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 1981.
Spurriers Park- Harlow.




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.


July 25th-26th 1981

August 1st 1981 .

Advert for the 1981 shows , can anyone provide eye witness accounts ?

Just been reminiscing with your site and also and thought I would mention seeing the Qtips.

I had been to see The Who at the Rainbow and the Q tips were the supporting band, I just fell in love with Paul Young, and when he was on at the park I just had to and see him. I thought he was great - but I may have been biased.

I used to go to the concerts as a teenager, the Bay City Rollers were apparently booked before they had a hit, but had reached stardom by the time the concert day arrived. I remember them being late, and everyone thought that they weren't coming. They weren't my thing, but you just went to all the concerts as it was somewhere to go. I really don't remember seeing anyone that I really liked apart from the Q tips!


1981 Local Pop Festival / Battle of the Bands
July 25 Q Tips, The Fix, The Fascinators
July 26 Dutch Courage, Silika Rich, Pete the Meat and the Boys , Playground Heroes, Acid Quean, Alexis, with special guests Victims of Pleasure
August 1 Steve Gibbons, Stan Web’s Chicken Shack and the winner of the final on July 26.

I did not attend the Battle of the Bands Night on the 26 July but I did see the Q Tips, Steve Gibbons and Stan Web’s Chicken Shack . Stan was probably playing the same set that he had done in 73 and 75 not strictly true as he had a new album he was promoting . As did Steve Gibbons who also played a fine set.
These were the last concerts I ever attended at the Town Park

Came across the “Free Festivals” website and saw the summer 1981 line up for Saturday 25th July. I was there and can say that it was one of the best shows put on in the town park for many years. The reason being is that the Q-Tips were on a nationwide tour at the time with a band call “After the Fire” as support. Although they weren’t billed to appear, Paul Young brought them along and they played a set before the Q-Tips came on. They then joined the Q-Tips for a final encore with half the band members jumping in the pool at the front of the stage. As After the Fire weren’t supposed to be there, the allocated finish time of 10.30pm was exceed by about 30-40 minutes which didn’t go down well with the local residents. I heard later on that because of this late finish, the council stopped having these concerts which is why there is a gap between 1981 and 1987. Still well worth the ban for that night of entertainment!!

Michael O'Sullivan


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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



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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