The Day I Almost Met Robert Plant...

The Day I Almost Met Robert Plant...
Authored By John Nicholson
I don’t recall why we decided to go to Banbury, the time it wasn’t held in Banbury but at Broughton Castle, but we decided to build it into a holiday. Anyway, we set off doing what hippie people did back then; we hitch-hiked. Imagine getting into strangers' cars? You never see hitchhikers now, but back then it was very common.
We always thought our chances of getting a ride were good as boyfriend and girlfriend. We didn’t appear to be obviously murderers. I don’t recall any of the lifts we had or any of the generous spirits who gave us a ride but we got there and met up with people who lived in the flat above us who had driven down. It was a small affair back then, and in my mind’s eye, was held in a field over two days.
The highlight was Ralph McTell, Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg & Dave Mattacks - who styled themselves as The GPs. There was a lot of jamming with Thompson cutting loose on the Strat. We camped in a field wet with dew by the morning. Leaving us damp. It was a warm August day though, and we soon dried off on a walk through ripening corn. 
When we returned to the festival site it was filling up for the Saturday set by Fairport and Friends and was much more full. First we sat through a set by The Bert Jansch Group and first Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick. It was very folky and I was more of a heavy rocker, so I admit to being a little restless. But I liked Fairport, who was scheduled to play with Richard Thompson, who’s guitar I loved.
It was then, before the headline act that I went for a walk around the now full site. And there in the beer tent was Robert Plant. He was probably friends with the band. I did wonder if they were going to play Battle of Evermore, but he never got on stage.
Anyway, there I was a 19-year-old, a few feet from rock royalty. He was chatting to someone and seemed very relaxed. No one hassled him. And of course, as any 19-year-old, I was concerned with being cool and looking like I wasn’t impressed. So I just walked past, trying to make it look like I wasn’t ogling him when I was. A year and 11 days earlier, I’d been in a field with Planty only back then it was at Knebworth festival.
I now wish I’d said something but I didn’t. I could have done it, quite easily too. Anyway, the band delivered a great set with original singer Judy Dyble joining them, along with Thompson and there was jamming a-plenty. What happened to Planty history doesn’t record, and I didn’t see him again. The live set has subsequently been released as Moat on the Ledge, so when you hear crowd noise, that's me that is...

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