Was this impromptu event – a farmer’s field in Hampshire that hosted comedy talents including Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Billy Connolly and Rik Mayall – where the first seed of Comic Relief was planted?
The year is 1984 and, thanks to a headline in the Sunday Times, the tenacity of a charity entrepreneur and an eagle-eyed vicar, it is the opening evening of the first Nether Wallop international arts festival.
The headline ran in 1982 and sat above an article asking why Edinburgh had a monopoly on arts festivals. It was written by Stephen Pile (author of The Book of Heroic Failures) and his headline was to the effect of “The Edinburgh festival has had its time, why not do a festival in Nether Wallop?” – a village name plucked out of the ether purely for its quirkiness.
Tents in field: Nether Wallop, Hampshire, 29 September 1984Continue reading...