The Archive.

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Bill in Hyde Park , Speakers Corner - busy promoting the Windsor Festival

Image used gratefully under creative commons license © Daniel Gulp

. Bill 'UBI' Dwyer

21st January,1933 – 13th October, 2001
Rest In Peace.

Bill and Friend

photo © Al Lyons

    The two names that are consistently mentioned as organisers of Windsor are Sid Rawle and Bill Dwyer .Both were jailed in 1975 when they once again tried to hold another festival at the Great Park. Sid has also now passed on ( unfortunately leaving a somewhat tainted legacy ) . His organising buddy Bill Dwyer dropped out of the public view after 1976 and it is only relatively recently that we have unearthed details of his life after Windsor .

    Bill was an anarchist and a civil servant ( yes , a contradiction in terms but one has to earn a crust somehow ) and passionately dedicated to holding free festivals at Windsor .Prior to arriving in the UK he spent some time in Australia , where he apparently dealt acid , was deported and became involved in various anarchist groups. He was certainly one of the main drivers of the festival, arranging for the distribution of hundreds of thousands of flyers advertising the bash and for him the festival had both political and spiritual imperatives. He believed that God was directing him to hold the festivals, as a protest against the monarchy and the lack of housing for the people.

      However, this monomaniacal dedication had its price, in 1974 , he had, as the Windsor Freek Press put it so diplomatically -' flipped his lid ' owing to the fact that he had not slept for the two weeks preceding the festival. When he began walking around telling people he was the King of Windsor and that they should obey him unquestioningly, people knew he had a bit of a problem.

    He was also one of those arrested for obstruction and a breach of the peace. Probably the cops would not obey his orders either, although I'm sure they were less understanding than the freaks were over the issue. For all that , Bill valiantly attempted to hold another festival at Windsor in 1975 and was jailed for distributing leaflets after being instructed not to do so. He was at the Seasalter free festival in 1976, but this was the last reported sighting we had of him in the freak press .

Bill moved to Southern Ireland in the 1970s and remained there for the rest of his life, Ron Evans knew him around 1979

Regarding UBI, the last contact I had with him, he was back in Dun Lougoria (think that's right) south of Dublin. He was as always organising free festivals in Phoenix Park, Dublin. My last letter from him was in about 79, From that time all seems to have been blank. If you ever find him let me know.

Ron D Evans

Ron then passed me this message he received regarding the demise of UBI

    With regards to Ubi Dwyer I must inform you that to the best of my knowledge he passed on some time ago. I am as near certain of this information as I can be.

     I grew up in a large housing estate called Ballybrack ,approx. 4 miles from dun laoghaire,I remember in the mid 70's,possibly 1977,Ubi stood as an independent candidate in a general election here. If it was 1977 I was 10 at the time.

    He was famous here for cycling around on his bike. What was thrilling for a 10 year old was to see him approaching on his bicycle and to wonder what colour it would be that day!! He was at best described as "eccentric" and while I never knew him personally, the fact is I still remember him 24 years later!! He would probably rank with other famous Dublin characters such as "bang,bang" and "Johnny forty coats". hope this is of use to you.


Cian Long

Ubi was an independent candidate for the Irish parliament in 1981 and 82 , and received 927 and 418 votes respectively , unfortunately ,on this showing , he was not elected.

John Callanan fills in some more of the gaps

    Ubi Dwyer passed away about 2 years ago. Whilst cycling in the Dublin mountains he was involved in an accident and never fully recovered.

    In the early 80's he was involved in a legalise cannabis campaign and also petitioned for the H-Block hunger strikers in Long Kesh prison. He stood as an independent candidate in local elections in DunLaoghaire but never reached the quota. His accident happened in the early 90's and he never really recovered from his head injuries.

photo © Al Lyons

More info regarding Bill arrived from Sean

As for Ubi, that's a whole other story! We moved from London to Ireland in 1976. During my teen years, Ubi was a legendary figure. He was totally reviled by most, but to us he was a hero. Just seeing him coming along on his bike was enough to send us whooping for joy. As I got older, I supported a number of his campaigns and even smoked a joint with him a couple of times. The last time I remember seeing him was as I was trying to sneak in to see Bob Marley in Dublin in 1980 (I was 14 at the time). He was on his bike, covered in pro marijuana iconography, trailing this billowing cloud of smoke! The funny thing is though, I never knew he was the man behind Windsor Free until I read your site.
Again, thank you for putting together another piece of the cosmic puzzle for me.

Best Wishes,

The first Windsor Free Festival public meeting in Holland Park May 3rd 1972 from the Kensington Post 10th May 1972.

Kris Grey front row , second left wearing hat, Bill wearing his usual poncho on right.


By chance I stumbled upon your website, I had been wondering what happened to Bill. I met Bill Dwyer in early 1972, I had not longer come out of Borstal at the time and he was looking for people to stand up in court and state that LSD had been beneficial to me, I volunteered but it never came to that. Bill was impressed by my musical ability and loved a song that I had written in Borstal, The Man From Naz which was a hippie take on the feeding of the 5,000, the stoning of the 5,000 where Jesus keeps rolling joints, (you have to hear the song).

He invited me to take part in the first Windsor Free Festival and to help him organise the event. He held a press conference in Holland Park on 3rd May 1972, where I sang the song to the small crowd. I attach a press cutting of the event, from the Kensington Post, it's straight out of my scrapbook which highlights the date and has arrows to Bill and myself. At Bill's instigation I recorded the song under the name Grobbert and Duff and it was released as a single in 1972, copies change hands now for over 200 pounds!

I also attach a subsequent cutting, from the Evening Mail 10th May 1972 about Bill and the Festival, you can see Grobbert and Duff (Sunshine Band - Bill added this) listed as appearing in the last line.

Bill had a healthy approach to LSD, he viewed it as food and was happy to distribute it to anyone who wanted it. I certainly partook in many trips, some with him. This included a reconnaissance trip to Virginia Water to check out the area for the forthcoming festival with my then wife Moira and a friend Tim Wyatt.

It started to turn nasty when, after we had dropped a few tabs, Bill started to get out of control- hurling abuse at a Royal car that came past us ( I didn't see who was inside ) and also at a bus load of football supporters. We had to drag him away and, still heavily under the influence, drive back to Earls Court.

I remember Bill fondly, guessed he must have passed on considering he had been 40 when I met him 40 years ago, he recognised my talent when I was barely 19, I haven't done bad since then. I did go to the festival but it was so shambolic, nobody know what was going on, so unable to find Bill I turned around and went home, wish I'd stayed.

Kris Gray

Clippings courtesy Kris Gray

I read the web sites on the internet about the Windsor Free Festivals and got your e-mail address from there. I am a former friend of Ubi's and went with him to the 1974 Windsor festival and lived with him at his caravan HQ parked just outside the festival site at Queen Anne's Gate. At that time I was a student at Keele University.

image © Al Lyons

At one point during the festival Ubi took a band of dedicated followers on a long hike and for a few hours I was in charge of the festival although nothing happened and I did not do anything. In the caravan was Ubi's girlfriend and housemate Anne McCartney. I left the festival before the police broke it up because I did not agree with Ubi charging tradesmen money for selling food and drinks at the festival. I think Ubi had "flipped".

I first met Ubi at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park where he spoke about many things. At the beginning he was accompanied by his Finnish girlfriend. After a while I visited Ubi at his Caledonian Road squat where he lived with a man called Eddie and Anne McCartney.

Sometimes I went to Ubi's flat on visits to London from Keele.
I helped with printing flyers for the 1974 festival and distributed large numbers of these at Keele; some students from there came to the 1974 festival as a result.

Despite my final disagreement with Ubi over the tradesmen I still remember him with great affection.
Many of the things he said stick in my mind today. I was truly sorry to learn from the internet that he has passed on.
I would like to meet Sid Rawle again whom I think I remember visiting us in our caravan and anybody else who went to the 1974 festival who cares to meet me. I am also anxious to know if you have more information about Ubi's life after 1974 than is available on the internet.

Ali Ismail

I'm surprised you didn't mention Bill's Beatles connection. Back in '67 John Lennon was looking to finance a hippie commune and was talking to Ubi about setting this up on some island off the Irish coast. I think there may be some mention of this in the BIG Beatles Anthology book. Nothing eventually came of it.
His girlfriend back in '74/75 was I believe called Anne McCarthy (or McCaffy) not McCartney. I used to know her brother who was living at the time with one of my best mates in a squat down in Sevenoaks.

Happy Trails

Anthony Harland

Toby In New Zealand also knew of Bill

I am very sad to hear Ubi has passed away. A few NZ friends kept in touch with Dwyer and one of them visited him in Ireland in the mid 1990s. I hoped to get in touch with him, but my letters went unanswered. I interviewed a few people who knew Dwyer well in NZ.
He made a huge impression on those people. He got up to much more than i wrote in that article. From his Zorba the Greek dancing to free speech fights with the police in Auckland. He had run ins with union heavies from the dockers union in Wellington and kept a wool
bale hook on him to ward them off. I have piles of stuff about Dwyer in NZ and Australia. I have been told that a whole book could be written about Dwyer and LSD in Sydney. It seems he was legendary wherever he went...

If you haven't come across it yet, Dwyer and Graham Moss wrote an article in _Anarchy_ in about 1970 about the IOW festival, which they attended along with the anarchists who tore down the fences. I read somewhere this event at the 1970 IOW helped inspired Dwyer to organise the windsor free fests.


Re Bill's bicycle accident ... one of the notes mentions that this happened in "the early nineties" ... If it's any help, I should mention that I met Bill in Dublin in October 1991 when I was there following the Rugby World Cup ... I had written to him from NZ to arrange a meet, as I had not seen him since 1968. When he came into the hotel where I was staying it was obvious that he had been in some disaster, and he told me about his accident then ... I think it had happened 6 months or so previously.

Rex Benson,

Wellington, NZ

Wow, for many years now I have wondered what happened to Bill "Ubi" Dwyer. I was one of the many admirers of Ubi who preached "Free love and muscle power" in Hyde Park Corner every Saturday. I had returned to London in 1973 at the age of 18 from finishing school in Canada. I was full of idealism and had managed to land a job working for Help The Aged as a 'Youth Organizer'– a job that offered a very basic salary… but with the perk of a car! During that year I would religiously go to Hyde Park corner whenever I could to hear Ubi preach about free love and the 1974 Windsor Free Park Festival.

He would arrive on his bicycle wearing a floppy hat and a ponch overcoat with a big smiley face on the back and front. He was very charismatic and I can still hear him laugh as he talked about the festival, free love and anarchism. I was hooked and ended up handing out leaflets with a small band of followers – going back to the squat and helping print more. I think my motivation was slightly skewed in that I developed a crush on Ubi’s girl friend Anne – I had long forgotten her name till I saw it on an earlier post on this site. Nothing ever came of it other than some great hugs every time I saw her – and for that matter hugs with Ubi as well – who would always wink at me when I made eyes at Anne.

One of Ubi’s weapons in his attempt to legitimize the festival was a letter he had received from the Queen in response to his letter inviting her to the Windsor Park Free Festival; the response from the Queen’s secretary was that 'Queen Elizabeth would not be able to attend due to the fact she would be in Balmoral that weekend'. A clear acknowledgment of the legal existence of the festival – as far as Ubi was concerned.

All revved up – I wanted to make my own difference in support of the festival. So without adieu I organized a food stall to benefit Help The Aged for the 1974 Windsor Park Free Festival – convinced several rather wary Help The Aged staff to help me staff the booth. We sold fresh dairy products – cheese, milk, and flavored yogurt that I would buy daily from a local dairy. The whole organizing of that is a story unto itself! Even though I later heard about being taxed by the festival – Ubi was fully in support of my efforts. I slept in the back seat of my 'charity' car during the three days till the awful end by the police.

Bill under arrest in 1973

It was horrific – I was awoken about 5am by blaring sounds of 'you have 10 minutes to clear the site' - in the next two hours hastily produced flyers from the 'Windsor Freek Press'– and from Release ,encouraged people to take down their tents and to spread out and sit down in small groups – and when asked to move by the police – move but then sit down again – much frustrating the police action. One tactic that saved probably many people from injury was that the media were called and within half an hour the cameras were there to witness the Thames Valley Police action – which was front page news for the next week – prompting a discussion in the Houses of Parliament on the action of the police.

Two letters from Ubi to Tony Farrell regarding band booking and promotion of the 74 festival.

The police held back for a few hours until the order was given … and a line of hundreds of police brandishing truncheons moved in and stomped all who would resist – tearing down tents in their path. I think on the Saturday through the Monday Bank Holiday there were 12,000 people in the park. On that morning, many had left to go back to work – there may have been about a thousand remaining. Some others may have better memories of the numbers.

The die-hard supporters finally surrounded Stage A holding it until the final melee where truncheons were drawn – and many suffered severe concussions. Personally I stayed back as far as I could – sitting down on the grass on my own – and taking pictures. I was scared, horrified – and enthralled all at the same time – I was witnessing an event that would go down in history.

During the three days of the 1974 festival Ubi had become quite erratic – the pressure of the event finally doing him in. The last thing I had heard was that Ubi had fled the park and managed to get into the courtyard of Windsor Castle where he was arrested stark naked. During the time he was held in a local prison cell – he managed to break several of the glass brick windows with his bare hands – spreading faeces all over the walls. I have never been able to confirm this – or have heard about him since.

Paul Willies

I can remember only small snippits, of the events of the preceding days, of the festival. I do remember Bill (Ubi) Dyer roaming around the site, ranting, and telling everyone to leave - was it due to exhaustion, or just too much acid ? , I never found out - which made many of us uncomfortable, for until that moment, Bill, to us , was the festival! He sat at our campfire and was shouting at his companion (I forget her name now)!

John Ashwell

I was sad to hear of Bill Dwyer's passing: he was an icon, a gentleman who played by his own set of rules. He was one of the first people in my life who entrusted me with anything important to do, and despite my eventual failure to produce a stage, he subsequently confided in me that actually having the stage was not the issue here, it was the belief shown in the concept that was important. This all made sense in some peculiar way back then... In closing, allow me to remind you of Bill Dwyer's rallying call, which he often used to get people motivated or to get his point across - "get your brains out of your knickers, you fuckwit!" I couldn't have said it better myself.

Heneage Mitchell

Stage Manager, Stage E

I was only 16 when I got involved with helping out at the squat in Carmelite Street in London. I used to go there on Saturdays to generally help with mailing and other work. Ubi was there organizing the work but I cannot recall if Sid R was there. I think there was about ten or so people in the squat. I remember talking with a guy from Manchester particularly about anarchy.
The squat in Cornwall Terrace was attended by a hundred or so people to discuss Windsor III although I do not who actually lived in the squat. I remember a vote being taken of whether or not to let the press attend -I think he was from the Daily Telegraph.

The problem is recollection. I took no notes or photographs; names came and went and I am now 51.What I did 33-34 years ago is hard to recall. All I remember is that Windsor III was a great experience which I never have forgotten while Windsor III is always tinged with what happened on the final day.

The arrest, prosecution and Jailing of Ubi -1974-1975.

   This rather defensive press release from Ubi came into our hands recently , some weird stuff here folks, he is seemingly trying to legitimise his position so he can be seen as the true organiser of the event, whilst bagging any other people who he perceived as a threat to his authority. Its unsettling to see Bill trying to clean up the festivals image, buttering up the police, repudiating cannabis use and even trying to imply that the Queen thought that the festival was legal !


    After the 1974 festival Ubi continued to try to hold another free event at Windsor , he was obsessed . Despite the authorities quite obviously gunning for him and Sid, they doggedly continued to plan until they were both arrested for distributing leaflets .

Letters below from Bill to Alan Jones attest to the general determination to hold another event despite all the opposition .

   The speech he gave to the court was totally non-repentant and was of course a direct slap in the face for those in authority.

source IT mag Vol 3 Number 3 August 1975



The arrest of UBI

I was on my way to a Led Zep concert at Earls Court in 1975 when I saw Bill standing outside the tube station handing out leaflets.

We'd met a few times before so I went to say "Hi".


I was really pleased he remembered me. He had been written about in the "News of the World", and that was one of my ambitions.

I had experienced the "King Bill" episode in the park..he wasn't that bad, but I felt he hadn't completely landed back on Earth....if you know what I mean.
He was talking about the ' 74 festival as if nothing had really happened.

As well as the way it ended, I had been very unhappy at the way some of the stages were roped off and 'normals' had acted like bouncers. I had wanted to use a large park in a city (like Caulderstone Park in Liverpool or Hyde Park in London) with multiple entrances that would be difficult to close off like Windsor had been, and that would allow people to use local networks for crashpads and 'stuff'.
Also, it would mean the press would have better access and their presence (because of ' 74) would offer some protection.

But what did I know?....I was just some provincial hippie and knew nothing of the 'greater plan', the importance of Windsor Park, or The Magna Carta.

I guess Bill was right, I'd done little more than help do the leaflets in Liverpool for ''73 ....and picked up what seemed like most of the rubbish afterwards with a young hippy called Danny - (amazing what 5 blues and a tab of acid can do!!!!).

I had left the day before in ' 74 - I just didn't feel comfortable, call it a premonition, but the vibes were just 'wrong'. I never even bothered to take my tent. I left it for other people to use. We offered our place in Birmingham as a halfway home stop for people going further north when we heard the news. One person stayed with us for a few days, and had to visit our GP because she was still bleeding after being kicked between her legs. I remember she had really bad nightmares for 2 nights.

The guy who also got arrested outside Windsor Castle on the last day - the one it took 6 coppers to actually arrest - was called Stephan Maguire (Mugsy) from Liverpool.
The police were around Earls Court for the Led Zep concert anyway that night, and the ones that approached Bill and arrested him had been standing in the tube entrance watching us all the time. I had just walked off and was about to cross the road when they went up to Bill and said something like "William also known as Bill Dwyer I am arresting you for distributing pamphlets attempting to organise a festival in contradiction of a court order"... or something like that.

I was stunned and just stood and watched. It was the last time I saw Bill.

Allan Fletcher

From the collection of the late Alan Jones , courtesy of Ken Horne

The seemingly incessant tribulations that followed before another peoples free festival came to furition can be viewed at the Watchfield Free Festival website.

The Phoenix Free Festival 1977

Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, Ireland.

Remembering Bill Ubi Dwyer

I helped Ubi Dwyer to publicise a free festival in Phoenix Park, Dublin, 1977.
By Garreth Byrne
I first came across Bill 'Ubi' Dwyer in April 1978 at the top of fashionable Grafton Street near St. Stephen's Green in Dublin handing out leaflets about a free music festival being organised for the bank holiday weekend of 5-7 August. The venue was The Hollow in Phoenix Park, in the western suburbs of Dublin. The word peace was prominent on the leaflet and other messages like: Everybody welcome, catholic and protestant. "We are all one" ended the leaflet at the bottom. It contained a request for help, donations and offers to play music, with a contact address. Pictures from the Windsor Free Festivals decorated the text.

I had read bits and pieces about the Windsor festivals in the British magazine, Peace News, which I'd subscribed to when teaching English in Zambia during the mid-1970s. It appeared to be part of the flower power anti-authority wave that had rolled across the Atlantic from San Francisco since the late 1960s, on the crest of the greater, world-wide anti-Vietnam War wave.

In 1977 I was involved in the production of an Irish nonviolence magazine called DAWN. I was curious to hear a first hand account of the bohemian protest scene that I had missed out on by spending some critical early years of my teaching career in spartan parts of Africa. I wrote to Ubi Dwyer and he invited me to interview him at his home in Glenageary, a leafy suburb not far from the upper class seaside suburb of Dun Laoghaire.

I approached a tidy, modest bungalow off Glenageary Road. From the front garden came a waft of primroses, wallflowers and tulips. A note on the door directed visitors around to the back garden where stood a spacious two-roomed caravan. Ubi stood up from a composted seedbed with a trowel in hand and greeted me. He was then in his mid-forties, tall, wearing a casual yellow and blue suit, had thick silver hair with a matching moustache. He spoke in a deep, confident articulate voice. The accent was Irish, with international traces.

Image used gratefully under creative commons license © Daniel Gulp

At his own expense he had printed 150,000 leaflets and posters to publicise the Phoenix Park Festival. He and a tiny number of helpers had been distributing them around the city. He had already spent £850 of his own funds on stationary, stamps, phone calls and leaflets. Small donations had been received. About 70 groups and individuals had volunteered their musical talents. These included Watford Gap (England), Raving Gale (Limerick), U2 (not yet a global force, then resident in Malahide, a bourgeois seaside village north of Dublin), Rocky Devalera & the Gravediggers (Dublin) and a French folk singer Dominique.

What had got him into this free festival lark? He told me that ten years previously he'd worked on an Australian newspaper and then considered himself to be a sort of nonviolent anarchist. In Australia he befriended some expatriate American flower power people and learned that there was a "worldwide movement for love and change." He pondered these conversations, gave up his job, travelled, meditated and studied world religions. His study of Hinduism in particular convinced him that free festivals had great potential as a medium for change.

I noted sceptically that the Windsor festivals of the mid-70s had attracted a lot of drug trippers and hedonists who hadn't a notion about changing the world. Ubi agreed but insisted that many other people had been positively affected, so he would continue his efforts. (He had been arrested and jailed in England during Windsor 1975 and returned to Ireland after being released. He worked as an assistant in the physiotherapy department of a Dublin hospital, where he was popular and had a knack for cheering up the patients.) He insisted that free festivals were for everyone and added in a tone of utopian liberalism reminiscent of Voltaire: "Even if the National Front turned up at Windsor - and I disagree with them vehemently - I personally would go and greet them. I wouldn't turn anybody away and I don't agree with the aggressive street confrontations of some NF opponents." In hindsight it is surreal to imagine a weekend musical lovefest involving the NF, Hell's Angels and 57 varieties of militant trotskyists, maoists, feminists and anarcho-syndicalists, although I'm sure the popular Irish singer, Christy Moore, could sing a funny song on the theme if anybody cared to pen the lyrics.

The weather became warmer that year as May dovetailed into June. I decided for the sake of exercise and curiosity to help distribute Ubi's festival leaflets. We went to various locations on bikes, occasionally around teatime midweek but generally on Saturdays. Ubi rode out to Rathgar where my office was based and we headed for any suburb he had targeted. Leaflets were distributed at shopping centres and door-to-door. One Saturday morning there was a big Charismatic religious rally at the Royal Dublin Society hall in Ballsbridge, so we stood at the entrance handing out leaflets there. Another day we leafleted in Castleknock which straddles the north-west perimeter of Phoenix Park. We took the opportunity to look at The Hollow, a natural amphitheatre with sloping grass banks shaded by fine oak, sycamore, chestnut and elm trees. A small roofed bandstand stands in the centre.

That evening we quenched our thirst at a pub adorned with portraits of Irish presidents - Douglas Hyde, Eamon de Valera, Erskine Childers, Cearbhall O'Dalaigh and the then incumbent Paddy Hillery. In Phoenix Park is the stately residence of the largely ceremonial Irish President. The election of women like Mary Robinson (1990) and Mary McAleese (1997) was at the time something in the unimaginable future. I suppose I went leafleting half a dozen times or more when not otherwise busy with my unpaid work for DAWN magazine and the penal reform group, the Prisoners Rights Organisation, of which I was secretary. The weather stayed dry and I enjoyed getting to know different parts of Dublin.

A week before the scheduled event volunteers conferred at a parish hall near Ubi's home. I arrived to find about twenty young people and one older man, Fergus Rowan, a personal friend of Ubi who was then in dispute with the Bank of Ireland over its failure to rescue his horticulture company Rowans Seeds when it had run into crippling cash flow difficulties. The time for the meeting passed. We patiently waited for Ubi to turn up. A half hour elapsed and I walked to his caravan. "Let them wait a bit longer. I've been doing most of the work up to now. Do they expect me to wipe their arses?" were his tetchy remarks when I asked him to come to the hall. This was the first hint I had of Ubi's double personality. I walked back to the meeting place and told them he was coming. "He's one big Ego," noted a young rock fan ruefully. After another quarter hour he arrived. It wasn't a comfortable meeting.

Saturday 5th August the first morning was bright when organisers began to arrive at The Hollow. The first band played to a trickle of spectators. By midday I spotted half a dozen individuals in wheel chairs at one corner, supervised helpfully by Fergus Rowan and a friend, who had arranged special transport. Gradually the attendance swelled to a few hundred individuals and parents with children. More bands arrived and got their gear ready. By lunchtime the sky had clouded over and there was a heavy downpour. Ubi donned a yellow showerproof cape and put a cheerful face on things by dancing and twirling to the music around the bandstand. I noticed a sharp row he had with members of one band who got nervous about the possibility of electric shock and wanted to switch off the AC/DC system. He effed and blinded loudly at them and insisted that the show go on. The shower died down, the sun reappeared, and Ubi disappeared. More people turned up to listen and the music went on smoothly until about 7 p.m.

Around 4 p.m. Ubi reappeared at the bandstand and looked the worse for drink. His reeking breath and raving demeanour suggested several double shots of Irish whiskey in addition to the customary pints of Guinness. A uniformed member of the Gardai (police) and a plainclothes detective tried to reason with him. He was escorted from The Hollow, somehow got to the ferry harbour at Dun Laoghaire and took the boat and overnight train to London. British newspapers reported a week later that Thames Valley police arrested him as he arrived at Windsor Park intending to launch a banned free music festival there. He was sentenced to jail and didn't return to Dublin until the autumn of 1979. I sent a note of sympathy to his mother in Glenageary, with a breakdown of expenses for duplicating programmes handed out at the festival in Phoenix Park. He sent me a polite acknowledgement after his release from prison.

The Phoenix Park festival went smoothly on the Sunday and Monday, with good sunshine and attendances of around three thousand on each day.

The world wasn't changed by this or any music festival, but U2 within a few years became a major rock band and two decades later Bono capped his career by lobbying the Pope and various world leaders on the issue of third world debt. Another Dublin rock star (who didn't perform in Phoenix Park) was Bob Geldof and he gave the moneyraking rock industry a temporary conscience with his celebrated 1985 Live Aid concert for Ethiopia. Fundraising concerts didn't change the world either, but fans rocked their asses off and felt good for having supported a charitable cause. Meanwhile the prime movers and shakers of the rock industry drive people's fantasies and keep smiling all the way to the bank.

Two weeks after Phoenix Park the first Carnsore Anti-nuclear Rally attracted an attendance of 10,000 in the south-east of Ireland. There were speeches, workshops and free music by people like ballad singer Christy Moore. This captured the imagination of the Irish media in a way that Ubi Dwyer's event couldn't hope to do. The anti-nuclear movement mobilised public opinion against moves by the Irish Government to build a nuclear reactor.

Ubi Dwyer promoted a spent flower power peace-and-love approach to social protest. Radical people in the Ireland of 1978 had other concerns and took a grim attitude to social change. Sinn Fein and its sympathisers were deeply concerned about the smouldering H Block crisis in Northern Ireland. Peace campaigners and social workers desperately worked against violence. In the Republic the assorted women's groups were beavering away at sexual equality projects. Poverty and unemployment were increasing as the recession deepened. Individuals like myself were quietly involved in peace and human rights and prison reform campaigning. An incipient environmental movement was gathering momentum. Adi Roche and other campaigners would launch the humanitarian Children of Chernobyl relief organisation twelve years later. Free rock concerts featuring booze and cannabis were thus seen as flippant distractions. Puritanical activists would have regarded Ubi Dwyer as an irrelevant, madcap exhibitionist in the Ireland of 1978.

In the early 1980s Ubi Dwyer was to be seen some weekends standing near Grafton Street dressed in an imposing clerical soutane and matching hat handing out assorted leaflets and engaging curious passers-by in consciousness raising conversation. To some he seemed to be a figure of fun, to others he may have looked like a street evangelist. He bought the clerical gear at Wippels Ecclesiastical Outfitters, a noted London clothing shop frequented by priests and bishops of the mainstream churches.

Around 1984 he circulated a funny memoir of bicycle travels around Ireland undertaken during his holidays over a period of years. It was entitled Senator Sunflower, after the name he gave his peripatetic bike.

What was he trying to achieve? Maybe he was evangelising against what he called the Forces of Awe and Boredom. His aims were sincere and he was highly liked by friends and hospital patients. His eccentric habits didn't attract a following in Ireland. The Forces of Awe and Boredom still haunt the world.

My association with Ubi was only for a couple of summer months in 1978. He and I were of different temperaments, with different cultural and social interests. I enjoyed his company for that short time and moved on. I subsequently promoted third world cultural awareness in Ireland; have dabbled in freelance journalism; have taught English in Africa; done a spell of rural development administration with an Irish aid agency in Tanzania; and have spent periods teaching in China and the Middle East. I'm a bookish, mild-mannered person and have followed my lights in my way. My musical tastes are mostly classical and folk

Ubi Dwyer was a rumbustious, garrulous, hyperimaginative and irrepressible individualist who did things in his own zany way. He was what we call "a bit of a character". He made an impact in the cosmopolitan, atomised mass society atmosphere of south-east England for a few years, but made no headway in the deferential, small scale and more family centered Irish society almost 30 years ago.

A website like this can serve a useful purpose if more of those who were bemused by Ubi Dwyer's zany lifestyle and persuasive personality would record their impressions, and tell us about how their subsequent lives proceeded from then until now.

Gareth Byrne

1977-78- the fight to stage Windsor Mark IV continues.......

Despit the banner headlines, nothing came of the festival in 1977, but in 1978, this missive from Ubi featured in International Times.

Once again, none of Bill's plans came to fruition ..........

Recollections of UBI .

Bill dwyer -well was never sure about him -seemed to want to organise everyone and everything { and move festival to Virginia Waters where there were lakes so we could all swim } -trying to mobilise a vote on what we should do a lot of lazy hippies having a good time were ever gonna recamp . Saw him or heard someone say that he had made a citizens arrest on a firechief who was doing something that Bill didnt like.



I had found my freedom, busking and sleeping wherever I could, carousing in pubs and smoking dope round camp fires. But that was merely at a personal level. Issues cropped up everywhere and I always did what I could. I only met Bill a few times at the final Windsor Festival. I had been living in a tent village at Clodgy Point, near St Ives, Cornwall and planned to find accomodation for the winter, via a visit to the festival. I'd heard that it would be well attended so set off a week early,hitching as per the norm.

I met with a few other festival stalwarts or whatever you might call them and we survived on nettle stew, nettle soup and fags; some were in acaravan as I remember (how together is that?). Among these was Bill whom Ifelt an accord with. I knew not who he was then, but as we talked,something clicked and he asked me to help with a few things (hey, he seemed monarchic so who could refuse?).

As I have disabilities I couldn't actually dig the latrines he asked forbut I did have a whole bunch of mates arriving whom I urged to getinvolved. As I recall they got dug pretty quick. The St John's Ambulance arrived well in advance and they looked like something out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - but they did help with the ODs and other mishaps.

Before the festival started, the press arrived and spoke to us. In St Ives I'd started some stupid joke about Hyper- Dermots (during a police search of the tents) and we told this reporter that the St Ives Dermots were coming. He asked how many. I said 'five or six' - and this guy Dermot added 'hundred'. Woo, says reporter, so I continued: 'Hey, that's nothing compared to the Wallies.' 'Wallies, who are they?' asks Telegraph geezer. 'Oh, they'ye a mixed tribe of teds, hippies, Dermots, Dermot Wallies and so forth' I explained. 'Some of them are trying to get here by magic.'

The magic wasn't included but they printed pretty much the rest - and I have a photo and cutting which I'd sent to my mum.
What I did do was join Bill in a field meeting with the head of Thames Valley(?) Police. This gent confessed to his disapproval of camping and etc where camping and etc are not permitted. He did seem to have a realistic attitude though. He told us that he might not be able to stop us arriving, but he would certainly evict us and close it down at the first opportunity. He also said he would be enforcing drug laws and any others he might. In my estimation he was seeming to allow the happening but secretly hoping we would be hoisted on our own petard or worse.

Bill said that wasn't really the point of the fesival - all the leisure aspects were merely pastimes while people showed in great numbers that they disapproved of certain politics. The copper didn't see how this was the right time or place, to which I asked where then might such a time and place be. Our local politicians listen to other politicians but certainly not men with long hair.

It seemed we had found some kind of pax with the bill - indeed, we had nine days of festival, where the only harrasment and trouble came from a police helicopter trying to film/photograph everyone so we flashed pans, baccy tins, anything shiny at it. There were the police searches (to which I was subjected to no avail) - it provides an amusing story these days about if you wanna search this unwashed hippie cavity you're welcome to any dope you can find...

The cost of food from vendors stank. There had been some Krishnans and other jumpered types giving out tinned food - guess who became popular for his tin-opener:) but this was a spit in the ocean. It seemed there were a lot of other skint hippies around. Softies but with beliefs?

In the spirit of the festival (and I think charging these vendors was OK, surely the money went somewhere good) I decided to approach one of them to see if they would price their stuff reasonably. Sadly I was followed by a bunch of angry lads, who, before I could speak to the guy, turned his hot dog cart over and legged it - nicking hot dogs as they went. I then helped
the guy upright the cart and gather his stuff up. I was shocked by the behaviour of these people whom I'd thought were peacable.

Towards the end of the fest I had noticed the arrival of what were being newly-dubbed lager louts. They were tinnie bovver, into football and fighting (the chances of the other F seemed slight). they were noisy and unwanted and seemingly the excise the police needed to enforce the law more sternly.

The police cordon woke me on the last day as kids and mums kicked up over being seperated. i managed to slip through to return a mate's guitar. The bobbies seemed affable enough, but we could hear chaos somewhere. we suggested they might be needed elswehere but they stoically remained at their post.

I decided not to risk taking my lovely big lump of red leb with me and placed it by a tree...after having eaten half of it. I thence flew to Birmingham, seemingly by magic. Oddly enough, my first lift was with a senior police officer and we had a good laugh (despite me laughing and laughing and laughing).

Sorry this isn't so much about Bill, but like everyone else's tale, it echoes his thoughts and deeds across time to this day and I'm still anarchaic despite my having worked in social services. I do remember his police jacket and wellies and grandad shirt, his beard and colossal presence. His demeanour was convincing even when I again saw him in alleged flipped mode. It just seemed that even such a larger than life bloke could also get desperate. Hell, times never change do they? Win from the inside my sister once said, and it seems Bill thought the same. It's slightly less punishing than trying to blow the buggers up.
Alex Oliver

sorry i am a slightly intoxicated person and blame alcohol for this... it is not dope because I have not even smelled a smoke like that for an age.
but there are serious inaccuracies on this website.

Bill who became UBI (as he wished to be known as i think in 1973), lived in Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town, London, when I first really got to know / met him. He lived with Rachel (Nussy), in a basement squat. I can remember the house number, but I ain't saying ! Bill (as UBI was then known), moved with Nussy (as Rachel was then known) to Winford Road (number 52), which is off of Caledonian Road, not far from Kings Cross, and Chapel Market (Islington). The house in which they lived sort of became Smileys Commune, and on the street door a whack off size smiley was painted by a 'Guru Maharaji follower' (I think that he was named Peter = although I am not too sure of his name). After some time, Nussy, who was a gardener in Hyde Park, left Bill = not long after he became UBI, to live with a geezer called Dave (in Wiltshire). Anne (who had ginger hair), arrived a few months after Nussy had left, and took up residence with Bill (who had now become UBI)... The Commune had several members, but in my somewhat silly opinion was not a success, (that is a scots fellow = not saying his name... an american guy = not saying his name either, and maybe others too = no comment = ha, ha).

The no rent but pay electrics, gas and rates agreement with Islington Council came to an end, the house had to be vacated, err, by order or something ! So the very shrunken commune now down to more or less UBI and Anne moved onto Carmelite Street, Blackfriars near Fleet Street, up a slope from the River Thames... the old fire brigade station... the last Windsor Free Festival was organised from here, opposite (across the road fom the "Sun" newspaper), this was the one that the heavy police broke up...
There was a later attempt to get a Windsor Free together, but this was banned by the police, but if you could find the other place (Caesar's Camp near Bracknel Berkshire) it was really good (accoustic, but very good) = the police chief came to the site and told us, he knew that we could not be heard on even the edge of town, and noise complainants would be possibly prosecuted for wasting police time ! = mind blower ! he also told us that the local old bill knew we had hash/grass/dope on board, but did not want the paperwork hassle over a usually quiet weekend, one of his junior (but of rank) coppers told us about the red and white magic mushrooms in the woods... and said be careful, prepare them properly ! what I had leafleted for came true at Caesar's Camp near Bracknell Berkshire. Peace UBI the festival thing worked at least once brother, you did not die in vain. May whatever is there bless you man.

oh, the rest, eddy did not live in the same house as UBI (then called Bill), in North London nor The City of London, however, Bill did I believe live in the same house as an Eddy and his girlfriend, as a sort of house guest, for about three months, and then he and Nussy (Rachel) moved to Kentish Town it was the year after the first festival that I met them (that is to speak to ! ), in Kentish Town. I was in Langley not too far from Windsor, at the time of the first Festival (Bill estimated about 1,000 people were there = he also swore that he could remember every one of them... = mayever what is there, if anything bless all of yer), man, I wish I was there !... ) the bloomin' family would not let me and me cousin Mal take the bikes to get there = sit down stay indoors and be bored, yuk. I was aged about 15 or so. I felt I was being chained up.

Meeself, I first encountered Mr William UBIQUE Dwyer, at a garden party in Crystal Palace Park SE London, I think that I was aged around 14 (and maybe too street wise for my own good !), he was wandering around the site with a placard or sandwich board type thing hanging from his shoulders, on one side was a group of Frownies = sad people, like square faces with drooped down mouths, and square eyes = the family. and on the other side were smileys = round faces with upturned smiling mouths and round eyes, these = the commune... Bill stood around and gave short speeches to segments of the crowd, all about the evils of the family and the virtues of the commune. It absolutely poured rain all day (like from 10 am = morning till midnight, The Beach Boys = hippy days, and Melanie, Richie Havens, Joe Cocker and the Grease Band... Elton John and Keith Moon were there. But the whole lot of us got soaked by rainfall. If I have forgotten anyone who performed I am sorry about it.

Bill then UBI was a regular speaker at Hyde Park Speaker's Corner by Marble Arch, for many years.

UBI was jailed for continuing to try to promote a Windsor Free Festival (the one when Caesars Camp happened) I was at his trial at the Old Bailey, and a prior conviction for possession of LSD was bought in to play... like 1,760 tabs and a 2 year suspended sentance, after he was released from jail, I visited him at his mother's bungalow in Dun Laiograigh (bad spelling maybe) South Dublin, and handed out the first Pheonix Park Free Festival leaflet to a family that I encountered ! the leaflet given to to me by the bloke himself = he is almost legendary. Freaks, Hippies, Punks and whatever you are, the free festivals should be for everybody. That always was my personal belief, and everyone should have and hold the right to personal freedom and safety. anywhere... and if at a free festival especially so. I think that UBI would agree. Even about steam engines and cart horses... oh all right Morris dance if you wanna.
But matey legalise some weed and solids... happy times for all.

Listen you to me brothers and sisters please, UBI/Bill put up with a lot of twaddle that was spoken about him in his lifetime. Don't speak inaccurately of him now he is dead please.
The man was instrumental in helping me change my life for the better, I don't even know what you people there would have suffered from me, or even would be suffering.

RIP UBIQUE, Bill thanks man.

Peace to all.

von OWL
searching for that definate hammer and chisel

My name is Sean Plunkett and I am a film student in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology over here in Dublin. I am doing research for a documentary on the Island Commune. This was a squat/commune which existed in Dublin in 1970 and was run by Ubi Dwyer. I saw that you have a page on the Windsor Free Festival and a sort of obituary for Ubi. I was wondering if you might have any information on this commune.
I am ultimately looking for people who actually lived in the commune but if you have any information about it at all that would be great.

Yours Sincerely
Sean Plunkett

I stayed in Bill Dwyer's commune in London for a short time when I was 17 some time at the beginning of 1974.

I came into contact with him through an article which appeared in the newsletter of Bit Information Service, which was a sort of hippy crash pad place somewhere around Notting Hill, which also gave information to people about the hippy scene and put people in touch with each other.

I had ran away from home the year before due to problems with my family who had been giving me a rough time.

As far as I remember, Bill's commune was somewhere in north London, behind King's Cross station, probably not far from Caledonian Road (it is hard to remember exactly where after all these years).

It stands out in my mind as the place where I lost my virginity. Apart from Bill and his friend Gabriel, who were probably both in their forties, we were a young crowd who were staying there and we would sit around each night, listening to "Tubular Bells", smoking dope and drinking cider.

There were two sexy girls of about my own age, Tina, with long-black hair, who seemed to be some kind of ex-groupie who knew a lot of musicians and Sue, who had been an art student, from Birkenhead. There was also a young guy called Mike from Southport or somewhere like that, who was usually with Tina, a guy called Chris from Birkenhead who was usually with Sue and a 19-year-old American called Guy who had been in Vietnam and who seemed to be the one who got off with all the women.

We all slept naked in one room and one night Sue and I got together for a short time but it didn't work out and she went back to Chris after a while.

Bill was full of charismatic energy and enthusiasm which attracted me considering that my life had been fairly down before that, having spent my early teenage years in a psychiatric hospital where I had been placed against my will without being given any valid reason.

On the other hand, I had an imagination and firmly believed that inspired young people were the only hope of changing the world before it ended in a nuclear holocaust - a prospect which horrified and depressed me to no end.

I went with Bill and Gabriel to read my poetry at Speaker's Corner where they would speak every Sunday but the "free love" idea didn't seem to be working out and that, combined with Gabriel's fiery temperament, led me to leave the commune after a short time and, as I needed some time to get my thoughts together, I moved into a room on my own in Tooting Bec, south London, where, later that same year, I wrote a book called "The Madhouse of Love" describing the life of a teenager in a psychiatric unit, which I later self-published in 1993 under the imprint Tetrahedron Books. Copies are still available over the Internet.

I did, however, attend the Windsor Free Festival that summer where I took acid for what was probably the first time, but, otherwise I remember it as being boring as the weather wasn't very good and there weren't many good bands there, except for Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac fame whom I saw playing the guitar. I also read some poetry there along with some other poets.

Reading UBI's obituary has certainly brought back memories. It is amazing what you find on the Internet.

Peter Mackie

My sister and I were wondering what became of Bill Dwyer and were sorry to hear he had passed away. Also surprised that no mention was made of his life in Sydney in the 60's.
We knew him as a speaker in the Domain in Sydney and also at the Cellar in Oxford St.
As a matter of fact I was arrested along with him and several other people in I think it was 1968. I think Bill was in jail for 2 years and then deported.
That night we were in a car and a couple of long-haired hippie types came over and asked for LSD. One got into the car and the next thing we knew police came from all over and we were taken off to Paddington police station. They were detectives in disguise of course.
Anyway, just thought I'd mention that small incident in his life.


Hello there,

My name is Denis Doody and I knew Bill when he lived at the "Brotherhood Of Eternal love Commune" in Kensington IN 1972 Bill back in those days was heavily involved in the Windsor Park free festivals as well as his regular appearances at Hyde Park Corner, also at that time Bill was a promoter of the turn on tune in drop out culture from the American hippy movement but I believe he was more sincere than those who adopted that philosophy in the sixties then abandoned it when they "matured" Bill had more than a strong political streak in him and its no surprise to me to learn he campaigned for the prisoners in the H Blocks Bill despised injustice and was always prepared to confront it. I was only 17 when I first encountered Bill and that was almost 40 years ago and I still hold him in high regard today and I am sorry to learn of his passing, I am also sorry to learn that he may have been subjected to ridicule because he was a well read and highly intelligent man, yes eccentric yes opinionated but always ready to defend what he believed in, he often finished his letters to me with the words Love Peace and freedom words that meant much to him, just on another note, Bill appeared in a debate with David Frost on what I believe was The frost Report On Marriage in 71 or 72, Bill helped shape my views back in 1972 and since then I have been involved in the politics and trade unionism I am currently on the National Executive of UCATT the construction trade union and on the Executive of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

God rest the soul of a very decent human being Bill Ubique Dwyer always remembered with affection, Love Peace and Freedom Bill!!!!


Hi folks,

Thanks so much for your great website. I was surfing, as you do, and the Windsor Festival popped into my head for some reason. I’m not sure which year I went, and indeed had some recollection of Virginia Water, but heyho, tempest fugit!

I used to trog along to Speakers Corner in the early seventies and Bill (I still think of him as ‘Bill’) was one of the many charismatic speakers. Just to add my two pennyworth, are people aware of why Bill re-named himself ‘Ubique’? He told me it was because he had bought a brightly covered military jacket in a second-hand shop. I think he said he had cut one of the badges off, to reveal the word ‘Ubique’ underneath. (Alternatively it might have just been at the bottom of the military insignia.) Anyway, having looked up the latin, ‘ubique’ translates as ‘everywhere’ (as in ubiquitous, etc). He thought this entirely appropriate as some sort of reflection of his philosophy and way of life and decided to adopt it. ‘Ubique’ is the motto of the Royal Artillery, so it was apparently one of their former jackets he purchased.

I haven’t seen this small anecdote on your site but if it’s already there please disregard!

Best wishes,


R.I.P Bill.......

I am indebted to Al Lyons , Ubi's nephew , who has provided us with a transcript of the Eulogy that was read at his funeral in 2001 .

Those we love can never be more than a thought apart. For a long as there is a memory, they’ll live in our hearts.

Eulogy For UBI

Bill at Speakers Corner Hyde park 1973 © Vin Miles

The life of William UBI Dwyer was vivid, varied and unpredictable. Educated in Newbridge he took the motto of Dominic quite seriously. As Dominic preached the truth, UBI sought to put these teachings into everyday life.

Gifted with enormous energy of mind and body he ploughed into many activities challenging the establishment of the day, political, religious and business.

Throughout all his multi coloured activities 2 things stood out, his love for his fellow man and a burning sense of justice. On entering the bank he soon discovered that the sterile halls of finance could not contain his ardent restless spirit.

So he plunged into many activities challenging the ruling establishment. He organised in the 70’s the Free Windsor Festival, a giant 3-day event, he promoted the use of cannabis as a substitute for nicotine and alcohol. He rejected the norms of society, Irish Christian that did not put its beliefs into action; UBI was a man of action.
He ran for the Dail on a ticket of fair play for all and respect for the environment and secured thousands of first preference votes.

Throughout his wondrous and wayward paths his mother Mary Ellen prayed and perhaps wept. For years he cared for the sick as a male burse in Our Lady’s of Lourdes hospital. Then came his near tragic accident, when UBI was left half-dead after a dreadful accident on his bicycle Senator Sunflower. For weeks he struggled for life, then slowly recovered. Like St. Paul, unhorsed at Damascus, UBI after his fall was a changed man. He turned to God and his Holy Mother, joined the legion of Mary and sought just to do Gods will.

The hurricane had subsided. His great love of work, his love of nature and Gods beauty for all his children. His abhorrence of waste. His concern for the deprived and sick always remained. He once told me, as if in answer to the excess and waste which he saw as ruining the beautiful world the creator had given to his children.
‘Mans needs are few, but his wants are limitless.’
It’s worth thinking about.

UBI, we salute you and hope your life will serve as an inspiration for those who follow. He died appropriately on 13th Oct. The feast of Our Lady of Fatima and perhaps as our Holy Mother brought his noble soul to hid true home, the sun stopped for a moment, spun to great one marvelled at all God’s works.

So brother, we say farewell. See you on a higher plane.
Fergus Rowan

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