6 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 15

Reading bore

I was hoping to ignore pop festivals but after the Daily Telegraph's alarmist reports of killer drugs, nudes and excreta how could I? I went to the Reading Festival rather than spend fifty Minutes at Reading General Station waiting for a train connection between Oxford and Ascot. Reading General, where the Western and Southern Regions meet, is a spot where I an condemned to spend longer and longer Spells of my life, I have sometimes thought it was invented by a British Rail wag.

While I was there last week a pop fan Shouted 'Oil' with an urgency that suggested that I was about to witness a major train horror. In fact he was selling me a pop festival ticket. I later realised that, stunned by silence, Pop fans are inclined to shout at anything that moves — like the police helicopter overhead. The press enclosure was even more packed than the rest of the festival. The whole thing, organised by Harold Penleton, a Soho jazz club owner and Tory Party contributor, seemed to be running with boring military precision. Possible grounds for complaint only from the fans who were being made to pay £5 a head.