50 years since Bickershaw Festival - Wigan's answer to Woodstock

As the part of the UK responsible for giving us some of the world's biggest musical stars, it is perhaps no surprise that the North West once hosted it's own version of the legendary iconic Woodstock Festival.

The Bickershaw Festival took place exactly 50 years ago when around 100,000 people descended on the tiny village of Bickershaw near Wigan.

And for music fans, it was a dream....three days of rock music in a wet, muddy field and back in 1972 it was the only music festival in the northwest with camping.

And some are determined that the freewheeling spirit of The Bickershaw Festival will live on.

Fifty years on - a group of friends who were all at Bickershaw have come together to remember those good times.

All have made careers in music, including Chris Hewitt who has written a book about the festival and produced a four-set DVD.

The Bickershaw Festival was put together by a Manchester businessmen, a Wigan market trader and Jeremy Beadle, before he became famous as a TV presenter.

TV presenter Jeremy Beadle went on to star in shows like Game For a Laugh and Watch Out, Beadle's About. Credit: PA
Jeremy Beadle at Bickershaw Festival

Together they gathered a line up of British and American acts, including the Grateful Dead, who played a five hour set on the Sunday.

The Kinks, Country Joe McDonald, Donovan, Maynard Ferguson and a host of non musical artists, like high divers and clowns also appeared.

The artist line-up was inspirational to many of the audience, who travelled from across the region to see them perform.

Unfortunately, the sun didn't shine on organisers and rain ahead of the festival, followed by showers over the three days helped contribute to standing water on the site - an area prone to flooding.