From the outset, 1969 was a pivotal year. Whilst the Maltings was being saved by a community of dedicated locals, the wider arts scene was exploding with a wealth of iconic music, film and comedy that still stands the test of time today. As we celebrate our 50th birthday this year, we have taken a look to see what else began at the birth of our organisation.
The 60s wouldn’t have been the era it was without the music from The Beatles. In 1969 the Fab Four released arguably their most celebrated album, Abbey Road. Featuring tracks such as Come Together and Here Comes The Sun, the album also gave us the most replicated image in music history. Other prominent releases that year included A Whole Lotta Love by rock legends Led Zeppelin, David Bowie’s intergalactic Space Oddity, Pinball Wizard by The Who and You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones.
The year also saw the conception of legendary Woodstock Festival taking over the site of a 600-acre dairy farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
1969 saw the world of film release works that would become considered classics by both critics and fans alike. George Roy Hill’s Academy Award-winning Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has gone on to inspire many filmmakers and is considered as one the Best Westerns ever made. Britain’s contribution included the cult classic The Italian Job and Ken Russell’s Academy Award-winning Women in Love. We have been screening some of these classics since January and will continue this programme into the summer with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Oh! What a Lovely War and Midnight Cowboy.
Making British icons of its stars, the newly formed comedy troupe Monty Python stormed British television screens when they debuted the first series of their Flying Circus in 1969. Changing the face of sketch comedy forever, the six Pythons – Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam – launched their careers creating iconic sketches such as The Parrot Sketch and Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition! Their work inspired future comedy writers such as Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) and Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons).
science and space
Neil Armstrong made history with one small step on 21 July 1969 as the first person to walk on the surface of the moon. The Apollo 11 voyage paved the way for the future lunar landing missions to follow and made legends of its astronauts. First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong was released late last year and an expected re-release of the noted documentary, In the Shadow of the Moon, is rumoured for this year in honour of its 50th birthday.
Take a look at our programme for our 50th anniversary festival on Saturday 11 May. The event is free to attend, featuring live music, family activities, craft workshops and more.