An Old ‘Hare Krishna Festival’ poster

Thanks to Cerebral Boinkfest blogspot for this image

Thanks to Cerebral Boinkfest blogspot for this image

This brought back memories today. Its a poster from 1974 when I had just turned eighteen. I remember this poster very well because it was my job to stick them up around Cambridge and to advertise this event to every student at Cambridge university. At least that was what it felt like. For four nights in a row I went from door to door through the students residences telling them about our festival and how great it was going to be. Luckily they believed me and over 500 turned up on the night.

As it was in those days, Tribhuvanath Das was the energy behind the festival tour. Indeed, he was the festival tour. He arranged for the posters and leaflets to be printed, raised the funds for the events (or engaged enthusiastic youngsters like me to do it), mixed up the wallpaper paste and stuck up the posters all around the town early in the morning; then led the street kirtan to advertise the festival, brought cooks to create a feast for hundreds, sang his thundering kirtans from the stage, gave the main address to the audience, then spoke with people afterwards.

Since Tribhuvanath was the person who brought me into Krishna consciousness, both times at pop festivals, I was more or less despatched into his care. I spent a few months travelling the country with him in a converted Mercedes van. It was to be my first ashram. I had first seen Tribhuvanath  in Buxton, Derbyshire, in 1973 then at the Windsor Great Park Free Festival in 1974. He had a very convincing manner about him and had a deeply spiritual presence that everyone felt.

This poster has a mistake that he wasn’t happy about. The printers had put ‘Guilohall’ instead of Guildhall, and he had to change all the posters with a pen. I think he charmed the printers into giving him a substantial discount for their mistake. Later on, I believe that Srila Prabhupada said that Krishna’s hair in this painting was too long. At the time though, and even now, this painting was one of the few paintings we had of Krishna and this image gave us inspiration. The printer had taken the border from an Arabian picture. In those days there were no computers so everything had to be done by hand. Krishna’s peacock feathers were painted on by the printer, and the lettering was all done using rub-down transfer lettering known as ‘Letraset.’ I seem to think that the time advertised – 6.30 – would be considered quite early for an evening event these days.

Inspired by Tribhuvanath those festivals are still going on, in the same style, some 40 years later. Listen to him in top form here: