Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lanchester Arts Festivals ( Now Coventry University) - Early 1970's

From 1969  to the late 1970's, The Lanchester Polytechnic Student Union (Now Coventry University), Priory street Coventry, organised a winter Arts festival for a whole week in February. These were amazing multimedia events mainly centred around some of the best upcoming underground bands and artists in many genres and solo artists. There were also poetry, theatre events etc as you will see for the programmes here and the first ever Live Performance by Monty Python's Flying Circus - see a separate post on here by Colin Richardson - the Bron Agency booker who managed to procure Python for the Lanch and tells the story of that.

The Lanch of course had regular Friday night band sessions in the Main hall for students and non students. Most of the budding musicians and fans would have gone to see these bands at the time. Sometimes you could see three top name bands quite cheaply by today's standards.

Here are some of the programmes..

This is Pete Clemons article on the Lanch for the Coventry Telegraph 2012, using some of the information from the original HoboVox site alongside his own research. It gives some of the history of the Lanch and its development as a major Coventry music venue.

Pete Clemons Coventry Telegraph article  on the Lanchester Poly Gigs link

1971 Lanchester Arts festival Programme

1974 Lanchester Arts Festival Programme

1976 Lanchester Arts Festival Programme


Pete Clemons Coventry Telegraph article on the Pink Floyd at the Locarno as part of the 1972 Lanch Arts Festival

Pete Clemons Coventry Telegraph Article on Chuck Berry at the Locarno as part of the Lanch Arts festival 1972 where he recorded My Ding a Long which topped the UK charts.

Chuck Berry's Set List for the Locarno.

Sweet Little Sixteen 
Roll 'em Pete 
It Hurts Me Too 
Around and Around 
The Promised Land 
Reelin' and Rockin' 
My Ding-a-Ling 
Bye Bye Johnny 
Johnny B. Goode 

From Hobo 1974


1975 adverts from Hobo Magazine

Paddy at Lanch Disco

Lanch Bar downstairs
From Hobo magazine  November 1973 - Lanch gigs at the bottom of the page top ones Warwick University.

Entrance to Lanch Poly tech Student Union building 

Leon Russell poster 1971

The Lanch produced some brilliant posters for gigs in the early 70's
This is the only one we've managed to source apart from the plainer Leon Russell one. This poster was preserved by Coventry musician Lee Dorrian. If anyone has any more Coventry Lanchester Polytech posters from the late 60's early 70's let us know. This one is for the Dr Strangely Strange / Pieces concert. 

Colin Richardson - Bron Booking Agent involved with the Lanch Arts Festival

He booked Monty Python's Circus for the 1971 Lanch Arts Festival at the Belgrade Theatre - Colin Richardson - the Bron organisation booking agent tells the story of how he managed to book Python for their first ever Live performances.

Colin  Richardson also tells the story of how he both managed Colosseum and New Jazz Orchestra and booked them for the Lanch Poly with Jack Bruce in 1970 with a section from Jon Hiseman's book Playing the Band describing the concert.

Lanchester Polytechnic Bands include -

Amazing Blondell / Adrian Henri and Liverpool poets / Arthur Big Boy Crudup / Arthur Brown / Amen Corner / Asgard / Atomic Rooster / Adrian Mitchell / Arthur Lee / Andre Previn / Alexis Korner /Andy Fairweather Lowe /  Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band / Blue Mink / Bridget St John / Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts / Blackfoot Sue /  Blodwyn Pig / Barclay James Harvest Brewers Droop / Big Idea / Big John Wrencher / Brownsville Banned / Brinsley Schwarz / Bad Manners / Caravan / Chuck Berry / Coliseum / Can / Curved Air / Cream / Centipede / Canned Heat / Claire Hammill / Cousin Joe Pleasant / Climax Chicago Blues Band / Cockney Rebel / Christopher Logue /Duster Bennett / Dada / Drought Porridge / Daddy Longlegs / Dando Shaft / Dexys Midnight Circus / Doctor Ross the harmonica Boss / Danny Abse / Davey Graham / Don Fardon / David Bowie / Elton John / ELO / ELP / Erasure / Eddie Playboy Taylor / Eyeless in Gaza / EMF (US) / Edgar Broughton band / Edwin Hawkins Singers / Fairport Convention / Fleetwood Mac (Peter Greens) / Flying Hat Band / Fresh Maggots / Furious Apples / Free / Groundhogs / Gentle Giant  / God's Toys / George Deep Jackson /Goliath / Grimms / George MAcBeth / George Melly and the Feetwarmers / George Chisholm and Johnnie Patrick Trio / Gordon Giltrap / Hatfield and the North / Heron / Humphrey Lyttleton's band / Izzy the Push / Indian Summer /  Instant Sunshine / Ivor Cutler / Jake Thackery / Jack Bruce and Friends / Jo Ann Kelly / John Silken / John Williams / John Hewitt / Jethro Tull / John Dowie / John Mayall's Bluesbreakers / Jesus and Mary Chain / Judy Dyble and Penguin / Jeff Beck Band / Jackie Wittren / Jimmy Tarbuck / Julie Driscoll and The Brian Auger Trinity / Jans Duke De Grey / Kevin Ayres and the Whole World Kinks / Lindisfarne / Love / Liverpool Scene / Lesley Duncan / Last Fair Deal /  Larry Johnson / Leon Russell / Mead (Neol Davies band) / Medicine Head / MC5 / Mott the Hoople / Magic Lantern / Monty Python's Flying Circus (not a band obviously!) / Mr Fox / Moon / Mike Absolom /  Nice / Nashville Teens / New Jazz Orchestra / Nucleus / Neil Innes / National Acoustic band / Osibisa / Oasis / Pentangle / Pink Floyd / Pink Umbrella / Pete Brown and Piblokto / Pink Fairies / Principal Edwards Magic Theatre / Pete Aitkin / Patto / The Peddlers / Paul Jones / Roy Harper / Ray King Soul Band /Roxy Music / Reluctant Stereotypes / Ra Ho Tep / Ralph McTell / Ramrods / Ronnie Scott / Ron Geesin / The Ring / Slade / Strawbs / Scaffold / Sticky George / Skin Alley / Skid Row / Selecter / Sorrows / Simon Dupree and the Big Sound / Supergrass / Sex Pistols / Silence / Smiths /  Stone the Crows / Suzi Quatro / Spirit / Specials / Tyrannosaurus Rex / T. Rex / Tu Pac / Trees / T. Apache Indian / Tom Pickard / Tiera Buena New orleans band / Tsar / UB40 / Urge / Vandergraff Generator / Wandering John / Wild Turkey / Wild Angels / Who / Wizzard / Whistler / Yes



Find Lanch / Cov University gigs in the 80's on this site.

Kraftwerk at the Lanch poly Friday Oct 8th

From this interesting site  - Spirit at the Lanch 1973

1973 with Thin Lizzie / Greenslade and Man etc at the Lanch Poly

Edgar Broughton Band Lanchester Polytechnic circa 1972

"The first concert I went to was The Who at the Lanchester Poly in November 1970. Tickets we were £1 each! There were only 900 tickets available as The Who insisted on having a special stage built which reduced the capacity. By all accounts the Poly made a loss on the concert as The Who were paid £1200 for the gig.
It is reckoned that there were over 1000 people outside the hall listening to the show.
The headline in the Coventry Evening Telegraph on the Monday read..........'The why of the loss from The Who'" Beesman

"I was one of them outside, couldn't get in. Outside on on Priory street were their Rolls Royces and we watched through a small open window at the back of the stage (near the halls of residence). The stage was much larger than normal and some early synth intro was playing as they began. Dressed in patched up jeans jeans, we heard the trademark cresdo of Townsend and the deep bass of Entwhistle. It was cold outside but there was plenty of heat escaping from the Lanch gym which doubled as the concert room." Trev Teasdel

"The WHO concert at the Lanchester proved to many (including our friends in blue) that a full scale show with a top name group can be put on in Coventry without the expected rough and tumbles that are associated with it. When the Who arrived, they were more than pleased with the layout of the place, including the extra power supply and the drinks in the dressing room. They gave a gig that lasted about an hour and a half, starting with a couple of warm up numbers, one of which was called Water. and should be released on a single before Christmas.

The WHO are never really appreciated unless they are seen live, they really are a visual thing. They struck me for some strange reason as being a very clean and hygienic band, no sooner than they were on stage and they were playing away - a sure sign of good management on the side of the Roady.

The gig was good, very few breaks for farting about with the equipment as is so prevalent with some groups. Very professional. They do live up to their big band name as one could judge by the amount of equipment taht was used (a quarter of the hall was taken up by the special stage etc.) The gig never really got going until they broke into My Generation and from that point onwards there were people seen standing up from the well seated crowd doing their own thing and generally causing a bit of hysteria. The light show that was used was effective with the audience and the music, including a feeling that if you looked away then you were sure to miss something. It was good and well worth the money."

See page on Ted Little - Social Secretary 1969 - 71 and Colin Richardson's series of articles and bio articles on procuring Monty Python's Flying Circus / Colosseum / New Jazz Orchestra and the Edwin Hawkins Singers for the Lanch. Colin was the Bron Booking agent from London who book many of the bands for the festival in 1970 / 71.

TED LITTLE (Social Secretary and inventor of the LAF Lanchester Arts Festival) 
Colin Richardson (ther Bron Agency booker from London) alerted me to the name Ted Little. Ted booked many of the bands c 1969 - 71 through Colin Richardson and the Bron agency including jack Bruce and Friends / New Jazz Orchestra / Colosseum (of whom Colin was also manager) / Monty Python's Flying Circus / Edwin Hawkins Singers / Ivor Cutler and many more. Some of the comments transfered from the Hobo Vox / Typepad site reveal more about Ted Little but after his time at the Lanch Ted went on to bring his innovative and democratic approach to the arts to the London Institute of Contemporary Art which he headed and, in the words of the Guardian, he became one of' Britain's leading arts administrators after a stint at the Birmingham Arts Lab. Ted was a student at the Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry, where he read Modern Studies between 1967 and 1970. His interest in arts administration began when he ran the Lanchester Arts Festival in 1970. Ted, who took over as Social Secretary at the Lanch in September 1968 from Keith Glazzard, very much invented the Lanch Arts Festival, teaming up with Bron Booker Colin Richardson as mentioned. The Lanch Festivals were truly multimedia festivals and I think they influenced the later Warwick University festivals and informed much of his later practice in the arts.

Sadly Ted Little fell down the stairs and was paralysed in 1985 but despite his serious disability -"Between 1985 and 1987 he was director of Northampton Arts Centre, followed by two years as director of Artsline. He was active in the development of disability arts; in 1993 he established the Arts Council of Great Britain's initiative to increase the employment of disabled people in the arts." The Guardian 

Ted Little passed away in 1999 aged 56 but his influence on the Coventry and Birmingham arts scene,not to mention his work in London and elsewhere, is still felt but those who went to Lanch Festivals or the Birmingham Arts lab back in the 70's.

His obituaries in the Guardian and Independent will tell more of  Ted Little's story.

Comments from Hobo Vox Blog

Other related articles on this blog - Ted Little and Colin Richardson
Ted was Social Secretary 1969 to about 1971 and Colin was from the Bron Agency in London through whom the bands were book in Ted Little's day and who scooped Monty Python for the festival. Some of the organisers have commented on these posts too.

Comments by former Lanchester Polytechnic Social Secretaries

From Keith Glazzard
Hi - I was at the Lanch from 66 to 69 and was the union social secretary during 67/68. Ted Little, who I knew well, took over from me Sept. 68. Ted was in his mid-twenties (a mature student as opposed to the immature rest of us!), a soft-spoken Irishman with experience in the jazz world. The LAF was very much his idea. Many of the lads who had worked with me to organise our gigs went into Ted's and they put on a good range of stuff in their first go in 69 - I particularly remember Pentangle in the cathedral.

I'm trying to piece together information about the gigs I was involved with and I found a list at deanocity3 which is very patchy and probably inaccurate in parts. For example, I had Cream and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac (with a guest appearance by Jimmy Tarbuck no less!) during the 67 rag week. Amen Corner then Soft Machine started the 67/8 season which included Julie Driscoll and The Brian Auger Trinity, The Jeff Beck Band and The Kinks.

If an archive of the student newspaper - Phoenix - from the period exists, which I doubt, there would be loads of information about all of this and the early days of the LAF in there. If I find anything I'll let you know.

Keith Glazzard.
Posted by: Keith Glazzard | 05/06/2009 at 05:15 PM

Hello again - I've been looking at the acts listed above and some memories return.

A poetry/acoustic night in the first LAF I think might have included Ivor Cutler. There was certainly a wild mad scot whose name I will eventually remember (banjo player), and the amazing Davey Graham (having a not unusual bad night). Poet Christopher Logue too.

The Bonzos gave a superb night at the Lanch for Ted (68?) a few months after they had done at Warwick University a few months before. Germaine Greer, already a bit of a celebrity, was at the gig (a lecturer at UW that year).

Speaking of Gibbet Hill, the first time I saw Cream was in the bar of the UW student union about October 66. Excellent - no stage, just set up on the floor at the end. Had a chat with Eric and Ginger at half time.

The house band at UW was called New Economic Model and supported the likes of Chickenshack and The Crazy World of Arthur brown. Their drummer was Guy Evans who became a full-time member of Van der Graaf Generator when he graduated (a more or less local lad I think).

Colosseum almost seemed to be a Cov house band at the time - on everywhere. Founder John Hiseman was a mate of one of our lecturers at the Lanch (citation needed) but I first encountered him, I think playing in the Graham Bond Organisation (having replaced Ginger Baker) at the blues club at the back of the pub up Highfield Road (or Harnall Lane?) just across from the football ground - Thursday nights. Dick Hextall-Smith, cap, clogs, two saxes and all was very memorable.

Meanwhile, back at the Lanch, in 67/68 I had to organise two formal balls. As a 19 year old working class kid I had no idea, but they went well. Humphrey Lyttleton's band were superb, and brought Danny Thompson, also of Pentangle, back for another night in Cov. The other was headed by a a jazzy trio called The Peddlers who, I have since been told, actually recorded that bloody awful Telstar hit (Tornados) for Joe Meek (citation needed).

Something I am very sure of was that the folk club organiser - Steve Kurrein - asked me if he could put Alexis Korner on next week. I had to make sure the bills were paid, which they were. About 30 of us had a wonderful evening with the founder of British blues.

We had Simon Dupree and the Big Sound on the main stage one Saturday night. They went on to rebrand as Gentle Giant.

One panic which I remember was having booked Marmalade. A few days before, I got a call saying they would break the contract due to a better offer. We had to promote Julie Driscoll, second on the bill, to top it. Wheels On Fire was in the top 5 or so about then. We couldn't sue for loss of income as we made more on the night than we would have done (money, which in my time went back to subsidising the folk club and other good ventures Ted Little, of course, took this to a higher level).

One band we had on more than any other was the local Ray King Soul Band. When TwoTone exploded I was sure that I was hearing echos of the Coventry I knew back then.

Great days. When I left I though they would never be better. But incredibly, they have been for me, and I can guarantee that they have been for Cov as well.

Posted by: Keith Glazzard | 05/08/2009 at 09:47 PM

this is good] Hi Keith,
Trevor signalled me that you had posted some interesting stuff on those halcyon days of the LAF. A lot of it connects with me...and I can tell the name of the mad Scot was (is?) Ron Geesin, who was good mates with Ivor Cutler. They were both booked by me and I even had to drive Ivor Cutler and his little harmonium to the gig as he had no transport at the time, which was great, because we became friends on the journey. Unquestionably, the proudest achievement for me was the 'coup of all coups', getting Monty Python for their first ever live-on-stage appearance. As you so rightly say..."great days".

Posted by: Colin Richardson | 05/09/2009 at 12:38 PM

I've only recently come across this site, and of course it brought back lots of memories. I was at the Lanch (officially from 1965-70, but heavily involved in the music scene there for some time after that). I can claim to have changed the type of music being played, as when I first arrived all the then Social Sec was interested in was mainstream pop groups. I managed to persuade him to book Cream, and will never forget the look of amazement on his face at the queue round the block to get in.

I knew Ted Little well - I stood against him (and lost) for Social Sec. It was during his year in the office that he did indeed found the Arts festival, and he asked me to look after all the press side of things, as well as the staging. I well remember this formidable female, who turned out to be David Bowie's wife, arriving one day asking for me to discuss his appearance at one of the multi-media events (this was before his fame). I had to gently persuade her that Bowie had not actually been booked, and her response was unprintable. I believe this led to his changing agent, just before his career took off.

I also persuaded the Students Union Council that it would be a worthwhile investment to buy a sound system, decks etc rather than paying someone else - I ended up running the discos myself using largely my own record collection. The once-weekly discos, held in the main hall, when the "townies" were let in proved to be a huge money-spinner (costing effectively nothing to put on), the cash being used to underwrite all the band bookings.

During the Arts Festival, Ted somehow managed to persuade Chuck Berry to fly over for a gig, held in the Locarno. I have fond memories of shaking the great man's hand as I introduced his show. What we didn't know was that he was having it recorded, and out of those recordings came a live album (called "The London Sessions" paradoxically) and single - My Ding-a-ling, which of course went to No.1. The festival never received a penny in royalties, which would have gone a long way to repaying the Council the £18k they had to spend underwriting the losses. Incidentally, once the Chuck Berry gig was finished, we had (with great difficulty) to clear the hall so Pink Floyd could set up for Act 2 of the evening's entertainment (which finished at some time about 4 in the morning as I remember - the Locarno management had to be bribed not to pull the plug.

Nice to see the comments from my old mate Keith. Happy Days.

Posted by: A Facebook User | 02/04/2012 at 06:01 PM

Chris Porch

For Trev Teasdel
I tried taking a pic of the 1972 Arts fest poster with my iPad but it's too large, 35 by 24 ins. Would be happy to let you have a look at it sometime. It lists the pink Floyd concert taking place before Chuck Berry but it was actually the other way round, and Slade were bottom of the bill even though they were doing very well at the time!

Posted by: Chris Porch | 07/21/2012 at 06:30 PM

This is a bit of a blast from the past. I ran the Lanchester Arts Festivals in 1976 and 1977. The 1976 one I ran with Sheila someone (sorry - can't remember her surname) who was a Fine Art student. I do still have a copy of that programme (photo above) and I remember typing the content on a golf ball typewriter in the LAF Office. My highlights from 1976 were definitely Ivor Cutler - who I know appeared more than once at Lancester - George Melly, who was a real character and who I met several more times before he passed, and probably the Sex Pistols - who appeared at the LAF just before one of them said 'fuck' on television which ricocheted their career into the limelight. I do remember them inciting the audience to riot! The Tierra Buena Jazz band were a group of local jazzers who I knew too. We didn't have the budget of the earlier LAFs and our programme wasn't quite so high profile, but a great time was had by all, I'd say, nonetheless. I don't know if I have the 1977 programme off hand - will have to search through my old files. The 1976 programme cover was designed by another Fine Art student - Jim Morris. Happy memories!

Posted by: Jennifer Jones | 04/23/2013 at 11:21 PM

Thanks for your interesting comment Jennifer,

That would be great if you had the 1977 programme. If you find you can send it via

There are some other post about the Lanch on here - about Ted Little who organised it originally and some of the co-oganisers have left comments here

Also I interviewed Colin Richardson for this blog - he was the Bron music agent through which some of the big names were booked. The interview is over several posts on here and concerns his wider career as Colosseum manager etc but he talks about giving Ivor Cutler a life to the Lanch gig.

Shame the funding was curtailed - they were always great events and influenced not only students but a lot of budding Cov musicians. A lot of us appreciated the work that went into organising them.

It was at the Sex pistols Lanch gig that a Cov friend of ours Scon became a roadie with them and later Clash - better known as Roadent. He went on to appear in a German TV play and went out with Barbara Grogan of the Passions - who wrote the 80's hit I'm in love with a German Film Star. As a result he introduced the Specials to the infamous Bernie Rhodes at Mr Georges and as Mr Rhodes is the subject of Gangsters inadvertently influenced another song! The story is on here

Thanks again Jennifer - Trev Teasdel

Posted by: Coventry Music Archives | 04/24/2013 at 04:24 PM

Also we have an article by Pete Clemons from the Coventry Telegraph - about the Lanch Arts festivals - although he doesn't say much about the 1976 / 77 festivals - he did mention the Sex Pistols! Here's the link on one of our newer sites


Posted by: Coventry Music Archives | 04/24/2013 at 04:46 PM

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