The Rolling Stones Free Concert at Hyde Park – June 1969

The Rolling Stones Free Concert at Hyde Park-by Nidhi Dalmia

The Rolling Stones Free Concert at Hyde Park – June 1969

I didn’t realise that the event I was attending, almost casually, almost by chance as an impulsive acceptance of a friend s invitation would later on get immortalized as such a seminal event . I had just left my teens and it was my first visit to London as a young adult. It was the June of 1969 . The by then already famous Rolling Stones were giving a free concert in breezy, leafy Hyde Park. Michelangelo Antonioni s masterpiece Blow Up had revealed its possibilities a few years ago. It was a lovely summer day full of gentle sun. the Beautiful people were wearing psychedelic colours which were getting enhanced by the light.

The stage was set well within Hyde Park though the sound could be heard much beyond sight of the stage and the audience. The audience mostly young people were standing or sitting in loose groups , under the trees, next to the bushes and on the grass. There was room to move around between the groups and move very close to the stage.

Everybody was letting their hair down and getting into the spirit. The sweet smell of marijuana wafted over some of the groups. Others were just stoned on the music and the group’s very sexy movements. Mick Jagger with his unique style , his lean, athletic body , his thrusts which managed not to be vulgar at all, just seductive pranced around the stage. His movements and that of the other Stones – the Baddies were infectious. One would dream about them at night. Carry them out if one could , the next time in a discotheque.

Classic numbers came on. “Satisfaction” sung sensuously drove everyone mad . They flung their hair around . Gentle lyrics too came on . “It is the evening of the day , I sit and watch the children play, … All I hear is the sound of rain falling on the ground …”. “Dandelion, you tell no lies, Dandelion, You make me wise …”. “ Ruby Tuesday” .The repertoire was vast and varied . “ I’ m a Queen bee , Buzzing around the house …”. “Its so hard just to have one girl, when there’s a million in the world …” . “ Have you seen your mother baby, Standing in the shadows “.

It was around the longest day of the year and the music went on and on . They were tireless . It seemed it would never end. Like the times and the hope and idealism that came with it . The atmosphere was peaceful, one of conviviality and live and let live . In such a large group there was no aggression or competitiveness to be sensed . Perhaps those who felt it had left it all at home .

I had bought a bottle green silk shirt with frills down the middle , for 2 Pounds at a boutique , just before this. It fitted in well.

I thought this was one of many concerts that would take place and that I would attend. It was just an ordinary thing . These times were just starting , n est ce pas ? Nothing remarkable about it