from the FWS report 1983
Stonehenge Free Festival, Midsummer Solstice, 1983
There were at least 30,000 people attending the festival over the solstice weekend, with as many as 70,000 people visiting the festival over the duration.
All welfare groups were extremely busy, and overloaded with work at certain times. There was a lot of drug-taking on site, and some people experienced problems, particularly paranoia resulting from the combination of strong LSD and amphetamines. More heroin use was noted than in previous years, particularly among younger people. Festival Aid were busy with distressed people and had to deal with several seriously deranged people. 8 people were taken away for psychiatric care. There were fewer drug overdoses. F.Aid did not have enough tentage or volunteers to cope with the number of serious clients. There seemed to be less caring amongst the festival people.
St John treated over 2000 casualties. On solstice night 10 trips had to be made to Salisbury 6eneral Hospital in a space of 2 hours . There were serioustent fires on site and one child died later in hospital as a result. The main causes of fires seemed to be candles and camping gaz inside nylon tents.
The portacabins in the car park coped well and were kept clean and in working order by a small team who were on duty 24 hours a day. People in the back fields did not use these units, but used the field and tumuli. A trench was dug beside the track and was covered in with earth as it was used. The trench would have been used more if it had been better
There were standpipes with taps at two points in the main field and taps attached to the portacabins in the carpark. One of the water points in the field flooded and created a large pond, which was unfortunately by the entrance and on the access to the St John Ambulance area.
Despite there being a large quantity of cut dead wood in the clearing on
the Fargo Plantation, it went very quickly and trees were cut down and
considerable damage caused to the plantation. (Over 300 trees were cut
down) Firewood was also sold on site.
There was a great deal of litter on site, particularly in the stage field where there were mainly evening visitors and in the back field with weekend campers. Much of the rubbish was collected by festival people and put into pens near the site entrance. The local council made some collections of rubbish with dust carts, although not frequently enough and one of the pens of rubbish was set alight. The National Trust supplied plastic fertiliser sacks for distribution through Festival Aid.
The uniformed police made visits daily to the site and liaised with the welfare organisations. There were few stop and searches, although. some were reported in Amesbury. There were some arrests for drug possession, shop-lifting and destroying live trees. Plain clothed CID officers who visited the site threatened some of the welfare workers if they, did not disclose confidential information and were very unfriendly.
The welfare groups will hold a meeting in the autumn to discuss provisions for next year.
More visible toilets needed on other parts of the site, especially in the stage field. Possibly portacabins, plus a trench in the back field, but with better sign posts.
Taps arranged further away from the entrances, so as not to flood these areas.
More wood arranged for sale on site.
More communications around the site - perhaps mopeds for welfare teams, or emergency vehicle. Need to keep more trackways open. Need access to phone in car park for emergencies, or temporary phones on the site.
Lots of sign posts and site plans needed. Leaflets to be distr1buted on site safety, particularly fire hazards and emergency access.
A well-lit field hospital needed and separate place to look for lost kids.
Penny Mellor, Field Worker - June 1983 .