Divine Light religion, devotees of Guru Mahahraji, had quite a strong
presence at Windsor and this ( unfortunately incomplete) article was
featured in their Sept 74 issue of their newspaper, the Divine Times
third year running, Windsor Great Park was taken over by thousands of
hippies for a free festival of pop music, theatre (some of it in the nude),
and communal living. In keeping with its previous record, it was a scene
of drugs, litter, lots of booze and food venders, and most of all disagreement
and lack of understanding between police and organisers, the local council
and organisers, and in many cases the organisers and organisers. This
year, however, the disagreements ended in violence with the police invading
the site on Thursday, the sixth day in an attempt to drive everybody off
But it was free, thousands of people had a good time trying to foster
a scene of sharing and brotherhood among themselves.
It all started last Saturday
amid threats by the local council to spread acid (the type that burns)
on the ground to deter barefooted hippies. The organisers, led by veteran
festival men UBI Dwyer and Sid Rawle , restricted their organisation to
a few essentials and from then on it was a free-for-all with nightly meetings
to deal with the current problems
Divine Light Mission were
there, so were the Hare Krishna Movement, the Wallies of recent Stonehenge
fame, Gay Liberation Front, the Jesus People, with their group Mountain
Child featuring Jeremy Spencer late of Fleetwood Mac , the Teachers, the
Diggers, the White Panthers, the National Union of School Children, and
thousands more hippies, freaks, and dropouts of no particular The festival's
purpose, Sid Rawle told "The Divine Times"' "is
to prove that we can have a peoples festival. That's why its nine days.
It's apolitical. You need to live with people, experiment in living, tribal
gathering." He admitted It was
"a bit untogether with a lot-of commercial
exploitation" from hot dog and Ice-cream stalls .
His fellow organiser, Ubi
Dwyer, 42 year old and a civil servant in Her Majesty's Stationary office,
was not available for comment as he had been arrested on Wednesday. After
two weeks of no sleep, according to the Festival's own "Free Press"
which is produced each day, he "has flipped
his lid". According to one organiser, he spent Tuesday marching
around the site wrapped in a Union Jack,, proclaiming himself King of
England and demanding absolute obedience from his 'subjects.'
It was a little difficult to pin things down at the festival since nobody
was running It. But Release, the drug-help organisation was there, and
reported a lot of hassles with police.
"There is a split between the attitudes of
the police. giving orders and in the town, and those on the campsite who
are quite nice. " said Release man Don Aitken on Monday night."But
this is the biggest operation ever mounted by Thames Valley Police. "
And Windsor certainly appeared
to be a police state all last week with police. cars, jeeps, motorbikes
and vans tearing up and down its streets. There was even a helicopter
hovering over the site every day. According to Aitkin, they were picking
up people everywhere, and searching every ,third or fourth car leaving
There were complaints of plain clothes police impersonating Release men.
When we asked Chief-Inspector
Dennis Howells, about the searches, however, he refused to comment. But
he did tell us that at its peak, which was probably last weekend, there
were 500 police involved in the operation. And by Wednesday they had made
over 300 arrests, more than two-thirds of them for drugs and the rest
for theft, assault and drunkenness.
However, It wasnt all heavy. On most nights there was good music
to listen and dance to.
One elderly couple, respectably
dressed, stood out ~ like a sore thumb. But they were happy to be there.
"We're educating ourselves," said the husband. 5 "We're
trying to see how the other half live the better half. And we're
really enjoying It all."
In one corner the Hare
Krishna people were chanting, somewhere else the Jesus People were giving
out free meals while their group Mountain Child, were rocking it out.
And the organisers anti-bust devices were working smoothly. This involved
shouting, "Pig" whenever a plainclothes policeman was spotted.
We saw one such incident. In a matter of seconds, a crowd, of a few hundred
had chased the unlucky copper off the site. And if a bust was spotted,
the same system applied.
Guru Maharaji's devotees were there in . force. They arrived on Saturday
and set up a medical tent which caused a little misunderstanding with
Release, workers who have been running a trip tent .
escapes angry crowd.
Tuesday a journalist form the Divien Times came close to injury when an
angry crowd of over 500 hippies at the Windosr Free Festival mistook him
ofr a plain clothes policeman. He was only able to free himlsef when a
hippie hwo had known him two years previously arrived on the scene and
identified him .
was about 5,30 pm on Tuesday when somebody announced from one of the stages
that two plain clothes polciemen were on the site and advised anybody
who spotted tghem to walk behind them with a pIG sign, get as manay people
to follow and to drive them off the site because the polcie were taking
liberies.What happened to our repirter, Matthew Conlin, is as much an
indictment of the police's underhad methods as the uncontrolled emotions
of the hippies.
was dressed in jeans and an orange open necked shirt, had short hair and
a beard of five days growth . ' I was walking back form the main stage
when unknown to me a group of people assumed I was a policeman becasue
of my conventional dress, siad Conlin.They werer lead by a few people
with two big sings reading PIG . I noticed people were grunting behind
me but continued walking.
was still walking bbut those at the next stage along saw the crowd, realised
that a pig had been spotted and came rushign toward me . I was trapped
by over 500 people , many of them under the infulence of highly pootent
drugs and in various stages of fear, paranoia and anger.