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Festival memories: Ferry best Sweetwaters

KEN BURNS
Last updated 13:00 10/01/2014
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AFTER THE GLORY DAYS: Bryan Ferry performing in New Zealand in 2006.

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We asked our readers to share their favourite festival memories. Ken Burns came away with a sweaty souvenir from Sweetwaters.

Sweetwaters was always a great three-day event at the end of January, but the 1981 gig was my most memorable.

I'd had my first year at university in 1980. I thought I'd succeed, but I hadn't.

I'd moved out of home into my first flat with my girlfriend, so I had other things to concentrate on. I got into a lot of verbal conflicts with a flatmate about how to cook peas. I passed only one exam and couldn't be bothered sitting the rest.

I decided I wasn't going back to university, so I got my first fulltime job through the Western Leader in a jeweller's shop at Lynnmall in Auckland. My first pay, in a brown envelope, was $98.

We decided to go away for our anniversary weekend to Sweetwaters.

Roxy Music were the reason we got tickets.

Th'Dudes were on as support. I thought they were terrible and tried to boo them off, but I was punched in the head by someone with more sense than me.

Then there were Do the Strand, Both Ends Burning, Love is the Drug. Pop heaven.

I just wanted to see Bryan Ferry. When it was his turn, Ferry swaggered out like a movie star and we all went mental with excitement.

They were 1970s glam-art school rock at the best end of it.

At the end, Ferry threw out his towel, so I jumped as high as I could and grabbed it. I had to push away all the skanks who wanted it.

Being a hoarder, I put it at the bottom of the towel pile in my flat for a few years as a memento.

As I started to get cleaner and be less of a stinky hippy, I used it to dry myself. Sometimes you just have to use that stuff you stash away. 


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