The Knebworth Festival of 1990 was a legendary event featuring some of the biggest names in rock and roll, including Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney. However, a disagreement between David Gilmour and McCartney marred the festival.
Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour discussed the Knebworth Festival on his The Lost Art of Conversation podcast, revealing he wanted Pink Floyd to close the festival, but McCartney did not like the idea. Despite this, Pink Floyd closed the concert, but arguments continued between the two music legends. Aubrey Powell, a witness to the verbal fight, recalled the two managers of McCartney and Pink Floyd arguing by the side of the stage. Despite the drama, the festival was a big success and attracted around 250,000 spectators per day.
According to Aubrey:
“I remember saying to Steve,‘Tell them we want an hour of darkness.’ That was our only prerequisite. It’s in the summer, so darkness happens quite late, so I think it meant that we closed the show, which some people were slightly grumpy about. But we got our hour of darkness and half an hour of rain! It was wet. Those huge winds, slashing rain coming straight on to us. I must have been using a radio mic on the guitar because it would have been too dangerous to be wet with all that electronic equipment.”
“There had been a great debate about who would finish the show. One of my better memories was the two managers of Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd arguing by the side of the stage at the closing moments of Paul McCartney’s set, which was running over, probably quite deliberately. Steve O’Rourke saying, ‘Get Paul McCartney off the stage right now!’ Richard Ogden, Paul McCartney’s manager, said, ‘Well, you go and drag him off then!’ They were nearly at blows with each other.”
Despite the tensions between Gilmour and McCartney, the festival was overall a great success. It was a historic moment for the music industry, with some of the greatest names in rock and roll coming together to perform in front of a massive crowd.
It’s worth noting that conflicts like this are not uncommon in the music industry. In such high-pressure and competitive environments, disagreements and conflicts are bound to happen, especially when it comes to decisions about set times and stage arrangements.
In the case of Knebworth 1990, it seems that the disagreements between Gilmour and McCartney were ultimately resolved, and the festival went ahead as planned. While it’s always a shame when talented musicians and industry figures clash, it’s important to remember that music festivals and concerts are about music and bringing people together to enjoy it.
Despite the conflicts that may arise behind the scenes, it’s the performances and the music that people will remember and cherish for years to come. And with iconic performances from the likes of Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, and Paul McCartney, Knebworth 1990 will always hold a special place in music history.