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BYG Actuel Festival - Amougies, Belgium (1969)

BYG Actuel label was responsible for organising the Actuel festival, which took place in late October 1969 in the small Belgian town of Amougies. The festival was initially intended to take place in or near Paris, but was banned by the French authorities. It featured many leading exponents of free jazz and progressive rock, e.g. Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart, Soft Machine, Ten Years After, Yes and The Nice. The festival was a popular success, with around 20,000 visitors over the space of five nights, but it was a financial failure.

The Beefheart Zappa Talk-in
By Richard Williams - Melody Maker, November 8, 1969

I asked Frank about the Actuel Pop and Jazz Festival in Belgium, from which he had just returned.

"I guess it was more of a political than a musical success. The festival was moved around so much that it was a triumph to get it on at all.

It was so disorganised that when all the lights and amplifications worked on the first night, the organisers looked at each other in amazement. They couldn't believe that it was really going to happen. But I was there. Six to 12 hours a night, I was there.

It was very difficult because it was so cold, and in that temperature several things happen to musical instruments: guitar-players' fingers get cold, which makes it hard to play, and the strings go out of tune at different levels."

Did any of the groups or musicians impress him?

" Yeah, I really like the Nice. They were good musically, and they've got a very exciting stage act, too. And I dug Colosseum – particularly Dick, the guy who plays tenor and soprano. Does he do sessions in London? He ought to – he's really a bitch."

Please mind that it's bootleg quality so the sound rcordings level is very poor.

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