The Archive.
The Eleventh National Jazz and Blues Festival.
Richfield Avenue. 
Reading 
June 25-27th,1971.


    Frendz magazine July 1971.
THE STORY OF
 READING 1971
A DISASTER

"For three days 3000 people ,sat in the mud and the rain listening to second rate groups over a very inadequate PA system "


    One of the main reasons for the disaster was the activities of the drug squad. They mounted a vast campaign costing 17 grand and involving 500 men. It resulted in 2000 pounds worth of fines. People arriving at Reading were stopped and searched as they drove into the town or as they got off the trains. The Thursday before the police had stated that no random searches would be made. But on Saturday the Assistant  Chief Constable of the area, Mr Eric Gregory , when confronted with the facts, said that " You could call these random searches. " The following week the police reaffirmed their statement that random searches had not been made. This implies that all the searches were made on reasonable grounds. Said ADE "Its going to be hard to prove they had reasonable grounds to make 2000 searches when they only made 150 arrests." It is rumoured that senior officer of the Reading drug squad had a personal reason for acting so heavily. His son is reported to be on H. How else to explain the fiasco of Reading compared to the peace of Glastonbury ? .

         This festival was probably the biggest bummer yet known. Despite the busts ( there were a lot at the Isle of Wight too ) the site was awful and the music not up to much, partly due to the inadequate PA facilities. The field in which the festival was held was a one time swamp and now the local rubbish tip. The appalling drainage meant the whole place was completely flooded. " People were selling bits of plastic for 40p and the freaks slept sandwiched between two bits. Everyone was so apathetic. By Sunday night they were just sleeping out in the rain and couldn't even be bothered to come into a crash tent."
On Sunday the organisers divided up the crowd , many of whom had come in free on the first day when no fences were erected. They then went through them for tickets. By this time people were so scared of the police that they made no effort to resist. Some people went to the entrance and tried to persuade people to walk round the edge or over the barrier , one guy finally walked round, but was so worried about not having a ticket that he borrowed one from a friend and walked in through the entrance.

   One nice story  did filter through to us. A freak told a plain clothes nark that had busted him that he had a  pregnant wife who would be very worried if he suddenly disappeared. The nark followed him into the crowd where his " wife "was supposed to be .... 15 minutes later the freak turns up in the bad trips tent minus his moustache and wearing a new set of clothes.

ADE

    ADE was formed by the local anarchists getting off their arses for the first time in two years when they realised that Release weren't coming to the Reading festival. They were the only people at the festival to make any attempt to put a little order into the chaos created by the fuzz. They ran a bust fund , gave legal aid , passed messages and coped with all the bad trips. Some one said of them . " In the absence of Release, ADE struggled manfully to cope with the problems . Considering their lack of experience and bread they did an amazing job ."
    All together  ADE have information of over 660 searches. Many people were searched more than once and many didn't bother to tell ADE. So its quite reasonable to estimate that well over 2000 searches were made. Virtually everyone pleaded guilty . By appealing to the crowd , ADE collected 465 pounds towards fines of two grand. It will be given to those with the least bread.
This is not the end of the road. There is a good possibility that legal action will be taken against the police by a number of people who were searched. The chief ground for this is that the searches were made on randomly chosen people - an illegal procedure. Possible charges against the police are trespass on the person , assault and in the case of women that were searched by male PC's , indecent assault. On of the first step of this campaign was  joint venture by ADE and Frendz to get the full, details of the searches printed by the Sunday Times. This will also help to raise money , because the Times has promised to pay for the information collected by ADE , names and addresses of 560 people who were searched by the police and later released uncharged.  ADE helped the paper get in touch with two people who were interviewed by a reporter . ADE have emphasized that they will not release names and addresses without the consent of the people concerned . If you were searched at Reading and later released and ADE don't have your name yet, send ti to them c/0 Frendz with some details of the incident .

WHAT NOW.
   There are two major lessons to be learned from the Reading Festival . Firstly , that a a festival organised as a commercial venture by businessmen or hip capitalists is bound to be a bummer. Secondly , that the peace and good vibes of Glastonbury were to a large extent due to the honest hard work and planning of a few very dedicated freaks.

    No one would say that Reading was a" nice " festival in the way that Glastonbury was, but perhaps some good will come from it. There are two reasons why the police hassled the crowd at Glastonbury so little . One the good diplomatic relations that the people at Worthy Farm had set up between themselves and the police and also because they were a local country force who aren't as uptight as the fuzz around London . The London fuzz are going to keep hassling , keep on busting people and trying to mess up future festivals , which are events they don'tí understand nor wish to. Unless freaks get uptight in return it will happen over and over again. It would only have taken a handful of people to push down the fences round the Reading site and then everyone would have gone in free. But no, everyone, even those who had been hassled by the fuzz , religiously paid up and came in through the  gate . No one resisted arrest and only one person had the initiative to escape , which is an easy thing to do in a crowd of 3,000. It must have been a really easy weekend for the fuzz. To avoid any more scenes like this everyone who wants the right to smoke dope , play music and screw in the road is going to have to stand up to the pigs. It'll take a long time and there will be a lot more busts and heavy scenes... but if you want your freedom you're going to have to do more than just ask politely for it.



Reading 71 contents .

The early festivals.

You can find out the complete line ups of the first festivals if you follow the links below .
  1961
1962
1963
1964

Festivals 1965-1990

Most of these have fairly complete documentation .But new contributions of any sort are always welcome regarding any of the festivals.
Richmond 1965
Windsor 1966
 Windsor 1967
Sunbury 1968
Plumpton 1969
Plumpton 1970
Reading 1971
Reading 1972
Reading 1973
Reading 1974

 

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