Formatted at 1920 X 1020 minimum - failure to view at this res may cause weird formatting , you have been warned !!!!!!!
Updated July 2021
For information on today's festivals see eFestivals.co.uk
Big BIG thanks to our sponsor Neil !
This site is dedicated in the memory of
who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.
R.I.P. Roger .....
The Glorious and Magical 7-7-77
The Ridge, overlooking the Heart of England :Glastonbury Free Festival 1977 © Will Greenwood.
by Roger Hutchinson
I had been very busy with my work as a inflatable artist (don't laugh!) and I had heard that Glastonbury was on after a big gap of six years, so I worked hard in the studio to create some space to allow me some time off. The selling point of the tatty handouts was of the special date of the 7 - 7 - 77 and I was excited by the idea of going to the place of the most famous free festival in the '70's. I had a copy of the three album Glastonbury '71, which, the night before I left, I played the Edgar Broughton Band side of the pounding and life enhancing - Out Demons Out !
Early the next morning I solo hitched down to Somerset from Hatfield in Hertfordshire via the A1, M25, M4 and was dropped off by the junction for the M5 in lashing rain that soaked me through to the skin in seconds. Through the murk and spray I spotted a slim figure with a rucksack and tent heading towards a bridge and I could see that he had good sense, as this would offer some shelter from the elements. I joined him and bid him hello and we found we had a common goal in the Glastonbury Festival . We exchanged names and broke fast together while we waited for the rain to ease - no one picks up dripping hikers. Steve was on his second day of travelling down from Tyne side, he'd had spent the night in a hedge by the M5 near Birmingham and now looked it!
an hour the rain had kept up it's steady downpour and we decided to
try our luck and immediately a small Austin Healy sports car screeched
to a halt and we squeezed in. The driver was a botanist on his way to
do some field work in Devon and had felt sorry for us due to the rain-
not that the car was very dry as water dripped from the tatty canvas
hood down our necks. It was not long before he turned off at the Weston-Super-Mare
junction and we got out into warm steamy sunshine by a deserted B road
roundabout and pretty soon we realised that we were truly stuck.
was all the more frustrating as the Tor was a distant blue pimple in the east.
The occasional car ignored our thumbs as we attempted to travel out across
the billiard table flat Levels towards our goal. Just then a third festival
traveller who was coming the other way joined us. He had been trying for hours
to get out of this dead spot and was making his way back to the M5 to try
from there so we bid goodbye and again we were left with bird song and the
buzzin of de bees. Together we decided that walking to our treasured objective
was better than being ignored and off we traipsed, crossing the M5 and zigzagging
along the grid of lanes.
After a few hours and it being a sunny mid-afternoon, a small pub we chanced upon became a welcome spot to take a break . Soon we were sitting in the nearly empty bar with a pint of the finest in front of each of us. Early that morning I had taken up the offer of several slimming tablets that had been prescribed to my overweight housemate and these had had a maximum effect on the tongue. As I nattered away in the quiet dark bar, we were approached by a straight bloke who joined us and partook in talking enjoyable but complete bollocks like me. He was obviously half-cut but he replenished our drinks and the idea of the festival became less urgent as we sunk them and started a third round.
At some point he offered to drive us to our destination and we stumbled out into the bright daylight again and climbed into his ratty old open top Triumph Herald. We lurched away in the right general direction at some speed and it was only then he revealed that his purpose for taking us was to give him back up in a confrontation with his wife's lover in Glastonbury. Steve looked round at me unhappily from the front passenger seat wondering desperately what he had got himself into, as I was myself. But fate- in the form of a spilled load of hay encountered around a bend -delivered us from the need to join him. The car slammed into the bales , left the road and lodged itself in the ditch. Fortunately we had wisely belted up on my insistence back at the pub and all survived the accident but Steve and I thought it prudent to leave quickly on foot before things got any more complicated. Within an hour we walked through the town but only knowing that the festival was not at Pilton looked around for someone to tell us where to go. Blank stares met our enquiries so we went to the Tor in the hope of meeting someone there and a friendly freak, just about to make the ascent, pointed us in the direction of Street to the south.
We wearily turned round and headed out of Glastonbury with our thumbs out - but although it was clear that it was the right road no one stopped, so we again took to our feet . As the festival grew ever closer our anticipation and excitement rose to fight our fatigue as dusk fell. As the lane climbed up through a dense tunnel of trees, we could hear a steady beat of syncopated drumming growing louder and ever louder until we burst into the crowded site through a hole in the hedge as (for Christ's sake!) the Edgar Broughton Band turned on the works full volume as 'Out Demons Out'! took majestic flight. It was a stunning arrival and entrance to what was to be the best festival I attended that decade.
joined the audience and bopped happily about to their final song of
the night - then a drink was the next priority and Steve and I chanced
upon a tea stall where we expressed our delight of making it there and
ordered two cups each. A fellow tea seeker asked us if we wanted to
score some dope and I nodded above the roar of the rock and he in turn
produced a big chunk of resin and indicated ten notes which surprised
me as it appeared far too cheap and this doubt must of registered on
my face. He then took umbrage at my doubts of his offer but he handed
it to me and indicated that I roll one up there and then - which I did
without another word. The soothing balm of very good dope was just what
we both craved, after a day like that and we thanked him profusely while
handing over the cash and the Festival really began for us.
Left: the stage , Glastonbury 1977.
( click on the images to see larger versions.)
next day revealed the delights of the oddly shaped site, which was spread
for three quarters of a mile along a beautiful wooded ridge that was managed
by the National Trust. In the largest open space, at the east end, was
the main stage and many tents while many others had established their
camps beyond the stage in the undulating woodland and glades. The western
boundary of the site was marked by a tall stone folly from which the famous
Tor could be seen miles away to the north. On the south side of the long
narrow site was a steep grassy drop of what seemed to be hundreds of feet
down to the Somerset Levels that were laid out as a verdant chessboard
stretching all the way to the sea. It was a grand sight and most people
spent sometime, over the daze, sitting grokking the view. Right along
the north side of the site was a lane with wide wooded verges that allowed
offsite parking that was patrolled by the occasional friendly copper.
Because of the geographically fragmented nature of the long thin site
it is difficult to estimate the numbers who attended the '77 fest but
a safe figure would be around 3000.
I don't remember much about who played, where the drinking water came from, what I ate, how long it lasted or even how I got home again as these were inconsequential matters in the face of such a sound and happy gathering. I met many friends from previous festivals and even from my days at primary school in Harold Wood, in Essex. The weather was good generally with the odd damp spell that served to keep things green.
|There were several incidents that remaining my memories of those long days. It was there one night, to one side of a noisy stage, I saw the strange creation of a future friend who I was to come to know later as Professor Desmond Kay. An 8' high white pyramid had suddenly appeared at the edge of the tight arena, which suddenly burst into brilliance and offered a stunning but subtle lightshow. An audience was attracted who sat watching mesmerised carefully the multicoloured webs of colours weave and twitch around on the pristine surface of the small but perfect apparition. Ever curious to see how this spectacle was achieved, (I was involved with a light show for years) I crept around the back and peered through a crack to see a slow motor driven arm stroking the underside of a crumpled sheet of mirror foil which caused it to fracture and wobble. It acted as a mirror to a small and cheap liquid colour wheel projector with the resulting reflection projected randomly across the faces of the pyramid to stunning effect and more people were watching it by the end of the set than those watching the band!|
|While exploring and seeking a nice quiet place for a dump one morning, at the eastern end of the ridge way, I entered a closely packed conifer plantation that grew out of the side of the steep hill. It was an over-grown brown jungle of brambles and dead undergrowth and I stumbled came across a sort of trail that wandered down into the gloom of the trees. Motivated by the need for a more level spot I climbed down to a sort of dark den made of branches and brambles between the tree trunks and as I got out my toilet roll I spotted a metal trunk at the back. On inspection, it contained a large number of women's clothes - dresses and underwear and a large black notebook. Turning the pages, reading handwritten entries here and there I discovered that it was message pad between two local closet transvestites who visited the den to dress up ! The last entry from one to the other said that he was keeping clear from the place as he had noticed scruffy hippies setting up camp up on the ridge way. The other had obviously seen the same and wrote about him being equally put out by our presence I felt slightly aggrieved at this slight, and I found the pencil and put my entry in saying that they shouldn't be afraid of us as we were far more accepting of individual needs and if they did read it come along and enjoy the freedom!|
There was a beautiful iridescent light blue fabric dress that I stole and after replacing the book and closing the trunk carefully made my way back to camp (after a brief squat!) Steve and his mates were bemused at first when I retold the tale over a spliff but they became disgusted with the very idea of what these men did furtively to express their feminine side of their personalities. Afterwards I reflected on the thought that I had been probably a little optimistic in generally how we were liberated from society's straightjacket but the blue dress made a great camp flag!
Some of the folk stayed with their vehicles offsite by the lane and visiting some friends from Essex one morning, I was invited inside their Commer 10cwt van for a puff. No sooner than Greg had all the doings out on a book cover than a police motorcyclist pulled up along side the wide-open side door. Without a thought, I leaped out and stood between him and the open door of the van. The patrolman switched off the powerful machine and removed his visored helmet and turned round to look directly at me. I glanced sideways at the door and noticed an unappetising joke menu chalked onto a blackboard with dishes like 'Rat Stew' and 'Snail Fricassee' and my mouth took over. 'Look lively in there with the pots Sarah, it looks like we've got a hungry customer'. Turning to the bemused policeman I launched into an Eric Idle style hard sell for the best of the menu on the board, while behind Greg, ensconced in the richly patterned Indian cushions, was stashing all of his gear out of view while Sarah just froze waiting for a more realistic prompt for action. 'Are you sure I can't entice you to steaming bowl of donkey penises?' With a sickly grin the poor man plonked his helmet on and turned the ignition then after gingerly reversing out of the tight space roared off down the hill leaving us panting. Greg and Sarah were agog at my inventive turn that had save us from an embarrassing and troubled encounter with the law. My reward was a well stacked spliff, smoked the other side of the hedge - just to be safe!
accompanying photos show a number of
other brief events like the stallion that pissed a flood down into two
guys tents as they were rolling a number and the excitement of the young
kids as their dad flew a kite out over the south chasm on a golden afternoon
to the encouragement of other view seekers.
But all to soon it was over and time to head back to home and reality although how that was achieved I haven't a clue!
© Roger Hutchinson
Just one exists that we are aware of, but its a beauty, not great quality, but its the set by Here and Now and its about the spaciest we have heard them . 69 minutes, mostly improvisations , the only 'song" is "Soviet Kommerical Radio " sandwiched between two jams .There is a little wind noise and some chatter from the crowd , but its more than listenable and well worth searching for .
Band : Steffy: Guitar , Keith : Bass, Twink: Synths , Kif Kif: Drums
I'm one of the two guys who organised the 1977 Glastonbury festival. We were both working for an organisation called 'bit information' an alternative help and information exchange service which operated from an old building in west London. BIT's reason for the festival was the date. We had already done the stoned-henge festivals prior to that and we just followed the free one that took place in 1971.
Bands were attracted to play at the festival by word of mouth. BIT as an organisation had a good reputation with theunderground music scene, and so bands were happy to play.
Our involvement was squatting the field, buying the first tanker of water (the farmer gave us a stand pipe later) taking a free food kitchen there. In your pictures, look for a large yellow tent, that was the BIT tent.
The water for that festival came from water trucks we hired from the local water board, they came to £30 each, which was paid from collections we made. I was also the author of the Stoned Henge and Glastonbury newsletters that came out every day. The newsletters were created on an old Gestetner Duplicating machine,everything was written onto a skin and then duplicated normally once in the morning and once in the evenings.
We also helped with the Stonehenge festivals as well as some of the smaller ones like Rhayder in 1976 where I did the first aid. I don't have any pics from those days (moved too many times and lost them all) but if you look through yours and find a huge yellow tent, that was us.
We also had a free food kitchen going there as well as a notice board etc. hope this has been of some help, I'll happily answer questions or send more as I think of it.
Alan Strom .
© Roger Hutchinson
I've been doing a bit of 'looking back' recently and knew that I had attended Glastonbury either in 1977 or 1978. Anyway I stumbled across your site and from the descriptions and pictures there I can definately say it was 1977.
I travelled up from London in an old green Bedford van with my friends band Staffix' who I roadied for.
The driver (and band 'manager') John Curle, had heard that there was a free festival going on and decided that Staffix should unleash their music to the unsuspecting public there!
The band comprised:-
Hal Malik - Rhythm Guitar & Vocals (Last heard of living in South London) Matthew Ashman - Lead Guitar & Vocals (Matthew later went on to join The Kameras, followed by Adam and The Ants, then Bow Wow Wow, He sadly died in 1995) Jasper Stainthorpe - Bass (Jasper later formed The Kameras with myself and Matthew. Years later Jasper and I started Then Jerico. We are still in regular contact), Geoff Harvey- Drums (Last heard of running a Pinball Machine shop in London) Myself, Cliff Lawrence - Roadie
We were all quite unprepared for the sights that met us on arrival - being (relatively) innocent London chaps. My favourite memory of that day was during the set when Matthew was performing his solo, a naked hippy chick got up and danced right in front of him - I'll always remember the bemused look he had on his face when he turned around to look at me - he was only just 16 at the time!
After the Staffix finished their set, to desultory applause from the audience, we went off for a look around the site. We all ended up getting completely stoned in a tepee with some guy who was doing tattoos. We stayed until very late then made our decidedly unsteady way back to London.
Hope this is of some interest to you!
Well! this site was a real blast from the past; especially Cliff's little bit , to which I can add a bit more detail. Firstly we also had Lizzy and Nadir with us, more of him later.
We drove down from London on Wednesday the 6th and after several adventures arrived there shortly after Geoff( our drummer) had shot past us a few miles from the sight where we had stopped for an impromptu lunch. it was now about mid afternoon. There was only half a stage, no PA, no Lighting and most seriously no generator. But if we could overcome these small technical glitches "Hey man, you can play" Hence Cliffs recollection of the tattooists smoking party. His name was 'Blue' and we blagged his genny off him for the gig, in exchange for a gallon each of petrol and oil.
Staffix did a two hour set that evening, our own stuff, the highlight by word of mouth being "Dragonflight" a prog/punk (So I've been told) eulogy to Ann McCaffrey's SF novel of the same name, and then a jam of various half learned numbers and covers which I remember most for Geoff leaping up from the drum kit to come and plead with Hal, Mid song ! to be allowed another drum solo! and Jasper, Matthew and Hal doing the Status Quo thing, Head banging in a line with one leg up on the monitors. I spent a considerable part of the set holding up one of the two gaz lamps that were passing that night for stage lighting!, instead of running the tape affects (and second PA head) due to lack of wattage from the genny.
I'll skip over being stopped by the local police and getting away with 7 road traffic offenses , or the same coppers giving Geoff a surprise back stage friendly bollocking for causing us to be hurtling down country lanes at dangerous speeds, or trying to round up enough un-crinkled pound notes to feed a cash petrol pump in the middle of nowhere at 4 am, or the guy Geoff gave a lift too who slept the whole way back to Shepherds Bush using the little rubber suspension cap on the wheel arch as a pillow, and who emerged from the back of the van with the immortal words "My head hurts"
I had first arrived on the festival site with Matthew and Nadir in tow, the rest having stayed in the van, to find out which gate we needed to get back stage with the gear. The first guy I met , and who gave us directions was naked which was ok till his girlfriend appeared out of their teepee, also buff naked. At this point Matthew's face caught fire and his eyes and tongue popped out of his head, and he stood there just transfixed to the spot. Laughing at this I turned to Nadir, -who wasn't there! He was legging it, as fast as his legs would carry him, back to the van, where he climbed in, buried himself in the back, and absolutely refused to come out till we got back to his house the following day. When the Ayatollah Khomanie "freed" Iran some months later, Nadir returned immediatly to train as a Mhuller. I occasionally wonder if his experience at Glastonbury 77 was part of the reason.
Hal had a self made single "Bomb Scare" aired on Radio 201 Friday linkup and later on both Luxembourg and Capitol, but this coincided with his degree exams and the moment passed. Geoff did indeed run "The Pinball Machine Company" complete with veteran Daimler Hearse, and in this guise appeared in several films and TV programs. He also drummed for The Witch Doctors, Gretch and Hoffner, and latterly The Bikini Beach Band. I went on to play percussion with Hal and Geoff in "Clox", and more recently with "The Green Shoots of Recovery, Tight but Loose, and Druidspear".
From wood and water
Halcyon Daze indeed. My reason for writing about 7 7 77 is that you don't have any info on the site about the Orange canopy that stylishly became a mini main stage up at Butleigh Monument.
We 'borrowed' it for the event from the Revelation warehouse in London and with Jade, fellow rigger,we set it up on the hill . Unfortunately, what we didn't know was that a deal had been made with the Roskilde festival organisers in Denmark to buy the the Orange Canopy which we had made for the Stones '76 tour and this deal included the Mixing Tent which we had erected on top of yon hill. The future owners were really pissed off that part of the it was missing and our company suffered a financial penalty. Oh dear.
However, the festival had a beautiful custom stage for a change (compare this with some of the plastic and canvas boxes of other years) with unparalleled acoustics ( though its doubtful anyone else would have noticed the acoustics at that time).
I agree with some of the others here this was one of the best festivals ever. The site was inspirational, the views breathtaking and the people peaceful and dreamy.
It just goes to show that feng shu works - put us in a good spot and we behave. Quite the opposite of Lincoln, where we were shot at with rifles, crew fell off scaffolding, animals died and the whole site caught fire on the day after the festival ended.
In the summer of 77, I was composing the orchestral symphony 'Tarka' and took time off to out up the stage, and have a few days off. I had just complete my mark 2 pranaphone ( as Steve Hillage christened it)
Here is a pic of me playing it in Jades Dome, and the other playing with Nic ( who I was in Sphynx with) and Steffie from H&N. One thing stood out - the generosity of the landowners, who gave us permission to use the site with no strings attached, and arranged the aforementioned water supply without which there would have been a public health hazard. I remember they were Quakers, and their representatives I talked to were probably the most sympathetic and reasonable of all the festival site owners, apart from Michael Eavis of course.
© Will Greenwood.
Glastonbury Free Festival 7.7.77 A festival to celebrate the 7th of the 7th, 77. We all quietly observed the 7th second of the 7th minute of the 7th hour (that would be pm - not many of us awake at am!). I don't remember any music at this festival at all - just people with impromptu sound systems and acoustic setups.But my all-time favourite festival - the most fantastic, joyful atmosphere, with a manageable number of people all in the same head space.
Greetings, music lovers!
Should anyone be interested, I was one half of a duo who played at the 7-7-77 Glastonbury free festival. We, Andy Francis (guitar) and myself (keyboards), rejoiced in the name "Rotwang" (after Professor Rotwang in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"). This unfortunately is recorded as Rotbang in the NME Press Review to be found elsewhere and equally unfortunately described as Punkoid which we most certainly were not - more spaced-out drifty guitar / synth stuff.
The day began, following my return from college at the conclusion of summer exams, with the two of us wending our way south from Gloucestershire in my Morris Minor. Through the city of Bath past Solsbury Hill, with the appropriate Peter Gabriel track ("Climbing up on Solsbury Hill / I could see the city light...) and on towards our goal. A refreshment stop at a pub nearby brought the question from the landlord "You're not with them hippies are you?" the inference being that we'd not be welcome if so, a sad reflection on the mistrust of some locals. Then onwards to...where? Butleigh, we eventually discovered. Wonderful site, all along a wooded ridge and the benefit of hot sun. What we did about food, drink and other necessities of life I cannot recall, but a pleasant time was spent around the stage tent area. I do recall the Nik Turner jam, the ace solo guitarist (although not his name sadly), plus something to do with reference to a wombat ("There he goes!"). Time drifted on and it looked as though we would not be able to play, although we had been assured earlier that it might be possible (by a topless young lady leaning in through the open window of the Minor...). Then, as it became dusk our chance came! On to the stage with the trusty Mellotron and synth, much help from the PA chaps (thanks guys!) and into our rather short set. Memories of that evening will stay forever - what seemed to be an endless vista of people stretching away along the ridge, dancers, firelight, the beauty of it all on that balmy summer evening. Seemed to go down quite well, too, for a couple of complete unknowns. Ah, happy days.
© Will Greenwood.
I travelled down to the festival from Landrindod Wells in Mid Wales with a guy called Chris Hampshire (or Chris from Hampshire) in the VW beetle of a rather beautiful Aussie girl whose name escapes me now. I remember we arrived just as twighlight fell and the festival was taking on it's night time atmosphere. There were glowing campfires all around and we witnessed some amazing sights in the first hour or so. It was the first time I had heard the term 'festival shock' - the challenge to one's senses and perception from such a different environment when you first arrive at a festival. There were beautiful women dancing sensually in the firelight, the cacophany of sound and smells - cooking, dope, incense, woodsmoke, guitars, flute, singing - everything was a shock to the senses. I don't think I really felt at ease for a couple of hours or so. After that it just got better and better.
I remember wandering through the crowd on that first night after pitching the tent feeling part of a huge family - it was so peaceful and friendly and warm. The next day was 7.7.77 and we went skinny dipping in the river somewhere near the village of Street. That turned out to be one of the most beautiful memories of my life. I think of it now through the lens of time as a painting by John William Waterhouse called 'Hylas and the Nymphs'.
I was surrounded by five really beautiful (and naked) girls in an incredibly beautiful idyllic English landscape in cool water on a hot day swimming through the lilly pads and thinking how perfect this moment was - ahh the innocense of youth!. And all the time we were all aware that there was an incredibly special celestial event going on above our heads - a planetary alignment. An event which only happens once every two hundred years - and man it really felt like it!. The two Voyager spacecraft were launched that year to take advantage of this celestial event - to this day they are the only man made objects ever to venture out into interstellar space.
On our way back to the site later that day I remember we bought some scrumpy cider from a farm - we had seen a hand made sign advertising 'Scrumpy Cider 50p per gallon' - my god it was strong stuff, I drank two thirds of a flagon and i was out cold for the night. I remember the 'main stage' was a big orange tent affair which someone said was part of the Stones' 'Big Lips' stage from their 'Sticky Fingers' tour.
© Will Greenwood.
There were lots of informal 'stages' around the site mainly consisting of scaffolding poles and plastic sheeting - and there was one which was on the back of a low loader lorry. It was a very social festival as far as the music was concerned - the best musical vibe was just jamming in with people you met. Drumming or singing, strumming a 'box' or some were just dancing - there was a spirit of freedom of expression which was very exhilarating. I remember seeing a sort of early new wave band called 'Desperate Straights' they were brilliant and when I heard Dire Straits for the first time later - I thought they sounded very much like them in fact, I wondered if it WAS them. The best performance I saw though was from Here and Now on the main stage - they had an incredible dancer and later a light show (Acidica I think) - I was quite spaced after that and had to go and lie down in a darkened volkswagen.
My Sister was also there with her partner and we met up up after a day or so. Amazingly after all these years I noticed there is photo on your site from the festival and my sister is on it!. It was very moving and powerful for me when I saw that haunting frozen moment from the past as you may imagine. It did rain on one of the days which was not much fun but overall I remember it being really hot - one of those truly halcyon English summers. I remember hitching home with Chris as our Aussie friend went on to London - and that was fun too. What a different world we live in now, hitch-hiking was all based on trust - there was a lot of it about in those days.
That summer I blew up the Triumph Trident so when Glastonbury came around I was back on the bicycle. I got the train down to Bridgewater from Basingstoke and then rode on from there. On the way in, I found a cottage with a low wall and hid the stash in a gutter. I needn't have bothered as there was no security at all, at all. This particular festival seems to exist in limbo now as it definitely happened and was definitely free but it never seems to appear in the authorised chronologies of Glastonbury. I'm sure it was just outside Pilton at Worthy farm but the other reports suggest it wasn't. I also remember the big Pyramid tent but the photos look different.
On the first day, there was a huge thunderstorm that we could see coming up the valley. When it broke over us, many people stripped off and washed in the rain. The electricity lines on the pylons buzzed and hummed with all the static and water in the air. Although it started muddy, the rest of the week was clear. On 7-7-77 I met an old man who's birthday was that day and who was 77 years old. I met up with some old friends and had some dope fudge before watching Gong (or was it Here And Now).
At some stage my bicycle broke a rear spoke from carrying me, my rucksack and the old picnic tent so I had to go into Shepton Mallet to get it fixed. One night somebody tripped on the guy ropes and ripped the tent so then I improvised with the ruck sack as a double pole at one end.
On the last day I got up very early and crept across the fields. I left my stash tucked into the shoulder of an old oak tree. Of course when I left there was again no security at all, so I needn't have bothered. Anyways, as I've discovered since, you are invisible on a bicycle. The trek home saw me break another spoke, get it mended in another bicycle shop and I eventually gave up at Salisbury before getting the train the final way home to Basingstoke.
Was living in Bristol at the time. The site was a local hill known as Street hill a few miles from Glastonbury, an unspoilt belt of densely wooded hillsides, the festival site consisted of a long clearing with woods either end, a dramatic view of the moors along one side of the site and a long thick hedge seperating the clearing from the road.
A tiny unobstrusive stage and lots of bands. The weather was okay and the whole event went suprisingly well. I had to go back to Bristol on the Saturday for what I thought was an important meeting, it all went pear shaped and turned out to be a total waste of time - eventually I returned to the site, but was still feeling pissed off with what had happened and was generally wondering around the site unable to shake of the desire to kick something!
I noticed a pair of congas on the stage which was silent with no bands or music, and a site full of people waiting for something to happen. I felt no one would mind if I played quietly on the congas until the next band got set up! After I'd been tapping away for a while, some of the people in front of the stage started shouting at the stage crew to get some music going, not long after, some bubbly young guy wearing a full blown red indian chieftain headress got up on the stage and began dancing to to the congas, after a while the next band began setting up, I carried on, figuring that when they were ready they would ask me to stop, instead they set up and started their set without saying anything and I carried on playing , accompanying them on their congas for the whole of their set. At the end they asked me my name and introduced me as a member of the band to the audience, don't remember the bands name or even the name of the young lovely girl who owned the congas, who gave me her and the bands address somewhere in Wales, I actually went there once and they were'nt in!
A small, modest, wonderful event. Lazy summer days and sweet music.
A bloke I used to get a bit of old rope off suggested that there was going to be a free festival near Glastonbury on the seventh of July-
Seeing that the date was in the middle of our annual works shutdown and seeing as my mates girlfriend wanted to go on holiday to the New Forest, instead of the usual Wales or the Lake District, it all seemed to tie together into a holiday and roadtrip, and so the scene was set. Two car loads of us left Manchester in a VW Bus and an old Escort and spent a few days around the Ringwood area, had a few drinks and smokes and generally wound down.
On the sixth of July we packed up and headed off to Glastonbury, arriving about mid afternoon. Eventually somehow we found our way to Street and eventually the festival site. There was a large rock partly blocking the way into the site, smashing into the sumps of cars and my mate, who was a 'reformed' ex Marine decided to shift it pretty much single handed. This was an an epic endevour watched in amazement by many and assisted by few.
After that and setting up the tents, we were hungry and knackered, so we grabbed a sort of coconut truffle ' dreamball' as a snack, before driving off in my mates Dad's Dormobile to fill the tanks with water, as there was none on the site at that time. There wasn't much doing in Street so we drove up the road to Glastonbury. I can distinctly remember repeatedly filling a plastic container from a tap, to empty into the Dormobile storage tank at a petrol garage in Glastonbury and watching people arriving for a do at the Masonic lodge opposite. I was starting to feel quite strange, and stopped for a second or two to take in what was going on ......'yeah, I am tripping' I thought. I don't quite know how how my mate Ian drove back to the festival site, but I seem to recall the side door open and lots of hitchhikers, or maybe not.....
The next day was glorious weather and all of our group had a fantastic time, lots of freaks and lots of locals too, coming to have a look what all the fuss was about. I remember one Mum saying "Oh you are lucky getting Timpsons to give you permission for this, they normally don't you know, isn't it lovely, we used to come up here when we were kids". Yeah well I'm not sure there was any permission, but never mind.......
I have memories of Polythene pyramid tents, a purple kitten. The orange stage and lots of fantastic music. A goat in the back of a Morris 1000 van eating a bush, a churn of milk turned to yoghourt. For me and my friends on the cusp of our twenties, it was our first experience of 'The Alternative society', a realisation that there was more than working in a factory ( a lot more actually) and a huge catalyst for change in all my group of friends lives. I can remember just over a month later working nights on a massive big milling machine (anyone read 'Smallcreeps day'?) and thinking 'Hey I've been here 4 years,' and then the realisation 'only another 44 to go'. Within the month I was on the dole and the start of a new life. Thank you everyone.