The Archive

Formatted at 1920 X 1020 minimum - Updated July 2021

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 .....

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

Big BIG thanks to our sponsor Neil !

For information on today's festivals see


Harlow Free Concerts 1976
Spurriers Park- Harlow.


Harlow 1974 © Stephen Bragger


Any more details would be appreciated .Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us

Thanks to Steve Goldsmith , David Devine of Harlow Council and Steve Baker for their invaluable help in providing data on these concerts.


May 29th 1976

Stevenson’s Rocket, Zenda Jacks, Bastille.

The lineup this year was a little shorter than usual but a good batch of bands, nonetheless. However, but for the life of me, Stevenson’s Rocket, who the hell were they ? By all accounts they were a teeny bopper outfit fit from Coventry, a classic case of here today gone tomorrow. Usual crowd control problems but not as bad as previous "teeny bopper "concerts.

Stephen Goldsmith

Stephenson's Rocket

Stephenson's Rocket fans

July 3rd 1976

Mud , Five Years On,Shift .

Mud, who were maybe two years past their sell by date by the time they appeared here, although largely reliant on their earlier hits put in a good concert and were well received, and without a teeny bopper in sight.

Posters and images courtesy Gary Draper .

© Gary Draper

© Gary Draper

© Gary Draper

© Gary Draper

© Gary Draper


June 12th 1976

Fairport ,Shady Lady, Vambo

The Fairport Convention concert I attended was more likely to be this one, as I remember discussing this concert with my class tutor on the Monday morning , and remember him saying “ I preferred them when Sandy Denny was with them” Sandy Denny left by had left Fairport Convention by 1975 and she was not in the lineup for this particular concert if my memory serves me correctly.

Up until then folk and folk rock had really not registered with me. However, this concert piqued my interest and all little later in life I became an avid collector of early Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny material. In fact I am listening to Who Knows Where the Time Goes as I write this .

Fairport circa 1976.

A scribe at the Harlow Gazette remembers the evening thus:
" A large passive crowd watched Fairport at Harlow Town Park on Saturday give a largely passive performance. Fairport, formally Fairport Convention put on their own brand of country rock, sounding like Steeleye Span [methinks the reviewer needs to work on his music genres]. But the performance although polished and professional lacked the sparkle which marked the old Fairport Convention as completely different".
Harlow Gazzette 18 June 1976

I thought this was a thoroughly enjoyable gig, unfortunately local bus time tables meant that I had to leave a little early. I left the park with Dave Swarbrick going ten to the dozen on the fiddle.

Stephen Goldsmith

July 24 1976

Osibisa, Burn.

Osibisa Harlow 1976.

It could be argued that Osibisa were the founding fathers of World Music. By now my musical tastes were becoming very eclectic and to my ears this was a band who were at the time masters of mixing rock music with traditional African percussion. Yet again a concert that influenced my musical tastes years later.

Stephen Goldsmith

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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