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Home arrow Reviews arrow Box Sets arrow Knebworth Festivals - There Must Be A Better Way
Knebworth Festivals - There Must Be A Better Way Print E-mail


betterway We were recently contacted by Henrietta Bannister, daughter of the promoter Freddy Bannister, who was responsible for the legendary Knebworth festival concerts in the seventies - with a very special offer, only available through Brain Damage! Amongst the bigger Knebworth shows in that decade were the Rolling Stones in 1976, Led Zeppelin in 1979, and of course, Pink Floyd in 1975.

The Bannisters have put together a limited edition Knebworth commemorative set, signed and numbered by Freddy himself. We're sure that you'll want to know what the set is actually like, so here goes!

The first thing we'd mention is that you'll need a bit of time to enjoy everything that your postman will bring, when he knocks on your door with a large box. The picture to the right gives a good idea of the spread of goodies you receive.

Taking off the box lid (the inside of which gives the edition number, and signature of Freddy Bannister), you get the pack of programmes, tickets, and flyers for the three shows mentioned above.

These are all very well reprinted, and a great trip down memory lane. It's hard to imagine paying GB£2.75 to see Pink Floyd at Knebworth! It still surprises me, though, how little of Pink Floyd appears in the programme for their headlining concert.

Next up, a box of 44 9" x 7" photos, a number of which are from the Pink Floyd show, including Roger shrowded in dry ice, and a shot of the band on stage taken from the side, showing off their equipment well.

There's some good shots of the Stones, Genesis, Peter Gabriel (in full safety gear!), and Led Zeppelin, all in action over the years. Included are some amusing pictures of life in and around the festival, which add to the atmosphere.

Knebworth Festival 1975: Pink Floyd Programme
Also in the box is a 55 minute video cassette, "The Spirit Of Knebworth", which is a compilation of clips. It starts with a blistering Freebird (Lynryd Skynyrd), Route 66 (the Rolling Stones - in poor quality) and Satisfaction (Stones again, this time in better quality).

The main body of the tape is a long sequence from BBC (local?) news, reporting on the festival - in this case, the Genesis show. Starting with some nice atmospheric crowd shots, including camping, clearing up the mountains of rubbish, and so on. The report adds a lot to the tape - if only for the dated vehicles and equipment, and the interview with Freddy. There's a great moment where the BBC reporter is shocked at a young French lad who'd travelled ALL THE WAY FROM FRANCE to be at the show - all that distance, just for a rock band?!

If course, these days, not many people think twice about travelling considerable distances for shows, particularly for special shows. The reaction of the reporter is priceless though!

The tape then concludes with a sequence of Led Zeppelin at the venue in 1979, and shows them on good form.

Probably the most fascinating item in the box is the 200 page illustrated hardback book with the same title as the whole package - There Must Be A Better Way. This tells, in Freddy's own words, the story of the backstage hassles promoting the festivals. A more entertaining look at putting on shows, and dealing with bands and their management, you'd be hard pressed to find. Why Freddy and Wendy persisted in the face of the adversities they met, goodness only knows. Some of the stories are laugh out loud funny, others shocking - all keep you riveted to the page. Some of the grammar and punctuation is a bit askew but personally I found this endearing and a clear sign that no ghost writer had been used, diluting what Freddy wanted to get down in writing.

Particularly hair-raising are the mentions of Freddy almost being sliced in two courtesy of the guide-rope for the Floyd's crashing plane, and the troubles he had working with Led Zeppelin for their two shows in 1979. No wonder he retired from the concert promotion business!

The final part of the official set is the 20 inch x 30 inch poster for Pink Floyd's show - pictured to the right. This is sent seperately in a stiff tube, and is also personally signed, in the bottom corner, by Freddy. A typical seventies concert poster, this is a nice addition to the set, as it is not commonly seen elsewhere.

Knebworth Festival 1975: Pink Floyd Poster

Plus, as a special gift to Brain Damage visitors, you also get a selection of CDs (and in some cases DVDs) which the Bannisters were given by a fan, but of course unable to sell seperately (for obvious reasons!). Our selection included a 3CD set of Floyd's 1975 performance, Led Zeppelin's August 11th 1979 show on 2CD and 2DVD (which also includes four tracks from the first show on the 4th August), and the Rolling Stones 1976 show on 2CD. They also have the Genesis set on 2CD and 2DVD, if you'd prefer that to one of these...

Sound and picture quality across the discs is very good on the whole, with the Stones and Zeppelin set seeming to be soundboard recordings; the Floyd set isn't, although it is a lot better than I've ever heard this show before. And it is great to hear the WHOLE show, including tunings-up, the Spitfire flypast at the start, Roger moaning about the power problems, etc..

All in all, a wonderful set, and well worth adding to your collection. But be quick - it's a limited edition, after all, and selling as fast as Freddy can sign them, and the Bannisters can get them into their shipping boxes.

This very special offer is not available through their website (although it does have many other goodies worth your attention - not just Pink Floyd but Led Zeppelin and other giants of rock) which can be found at

If you want more information about the set, or indeed want to order it, you should email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , quoting the Brain Damage special offer.

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