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Greater London Council Peace Festivals .

Pauline Black and Friends 8-6-83

All photos © Steve Makin

May- August 1983.

Three Festivals were held in 1983 under the umbrella of the Greater London Council at Victoria and Brockwell Parks in Hackney to celebrate their self proclaimed ' Peace Year ". One other event- "Blues in the Bowl " was held at Crystal Palace.

Victoria Park, Hackney :May 1st 1983.

Festival Welfare Sevices Report

    Despite bad weather, this event went very well and was enjoyed by a large crowd, estimated at around 20,000 people. Many events took place inside marquees giving shelter from the weather, in addition to the wide variety of side-shows, theatre groups, amusements and performers appearing around the site and on the several stages. FWS was asked to co-ordinate the welfare services at the festival. St John Ambulance provided first aid cover; Festival Aid provided a "quiet tent' and counselling service and FWS volunteers ran the Information Point and Lost Kids tent.Although the welfare groups were very busy during the day there were no serious casualties or problems to deal with and the atmosphere at the festival was very pleasant. The GLC had provided site plans and a programme of events, which was extremely useful and appreciated by people wanting to know what was happening and where.

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe vehicles The Ting and The Beast lurk behind unsuspecting attendees at the GLC May Day concert 1983

© P Mellor

    At the Information Tent, the only missing piece of information which would have been useful was a site plan showing where all the different traders were located, as It was quite difficult to find a particular stand.FWS volunteers looked after lost children during the day and happily all were reunited with parents etc without too much delay. Volunteers were assisted by security staff at the stages when messages regarding lost children needed to be broadcast.

   There was a wide variety of food, covering many different tastes, and a beer tent. It was somewhat difficult to find drinking water, except in the toilet units, and If it had been a hot day, this could have caused problems. There were adequate toilet units provided near the main stage, although at some distance from the centre of activities and not very well sign-posted. These units were kept very clean by attendants, but some complaints were received about the condition of the Gents toilets near the bandstand, which flooded during the afternoon.

   There was unfortunately a lot of litter deposited on the ground, which became embedded in the mud. Skips were provided around the site, clearly marked for bottles or cans, but these did not seem to have been used very much. It would certainly have been a good idea to have had smaller rubbish receptacles around the site, especially close to the food vendors.For future events we make the following recommendations :

The event ended successfully with a spectacular fire work display and seemed to have been thoroughly enjoyed by paricipants and audiences.

Penny Mellor

Program courtesy Tom Conway . Design Lindy Pettit

Festival For Peace

CND Rally .Brockwell Park :May 7th 1983.


Style Council

Clint Eastwood & General Saint,

The Damned

Hazel O'Conner

Gallery Macabre

John Peel

David Rappaport

Paolo Hewitt

Neil Innes

    We would like to thank Chris Dalton, one of the organisers , for the program scans and this account of the festival .


   The front design, and the other poster designs, were done for us by Lindy Pettit.
I remember the Damned set ! We had underestimated the time it would take to march from the Embankment, and the march also left a little late, but we couldn't change any of the timings for the day. The Damned were second on stage and the main march only arrived on site when they were almost done. Needless to say, many of their fans were upset that they had missed them, and their frustration spilled over into the area in front of the stage (not a mosh-pit, as you have it on the web site, it was actually there for journalists and photographers, and we had only a corrugated iron fence in front of the stage).

    The stage was built for us by the guys at Glastonbury (it was one of their smaller stages). The Damned band members were brilliant, and came back on stage to try and explain to the fans why they couldn't play more. It didn't really help and the next two or three acts had to suffer a shower of mud, cans and occasional empty bottle. The Style Council only had a short set anyway (they'd only recently got together), so they didn't cut it short. Poor John Peel, who was compering, got hit by a lump of mud and left early, which was really sad as he was very supportive, and I was supposed to be looking after him on the day!

   At one point, the Met Police moved in to try and move the fans back from the corrugated iron barrier, which they were beginning to pull down. That actually made it worse! CND managed to pursuade them to withdraw and we brought in our team of stewards, which worked. Things calmed down by the time we got to Clint Eastwood and General Saint, who somehow managed to change the mood.
Madness closed the day with a masterpiece of a set. They sounded great and connected with the crowd (which numbered 20 - 30 000), encoring with "It Must Be Love". they were the only band which was able to encore.



The March ©Andy Higgins

   30.000 march from the Victoria Embankment to the park in wet weather .The Style Councils set is reportedly somewhat shambolic and they are pelted with mud by elements in the crowd who expected to get value for the money they did not have to shell out ........

   I travelled up to this with a bunch of mates, punks and rude boys, from Bexley. My main memories of this were of the announcements from stage that if the Damned fans wouldn't stop trying to smash up the stage they'd pull the gig. It was definitely warm for a while cos i remember a punk unsuccessfully trying to ponce my mate's cider round by the lido and we were all boiling and moaning about it. The weather must have turned as i remember being around a bunch of drunks chucking mud at The Style Council and getting the female vocalist. I'm sure they only played two songs.

   I was right down the front which had thinned out by the time Madness came on but there were still enough for the inevitable knees up. I remember it all seeming completely about the music and hardly at all about CND, although the cider had taken it's toll so i might have missed something. In fact i think there was some speaking up the hill by the house but i was more interested in the naked hippy on acid, dancing in the paddling pool, or was it a fountain?

   R.E. footage, including that of The Damned, i remember a friend telling me the next day i was spotted on TV, on a show called Switch, or The Switch, or something. I got a cigarette burn in the back of my maroon Fred Perry, which is how she first recognised it was me. Didn't see it myself though so can't say for sure.

   Great days. We all got split up somehow and no-one remembers getting home.
Wayne Hobbs

Anecdote May 83 

I helped organise the Youth CND festival in Brockwell Park with 80.000 people and had MC´d a bit with John Peel who invited me to his show on the BBC the following week which proudly I accepted. One funny incident that happened was when some women from Greenham came on stage after Paul Wellers Style Council who had got ceremoniously pelted with mud. I had been thinking those cashmere sweaters weren´t the ideal outfits for that day. hum! When the same thing started to happen to the women I grabbed the mike and pleaded, “can you please stop throwing cruise missiles on stage,” which got a good reaction from the audience and at last they stopped throwing mud so the women could speak about the importance of the peace camp unmolested.


Big Steve


the mad dash across the park © Andy Higgins

© Andy Higgins

  I attended the free festivals at Brockwell Park, Brixton in 1983 & 1984.
I’ve attached some pics from the 1983 festival & a few recollections on the day.
Firstly, I was on the CND March from Embankment as I recall, complete with a heavy police presence escorting us along the entire route, resembling a football match!

On arrival we heard The Damned already on stage and a mad dash across the park ensued. Most people on the march were Damned fans and we arrived as they were playing Stranger on the town, their last song!
Protestations changed from “Ban the Bomb” to “We want The Damned !“

To add insult to injury, the Style Council appeared. Hardly an appropriate band to appease irate Damned fans! They dodged a barrage of beer cans, mud pies etc but decided to exit the stage after only two songs!
I found myself backstage and took a number of pics of The Damned and rockwell .

andy higgins

© Andy Higgins

Below are my recollections of the day. Me and my mates had come up from Farnham, Surrey although i can't remember how we got there. I was the only one that had a car in those days so may well have driven to Brixton to get the tube to Embankment to then march back to Brixton. Alternatively we may have just gone by train and bunked the tube which was easy to to do in those days. We were fans of Crass, Discharge et al so the organisation ( CND ) and purpose ( disarmament ) was very important to us as it seemed nuclear armageddon wasn't far away. 

We missed seeing The Damned as they'd played before those of us on the march arrived at the park. I remember being really p***ed off about this as they were the one band me and my mates had gone to see. While the purpose of the march - nuclear disarmament - was, and still is, of huge importance, there was a general feeling amongst quite a few of the marchers that we felt cheated. We'd made the effort to show our support by marching, and in return the band we wanted to see had appeared before we arrived. That didn't sit comfortably.  

The weather wasn't good, certainly while marching, although it did dry up as the day progressed.

I was down the front when the corrugated iron fencing was removed. Knowing me and my mates I wouldn't be surprised if we hadn't instigated it! This fencing prevented any decent views of the bands and came across as an unnecessary barrier which treated us as animals; exactly the same way this type of fencing was being used to contain football fans. Once we got into the area beyond the fencing we had a great time. The atmosphere was good and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, dancing to Clint Eastwood & General Saint and definitely to Madness who were fantastic.

I remember John Peel coming on and reading out the football results/scores. I'm not certain anyone in the crowd cared about this as the early 80's wasn't a good time for football support. In those tribal days the two things, football and CND support didn't really go together.


I do remember David Rapport because as far as I was aware his speech to the crowd was a racist rant in support of the BNP. I'd be interested in having someone else verify this.


Sean O'Conner


Setlists and recordings.

Style Council

Style Council onstage May 7th 1983 Brockwell Park © Nick Hider

( visit Nicks Flickr site to view more great photos from this era )


  • House Of Fun
  • Disappear
  • Bed and Breakfast Man
  • My Girl
  • The Sun and The Rain
  • Embarrassment
  • Blue Skinned Beast
  • Rise and Fall
  • Tomorrow's Dream
  • Tomorrow's Just Another Day
  • Grey Day
  • Shut Up
  • Madness
  • Baggy Trousers
  • Our House
  • encore:It Must Be Love

    audience source


De Damned © Tom Conway


The Damned

  • Neat Neat Neat
  • Disco Man
  • Wait For The Blackout
  • Ignite
  • Born To Kill
  • Limit Club
  • Love Song
  • Smash It Up
  • Noise Noise Noise
  • Stranger on the Town.

    The Damned themselves definitely seemed to be playing this gig because they believed in the causes the GLC expounded . Their backstage interview comments confirmed this .Very Anti Nuke and pro peace.

The Damned in their dressing room backstage



The crowd invade the press enclosure at Brockwell park 1983


The Damned backstage © Tom Conway

Not known if The Damned's show exists as a recording

More information is needed about this event- bands,weather,etc

Victoria Park, Hackney :June 4th 1983.

Information is needed about this event- bands,weather,etc

Hiroshima Day Peace Festival

Victoria Park .Hackney

London. E9

Saturday August 6th 1983 .

Joboxers, Orange Juice ,Pauline Black ,Carol Grimes and the Crocodiles,The Guest Stars , The Lost Jockey , Spartacus R , Lydia D'ust Byn Swing Orchestra , Fallout Marching Band , Orchestre Jazira , The Lost Loved Ones.

All photos © Steve Makin

 The Samaritans

We attended three separate one day festivals in London parks, organised by the GLC. The lively music, coupled with the beautiful weather, attracted large, colourful crowds on two occasions . One was a much smaller event but each had a relaxed, happy atmosphere. Even such a happy crowd contains some people who need to talk to us; so for them, and for the numerous contacts we made, it was important for the Samaritans to be there.

Orchestre Jazira



Orchestre Jazira


The red menace...


Orange Juice

Pauline Black


Blues In The Bowl GLC Free Festival Crystal Palace,London

GLC Festivals


If you have photos, recollections, set lists, newspaper reports or tapes of this event then Contact us if you can help.

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