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This site is dedicated in 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 .....

Cambridge Free Festival.Coldham's Common.

12th/13th June 1971.

Terry Reid, Audience, Graham Bond, Cochise, Armada (no show due to illness), East Of Eden , Spontaneous Combustion , Blonde On Blonde, Bram Stoker, Forevermore, Gordon Giltrap, Gracious, Hackensack, May Blitz, Paul Brett's Sage, Raw Material, Slade, UFO .

    Regarding Cambridge, I can't even remember who I went with. All I remember is, we were only there for one of the days and for once the weather was warm, dry and sunny, it was a small-time event and the atmosphere was totally laid back. I think the festival was held on the same site they used for the better-known Folk Festivals and the crowd was pretty small, hundreds rather than thousands.

   There were two stages, a covered main stage, the roof of which you can just see in the background of the Cochise pictures, and a small low stage where my shots were taken. People were sitting on the grass right up to the front of the platform which was only about 2 feet high and when the bands finished their sets they just stepped off the front into the crowd.

   I photographed Cochise and Hackensack because they were the bands who most impressed me and because it was such an intimate set-up you were unbelievably close to the action. Everything else is just a blur.

Ian Cater

We have no definite idea just who performed as there are considerable differences between the programme below and the list of bands we have obtained . We KNOW Hackensack were there as we have a photo but they aren't on the list , so probably some bands were no shows and others offered their services after the program was printed.

Just to say that I was at the Cambridge Free Festival in 1971 from late Friday night till late ish Sunday night with two friends, my cousin and my green mini van, I can't remember most of the bands there but definitely remember seeing Gracious, East Of Eden and Spontaneous Combustion in particular who did a very good version of Sabre Dance, I'll ask my cousin if he remembers anything. I seem to remember there was no food or drink available to buy!
I didn't realise that Cochise played there, B.J.Cole and I played together upstairs at the Garage in the late 90's.
Hope this helps.
All the best.

I was at the free festival in cambridge the year slade played there ,at the time they were a skinhead band and initially put us long hairs off but although slade turned into a pretty poor pop band at the time of the festival they played a good set and won the crowd over. i also remember the crowd being in hundreds rather than thousands and it was a very laid back scene with plenty of "sharing" going on ... as far as the bands go i also remember jericho jones played a good set and i bought their album on the strength of that

My friends and i were part of a largish group of stragglers left on the site after the festival had finishedwe were all invited back to the university to kip there for the night we entered the site by climbing walls and walking across roofs all carrying tents sleeping bags etcthere must have been about thirty or so of uswe slept on the floor of a large room like sardines
the students kept playing the soundtrack to easy rider and the steppenwolf track the pusher still reminds me of that time (was anyone reading this remember being part of that scene ?)

Leigh Revell

Not a lot of documentation for this one , can anyone help with posters and organisational details ?

Cochise performing on the small stage at Cambridge Free Festival 1971 © Ian Cater

Hackensack © Ian Cater

Cochise © Ian Cater

Free Festivals List

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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

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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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