DJ – Paul Woodger “Woodja”

Years of involvement:  1968 – 1973
Alias: WoodjaDJ Woodja
Home Location: Stanford-le-Hope
Types of involvement:  DJ & Lookout
Comment / History:
  The Radio Kaleidoscope team have now after 43 years made contact with Paul, amazingly Steve and Paul had been living around the corner from each other without knowing it for years.

Memories of Festivals from Paul Woodger 

One of my earliest festival memories was watching Jefferson Airplane at the 1968 Isle of Wight festival and being enchanted by the music, a style best described as psychedelic folk and especially the singer Grace Slick. We had a great time listening to a number of local bands on stage, and well known artists such as Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things ,T Rex and of course Fairport Convention who are still playing  folk rock music today. All this and more for about  £1.25p…… can’t be bad!

Many festivals followed, including one at Plumpton race course.  I can’t remember a thing about it other than the journey there.  I got a lift in a Ford Anglia owned by my friend Mick. We travelled along by getting a free tow from a large goods vehicle, in the air vortex behind it.  I had best not elaborate any further but it certainly was frightening. The things that you do when you are young!

In 1969 the festival season was topped by the Isle of Wight, and was part of an amazing scene. On arrival I fell backwards on the hill, glad to have made it in one piece, then hearing Jeff Dexter over the P.A. system saying, ” Testing…… 1, 2, 3…… testing”  then the first haunting notes of Amazing Grace by the Great Awakening.  It wasn’t a group at all but a solo project by David Cohen a music teacher and session musician. That instrumental became the theme music for the whole weekend, and it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end whenever I hear it. The amazing Richie Havens playing and singing ‘Freedom’ was a most memorable performance, in spite of some of his guitar strings breaking, he carried on, greatly  appreciated by the audience. The Who and Free always gave their best, always great to watch and listen to. Joe Cocker a formidable  artist,  most fondly remembered, and like so many no longer around. So many bands, so much joy, friendship and a feeling of complete peace. The Moody Blues were never anything but extraordinary, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, always anarchic but superb, if you get a chance listen to ‘Intro and outro’, please do, it’s classic Bonzo. Tom Paxton, what a revelation he was. I have had the privilege to see him many times since. He is one of those song writers who just get it right, when I often think to myself, “I wish I had written that” about so many of his tracks. Many other wonderful memories including Family and King Crimson and let’s not forget Bob Dylan, very impressive indeed.

1970 continued to have a number of festivals topped off once again by the Isle of Wight. Jimi Hendrix’s Isle of Wight. The whole weekend was superb until a compere upset a lot of the audience, and it ended up a debacle as fences were broken down and it was finally declared a free festival. The music  was first class and most of the fans peace loving.

I’m so glad to have been around during those years. Much of the music has stood the test of time, still sounding as fresh today. Would I change anything if I could? Perhaps!  Would I go back to those days if I could? Probably. My greatest single memory has to be a group of friends from Stanford- le- hope and surrounding area, enjoying each other’s company. I’m told that the older we get the better it all used to be, but in the case of that particular group of people, I don’t think it could have been better. Wonderful times, wonderful memories…I think we had the best of it.

I still go to festivals, now more local, Leigh Folk festival and Village Green at Chalkwell Park for example and have the added joy of watching my daughter Louise perform her music on stage.  My love of music continues, even though my RAF Greatcoat has long been consigned to the bin.

Pop Festivals 1968-1973
Event Attended : Year 
 Isle of White  1968
Attended with:
Artists seen :
 Jefferson Airplane, Singer Grace Slick. Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things ,T Rex and of course Fairport Convention, plus a number of local bands on stage
Event Attended : Year
Isle or White  1969
Attended with:
 Mick Lack
Artists seen :
 Jeff Dexter (DJ),   The Great Awakening, David Cohen, Richie Havens, The Who,  Free,   Joe Cocker, The Moody Blues,  The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Tom Paxton, Family, King Crimson, Bob Dylan,
Event Attended : Year
 Isle of White  1970
Attended with:
Artists seen :
Own Experiences: