1969 Hyde Park Festival: the rise of the King, The Crimson King

The Stones in the Park generally refers to a free outdoor festival held in Hyde Park on 5 July 1969, headlined by The Rolling Stones.

It really wasn't all about the Stones. King Crimson, Roy Harper and Alexis Korner all featured in the seminal cultural event of that British summer.

The thousands in the crowd, estimated at anywhere between 250,000 and 500,000, looked like a great bowl of confetti. Some perched like birds in the trees, others stood on piles of tins or upturned litter baskets, girls climbed on boys' shoulders.

King Crimson nearly stole the show, playing songs from their forthcoming album In the Court of the Crimson King. 

The band's manager, David Enthoven, remembers:

"It was a lovely sunny day, and it launched us. We overran, and there was a lot of waving at me by the Stones' stage manager. But we had to finish, and we did, with me crouching under the stage sounding an air-raid siren (which everyone in the crowd remembers, without knowing exactly why or whence it came)." 

Drummer Michael Giles says: 

"Hyde Park was a special and prestigious event for us. It was the first time we had played to tens of thousands of people in the open air. Being almost unknown, we were free to walk through the crowds unobserved."

A gig that is not only an exceptional event of the sixties but one that proclaimed Crimson’s climb on the international level. If you think about the song-list at Hyde Park that day, you get a feel why piece '21st Century Schizoid Man' were so grave and shocking.  This is a band playing far beyond their years. Notobody else sounded like it. 

Live version from 1969 BBC Session on SoundCloud.

21st Century Schizoid Man song on LyricsTranslate.

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