Archive Volunteer opportunity – bands and live music at the University of Kent

Do you have an interest in folk, jazz and prog rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s?

Did you know that in the early days of the University, we had some amazing visiting bands play on campus! Some of them were big concerts such as Led Zeppelin in the Sports Hall in March 1971, followed by The Kinks in 1973.

Page of a newspaper showing an article titled The Kinks Rock on about a Kinks concert on the University of Kent campus in 1973

Article on The Kinks concert, March 1973, InCant (student newspaper)

Other bands played in Elliot or Rutherford Dining Hall, like The Yardbirds in Eliot Dining Hall in 1967, while The Gulbenkian also hosted some major artists, such as jazz legend Stan Tracey in 1970.  Some gigs were smaller, more intimate affairs, often featuring jazz and folk artists in one of the College Junior Common Rooms.

Canterbury was also an important part of the development of ‘Prog Rock’ (Progressive rock – a genre of rock music associated with experimentation and instrumentation), with the emergence of the Canterbury Scene. Many prog rock bands played on campus including Soft Machine, Caravan, and Hatfield and the North.

Two psychedelic looking figures with distorted faces, with the words Caravan and Juicy Lucy above the, and Keynes Fallout in the bottom left corner.

Poster for Caravan and Juicy Lucy – playing at the Keynes Fallourt concert. (Poster in the University Archives)

There is all this to learn and more in the archives at the University!  In preparation for celebrating the 60th anniversary of the University, we would like to offer a student volunteer placement in 2024 to help us with research in the archives into the bands and live music performances that took place on campus. This will involve looking at contemporary issues of the student newspaper and other sources to log dates, times and places for bands such as Manfred Mann, Pentangle, and Steeleye Span.

Do get in touch if you are interested in working with us on this fantastic project.