30th July 2018 – To mark the 50th GDSF, the show’s radio station Steam Fair FM will be presenting an hourly feature of the hits and headlines from the heady days of the very first show, held on farmland at Stourpaine near Blandford Forum from 19th to 21st September 1969.
There were some interesting songs at that time, says Programme Director Patrick Heeley. “As the show gates were opening for the very first time, the song ‘Bad Moon Rising’ was no 1 in the charts – perhaps not the best omen for a fledgeling event!” This was the year of songs being banned by the BBC, including Johnny Cash’s ‘Boy Named Sue’, which had a word bleeped over before it could be played, and the famed erotic song ‘Je T’aime Moi Non Plus’, by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsborough. Patrick promises that in the more enlightened 21st century, both will be played in full!
The year’s best selling single was “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies – a studio band, portrayed by cartoon characters! It was no 1 for 8 consecutive weeks.
The country was ruled by the Harold Wilson Labour Government, and all the major industries were nationalised, even radio broadcasting as Patrick ruefully recalls. We received our wages in pounds, shillings and pence and saw the introduction of the new “ten shilling piece” (now the 50p coin). The defining feature of the year was man’s first steps on the moon!
Steam Fair FM’s reporting team, spearheaded by Roger Wrapson, will be out and about amongst the 500+ engines and other exhibits, avidly looking for those who can still recall the very first event, and have a story to tell. John Church will be filing regular reports from the NTET, who once again have partnered with the show to support the station. Kelsey Media will be involved too, and Jon Robson’s breakfast show will be sponsored by Old Glory. Editor Colin Tyson will be visiting the studio with regular reports and updates on the show.
On Sunday evening (August 26th), Show MD Martin Oliver takes the guest chair at 6.30 pm to discuss the 50th show, and respond to listeners’ questions. There will also be a first ever interview with Mrs Jean Oliver, wife of the late founder Michael – the only staffer to have worked on every single one of the 50 events!
The station will be presenting its popular mix of showground reports, ‘vox pops’ from visitors, ‘what’s on’ news, up to the minute weather, traffic and daily prize competitions – with music comprising ‘vintage hits’ from the 1950s to the early 1990s.
Steam Fair FM’s service is licenced by Ofcom, and operates on 87.9FM in Dorset. It can be heard worldwide digitally via computers, smart phones, tablets and streaming devices such as Sonos, using apps like “Tune In”, or clicking the player on the SFFM website. Programmes commence at midnight on Saturday 18th August, and run 24/7 until Tuesday 28th August, the day after the show closes.
The Steam Fair FM website is at www.steamfairfm.com.
Article by Event Radio Associates, Uphill Cottage, Vera’s Walk, Storrington, West Sussex,RH20 3JF. Tel 01903-774300 or 07774-434039. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.