The Archive . updated June 2023
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Al Stokes' Stonehenge Festival photographs
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"Could that many people gather together today with only minimal communal organisation and such a relatively small amount of trouble but so much pleasure? The question is irrelevant. They would never allow us."
Henge History : 1972-1984
Just some of the Free festivals and Fayres in offer in 1984, before the scene was trashed by the police at the beanfield. courtesy Sunny Sarah
Stonehenge Free Festivals chronology. 1972-74. The early years.
A festival is reported to have been held in 1972 but so far we have no hard information about who were the organisers , who performed or how the authorities reacted to the presence of the freaks . It was apparently held on the day of the summer solstice but thats all we have at the moment. Its quite likely that this was a totally low key event attended by very few people, or which never even took place.
am fairly sure there was a 72 stonehenge which we went to, but it was very
small and chiefly a real west country get together for the sunrise etc. so
it was a word of mouth thing and we came from about 30 miles away. I seem
to remember that the UFO man, Arthur Shuittleworth was involved in some way.
However, he might just have been there celebrating. He was from Warminster.
I'll try to remember more things, but due to the exceptional quality of entertainment equipment of the time, might not be able to!!!!
All the very best to everybody who was there.
"A group of drop-outs set up a sordid encampment adjoining the monument in 1974. After some months the Department secured their removal by an injunction from the High Court, after some rather bizarre proceedings lasting several days. All the trespassers claimed the same name—Wally. They then settled on the adjoining trackway from which they were eventually dispersed by the highway authority. They then squatted in Amesbury. Their leader has since died. The Department has no responsibility for any remnants of the sect who may survive in the locality."
The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Kenneth Marks) 1977
Wallies at Henge 74 have a nice fryup in front of the Stones.
Which just goes to show how far off the mark government officials can be ...............
"Greetings, in 1974, a friend (who was a Scots university dropout) and myself (at the time at Manchester poly film and tv design student ), went on a trip to Stonehenge following the rumour of a festival. There were a few people there when we arrived , mainly from London and southern areas, and a solitary american lady. A guy had a micing desk and soem sounds , there were campfires , tents and possibly 100-200 people. No one did a head count. The trip was meant to be a journalistic photographic exercise, which I barely got away with . I have scanned the negatives and transparencies we took but 40 years plus has taken a toll of the film stock. "
So here in 2020, we have a pretty amazing cache of images and an account that has remained hidden for over 40 years. Many , many thanks to John for providing us with this treasure , which contains a number of images of Wally Hope , legendary organiser and Henge devotee ( of which , more later. ). The images and John's account can be accessed by following
At this point the history of the 74 festival is narrated by Roger Hutchinson- veteran of many of the free festivals of the 70s. He became interested in being involved in free festivals at Windsor when .......
"I met writer Jeremy Sandford and photographer Ron Reid (who together produced 'Tomorrows Children') who opened my eyes to the unique social nature of the festival. They both encouraged me to try and document these events as they had a inevitable ephemeral element where most participants did not take photos due to being either out of it or did not want the hassle of having a camera to look after. This was before the days of lightweight video so all there are only a few tatty snapshots and press photos of these festivals that were formative experiences for many like me. The man behind Stonehenge (whose real name I have forgotten but better known as Wally ) was also a visitor to our fire. My new passion of festivals met his spiritual passion to establish a conceptually and spiritually more pure event at Stonehenge and we talked the night away -me calmly tripped out and he having never come down from a particularly heavy acid trip in Cyprus a year previous. He was a exceptionally good man who was done down by the state who put him in a mental hospital just before the second Stonehenge on a trumped up charge - an experience he never recovered from and committed suicide a year later in Essex despite the efforts of the band co-operative CRASS. The sprinkling of his ashes upon the monoliths of Stonehenge the following summer was a sad and moving occasion. "
The treatment of Wally Hope was a disgrace, after being " medicated " in a psychiatric institution in 1975, after being busted for possession of three tabs of acid, he was released a few weeks after the 1975 festival concluded. He was never the same , he had been given huge doses of Modecate to counter the effects of largactcyl ( which he had been surreptitiously avoiding taking due to its lobotomising effects ) and this had induced a condition known as 'chronic dyskinesia' the symptoms of which are .....
"dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements. Features of the disorder may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing of the lips, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur. Impaired movements of the fingers may appear as though the patient is playing an invisible guitar or piano."
This was incurable in Wally's case , he was a shadow of his former vibrant self and , not wishing to go on in this vegetative state, he committed suicide in September 1975. You can read about his case in depth here , written by Penny Rimbaud who knew him well and tried to extricate him from the Psychiatric hospital in 1975.
Having worked in a psychiatric hospital myself in 1974, I have no doubt that Wally Hope was fucked over by the system , patients had few rights and were regularly abused by some staff members , who were a law unto themselves. There were people there who battled the system but they were up against entrenched prejeudice and ignorance and institutional inertia . You could literally disappear into the system and if there was no one on the outside batting for you, you could be incarcerated for years.
The Stonehenge Free Festival
Stonehenge Free Festivals ran for eleven years on sites adjacent to the Stones. See the map below for the locations and the increasing size of the festival over the first four years.
The first festival took place in 1974 after a meeting at Windsor Peoples Free Festival 74 (see Windsor Free 74) where Phillip Russell (aka Wally Hope) drummed up enthusiasm with other tribe leaders like Sid Rawle. It was a small affair that failed to attract much attention from either like-minded people or the media but by all accounts everyone had a happy time and the weather was hot. A few bands played and the event faded out until there was just a group of Wallys with Phillip as their nurse-maid who camped along the track until they moved into a squat in nearby Amesbury during the winter months.
Legendary Hippie electronic freak band Zorch played at the Stones in 74 .
"We knew Wally Hope who got it all together. This was the first one there. So the band all piled in to the old green van and made it there."
the will of the gods.
set up stage facing the Stones,
200 yards away .1974, it
wasn't heavy at all . Not many people there . Best so far. First day
the whole band played and we went down pretty well."
Another article about Wally Hope by Crass band member Penny Rimbaud can be found here.
Maya Magazine ran this short piece about the Wally's activities in 1974
Look to the revolution to rename every citizen with one sound and the composite name of all citizens to be the analogue of the deepest terrestrial vibration so that when we are called we will all hear.
Since Midsummer's day of this year, the year of the Tiger, 30 people have been living on and around Stonehenge, all answering to the name of Wally. Dancing, frolicking, acting out the Gospel of Free using Stonehenge as a cosmic wrist-watch with domes and dogs, and horses, and music , and troubador costumes , and glant T shirts embroidered with the Eye of Horus.
At the beginning of the French Revolution there was a movement known as the Jaquerie in which everyone called themselves Jacques.
Your name is your mantra. Eskimoes believing in the Seven Ages Of Man, that one changes, as is known, totally , every 7 years , have a different name, every 7 years. The Canadian Government, who, as all Governments, try to undermine the recording angel, by keeping tabs on people for no reason, are confused. How can a baby mean Priscilla, or Sebastian, or Donald... maybe one only hits the mantra by which one is known for a few seconds. One can only be known by God.
How can one own land ? The Indians roared wlth laughter when the first white man arrived in the North Indies and offered the Indians gold in exchange for their land. The Indians wandered all over it, and thought it as an earthly sky. How much is a cloud worth? But when they saw what whitey was up to they became embittered. Shambala, the founder of the Dreamer Religion said: the white man drives stakes into My Mother's Heart, he cuts her hair, he slashes open her womb, before she is ready to give him her fruit.
Suns of the Sun, the Wallys, are letting the mysteries of Stonehenge work through them, despite the barbed wire that surrounds it, despite the Army bases, and despite the state nets of secular legalisms. Freedom is a career.
Wally Green completed his walk on crutches from Hyde Park to Stonehenge; the distance is about 85 miles. Will anyone who agreed to sponsor him send the money to him c/o Bit, 146 Great Western Boad, London ¢9.
About 30 Wallys are squatting a house in Amesbury, close to their encampment by Stonehenge. They intend staying until the Christmas Party on December 21st.
Guy Rowe was also there
I went down to the henge in 74 from Watchfield, the old R.A.F base near swindon, it was not until years later locally here that I met craig scott who works for derby city council gardens section and recognised him from back in those days.
The photo from the documentary - I would have been there about 3 weeks in 84 when that was taken, so I would have been... pretty...... well.
It's just a small tribute to ad about the 74 festival but this is to remember Dick Holman from Wantage who got up on the small stage then to deliver his poem: "He was Herbie the cosmic parrot - he kept on keeping on....." which Dick did several times a day as he did at Watchfield.
Tom sent us this account of how he started off at Windsor and then moved on the Henge - thanks to that bastion of the establishment- the Daily Mail !
For the past 3 months, I'd been working fulltime as a volunteer on a north london parish council playscheme. My contract was coming to an end and I needed a break. Out of the £5 a week pocket money I'd been getting I managed to save enough for a bus ticket to windsor park.
The site was great, so was the weather and the vibe, loads of sunshine and colour, the atmosphere was remarkable and people who, although strangers, made you feel safe and able to relax.
Early one morning, I'd just got up and was sitting besides my tent, I noticed a group of people a few yards away preparing breakfast. A couple of young guys, with their girlfriends, I remember feeling a twinge of envy, tho no more than a twinge! at that precise moment one of the young girls got up and walked straight over to me and without saying a word gave me half of her breakfast of dried fruit, then walked back over to her friends. Totally blew my feeling of being on my own right out the window!
Windsor stage © Roger Hutchinson
Can't recall much in the way of music, execpt that their were an awful lot of single guys with guitars who couldnt play them. An army of bad guitarists who flocked to every festival, too fucked to bother about things like tuning up. I know, I was one of them hahaha!
The day before the bust, I went into the town and phoned up windsor council and explained that there was an enormous effort being made on the site to clear litter and deal with things like sanitation. Trenches had been dug for shit pits etc. I explained to the council how we needed help with things like black plastic bags and they said that they would come on site the next day with loads of stuff, to help keep the site clean. They never got the chance, courtesy of the boys in blue who turned up to conduct their own form of ethnic cleansing.
I find it hard to get my head around the contrast between the wonderful atmosphere that hung around the event like a particularly pleasant incense, and the terrible atmoshere forcibly injected into the event by the Thames Valley police.
On the day of the bust, police flooded the site and hung around waiting for orders. A meeting was called in front of the main stage, with various people going onto the main stage to reassure people with talk of negotiating with the police, who were obviously going to give us a good kicking, I got up on the stage and grabbed the mike and explained that their was going to be a police riot and that we should make a note of the number on the epaulettes of any cop seen kicking the shit out of anybody.
A thin blue line of cops formed at the bottom end of the site, a young hippie girl undid her top and pulled out her breasts and proceeded to do a wild dance right in front of the cops shaking her tits right under their noses! Then the line started advancing up the site anything, anyone in their way got trashed tents, people, personal belongings.
Lots of confusion, fear, horror.
A small skinny hippie with a toddler clutched tightly to his chest ran past me like a greyhound. I'll never forget the look off total fear/sheer terror on his face as he flew past moments later a huge cop built like a rugby player went fying past in pursuit, he flung himself at the skinny hippie in a classic rugby tackle around his legs and brought the skinny hippie to a violent halt, the hippie slammed to the ground with the toddler in his arms, the infant hitting the dirt with such force that I felt sick.
I'm ashamed to say that I ran away, mostly because I was afraid of losing my temper and making things worse, and cause I was expecting to be jumped by the cops mates. The burly cops helmet went flying as he brought down the hippie,
I scooped it up as I ran.
I found a bunch of journalists and proceeded to yell insults at them, assuming they were going to do an airbrush job on what was happening. Then yelled abuse at the cops, who just laughed.
Never forget the seige of stage 1, some young guy on top of the scaffolding, with a guitar raised above his head silouetted against the sky, beating back the cops underneath, with his battered acoustic guitar!!!
Resisting the stage invasion 1974 © Jenny
End of the day, down in the dumps, exhausted, shocked, wondering around seeing tents, personal belongings piled into big heaps, upset people wandering home, felt like shit!
Instead of fucking off. I got this crazy idea to stow away in the back off a furniture removal lorry that had the disassembled main stage inside, absolutely did not want to do what the boys in blue wanted. Jumped in the back off the lorry only to find a whole collection of shellshocked people, who'd had the same idea!
Shortly afterwards the lorry moved off and slowly trundled through London, was really surprised to see all these newspaper boards in the streets with headlines about the police violence at windsor park! The lorry was heading for Exeter, but intended to stay overnight at Stonehenge, which was what happened.
The next morning, a group of us were standing around a fire, rubbing the sleep out of our eyes, when a guy in a suit walked up introducing himself as a journalist from the Daily Mail, he said that he had heard that the windsor festival was moving to Stonehenge.
We all looked at each other, the idea hadn't occured to anyone, but it sounded spot on . Then I turned to the journo and said "yes, thats right" and pointed to the lorry behind us .saying it contained stage 1 from the windsor festival
The journo was delighted and scurried back to London.
Not the Daily Mail article but an ultra rare newsletter confirming that stage A from Windsor was moved by truck to the Henge.
Thanks to Chris Hewitt of Ozit records for the image.
From the collection of the late Alan Jones, kindly suppiled by Ken Horne
The next day an article appeared on the front page of the Daily Mail, in the middle of the page, something about the festival moving to stonehenge and carrying on from there. The headline was bleating on about a new Camelot!
Thanks Daily Mail u know not wot u did! Maybe someone can go thru the Daily Mails archive and dig up the article!
There were a lot of people who had arrived at stonehenge for the solstice but for the most part they looked like ordinary tourists, so this gave the impression of some kind of event happening.
Over the next few days, courtesy of the mail spreading the word, lots of people began turning up and a festival was born!
The security guards were pissed off with people setting off the sensors around the stones so a deal was negotiated whereby we'd stay away if they agreed to let us in for a holy ceremony,we were allowed in late one night, there must off been upwards of several hundred of us, all very calm and quiet except for the resident bad guitarist, some guy badly strung out on speed, who mounted a stone and intermitently bashed out a sound intensley discordant, his voice crying like an animal hopelessly tangled up in barbed wire, naked horribly painful, yet somehow it worked and was totally appropiate, everything else was dead quiet.
We all gathered in a circle and held hands, and gradually we all began to chant OM only it came over more as an MMMMMMMMMMM that got louder and louder, as this was happening the entire landcape started rumbling like constant thunder, in the distance, a deep throated growling uuummmmmmmmmmmmmm sound.
I looked up and in the night sky I could see a string of lights approaching the Stones, It was a convoy of military transport planes using the Stones as a navigation beacon, the closer they got the louder the rumbling became until our ohm chant became a roaring thundering sound that made everything shake and tremble, the ground the stones, the entire landscape!
I stayed at the stones, met Wally Hope and lost my blue suede shoes (thats true as well) got seduced by a hippy girl from east anglia and ended up in Norfolk.
Think thats it!
from the collection of the late Alan Jones, kindly suppiled by Ken Horne
The dismantling of the Wallies bender (although we must admit it doesn't look much like it would bend under any circumstances ) .
We would love to hear from Carol and Dave Wally , if you are still out there- contact us !
The following two pics may be from either 74 or 75 , sent to us by Kay, can anyone confirm the year ?
Now this pic is of 2 lads on a mission, the lad on the front I didn't know his real name, seeing as the word man was a one size fits all back then.
The kid on the back was a stage hand and runner for gang at the stage, fetching supplies and generally helping out. His name was Troyboy and he became friends with the organisers of the music and big stage, he was 7 years old in that pic and often seen sitting at the edge of the stage in pics.
The gang at the stage area adopted him and he slept in their truck, he soon became part of their crew.
This pic is of Barron and Jerry, if my memory serves me well they were brothers... i became good friends with them and only ever saw them at festivals.
In the back ground of this pic you see the truck which was used to transport the yellow TP as well as fellow travelers. The yellow TP being the first on site for the stage builders and camp site organisers, later to be used as a doss tent for wandering souls during the festival.
Standing by the truck is Reg Meuross (singer/song writer) good friends of quite a few of the bands there. Also standing there is Ben , a fellow companion who lived at the Kingston Club Community Center, located in Combe Martin, North Devon. Which is also where Reg lived as well as myself any many others who attended the festivals. The truck had picked us all up from the KIngston Club and collected as many people on the way as the truck could hold and support.
Blessings an stuff
I've just been looking through your page , it brings back memories , I was at Windsor and the henge 74 onwards , also all the festies of the long hot summer of 76, I lived at the stones and then down at the amesbury squats for 3 years.
dont feel we did wally down as you say , or that he was our nursemaid ,
true we were all very young and idealistic , but we never knew where he
went or when he would turn up , and I have nothing but good memories of
him and his great charisma, I last spoke to him at watchfield and he himself
said I am a broken man , it was heartbreaking , the change .
if you would like some memoirs of festivals , I am sure it can be arranged
|John Walker 1974 Henge galleries
|Basil and Tracy Brooks Henge 1974 photogallery ( external )
Henge History :1972-1984
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