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The Knebworth Park Festivals.
Knebworth Fair : 6-24-78.
Genesis,Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Devo, Brand X, Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Release report .
Knebworth Park Concert,
23rd -25th June 1978
The advance Release team arrived in the afternoon expecting to set up an advice/welfare unit on the campsite. The promised marquee did not materialise, so we set up our personal tents and informed St John and the information office of our position, so that our doctors could be contacted if necessary. The main problems on the campsite appeared to be lack of crash tents and inadequate toilet and water facilities. Although our main use that night was in providing medical back-up, the lack of the promised base meant that our team was inadequately fed and volunteers arriving later had difficulty in finding us.
We attended the meeting for welfare groups in the evening to sort out what skills were available amongst us, what each team planned to cover, and to arrange the rota for the arena information tent.
Saturday/Sunday 24th/25th June
We moved off the campsite and went up to our marquee in the admin area at around 6 am to avoid the traffic buildup. We eventually obtained trestle tables after some difficulty.
The trip tent was quiet during the day whereas the team at the arena welfare information tent was kept very busy with a wide range of enquiries about drugs, legal, transport and site information We sent up extra people to help the Release shift there, in addition to those already allocated to the FWS shifts.
The whole team became fully stretched after nightfall. We sent a doctor, nurse and three volunteers down to the campsite to deal with 3 problems down there, based at St John/information unit. Although the campsite team were not as busy as expected, we feel this is partly due to a lack of identifiable base, as we have heard that a number of people with drug problems were reluctant to approach St John not realising Release staff were there.
A rush of cases were brought into the trip tent from 9 pm onwards. There was only one serious 'bad trip', a school student who had a prolonged paranoid experience. Most of the other cases were inexperienced drug users who had also drunk a lot of alcohol and our job was one of reassurance and providing facilities for them to sleep it off. Two other cases caused concern: a multi-drug user who had been drinking heavily whose pulse went very weak and slow, and a boy who was eventually sent off to hospital with suspected appendicitis. By this time St John had no doctor in the admin area and the Release medical staff were working flat out to cover St John, Samaritans and Release tents.
At about 11 pm the arena information team sent a message to say they were being swamped with enquiries about lost friends and asked us to provide a base for people who were lost or had missed their lift home. About 30 people were offered shelter in the marquee where we dispensed plastic rubbish sacks because of the lack of groundsheeting. From then on we had a constant stream of people who were either lost, looking for friends, or had lost their cars.
The Release marquee was totally unsuitable for this because it became difficult to care for the sick people who needed warmth, rest and quiet. In particular it was very distressing for the 'bad tripper' who was convinced that a gang of people waiting outside to get him, and became extremely agitated when a 'gang' actually arrived.
In future we feel it is vital that a tent should be set aside for lost people with proper groundsheeting and a good supply of blankets. A large number of people had travelled a long way to the concert and it they lost their friends with the car or a group travel ticket they had no means of getting home. Most were very distressed, and were cold, tired and hungry, having brought nothing for an overnight stay.
At about 6 am we started to ferry people about the site lookIng for lost cars or taking them to the shuttle service for the station. Although we were able to sort out most people by 10 am, when we were supposed to have left the site, we feel that a medical welfare tent should have been open until at least mid-day. St John, the Samaritans and Release all had to ask people to leave who were not really fit to do so - a couple more hours sleep would have made a big difference in most cases.
Co-operation with the police was good, and there were few arrests.
The police agreed to inform us if they were opposing bail in any case, but this did not prove necessary.
Harry Podlewski Vicky Fisher Release 13-7-78
Larger number of water taps Greater number and better distribution of toilets At least 5 crash tents on campsite. At least one lost persons crash tent near arena. Lost property facilities .Comprehensive site maps posted around site .Transport information in programme. Larger welfare information unit in arena, or separate arena tent for Release/Samaritans
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Knebworth festival products
Various versions of promoter Freddy Bannisters Knebworth commemorative setsare now available
( NB : The Archive has no commercial ties with Freddy Bannister or his products , we've found that they are generally quite good value as they are well packaged and of reasonable quality and of course , there is nothing else "official " out there, so if you want a commemoration package and you are willing to spend the dough on it, then go for it. One word of warning though , The Bath Festival T shirts we were sent were nice looking but the print washed out after a dozen washes, so if you buy them, its perhaps best if don't wear them too often.
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Knebworth Concerts 1974-86
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