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Last updated Jan 2012
" I personally have god's authority for the festival, although I realise that people will laugh "
Bill "Ubique" Dwyer 1972
The 1st Windsor Free Festival.
From White Trash- Autumn 1972.
In the wake of Phun City and Glastonbury. The Windsor Park free festival commenced on August 26th. The cops, unable to estimate the number of people, had directed arrivals to various sites but by Friday some 70 people had congregated in one area- outnumbered three to one by Thames Valley Police who began hassling about the illegality of the proceedings, like camping, lighting fires and playing musical instruments which resulted in some busts. The tactics of passive resistance were adopted i.e. if a fire was kicked out,it was re-lit, told to move a tent you did, but made sure you pitched it somewhere else until finally they gave up. The anticipated Chicago -type confrontations didn't happen.
guy busted for dope was liberated by a White Panther who ran from tree cover,
grabbed his hand and disappeared into the darkness. By midday Saturday a
large community had developed- despite the Anarchistic lack of organisation
,the free food kitchen had come together.
The arrival of bands ,notably Dog Rose and the generator resulted in the testing of police reaction to live sounds despite the threat of a bust, amps were set up and the festival began though a police helicopter hovered overhead at Intervals.
The Panthers , mean and nasty, arrived, set up their free food trip in co-operation and scattered themselves across the landscape in stoned disarray. By nightfall more bands and people had appeared,upwards of 2,000 people were settling in for the next few days. Music continued all night with Dog Rose's mellow beautiful set. Food, dope,booze and leaflets were circulating and even the narcs must have got off on the energy vibes.
200 people left the site to stage a passive protest outside Windsor polo club,where the Duke d Edinburgh was playing polo,the object was to point out discrepancies in a law which forbids amplified sound at free gigs,but permits the same for the privileged classes.
This weird demo turned a lot of people on to the vision of hippie Nirvana and prompted the commentator to explain the basic rules 'for those of us "new to the game".Back at the site' police were present but their activities ware minimal. -
Pits were dug in the woods for toilets and to bury organic garbage in, a shuttle service was operational between the site and the town to collect water,firewood,diesel oil and food supplies purchased with contributions,and a collection for Dog food netted £2 on which all the Dogs present were fed well. The music continued through until Monday morning, the only breaks being due to the generator overheating and other power hassles.
Impromptu jam sessions,face and body painting, freak outs and rip offs of various items like sleeping bags and guitars occurred with monotonous regularity tho' often things were returned Intact
THE FESTIVAL WILL END WHEN THOSE ATTENDING SO DECIDE.
Monday night the disco split but another appeared and the music continued....
We Shall Never Again Pay Rent'
This happening was got together by long time street activist, anarchist Bill Dwyer and his old lady Rachel with the help of Paul Pewlowski of the church of Aphrodite, while collecting signatures against the N.A.B. earlier this year, but would have never have got off the ground without the people who preferred to participate actively rather than consume passively. There are plans for a larger event next year.
Mild flop, or a disaster?
Unfortunately , we had to go to press before the weekend, but at that stage it looked as if a projected free festival over the bank holiday in
Windsor Great Park was going to be the flasco of the decade - either a flop or a disaster.
For some time before the event, people from the Church of Aphrodite Pandemos, led by one Bill Ubique Dwyer, had been handing out leaflets
advertising a free festival to be held "somewhere in Windsor Great Park". All kinds of beautiful, but unlikely, things were promised. including Donovan, Edgar Broughton Band, the Incredible String Band, and Hawkwind. But they didn't publicise that they didn't have permission from the Commissioners of the Royal Park to use it. They didn't have mains water, sanitatIon, electricity or a stage. In fact, they didn't seem to have anything but ideals and a blithe It'll - be - allright - on - the night attitude.
Release, BIT, and other community aid organisations were planning to do anything they could to help alleviate the certain distress of people who turned up expecting - at least - another nice scene like Glastonbury, but they were understandably pissed off with a crazy scheme that was obviously going to cause hassles everyone could well do without. And the Royal Commisioners and the Thames Valley Police (remember Reading?) were getting ready too: the police are adept at enforcing the random-stop-and search provisions in the new drugs laws, and the Commissioners have by-laws to back them up that prohibit camping, playing musical instruments, and even climbing trees in the park. The army had offered their services as law-enforcers.
By Friday, reports of arrests were already filtering through, and people at Release and BIT were gloomily predicting an orgy of busts, illness, and God knows what else in place of Aphrodites prediction of "sacrificial cakes, sex - rites, athletic competitions and all those things pleasing to gods and men" Whatever the outcome, the Church of Aphrodite Pandemos with their thoughtless, divine - right attitude, caused an unnecessary load of problems for people like Release and BIT, lured people into the arms of bust-happy policemen, and played right into the hands of those who advocate stringent control of open-air gatherings. At press-time it looked like an insane situation, and all we could do was pray for rain, miracles, and moderation from everyone concerned - from revellers to the lads of the TVP. We'll let you know.
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