from the FWS report 1980
Stonehenge Free Festival, Midsummer Solstice, 1980
Release Report .
Stonehenge had two advertised starting dates this year, the 13th and the18th June.This was because some people wanted the festival to finish Monday the 23rd - others wanted it to run till the 30th.The net result was that the festival started on the 13th and finished around the 26th.
By June 13th about 200 people were on site and the police had started a random stop and search procedure under which over 360 would be stripped and searched during the festival , about 10% of these were subsequently charged .
The festival went on without
a stage for most of the first week but people seemed fairly content despite
the atrocious weather which lasted right through.
Release were on site from 13th - 25th. The St. John Ambulance Brigade provided cover from 14th to 23rd.
There were installed toilets in the Stonehenge car park and bore holes were dug at the other end of the site.
A major problem of the festival occurred during the 20th-22nd when an influx of people brought the total number on site to around 12-15,000. Firstly this rendered the toilets completely inadequate and they soon became damaged and inoperative . Secondly the site roads became blocked which made it difficult for ambulances and welfare vehicles to move on or off the site. Two extra fields were opened to alleviate the overcrowding but the farmer was unhappy about this.
Release were very concerned
about the harassment of festival goers under the stop and search powers. This
operation caused resentment which came to a head on the 20th when a group of
about 150 people presented a letter of complaint about the police, addressed
to the Chief Constable. The stop and search operation appeared to decrease in
ferocity after this.
However, all in all, apart from the toilets failing everything went very well considering the massive increase in numbers attending There was a consensus of opinion that there should be liaison about next years festival before the beginning of 1981.
Bob Nightingale .