Harold Pendleton, who founded the Reading Festival and London’s Marquee Club, has died. He was 93.
Born in Southport, Lancashire, the British music executive had trained as an accountant but his love of jazz and live music led him to take over jazz nights at the Marquee Ballroom in 1959. NME reports that the club quickly grew into an influential venue for rock, jazz and R&B musicians throughout influential periods of music, hosting performances from artists like David Bowie, The Who, Pink Floyd, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and REM.
he Marquee Club in 1990; photo courtesy of the club’s Facebook page
Pendleton established the first National Jazz Festival in 1961. The event grew to include blues, and R&B, eventually becoming the Reading Festival.
“I am sad to hear of the passing of Harold Pendleton. Having worked together on Reading Festival in the early days, I can truly say that Harold had a lasting impact on our much-loved event, and Reading Festival would not be what it is today without his original vision,” Melvin Benn, the current Reading & Leeds organizer told NME.