Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

Flashback: Pictures and memories from the 1984 York Rock Festival on Knavesmire

First published in News

TODAY, we're winding the clock back almost 30 years, thanks to some old pictures we recently unearthed in our library. 

The date is 22 September 1984, the venue is Knavesmire and the event is the York Rock Festival.

York Press:

Former Evening Press journalist Tony Mallett was one of the co-promoters of the event, and agreed to share his memories. But we'd love to hear yours too. Share them below, or email our newsdesk.

Tony went on to edit the York Advertiser then ran his own bar and leisure magazine, Up For It! He eventually moved to Brussels as a freelance journalist in 2000, but returns to York regularly.

Here's what he remembers from the rock festival:

"Many stories come to mind about that great day and the run-up to it. First of all, the line-up was a total accident. We’d originally tried to bag U2, Simple Minds and The Alarm for a classic rock gig – we even toyed with Marillion – but none were available.

"In the end, we went down the ‘alternative’ route and had pretty much lined up Siouxsie and the Banshees before Robert Smith chose that summer to go full-time with his other project, The Cure. So, without their guitarist, the Banshees backed off.

"That year, Echo and the Bunnymen had been scoring some chart hits with singles from their album Ocean Rain so, finally, we signed them up. Getting Spear of Destiny, The Sisters of Mercy and The Chameleons was a massive bonus." 

York Press:

York Press:

"On the day itself, there was plenty of drama. One occurrence had its roots in an event the day before: I decided to do a site visit to the racecourse to check out that the stage was all sorted, only to discover that the roof was too low (I hadn’t been in charge of the stage specs, I might add). Once the lighting rig was in place the spotlights would virtually have been on Ian McCulloch’s head during the set. The lad would have fried so I had to get the stage builders to raise the roof by several feet a day before the gig.

"At six thirty on the Saturday morning I received a call from one of the ovenight security guards pointing out that it was raining heavily and the quickly modified stage roof had a leak. I got onsite about an hour later with my then girlfriend’s pink hairdryer and spent 45 minutes blow drying Spear of Destiny’s drum kit. Fortunately, they never knew." 

York Press:

York Press:

"Later that day, after The Sisters had been on stage, their lead singer Andrew Eldritch requested an extra bottle of Jack Daniels as part of their rider clause. I took him down from their changing room at the top of the racecourse grandstand to get him to sign for the extra bottle, then we took the lift back up.

"Unfortunately, the elevator promptly got stuck between floors. Thank the lord, I had a walkie-talkie and managed to get us rescued after about twenty minutes. Myself, Andrew and a bottle of JD had entered that lift and I’m slightly ashamed to say that only two of the three came out intact. And it wasn’t the Tennessee whiskey." 

York Press:

"A couple of hours later, as the Bunnymen were coming to the end of their headline set, I was standing alongside Don Hoad, who was City of York’s environment chief.

"Now, Don was a great bloke but part of his job that night was to ensure that the gig was over by 10pm so, with five minutes left, he quite rightly told me that if the concert over-ran he would have to pull the plug.

"At that point; I raced to the back of the stage as the band were considering an encore, explained that we now had only three-and-a-half minutes and said ‘Do you know any short ones, lads?’ They laughed but, all credit to them, they flew through an encore and finished right on the nose.

"Of course, a few moments afterwards McCulloch famously got punched by a stage bouncer which ended up in a court case some months later. It was a bizarre end to a truly amazing day. I had just turned 23 years old and was pretty proud of myself, to be honest, if somewhat shattered. Do it all again? You betcha."

York Press:

> What are your memories of the event? Share them below, or email pictures to newsdesk@thepress.co.uk

 

Comments (16)

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10:43am Thu 28 Aug 14

Woody G Mellor says...

Thanks for the memories. Fantastic day!
Thanks for the memories. Fantastic day! Woody G Mellor
  • Score: -4

10:46am Thu 28 Aug 14

mjgyork says...

About time they held another one - plenty of other towns do. Mind you, presumably they do not have an over-concentration of miserable sods that York seems to breed in great numbers!
About time they held another one - plenty of other towns do. Mind you, presumably they do not have an over-concentration of miserable sods that York seems to breed in great numbers! mjgyork
  • Score: 21

11:35am Thu 28 Aug 14

Poosticks says...

Love this article!!! Wish I was old enough to have been there!!
Love this article!!! Wish I was old enough to have been there!! Poosticks
  • Score: 16

12:16pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Jiffy says...

Great memories of a wicked if slightly damp day. Thanks Press :-)
Great memories of a wicked if slightly damp day. Thanks Press :-) Jiffy
  • Score: 8

12:43pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Willieeckerslike says...

Thumbs up to all the above. Great photo's of happy days. Time is fe**** flying by looking at them shots.
Thumbs up to all the above. Great photo's of happy days. Time is fe**** flying by looking at them shots. Willieeckerslike
  • Score: 9

4:31pm Thu 28 Aug 14

the andrew says...

Nice to hear from Tony Mallet again, he worked for the press when it was still a broadsheet and a decent read. Spent many a happy hour in the Spread Eagle with him and other journos.
Nice to hear from Tony Mallet again, he worked for the press when it was still a broadsheet and a decent read. Spent many a happy hour in the Spread Eagle with him and other journos. the andrew
  • Score: 5

5:05pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing says...

I stood at the front just about all day. Lasting memory is Spear of Destiny playing as the sunset over the stage. It was a bit of a damp day so keeping the backcombed hair up was a bit of an issue

It was still a fantastic day and one I will always remember
I stood at the front just about all day. Lasting memory is Spear of Destiny playing as the sunset over the stage. It was a bit of a damp day so keeping the backcombed hair up was a bit of an issue It was still a fantastic day and one I will always remember Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing
  • Score: 25

6:27pm Thu 28 Aug 14

MrATP1982 says...

mjgyork wrote:
About time they held another one - plenty of other towns do. Mind you, presumably they do not have an over-concentration of miserable sods that York seems to breed in great numbers!
YO1 Festival??
[quote][p][bold]mjgyork[/bold] wrote: About time they held another one - plenty of other towns do. Mind you, presumably they do not have an over-concentration of miserable sods that York seems to breed in great numbers![/p][/quote]YO1 Festival?? MrATP1982
  • Score: 4

6:28pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Pedro says...

I was there too. What you remember about McCulloch is not the whole truth. He wanted to end the gig with a stage invasion, but the bouncers wanted to stop it. He then took the mic stand and hit the bouncer over the head with it and encouraged members of the crowd to "kick his head in." Everyone heard him. The bouncer ran round the stage to get his own back. The police saw the whole thing or it could have got even worse.
I was there too. What you remember about McCulloch is not the whole truth. He wanted to end the gig with a stage invasion, but the bouncers wanted to stop it. He then took the mic stand and hit the bouncer over the head with it and encouraged members of the crowd to "kick his head in." Everyone heard him. The bouncer ran round the stage to get his own back. The police saw the whole thing or it could have got even worse. Pedro
  • Score: 8

7:36pm Thu 28 Aug 14

couldn't care less says...

It was a fantastic day for York. I remember nicking my fathers overcoat coming down with flu the very next day.
It was a fantastic day for York. I remember nicking my fathers overcoat coming down with flu the very next day. couldn't care less
  • Score: 6

10:19am Fri 29 Aug 14

Blythespirit says...

Fantastic memories of a brilliant day. I was still at school and this was the most exciting thing to have happened in York ever - especially as myself and friends all had a massive crush on Ian McCulloch!
Fantastic memories of a brilliant day. I was still at school and this was the most exciting thing to have happened in York ever - especially as myself and friends all had a massive crush on Ian McCulloch! Blythespirit
  • Score: 1

11:37am Fri 29 Aug 14

oldgoat says...

Remember it happening. Not my taste in music - no heavy metal - at the time. Real shame it didn't keep going, and it was a crying shame that York didn't have a proper indoor venue back then.
Remember it happening. Not my taste in music - no heavy metal - at the time. Real shame it didn't keep going, and it was a crying shame that York didn't have a proper indoor venue back then. oldgoat
  • Score: 0

5:35pm Fri 29 Aug 14

PositiveFootball says...

Any pictures of the Roxy Music gig that took place in the Museum Gardens in the 70's?
Any pictures of the Roxy Music gig that took place in the Museum Gardens in the 70's? PositiveFootball
  • Score: 0

6:59pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Blimp says...

PositiveFootball wrote:
Any pictures of the Roxy Music gig that took place in the Museum Gardens in the 70's?
Absolutely! And that weird out-of-tune "Portsmouth Sinfonia" orchestra was the support act, followed by a superb slide blues guitarist. What a night!

Brilliant, loved it! More please.
[quote][p][bold]PositiveFootball[/bold] wrote: Any pictures of the Roxy Music gig that took place in the Museum Gardens in the 70's?[/p][/quote]Absolutely! And that weird out-of-tune "Portsmouth Sinfonia" orchestra was the support act, followed by a superb slide blues guitarist. What a night! Brilliant, loved it! More please. Blimp
  • Score: 0

10:02am Mon 1 Sep 14

tony tippler mallett says...

Pedro is bang on. The stage security guy had been somewhat heavy handed with a member of the audience and McCulloch lamped him with the mic stand. After the short encore, I was on the stage trying to get people off as we feared a collapse. While this was going on, the bouncer was exacting revenge on Ian round the back.

Meanwhile, Andrew - oh the heady days of The Spread. That was some bat back then.

I have many more stories regarding that day, but this is a family newspaper :-) Thanks for sharing your memories, everyone. It makes me really proud that we pulled it off.

Incidentally, to nail it once and for all, the reason we didn't do it again was that it lost money. In retrospect, we paid too much for the bands - specifically The Bunnymen. We needed twenty thousand people to break even and, if I recall correctly, we were about 20 grand down - a lot of cash back then. Not my personal money, I'm relived to say.

But is was magic, despite the September rain.
Pedro is bang on. The stage security guy had been somewhat heavy handed with a member of the audience and McCulloch lamped him with the mic stand. After the short encore, I was on the stage trying to get people off as we feared a collapse. While this was going on, the bouncer was exacting revenge on Ian round the back. Meanwhile, Andrew - oh the heady days of The Spread. That was some bat back then. I have many more stories regarding that day, but this is a family newspaper :-) Thanks for sharing your memories, everyone. It makes me really proud that we pulled it off. Incidentally, to nail it once and for all, the reason we didn't do it again was that it lost money. In retrospect, we paid too much for the bands - specifically The Bunnymen. We needed twenty thousand people to break even and, if I recall correctly, we were about 20 grand down - a lot of cash back then. Not my personal money, I'm relived to say. But is was magic, despite the September rain. tony tippler mallett
  • Score: 1

10:55am Mon 1 Sep 14

Mr Anderson says...

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing wrote:
I stood at the front just about all day. Lasting memory is Spear of Destiny playing as the sunset over the stage. It was a bit of a damp day so keeping the backcombed hair up was a bit of an issue

It was still a fantastic day and one I will always remember
Cool councillor.
[quote][p][bold]Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing[/bold] wrote: I stood at the front just about all day. Lasting memory is Spear of Destiny playing as the sunset over the stage. It was a bit of a damp day so keeping the backcombed hair up was a bit of an issue It was still a fantastic day and one I will always remember[/p][/quote]Cool councillor. Mr Anderson
  • Score: 0

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