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DAVID BOWIE AT THE BECKENHAM FREE FESTIVAL
A small yet significant event in rock's heritage - recounted by someone who was there.
By David Bebbington
In mid-1969, David Bowie was still a long way from superstar status, despite having been in the music business for several years. He was living in Beckenham with a friend Mary Finnigan, and appearing most Sundays at The Three Tuns pub in Beckenham High Street.
David Bowie at Croydon Road August 16, 1969.
He was totally professional about his performance, despite being in emotional turmoil - his Father had died on August 5, and been buried five days before the festival. Understandably, Bowie didn't speak much to anyone on the day, nor did he join the rest of us for the final post-festival party in a local Indian restaurant.
At the time I was a professional photographer, working for the Ministry Of Defense. At Bowie's request, I took many shots of him, both at the festival and elsewhere.
Bowie was flat broke at the time and was unable to pay me. I printed up the picture here and gave it to Bowie, who in turn presented it to his mother. I understand it was her favourite picture of her son for some time and was displayed on the wall of her home.
These pages and images are the copyright of Beckenham History and Dave Bebbington.