READING Rock in 1975 was a very different experience for festival goers forty years ago and this weeks retro has put on its wellies and waded through the mud to bring you the story.

During the bank holiday weekend of August 22 to 24 more than 30,000 fans travelled to the Thameside/Richfield Avenue site.

Local businesses braced and embraced the influx of music lovers in equal measures. Local pubs increased their beer stocks but some neighbours like the Caversham Bridge Hotel erected a nine foot high chain fence with security guards manning the barricades.

More than 300 Thames Valley police officers were at the festival with trained 'plain clothes' drug squad officers mingling with the crowds and many being billeted at the nearby University of Reading campus for the weekend.

Unfortunately one French visitor Marylene Beguin,18, had travel tickets and cash stolen from her tent but most crimes over the weekend involved 'bottle fights' with drug related arrests being heard by special sessions at Reading magistrates court.

A few swimmers also had to be rescued by the police boat launch when they got into difficulties in the cold water and one brave girl was seen to 'streak' naked across the arena although it's not documented whether police gave chase!

As for the music this particular year was 'pre-punk' and the bill reflected the proliferation at that time of 'prog-rock supergroups'. Chief amongst these were the headline band,Yes,who encapsulated all that was good and bad at this period in rock.

The review that followed in the Chronicle described their set as 'turgid and trivial' and the reporter (not named!) took great delight in venting his or her spleen,calling them a collective of 'prima donna electrical engineers'.

Arriving one hour late due to the band's insistence on having the stage carpeted, lead singer Jon Anderson's voice was lost frequently and the speakers blew due to a request to use their own sound mixer desk.

The crowd by now were losing patience and a steady trickle of them headed for the exits which quickly turned into a flood when heavy rain descended.

Despite dire warnings from Reading Borough Council that the music should not continue past their deadline of midnight, the organisers and 'Yes' were fined £2,300 for running over.

Throughout the weekend the top acts included Hawkwind,Thin Lizzy,Dr Feelgood,UFO,Judas Priest and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

A special guest on Sunday's bill included guitar hero and Jimi Hendrix influenced axe-man Robin Trower who wowed the crowds into asking for two encores.

Within a year the UK music scene would change with the advent of punk music,influencing the type of bands that played at Reading Festival forever.