The Kralingen Music Festival was held in the Kralingen neighbourhood of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on the June 26-28,1970. Performing bands included The Byrds, T. Rex, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and the headlining Pink Floyd. Approximately 150.000 attended. In a new development, unlike in America where mainstream sponsors still wanted little to do with the dirty hippy, the main investor here was Coca-Cola and let’s face it, if coke ain’t The Man, who is?
In both English and Dutch, the festival is also known by the English name Stamping Ground, and is often billed as the European answer to Woodstock, though that is as much a testament to the power of the Woodstock brand. Everyone wanted to be the next Woodstock or to be associated with it’s coolness, especially after the movie came out.
The Festival became an influential event, as it turned out to be the actual beginning of the Dutch tolerance policy towards marijuana. The many present undercover cops did not arrest any of the users or small traders: it became clear that there were just too many, and all of them peaceful. All the more ironic then that Coca-Cola were the sponsors. This mix of counter-culture and hard ore corporate culture set an early example for festival organisers and would later become, sadly in many ways, the norm.
In 1971, a documentary about the festival appeared, titled Stamping Ground, created by George Sluizer. The film was made for an international audience and is also known under the titles Love and Music, and in Germany Rock Fieber. Also, several books and exhibitions have been dedicated to the event. A triple lp-boxset was released in 2010 too. So this event had real European cultural impact. Since 21 September, 2013, a memorial has been placed in the Kralingse Bos area, to commemorate the first multi-day open air pop festival on the European continent.
However, it has to be said that outside of mainland Europe and even in the UK it’s still not very well-known, despite being an influential festival. One thing that can be for certain is that the line-up of bands was totally magnificent. Now, I’ve seen IABD listed as bill toppers on the first day but I can’t believe that at all. I’m certain it’d be have been Jefferson Airplane from this list of performers.
Friday, 26 June: It’s a Beautiful Day, Jefferson Airplane, Stone the Crows, Santana, The Flock, Canned Heat, Hot Tuna, Pentangle, Quintessence
Saturday, 27 June: The Byrds, Family, Dr. John the Night Tripper, Country Joe McDonald, T. Rex, Third Ear Band, Al Stewart, Tata Mirando Gypsy Orchestra, CCC Folk & Blues Inc, Supersister.
Sunday, 28 June: Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Fotheringay, Fairport Convention, Caravan, Han Bennink,John Surman, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Mungo Jerry.
That’s pretty much a who’s who of progressive, blues and folk music at the time. Notable that the heavy bands didn’t play. None of your Zep, Sabs or Purps. Kralingen Music Festival was Euro hippy central and proudly so, even as they sipped their coke.
Kralingen Music Festival Netherlands 1970 rocked but probably in an offbeat time signature.