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Updated July 2021
For information on today's festivals see eFestivals.co.uk
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This site is dedicated in the memory of
who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.
R.I.P. Roger .....
Cumbria Festivals Nenthead :1982- 84
Blue Moon Fayre
Nenthead, Alston. Cumbria
29-31st May 1982
Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe.
The Instant Automatons#
click to visit their site
Dutch, Ogre ,
The Wystic Mankers on the Pyramid Stage at the Blue Moon Festival Cumbria in 1982.
© Janet Thompson
Set high in the Pennines ( Nenthead is the highest village in England at an elevation of 1500 feet) this series of festivals flourished briefly from 1982-84 and then ceased to be. This is bleak and often hostile country and the organisers were lucky that these festivals were blessed with reasonable weather (apart from a humongous hailstorm one year ) .
The Krumlin Festival of 1970 was rained out due to gale force winds and torrential rain, and it was quite a bit further south than The Moon festivals, which were only 30 miles or so from Carlisle .
A photo of Nik Turner playing at the 1982 festival can be viewed here
Nenthead in winter © Janet Thompson
TUMT had to get stuck in and help dig the bogs !
© Janet Thompson
Rose and Swamp arrive at the Blue Moon Fayre in 1982 © Janet Thompson
Stage manager Big Steve got dosed......
and crazy recollections from back in the day. I remember the Blue Moon
Fayre 1982 yes the moon was really blue. We set up the pyramid stage or
should that be re-erected the pyramid which had been put up but without
a base on site , so we built the base and ramp and erected the pyramid
and co-ordinated the stage, lights and PA. There were a lot of people
from the divine light mission there. It seemed like that there was a bit
of a purification vibe, balancing the hippie excesses that were undergoing
their own evolution through the transition from hippie to punk to raver
through the generations. A bit of new wave social consciousness engineering
as the hard core turned more hard/soft core, punks and hippies fused with
the gururism and spiritualism of the new age movement. And the rest that
were totally oblivious. There had always been a bit of that from Gong
and Thandoy with the Baghwans granite sannyasin disciples to the Hari
Krishnas. Something like the Majarishi effect on the free festi scene.
Give peace a chance....
© Janet Thompson
Back to organics and the original ethos. I remember great veggie food and hot home made wholemeal bread. Some heads brewed up a huge pot of tea and someone must have chucked in a load of legal mushrooms. Somebody offered me a cup with a tablespoon of eucalyptus honey. They said it would warm me up from the cold. It was a bit light colour and didn´t seem very strong. I thought nothing of it and some young hippie elf kept coming round with the huge tea pot topping every one up. Time seemed to drift away and the liquid seemed to get darker and darker.
I suddenly realised I had to get a Dutch band on stage on the other side of the field. They had three beautiful young girl singers all heavily made up, in tight mini skirts and glittery costumes, the wind blowing there long flowing tresses in the wind. I was hypnotically fascinated. Someone passed me an Indian chillum with a picture of Shiva on it wrapped in a safi and with crys of boom balay ali ali... I started to feel rather strange, everything swirling around, the music, the girls and with an increasingly strong nauseous feeling coming in waves.
Suddenly it became obvious I had to rush out the back of the stage and run to the fence to be sick and ended up nearly throwing up over a startled sheep. I felt much better after that, though slightly wobbly on the legs. I walked over to the Tibetans marquee where a jam was about to start, I walked on stage and started playing the congos in a totally inspired way with great energy.
So Blue Moon wasn't a free festival, oh well its found a home here now...
the Tibetans and Nik Turner were there all of us playing together, at the
time we seemed like the best band on the planet!!!. It was one incredible
long jam which lasted all night with everybody applauding wildly every time
we finished another out of site cosmic improvisation. Eventually the sun came
up and we stopped, purged and purified and I wondered round the site picking
up rubbish with my girlfriend at the time Sandy, an incredible juggler who
went on to marry Joe Rush from the Mutoids.
We crashed in the farmhouse as the divine lighters woke and preambled around site doing their morning satsang and meditations. OM Baba..............
There is a Wystic Mankers music release recorded at the Blue Moon festival which you can purchase ! See details below
The Wystic Mankers onstage Blue Moon Festival 1982 © Janet Thompson
Maker Member Igor Malaprop remembers the Friday afternoon gig on the Pyramid
"This was quite a memorable and special gig for us in more ways than one! For a start it was fairly unusual for us to play on someone else's stage, we usually just played in our own venue. It was also quite unusual to be doing a main stage gig in the middle of the afternoon, the type of music we were doing in those days tended to be more of the late night/all night vibe type thing. But what really made it extraordinary was the fact that a well travelled mate of ours had just returned from India and was sat in one of our busses about an hour or so before we were due on stage with this cluster of Manali Fingers! So there we were gassing away, spacing out, blowing chillums and devising a game plan. I can't quite remember if we had a drum kit or any amps with us that afternoon but it didn't matter because what we decided to do was turn up at the stage with what ever we could find to carry over there, plug directly into the PA what we could, and play everything else in to what ever mics they had available !
So when it was time a whole bunch of us grabbed our various instrument type things and strode off across the site in a glorious Manali sunshine haze, we actually picked a couple of random bods up on the way (one clearly audible on the recording with the rousing "does anybody out there want to rock!") It's actually quite amazing the sound guy managed to get any sort of mix at all under the circumstances but who ever he was he did a splendid job, the way some things drifted in and out of the mix was inspired. All in all an absolutely classic, if not totally typical, Wystic Mankers performance."
There was this whole number when we arrived at the Blue Moon site that involved not being able to get the Beast on site, parking on the grass verge by the road, getting a Police Notice left on the windscreen (which I still have!), then painting a red cross on the side of the beast to disguise it as an Ambulance and claiming it was a mobile Asylum! We did eventually get the Beast on site and when I've pieced together the whole story I shall let you have it.
Photo © Trevor Reed
I'm Trevor Reed (the street singer) and I introduced the performers at the Blue Moon festival. That's me on the left filling in between the acts. The Blue, Green and Silver moon festivals were the brainchildren of the Nenthead alternative fraternity. The original idea of the Blue Moon was conceived over an intoxicated period of time in intoxicated meetings in Hayring cottages, Pry house and Moorlands. Richard Crabtree offered Pry House for the venue as that was the ideal site, and so it began.
Blue Moon was special in that, as well as having the vibe of harmony and peace that only comes from concepts new born, it also went a long way in cementing relations between the local people and the alternative incomers. It was a heady three days that ended with a feeling of well being and satisfaction.
The Green Moon had a totally different vibe, it was far more spiritually militant and drew devotees of Anarchy, Witchcraft, Christianity, Divine Light, to mention but a few. The vibe was different, not so peaceful but possibly more stimulating, as was the storm that brought it to an end. The hail stones were as big as marbles and they collapsed many of the tents. I was in one of the cafe tents and the sound was awesome.
Finally we come to the Silver Moon, sadly the final festival of the trilogy this was held on Hags bank. This festival was more of a schedule A market than a festival, culminating in an invasion by the convoy who proceeded to attack the local police force and basically destroy any good will there was between the local populace and the incomers. However watch this space- there is talk of a revival.
Photo © Trevor Reed
I was 19 at the time. What a fest!
Got a lift up off someone, myself & a few others, Andy & Kermit from Stockton. As I remember, which isn't a great deal, there were some coppers parked at the top of the hill in a transit van watching over the fest, who became the target of people pelting them with eggs!
After having consumed a loveheart & a pink panther.......I watched the sun set in one quarter, the moon rise in another & observed it's path thru the night as we partied till it set in the other quarter of the sky with the sun rising again in it's original quarter......wow methought !
Cosmic....which of course it was.
Photo © Trevor Reed
© Janet Thompson
Newspaper cutting from the 1982 festival courtesy Simon Danby
Blue Moon shines on Nenthead Hills.
First impressions on arrival at the first ever ' Blue Moon Festival " last weekend was of being caught in a time warp and being spirited back to the heady days of the sixties. Memories of peace and love, oriental fashions and psychedelic music were walking around alive and well on the hillside at Nenthead, including the original teepee people numerous naked children and the Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe .
Within five minutes or arriving I found myself involved in a discussion about the meaning of peace.
" You've got to be able to be at peace even when you're at war y'know" ,watched the evenings vegetable curry being prepared over a wood fire in the " Chi and Chapati Cafe' , visited the shrine to the Guru Mahara Ji and been assured that everything was ' cool '.
However this proved to be only part of the story , as the weekend developed into a something for everybody event .
Cool was one thing it wasn't , as the sun blazed down on the dramatic scenery and one staggered from one Samoza stall to another ,gulping home made ginger beer and listening to the many different " sounds' coming from the main stage. Peaceful it certainly was , however , and enjoyed by an incredibly broad cross section of people , with everybody there from groups of bikers to local farmers out with the family.Children made the biggest difference between this and toher festivals I have been to , as there were literally hundreds of them .They quite happiliy mingled , although there was a special children's area complete with a large inflatible to bounce around on , and one very determined young man spent all day dragging his kite through the good humoured crowd .
Photo © Trevor Reed
The music varied in quality as well as style, with the inevitable Bob Dylan impersonators being sandwiched between heavy metal and R & B , but at its best it was very , very good. Of those that I saw the best was undoubtedly a brand new Newcastle / Gateshead band called Dutch playing only their second concert. In a very professional performance on Saturday night they delivered a hard edged Springsteen sound , complete with excellent saxaphone and guitar breaks and fronted by an energetic Johnny Hutton .
The heavy rock band Ogre were also very impressive and gave a rendering of 'Hey Joe' reminiscent of the great man himself. For the more esoteric tastes " events' were going on all day in the marquee at the top of the site, with acts like " bedazzled", "Bits and Bobs" ,"Moving Lines" and the Tibetan Music Band who played on late into the night ." Everybody enjoyed themselves and thats the main thing" said Mr Richard Crabtree of Pry House , Nenthead , who was one of the organisers . He said that there had been fewer people than had been hoped - an estimated 1.500 in all - but added that there could well be another " Blue Moon Festival" at Nenthead next year .
Local reaction as a whole semed to be one of pleasant surprise.
"In the first instance I was opposed to it "said Mr Kenneth Dowedeswell, landlord of the Miners Arms at Nenthead '" I thought there would be a too many people, but as not all that many turned up , there was no bother ".
But the Crown Inn was not so lucky . Landlord Mr Ray Hall said that for the most part all those who came to his pub were well mannered and reasonable, but he did have a cash box from the juke box stolen , while the pub was open and said that this had spolit the weekend. A small number of arrests were made in connection with possible drug offences" said a police spokesman afterwards. But he added that generally , people had been well behaved andf that there were "very, very few problems ".
Photo © Trevor Reed
The dear old Pyramid stage © Janet Thompson
remember that one. I was there as a punter.
As I recall, the same bands played the same sets 3 days running. Not that we cared.
But who were the bands? There was one all girl rock group who did a song that Jimmy Buffett later recorded as 'Cairo' - "can't get no giro, smoking in a bar in Cairo" - thing is - in 1999 when Jimmy Buffett records it, would that mean anything to a US audience?
I've discovered this morning that the Alston Moor Historical Society holds a set of plans for the site layout.
The anarchic hordes who followed in the train of the Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe rest after a bit of pillaging :-) © Janet Thompson
Great to see pics and read about the Blue and Green Moon Fayres. I was there for a week before the Blue Moon started, helping set up (ie dig the sh*t pits etc) with friend Angus from Glasgow. ( I met Greg, Sally, Graham etc in Amsterdam, on their way back from a Guru Maraji gathering in Italy - they rescued me, not with religion but with a Transit van) I also helped out briefly on their Chi and Chapati stall at Glastonbury and Greenham.
vivid memory of that week was being woken up to find a herd of determined
goats jumping on top of and trying to eat my tent! I was on my own by then
so was rescued by Tumtarella (duo attached to TUMT) (eternally grateful
Apparently, when they had the idea for the Fayre, Ted the candle maker across the valley played Blue Moon very loud on his electric guitar so Richard could hear it in Pry House. They were a great bunch of people, I bet they still are! (R.I.P. if not)
was amazing to watch the site and whole area change from quiet near-deserted
valley to bustling festival full of amazing vehicles and serious party animals.
I think that's me in the uncool beret and duffle coat watching a bus pull
onto the site. I'm sure I got into the party spirit later, or it got into
me... I'm afraid the music is a bit of a blur - I know I enjoyed it, but
couldn't give you a running order!
I met Amazulu in the barn (or was that the Green Moon?...)- I already knew them from Oxford, as with Steve the Bean, (apparently so called for burning the Tibetans beans on a regular basis) who lived at Hayring for a while.
The Green Moon legendary hailstorm was literally ground breaking, the stream changed its course and apparently semi precious stones were exposed (lots of old lead mines there) Tents were washed down hill, full of stuff maybe even people (maybe my memory is slightly warped) someone went into labour in the barn, there was no way out as all roads flooded etc the atmosphere after was much more like a free festival, sharing food etc. (shared a spliff with Nik Turner in someone's truck) Not sure if this is the sort of thing you want on the archive, but its been fun staggering down memory lane!
Photo © Trevor Reed
mad to see these photos after all this time.. It's like yesterday
Fantastic to Pete's old Bus Pranarm and Levi's Bus, Cid's Truck and Jerries Albert.. Tree Beards Library Truck and that Pyramid stage we all took down is the most amazing thunder and hail storm.
never forget the end of festy party with all the mushrooms either... mad even the dogs where off their heads
So Hi from Leyline Tom
Hi, just found your site.. wow, i wish there were more pictures from these festivals.
I was at the Blue, Green and Silver moon festivals as a child (aged 8, 9, 10 ). My parents were involved in organising the Blue Moon at least and maybe the others. We were part of the local hippie scene based in Nenthead / Alston at that time. The Green and Blue moon were situated at our friend Richard Crabtree's farm Pry House (though i remember it being Pryor House??). I believe Richard now lives in New Zealand.
Being a kid at the time, many parts of the festivals blur together and i cant remember which is Blue and which is Green but i'll share the few scattered memories i have.
I remember the early ideas for the posters (i may have some of the original drawing somewhere) and I remember the pre festival set up, the toilets being dug, the site being cleared, the stage being built (i think?), the gate being organised with a great big search light to help people on site. The endless games of frisbee in the afternoon sun.
I remember the intense excitement when the Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe (The Tibetans) arrived in convoy at the gates and we rushed up the field to watch them drive on site. I seem to remember climbing on board one of the busses for the trip down the track.
remember watching Nick Turner on stage.. because my mum knew him from back
in London and i really wanted to watch him perform. I don't remember much
of the set or other bands but i remember being up far too late and being
really tired but not wanting to go to bed. I'm pretty sure i remember the
sun coming up, i guess i must have slept somewhere in between.
I remember Chi and Chapatis, I remember being given a few mushrooms and the taste of warm hash cake...
remember the huge hailstones and running for cover under a tarp and coming
out again in the calm after and seeing the damage they had caused. I remember
the packs of unshod children running wild.. just a fantastic place / time
to be a Kid!
Theres a festival in them thar hills ! © Janet Thompson
Silver Moon was less fun but still, i remember climbing up on the roof of
the main stage with Freddie? and looking out over the site. Do i remember
I remember the Convoy turning up and and the vibe changing a bit. They stormed the police Portacabin/Truck? at one point.. the local hippies were very pissed-off as they had a good relationship with the local police nurtured over many years.
I remember careering madly around site in an old 2CV with some crazy guys from the Convoy. We got half way down Haggs bank at breakneck speed before i chickened out and asked to be let out.. what a bunch of nutters! There were some amazing spiced doughnuts being sold that were just fantastic, i was always hassling my mum for 'just one more'! I got my ear pierced and lost my best pen-knife after some rough and tumble with some convoy kids.. i was very upset at the time!
I think that i might be the child in front of Trevor (Reed) halfway down the Blue Moon page.. i had a jumper and hair just like that and thats pretty much where i was watching from.. i also lived in the house (Moorlands) in the snowy pic for a while.
its a blast from my past for sure... haven't been back to Nent in years
and years. I'd love to see another Moon festival happen.. to take my kids
and show them where i spent my childhood!
Keep up the good work
An uncharacteristically white TUMT bus passes the wood supply © Janet Thompson
Just to say that one of the organisers of the early 1980’s Cumbria festivals, including the Blue Moon Fayre, John Gregg - known simply as Gregg to his friends - passed on February 2017. Another of the old hippies gone on to pastures greener, a good friend who will be sorely missed - travel well Gregg…. He is the one behind the plywood panel, with the big 'tache and grin….
The Wystic Mankers
Tibetan Will " The Lugless Slog " who graces our pages holding the "Don't Panic" sign has sent us this information
Blue Moon recording isn't from the night when Big Steve joined in. It's
of the opening gig on the Friday afternoon on the pyramid and I've just
finished rehashing the original edit tape. The story is told in the sleeve
notes thusly -
AT A BLUE MOON on the Friday afternoon a dozen
or more of them invaded the stage and someone went
up to the man on the mixing desk and gave him a stereo
tape deck with a tape in it and said can you record the
band for us and he tried his best but it wasn’t easy trying
to work out what these mankers were doing up there on
which mic or instrument and to whom and with what
purpose AND keep an eye on the recording so if a
channel peaked he just turned it down sometimes a long
way down and then forgot to turn it back up again while
he was trying to work out who was doing what to whom
and with what and to what purpose and out of all this
came a very serendipitous recording...and Glenda saw
that it was good and edited a tape from it on Janet’s
twin deck and then made some copies of it that others
might also see that it was good and Janet kept the
original edit for 25 years until Will found out and said
can I have a look at that and he turned back up the bits
the man on the mixer had turned down and did some
other stuff with it but not too much because it was the
very fact that the man on the mixing desk couldn’t work
out who was doing what to whom with what and to what
purpose that made it such a delight in the first place....
© Janet Thompson
© Janet Thompson
I may be thick, but the purpose of this exercise eludes me .... © Janet Thompson
Constructing de bogs © Janet Thompson
When the weathers good, theres no better place for a festie than the hiil country ... © Janet Thompson
© Janet Thompson