Monday, June 13, 2011

Music Marathons - 1969 and 1971

Umbrella Club Music Marathon weekend 
21st to 23rd November 1969

Following the successful Transcendental Cauldron at the end of the previous month, another weekend event was planned. This time focusing entirely on the local underground music scene.

This was the second event I personally attended at the Umbrella before becoming a member and involved with the band nights.

Friday 21st Evening - Lounge

In the Theatre

Modern Jazz Symbols

Saturday 22nd November
In the Lounge
Gaels (Folk Club)
Trad B Jefferson

In the Theatre
Andy and Jan Smith

Sunday 23rd November

In the Lounge

In the Theatre
Dave Beaufoy Trio
Rod Felton and Cliff Cowling
White Heat
Joy Hyman
Terry Wisdom

(Not sure what day Indian Summer and Rockit were on - have a feeling Cliff Cowling's rock a boogie band were called Rockit - if so they would have been on Sunday under Cliff Cowling)
Down Country Boys on the Hobo  - Coventry Folk scene Blog.




In 1971, Trev Teasdel (who was organising the Friday night band nights) and Lyndie Watson (Brimstone) who was involved with the drama group and acting as Programme Secretary) decided it would be a great idea to organise an event like some of the 1969 events, especially the Music Marathon. The Umbrella Committee were up for it and so we began organising. There were no shortage of local bands and Lyndie put an advert in Friendz and International Times to try and attract some bands from elsewhere in the Midlands. From Birmingham we got Ascension and Valhalla and from Leicester Medusa among others. We managed to attract bands and volunteers and had got up a head of steam. The Marathon was earmarked for the weekend beginning July 2nd 1971.
Lyndie's to do list for Trevor

Unfortunately the premises at 18, Queen Victoria Road had been crumbling for sometime and they received notice that the building had been condemned. It would be demolished early 1973. Meanwhile the Umbrella had to be closed for several months during the summer for essential repairs and so the Marathon was off unless we could find another place to host it. Not easy - the Umbrella wasn't close to residential premises and so the noise factor wasn't the problem it would be else where. We had no luck identifying anywhere that would host t he Marathon and the Umbrella suggested the Charterhouse (a Medieval / Elizabethan mansion and adult education centre set in its own grounds) and the place where eventually the Umbrella would migrate to in 1974.

The Charterhouse were up for it but we had to get the ok from the Police, Fire brigade and so forth. They were convinced that our very humble, small Umbrella style festival was going to turn into a Woodstock requiring major diversions, safety and policing issues. Needless to say they couldn't be convinced and our efforts to organise the 2nd Marathon had gone as far as we could take it. Although we kept searching for a venue almost up to the time when the Marathon was die to start - including the Deaf Centre, Catherdral Refectory, Technical College, Henley College.

Bands that we'd asked included Chris Jones Aggression, Ra Ho Tep, Pete Waterman (for Contacts), Clive Jackson and more.

The wording for proposed poster for the 2nd Music Marathon, before the Umbrella as a venue was out. We outsourced the design of the posters to a number of artistic Umbrella members and the umbrella was going to get them printed via a contact in London, free of charge! However plans changed.

One entry from my diary

May 17th Mon - Pete King from Birmingham came to Umbrella to discuss playing at Umbrella Music Marathon. Getting organised now. Lyndie arranging sleeping arrangements for bands from out of Coventry. The two Jan's were doing posters. Talked to the Umbrella Drum circle. Gaynor helping with publicity and selling tickets for the marathon. To phone Pete Waterman about band contacts.

 Met Bazz of Chris Jones Aggression - discussed doing the Music Marathon with him."

Another entry

June 2nd Weds - Umbrella Club were told we didn't have local authority clearance to hold the 2nd Music Marathon at the Umbrella advised to checkout other locations. Lyndie and I went to the memorial Park and then to the Charterhouse, met with the representatives of the police and fire brigade and local authority."


June 21st Mon - Stayed in Birmingham. It was looking like our best efforts had been thwarted about the Marathon. Getting a suitable venue was proving difficult as the the weekend marathon would go on all weekend all night. It worked before at the Umbrella but the Umbrella at that time was used to gigs that went on late. Other venues were more normalised! we'd gotten a lot of support from bands and music fans but not any support from the venues or the powers that be. And yet it was a positive thing, providing bands with gigs and young people with a bit of culture.

June 24th Thurs - Marathon was off - nothing was going to give - wrote to all the groups and those who had showed support both in Cov and Birmingham. Don't ask how it felt after a lot of hard work trying to promote Cov music. We went to the pub!"

Lyndie was on a drama course at Brookland's and during the summer we moved to Birmingham on the day the 2nd Marathon should have happened, sharing a house with members of one of the groups for the summer and got involved with The Arts Centre in Cannon Hill Park. Although I attended events at the Umbrella when I returned in the autumn and the Umbrella reopened, I didn't get involved with organising anything further until July 1972 when I began organising the Humpoesic Happenings - experimental folk and poetry sessions until the Umbrella finally closed at Queen Victoria Road towards the end on 1972.

With some initial help from the Umbrella I continued work on the Coventry Music Scene through Hobo Magazine and Hobo Workshop at the Holyhead Youth Centre in 1973 to 75 - the subject of a related blogspot.

From Umbrella Newsletter 1971

Some Youtube of a couple of the bands - Indian Summer

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