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Al Bampton

Leeds based musician, guitar teacher and music tutor

Hi there,

okay, the 15th to the 17th of August brings up the fiftieth anniversary of the most famous festival of all time – Woodstock. For me that is a bit special.

I was only eight when it took place and on the wrong side of “The Pond” as the Atlantic is often referred to but Woodstock’s impact on my life was extremely significant.


I was lucky enough to attend many festivals in the seventies and early eighties and while I saw many incredible bands no line line up came close to Woodstock’s.

My interaction with the festival was through the film which was shown regularly late on Friday nights at The Cottage road cinema in Leeds. I must have watched it at least twenty times.

There was no internet, no YouTube, no tabs and no electric guitar tutors back in the day so I came home from the film simply inspired by the music and played for hours.

I couldn’t copy Richie Haven’s rhythm on Freedom as I couldn’t remember what he did but I felt the power. Once home I just bashed the merry hell out of my guitar. My rhythm technique isn’t at all like his but my power is down to him. Thanks Richie.

As well as Richie Havens I got to see Hendrix, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Joan Baez, Ten years After, Joe Cocker and many many more sensational acts.

Nothing blew me away more than Santana though. Back in the seventies world music didn’t really register in England and it will seem laughable now but I had never seen or heard congas played in a band. Wow, Santana turned my world upside down.  The rhythm was life changing for me.

I suspect that it will have been forgotten in another fifty years which is the way of things. We will all be long gone.

I only hope the musicians, if they exist will have something like Woodstock to inspire them.

Rock On

See ya — Al.

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