The Archive

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Updated August 2014

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.

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Meigan Fayre - Pembrokeshire

August 25-27th 1975.



    Meigan is spectacularly situated, in some of the most beautiful country in Wales, close to the sites where the Blue stones that were used to construct the circle at Stonehenge were quarried. Fayres had been held in the area since mediaeval times , but the first alternative Fayre took place in 1973 ,when 400 attended at a relatively low key event . In 1974 the weather was not kind and the site was quickly flooded, which tended to put a damper on procedings .However , no such problem occurred during the 1975 festival as the weather was (for once) ideal , three days of hot and cloud free conditions .

Photo © Charles Tyler

 

All colour photos © Charles Tyler


   The site , a flat field 700 ft above sea level, was superb , with panoramic views of the surrounding Priscelly Mountains . The site was kindly donated by a enlightened local farmer, who was probably not thanked for it by the locals, who are notoriously parochial .
Mindful of how festivals can degenerate into chaos if they become too large, it was decided to keep Meigan low key, so a select group of people ( those who were deemed well into the pudding of the counterculture ) were informed of Meigan by word of mouth , although specific artists were sent a copy of the following proclamation .

© Charles Tyler- click to view larger versions.


A carefully planned event that conforms rigidly to a pre-programmed pattern is an impossibility and would inevitably lead to disappointment. Therefore Meigan Faire will not be heavily structured and publicized ., but rather spontaneous , organic and flexible. we do hereby proclaim to artists ,poets, craftsmen, musicians, storytellers that the third Meigan Faire will take place on the days of 25th, 26th and 27th July 1975 , to entertain or to amuse .

The declaration was also printed in Welsh , with a map that gave detailed directions of how to get to the site from London .

   Preparation for the site began two weeks prior to the 25th and was all done by volunteers and festival goers. The toilets were dug, two stages and a lighting rig were erected at opposite ends of the site to minimize sound spill from one stage to the other. There was a kids playground and a Punch and Judy stall as well ( surprising at an event like this , as Mr Punch was hardly politically correct ).
Accommodation was varied and ran the whole gamut from hippie staples such as Tipi's, inflatables and benders, to Gypsy horse drawn caravans and even a covered wagon that could have come straight out of the set of Rawhide .

   An observation tower was erected in the centre of the site ,as well ( of all things ) a sauna, numerous organic food tents with their own kitchens and ovens baking wholemeal bread. Potters and other artists created their wares on site and there was a wide range of clowns conjurers , and other performance artists in attendance.

   

    Musically the festival was diverse, jams took place that were seemingly endless , with various stoned freaks conducting mass percussion sessions that were also attended by the more well known musos from bands such as Zorch and the Global Village Trucking Company ( who sadly broke up at the end of the festival due to a chronic lack of; money, record company interest , success , whatever ) and the once famous chart topper Arthur Brown .

     Other bands to play were Under The Sun - a seven piece soul-funk-psychedelic outfit who hailed from Bath and another hippie band called Rose Mountain as well as Chatelet and local band Mazariba, who were possibly the best band of the festival.

     The festival was funded by contributions from the stall holders , who were charged six quid if they hired a tent and collections were made from the crowd of 4000. The police were relatively laid back, with quite a few cars being stopped , but rather perfunctorily searched- no Windsor 74 here thankfully. Very few busts seem to have taken place especially given the rampant consumption of dope and the profusion of heads who arrived at the festival in the usual panoply of head vehicles.


   


chris church wrote

 

 If there's anyone in your ken who'd be interested in adding to some recollections of the Meigan Fayre I'd be happy to co-operate. Meigan was perhaps the most beautiful and wonderful of all the UK free festivals (1975 - I think....) It took place in the Preseli Mountains in Pembrokeshire in west Wales. The preceding days were cold and blowy, but the opening day was a scorcher (it proved to be the start of the UK 1976 heat wave).
    About 1000 people (and on that first day, almost all of them were incapable due to the huge consumption of psychedelics. It was the only event I ever went to where it seemed as if the lysergic state was the normal state to be in). Musically it was slightly chaotic : Gong were slightly disappointing, Global Village Trucking Co played one of their less wonderful sets, an inspired duo called Chatelet were wonderful, and a local crazed hippy band called Mazariba were completely astonishing (ask anyone who was there!) - even tho'never heard of before or since. The sunsets over the Irish Sea were phenomenal too.

Photos above © Charles Tyler

Charles Tyler , who took the lovely colour photos on these pages , was one of the performers at the festival and he wrote a really nice song about the event , which you can listen to at his site http://www.soundclick.com/charlestyler


Charles wrote :

About "Meigan Fayre (Live)":I wrote this song after attending and performing at one of the legendary Meigan Fayre's in the Priscelly mountains in Wales in the early 70s. The Fayre's were classic hippie music festivals in the fields. Tents and tipi's, long hair and colourful clothes. The sweet smell of smoke in the air. The Meigan Fayre's were particularly nice - in a lovely setting and not like some of the huge events held elsewhere. Apparently the Meigan festival site was where some of the stones were quarried to build Stonehenge. I performed 'Guruvy Guru' and 'White Farmhouse' amongst other numbers. My performance of 'Guruvy Guru' was used in a film of the festival naturally called 'Meigan Fayre' and directed by Michael Haggiag. This song is my celebration of the festival.
 
I have no idea if Michael Haggiag's film of the festival still survives. I know he tried to get it on the Beeb at the time. He asked me for permission to use a clip of me playing 'Guruvy Guru' at it. I was one of the 'casual' performers. The whole event was pretty casual :). We lost touch in the 70s and I have no idea what happened to him.
 
 cheers,
 
Charles


Hi
Regarding the Meigan Fayre festivals especially '75, I was there, being a local at the time, and helped build the main stage ( every day's work starting only after the consumption of several ceremonial chillums). The observation tower was the brainchild of a good friend of mine known as "Splinter" due to his expertise with wood. I'm sure Lemmy (Motorhead) Kilminster played with his band of the time "Laughing Sam's Dice"
Crosswires

Links

A new site has been established ( June 2005 ) about Meigan 74-75 and this is well worth a visit as it has been created by some of those who helped run the first festivals.

 

Jezaland

Meigan Fayre 74-76

 

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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