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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971.
Music press coverage .part 2
tiny village of Weeley with its population
of around 1,000, will not forget August Bank Holiday, 1971, for a long
time. Not only because of the rock fans who swelled the population a hundred
fold, but because of the scars left behind when an army transforms a village
into a medium sized city for three days.
Weeley Festival was put on for charity, the first festival to do this. It was
organised by the Clacton Round Table, a group of respectable businessmen, who
wanted to get away from fetes and donkey Derbys. There were moments of ridiculous
chaos and there were moments when the vibrations were so good the event could
have lasted all this week . The timetable was abandoned. Groups appeared when
they arrived . Some had to wait hours to get on the stage , others were more
fortunate and went straight on. Some were forced to depart without playing because
there was no time.
A spot of bother involving the Hell's Angels and security men left a nasty taste in everyone's mouth. Reports in the national press suggested that violence was rife throughout the entire weekend. This was not the case. The actual trouble started around lunchtime on the Saturday and lasted around a couple of hours.
Musical highlight was undoubtedly the Faces on Sunday evening. Lindisfarne too could have played for three hours without boring the huge crowd. T. Rex -the bill toppers - had a hard time but Marc Bolan won the crowd over to his side with remarks like "I'm Marc Bolan, youve probably seen me on Top Of The Pops."
continuity was at times, appalling. The absence of a regular disc-jockey
resulted in lengthy delays between acts when the fans became bored . The
twin record deck on the stage wasn't always manned and at times anybody
on the stage could put on an album they wanted to hear.
Speck , the Round
Table promoter , endeared himself to the fans by walking around the camp sites
and talking to people. Although the festival was declared free late on Saturday
night he will have made a considerable amount of money for charity.
A programme note stated that Weeley was not a "bread trip." After expenses, every penny will go towards Bangla Desh, Shelter, Release and other charities. One hopes that whoever knocked down the fences realised that.
Updated Jan 2016
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