The people who lived around the Victoria Ground were used to incidents of mayhem in 1975. The decade was well known for football violence. However some felt that they faced a new threat on 17th May 1975 when a rock festival was held at the ground. Before the festival, which was headlined by Yes, was promoted residents wanted to know what they could expect. They feared the worst, especially if they read the tabloids with lurid accounts of festivals. People expected a weekend of Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. As it turned out they were to be disappointed.
The first festivalgoers arrived a day before the festival began. In local language they were definitely “fribs”. But first a classification: youth tended to be divided into groups. In 1975 the Stoke tribes were “grebos/greasers in other words rockers, fribos who would go to a Yes gig, and skins/suede’s who evolved from Mods. Punk rock was a year or so away. The uniform of “fribs” so clearly shown in the newspapers was desert boots, loon pants, cheesecloth shirts Afghan coats and headbands. It has to be said that there were not many “fribs” on the streets of Abbey Hulton. In truth, anyone seen wearing an Afghan coat was likely to have half a brick heaved at them.
Yes topped the bill. I’d seen them before in 1973 play their album “ Tales from a Topographical Ocean” at Trentham Gardens. I’d found it overblown and pompous and walked out. They were still very popular and the festival well attended. Another band who appeared was the Sensation Alex Harvey Band. The band did a cover of “Delilah” the old Tom Jones song. It’s probably the first time it was heard at a Stoke City ground. The newspaper reported that a fight broke out and Alex Harvey a ferocious Glasweigen used choice language to end it.
Yes played but unfortunately a heavy rainstorm cut short their gig as they feared electrocution.
Another band Gryphon who played medieval music did get into a spot of bother later when they caused a disturbance at a local hotel when they drank too much mead and smashed glasses.
However the event passed off peacefully and apart from a mountain of rubbish there was little for local residents to grumble about