by seeing Roy Wood, who later formed the band Wizzard, in his purple underpants!”

However, not everyone was quite so enamoured with the noisy visitors.

In a cutting from a 1970 edition of our sister title the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury an ‘angry ratepayer’ – who took against the fundraising events – likened the atmosphere to Skegness or Blackpool.

They wrote: “We have so far experienced three of this year’s quota, the last one being on Spring Holiday night when the blaring noise of beat music continued, legally or otherwise, until 12:30am.

“Not content with playing to the audience inside the marquee, they amplified it, as usual, to such an extent that it must have been heard for miles around.”

However, thankfully, the majority of people enjoyed the events which brought in enough cash for the committee to buy the playing field for the people of the village.

“We really wanted to educate the the village about their heritage while helping a charity and facility which plays a big part in the community,” Niamh explained.

“Our goal is to make it an annual event and get it back to what is was.

“Post Covid, we know with our own children and their peers that young people are all needing more mental health help.

“Don’t Lose Hope is a small charity but it is such an important facility to have and it is very visibly used.

“All of the profits will go to them.”

This year, on Saturday, July 15 several bands will perform at The White Horse in the village along with a barbecue and a wide range of guest beers.

While, on Sunday, July 16, there will be a creative performance workshop followed by an open mic session for budding young musicians.

More information can be found on the Baston Beats Facebook page.

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