The Archive

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Updated Jan 2016

This site is dedicated to the memory of Roger Hutchinson, who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.

R.I.P. Roger .....

For information on today's festivals see eFestivals.co.uk

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"Andy Roberts (author of Albion Dreaming) is now writing a book specifically about psychedelics and free festivals. He would welcome any information on this topic such as info on dealing psychedelics at festivals, prices, types available, methods of smuggling psychedelics in, photos of dealers' signs and basically anything related to psychedelics and free festivals. All contributors will be credited and no compromising information will be revealed! Please contact Andy


May 22-24th 1981

    Avebury is a good example of the impromtu ,authority hassled and miniscule free festival of the early 80s. It was organised by word of mouth , without any consultation with authority . Attendance was limited to around a hundred, the festival moved from site to site because of harrassment from the police.Eventually the participants dispersed due to police pressure .

    However , due to the existence of the Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe Book of The Road, we have a daily diary that details the entire progress of the festival, which we reproduce here for your enlightenment .

Excerpt from

Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe Book of The Road
Tuesday 19th May 9.00 pm
    So here we are again back in the rigours of life on the road , or at least not to it , in a lay bye where our team of highly trained mechanics are out there where it counts flat on their backs . Bruno the lunch burger man says we are scaring off his customers , we don't know what we are doing , where we're going or how we're getting there. we know nothing .
11 pm. Mystic Tib UK band practice pon yonder hill, experiment new style acoustic reggae and finger licking shit kicking , then tea and tele in Bobs truck.


Wednesday May 20th 8;30 am.
    We moved half of our busses to the lay bye over the road to keep Bruno happy , but Bruno’s twin brother Bruno the lunch burger man didn't like where we parked the Beast so he rolled up his sleeves and pushed it to the other end of the lay bye - Geez, thanks Bruno !


Thursday May 21st
    And so once more , eventually , by and by anon and thus for hence we all found each other and of a sort, just about got it together and off we zoomed as fast as a bucket of dead snails across this green and pleasant and wet land until we hit a roundabout at Oxford , went round it a few times and then all peeled off in different directions .
    The Beast, with an added advantage of a navigator on board , soon found its way to Moby Dick’s , where the Lunch bus already was . Next arrived the white van and within a few short hours we were all together again . As soon as this state of togetherness was reached (as it sometimes is ) was a big rap and how we are going to work this session .

We discussed various plans of action and troupe policies until the sun came up , the birds began singing and it was time for the Beast to split and do an advanced scout trip to suss the ......

And thus , about lunch time , into the stone circle at Avebury rolled the Beast and parked in the free car park . Out we all leapt but tho we looked high and low no free festival did we see . Lots of nice skool girls tho ( he , he , he )
STOP PRESS

We have just spotted what could well be two hippies . Could this be it ?. Could this be the Avebury Free Festival ? , only time will tell . We have no money so we've got to do something. Geof and Gofer are out at this very moment doing the foot work , but we know all will be groovy as our great sage and onion the daylight llama will blow the smoke in our direction .


Friday 22nd May noon .
    Finally on Thursday afternoon , after Mac went off to lunch another MOT , the Beast rejected a valve transplant and our telephone box committed hurry curry all over the road , we split the lay bye and back on the road. Same as it ever was, and ever shall be , road without end . Amen .
We got split up . down and round and round and round , lunched gearbox triple lunched electrics , lost found , lost again, leaky tyres and haven't we been here before sometime ?


May 22nd 9 pm
    The reconnaissance crew have returned and they say they have found the site and its just around the corner . So we just got going around the corner .



And here we are at the site. Nice site. There's about 10 people, three tents , a Morris Traveller , green grass , trees, sheep, stone circle, confused land owner and the Beast , which appears to be stuck - No traction , oh well somebody put the kettle on !


    By and by more people arrived and by the time the pigs showed up there was about 20 of us. The pigs were a bunch of bastards, they just want us out of their area, same as it ever was and now they’re going to wind up the farmer. Half an hour later they are back with the bewildered farmer and a tractor to two out the Beast and any other cars and vans that don’t move out as well. So off we all trundle back to the car park to think about wots happening and blow a few pipes. There seems to be about thirty of us now and its growing all the time and all we need now is a site.
    By this time it was getting late and starting to rain, so we decide to move to a site they used in 79 a couple of miles away . Here we go again trundle , down the road, full up with furry freaks and ruck sacks to a lay bye on top of a hill with a copse of trees. By the time we all settled in there is about 50 of us and a free food kitchen , although the site is very bleak and the wind cuts a path wherever it wants . So we put the great pink parachute up as a wind break and send around the free tea, um and get very stoned. Its all groovy as ever and the Beast seems to be central admin offish , but that's groovy as we can file anything under lunch .


Saturday May 23rd 2pm.
    News recently arrived of a more sheltered and groovy site down the road in the shadow of Silbury Hill . which is the huge prehistoric man made hill - England’s Great Pyramid ?
So shortly after breakfast , a few pipes and a few more pipes ,we made ready to move.
Most everyone else made off before us , but eventually with a little push off we went , full up and full volume boogie on down the road. We wound gracefully into the new site and parked up on the hard next to the round with a nice little paddock affair behind us . Lots of good vibes and sunshine flying about , although its still quite a small gathering , but from what we've been told its the most that's ever happened at Avebury and from little Acorns and all that who knows ? . We don't . But I'll just go and dig a shit pit so the paddock doesn't get fouled up !


Sunday May 24th 10 am
    Alas and woe is me for I did miss out on digging the shit pit as Geoff beat me to it , but alas again for not many had time to admire his handiwork for shortly after we opened up the free tea kitchen in rolled the pigs and told everyone to fuck off or else ! They being very offensive and scaring everybody off . So every one else is heading off to the next imaginary site . Unfortunately the Beast is going nowhere as our driver is up the pub . So we are just sitting blowing joints and looking at the pigs sitting in their car looking at us waiting for us to disappear, although I’ve told them that we just aren't that magick ( unless we want to be )
By and by Greame returns and off we boogie fool up and fool vol with Police escort at rear.


Free Festivals List

Any info to add- well don't just sit there ! Contact us

Free festivals and small fayres held in the United Kingdom between 1967-90.

1967-69.

 1970-79  
1980-92

 

  • Windsor Peoples Free Festival 1972-74
 
 Free festival related articles
Pay Festivals- Benefits for Travellers aid.
 

Main list of Free festivals 1970-1985

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

Related Articles

The aroma of a free festival -by Roger Hutchinson

Dome construction instruction sheet (download-140k)-by Roger Hutchinson

Travellers Tales Convoy Steve's tale of how the freaks outsmarted the fuzz at Greenham common.

Zorch -House band for the free festival set ? A fanzine page on the UK's first electronic band .

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe-surreal pranksters of the Traveller community .

Acidia Lightshow Lightshow for Windsor festival and Stonehenge in the 1970s.

Traveller Daves Website - Chock full of of free festival photos !

Many, many thanks go to Roger Hutchinson , Big Steve , Roger Duncan, Celia, Will , Chazz, Jeza ,Chris Hewitt ,The Fabulous Time Tortoise , Peter Piwowarski - ( 70s music site/photos ) Martin S, Steve Austin ,Traveller Dave, Herb, Tim Brighton, Vin Miles, Haze Evans , Noddy Guevara, Chris Brown, Janet Thompson, David Stooke, Gary Gibbons , Nigel Ayers, Rich Deakin ,Glenda Pescardo,Justin Warman,Brian F, Steve Bayfield, Kev Ellis, Paul Seaton and many other minor contributors for their help in providing the archival material related to these free festivals which has at enabled us to construct the site .

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us


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