Progressive Pop Festival, Cologne, West Germany 1970

Progressive Pop Festival, Cologne, West Germany 1970
Authored By John Nicholson

This was a legendary German 2-day show. 

Held on Fri Apr 03, 1970 - Sat Apr 04, 1970 at Sporthalle Bergischer Ring 40 Cologne North Rhine-Westphalia 51063 West Germany, this was a very early German show and one of the first highlighting largely British progressive acts, most of which were a year or less old in the Spring of ‘70.

Indeed, that’s a remarkable aspect of festival gigs at this time, many names we all became so familiar with, were just starting out. Some bands like J.C. Heavy (great name) were English (from Manchester) but were based in Germany and recorded on the Bellaphon label. 

Ekception were Dutch who had a strong German and European following for their Nice-like sounds. The Nice split up before the show, so they didn’t turn up. Livin’ Blues were Dutch. Jeronimo were German also on Bellaphon, described as Cream meet the Kinks. Sounds good to me. Novak's Kapelle were an Austrian blues prog psyche band who had just two singles out. Jess and James were a Portuguese duo who had settled in Belgium playing soul. Nothing if not eclectic, this show!

The full line-up across two days was Arthur Brown, Barclay James Harvest, Chicken Shack, Circus, Colosseum, Deep Purple, East Of Eden, Eire Apparent, Ekseption, Facts of Live, J.C. Heavy, Jeronimo, Jess and James, Livin’ Blues, Mighty Baby, Novak's Kapelle, Procol Harum, Sam Apple Pie, Scratch, Soft Machine, Steamhammer, T. Rex, The Kinks, The Nice, Yes

The show was held in a sportshall - basically a gymnasium - and again , this was typical of the era when there was no circuit of regular rock gigs properly established, so promoters put on gigs anywhere that they could. 

The few press reports I can find report that it was a very peaceful two shows with lots of joints being smoked and passed around. Those groovy Europeans, huh? There doesn’t seem to have been quite the same amount of uptight hassle for The Man in Germany. Also indoor shows like this were easier to put on and were not subject to the vagaries of the weather. 

It’s gone down in history as something of a gathering of the European progressive tribes, indeed it’s an early use of the term progressive which was newly originated to define the emergence of bands that pulled together many different influences and it predates the use of it for the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music and many other European shows that summer.

If you search on Discogs you can find details of bootlegs recorded here most notably by Deep Purple and Yes. The poster was designed by Klaus Holitzka who went on to design many rock festival posters of the era and a few album covers too including Jeronimo’s ‘Time Ride.’ 










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