The Archive Formatted at 1280 X 1020 minimum - failure to view at this res may cause weird formatting , you have been warned !!!!!!! Updated Jan 2013

This site is dedicated to the memory of Roger Hutchinson, who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.

R.I.P. Roger .....



Big BIG thanks to our sponsor Neil !

For information on today's festivals see

R.IP. Phil Shaksby , aka Phil The Beer ,who passed away April 2010 .


The Bristol Free Festival

Sun May 9th 1971 .

A member of the organising committee lands on a passing air taxi to inform the occupants of the attractions contained by the impending festival

Images courtesy Gordon Strong

  The Bristol Free Festival 1971

Referred to then as ‘The Downs Concert’, this hippy hoe-down was organised like a small military operation. The site overlooked the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The plan was straightforward - to set up a generator and all the amplification – get down and boogie. All was masterminded by Dave ‘Basil’ Hayles the ‘Dwarf Party’ candidate for the local elections. The name was based on the Amsterdam anarchist movement Kabouter - which apparently means ‘dwarf’.

Such was the political element, and Basil was also on the run from the Law – a desperado. So, the whole deal had the space cowboys excited. The Hells Angels who lived in their HQ on the outskirts of the city agreed to guard the generator. ‘Tank’, ‘Denny the Pervert’ ,‘Doc’ and the rest of the West Coast Chapter were relatively peaceable guys, so Altamont it most definitely was not - thank goodness.

Flyers were distributed, and every head in Bristol knew something groovy was going to happen on Sunday afternoon. Boys and girls in rainbow threads appeared from every corner of hippiedom, helped set the thing up, and the fun soon began. The bands performed in the centre of the crowd who sat on the grass (or smoked it) surrounded by amps and Angels. Lots of fat joints got passed around and it all got more spacey. Three bands played - Flash Gordon, Magic Muscle and Wisper. The enthusiasm of the musicians may sometimes have exceeded their technique, but most of the time authentic acid rock filled the air.

   After an hour or so, two bobbies in a Morris Minor appeared and rather leisurely surveyed the scene. That was almost the extent of the police presence for the duration of    the party. Bob Whitfield, the guy making a movie of the event managed to film two members of the Drug Squad, much to their embarrassment.
   By the time it was all over, the political angle seemed to get lost in the general haze of dope smoke and tripped out brain cells. Somebody was collecting for a bust    fund but, quite who had been busted or for what nobody seemed to know. Out of all this came two bands - Magic Muscle and Flash Gordon – hot to play at the first    Glastonbury Festival a couple of months later. The legend of the wacky weirdos of the West Country had begun...
   © Gordon Strong 2012 .

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong
Angels look on ... © Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

There were outbreaks of idiot dancing....© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong


© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

Norty sustances may have been consumed .....© Gordon Strong

Yep , norty substances.... © Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

© Gordon Strong

More to come later....

This list of festivals is in no way definitive and is being added to whenever new information turns up , therefore the site is constantly being updated . Information has often been gleaned from net scouring and therefore is almost definitely NOT completely accurate . If you can help with ANY information please do not hesitate to Contact us


Free Festivals List

Any info to add- well don't just sit there ! Contact us

Free festivals and small fayres held in the United Kingdom between 1967-90.




  • Windsor Peoples Free Festival 1972-74
 Free festival related articles
Pay Festivals- Benefits for Travellers aid.

Main list of Free festivals 1970-1985

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s



We are proud of the contribution we have made to Andy Worthington's sociological history of Stonehenge and the free festival scene in the UK .This new book gives a fascinating insight into the various counter cultural obsessions with the Stones and provides a variety of new perspectives to many of the key events surrounding the Henge such as the Battle Of The Beanfield and the more recent attempts hold a celebration at the Stones during the Solstice.


Find out more about this great book by clicking on the image on the left and visit the Heart of Albion Press web site .

Sending details of a small book I've just self-published which might be of interest to some readers of your admirable site.

Related Articles

The aroma of a free festival -by Roger Hutchinson

Dome construction instruction sheet (download-140k)-by Roger Hutchinson

Travellers Tales Convoy Steve's tale of how the freaks outsmarted the fuzz at Greenham common.

Zorch -House band for the free festival set ? A fanzine page on the UK's first electronic band .

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe-surreal pranksters of the Traveller community .

Acidia Lightshow Lightshow for Windsor festival and Stonehenge in the 1970s.

Traveller Daves Website - Chock full of of free festival photos !

Many, many thanks go to Roger Hutchinson , Big Steve , Roger Duncan, Celia, Will , Chazz, Jeza ,Chris Hewitt ,The Fabulous Time Tortoise , Peter Piwowarski - ( 70s music site/photos ) Martin S, Steve Austin ,Traveller Dave, Herb, Tim Brighton, Vin Miles, Haze Evans , Noddy Guevara, Chris Brown, Janet Thompson, David Stooke, Gary Gibbons , Nigel Ayers, Rich Deakin ,Glenda Pescardo,Justin Warman,Brian F, Steve Bayfield, Kev Ellis, Paul Seaton and many other minor contributors for their help in providing the archival material related to these free festivals which has at enabled us to construct the site .

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us

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