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Inglestone Common Free Festival

( A.K.A Avon Free festival ) 1980-83.


Protective bus corral at Inglestone Common 1980 © Igor Malaprop


NEW AGE GYPSY FAIR - JULY 4 - 21st 1980

A group of about 150 - 200 people travelled from Ashton Court Festival and camped on Inglestone Common, near Wickwar in Avon. At 7.30 pm on July 3rd, over 100 Police Officers conducted a drugs raid on the camp.
This provoked a confrontation at the end of which two Police officers and at least ten festival goers were treated in hospital. There were 13 arrests, 5 for drugs and the rest for assault, obstruction etc.
The festival goers, who are now commonly known as the 'Convoy' felt that the raid was sheer harassment.
The festival lasted for about three weeks and, other than the raid, caused no serious problems. Trench toilets were dug but were not sufficiently used.This caused some minor fouling of the woods. There was plenty of dead wood and damage to live wood was negligible. Water runs were arranged and kept going constantly.

Bob Nightingale,

Darrren remembers
Arrived at festival just a few hours after site had been raided by hundreds of Thatcher's Gestapo, lots of people arrested etc.That is why buses are in protective semi circle formation.A few days later an angry mob consisting of local farmhands and what looked like a rugby team attacked and were repelled rather quickly. Alas I did not have my camera handy.
Good festival though.

At Inglestone, I well remember the police raid. I was sleeping in the tipi with the family, and remember being awoken by some shouting in the distance. I could just make out ‘pigs on site’. I sat up in my sleeping bag and suddenly this guy with long hair and a T-shirt emblazoned with a ‘Nepalese Temple Balls’ slogan burst in, and looking at me said, ‘quickly, wheres the stuff’. His nomenclature was clearly off, no one I knew spoke like that (he was drug squad), and within seconds, about five uninformed cops burst in and before you knew it they were zipping open sleeping bags and searched everyone, even the kids, before they were even awake. I think we were one of the first to be searched. We were in one of the only lodges, right in the middle of the site. The lodge door was emblazoned with the ‘Horus Eye' in a Pentagram (I was proud of that door, but Bender dave predicted it was too powerful a symbol to use - later the lodge blew over at Pontridhigroes. Before that, Moffs red lodge had burned down, his door was emblazoned with a sun symbol as far as I remember.) So it looked like an important target. But Ironically the site was mostly ‘dry’. No one had been able to score anything for days and we were experiencing that Furry Freaks saying, ‘“dope can get you through times without money, better than money can get you through times with no dope”. The cops lined us up outside and told us to stay put. We did for a few minutes as they moved on to search others, but there were not enough of them to watch us. Eventually a crowd started to gather as people woke up. We gathered outside a caravan where the cops found a small stash. They asked whose trailer it was. Everyone replied, ‘Boris and Doris’! Where are Boris and Doris! cried the cops, little did they know that Boris and Doris were a couple of Geese that were also camped with the caravan.

Greg Clark

Hippie keep fit classes - Bus pushing , Inglestone 1980 © Darren 61

Traveller vehicles and Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe marquee, Inglestone common -1980 © Darren 61

The 1981 site as seen from the nearby tower © Dain Obermaier

Erecting the Pyramid stage © Anthony Hewitt

1981 June 22nd-? Inglestone Common Fair

    Inglestone Common 81, the Pyramid Stage, now stageless as some day trippers burnt it for firewood! I used to really enjoy putting it up and taking it down, but bugger all to do in-between!

    Our bus, our being by this time 'Big' Chris Gibbs and me - Anthony Hewitt. It was the PSI bus (later to be the band Nukli - still going), but the band split up just before going on the road. We started looking after Nik Turner's Pyramid Stage about this time, after some numpties broke up the base for firewood.

    There was a big bender fire that year. I can't remember whose it was, but it was a big bender with several 'rooms' right next to our bus. The whole site responded very quickly and luckily no-one was hurt (very lucky if you think about it). In the end the only way to put the fire out was by pulling the bender down.

     I remember being very poor indeed at Inglestone (none of us signed on), and all we had was a sack of oats and a vast tub of milk powder, so we lived on muesli, porridge and flapjacks. It was a good few years before I could look a flapjack in the face again.

    Not too sure (hazy days), but I think we all came to Inglestone from Stonehenge. A few of us had a week or so at the Green Gathering at Pilton during this time, which was like the Green Party Annual Conference. This made a nice break from Inglestone, though we were a bit too hardcore for the Green Party crew, who weren't too comfortable about some of our carry-ons, like this humungous and awesomely powerful earth pipe we made there ( see below ).

   And then the convoy fucked off up north, to what was meant to be Deeply Vale, where all went well wrong. It was hard getting the convoy through the little lanes to the M5, but it was a hell of a feeling to drive the M5 and M6 in convoy, looking forward and back at the line speeding down the motorway (at the pace of the slowest). We pretty much took over service stations.

   However, this sort of backfired, and we got ambushed on the M6 by mucho police, blocking the whole northbound carriageway. Lots of normal folk were stuck there too, and I think they were terrified (I know I wasn't too happy), as things were quite ugly between us and the police and could have been a lot more so.

   We were in all the national papers the next day (I still have some of the cuttings my mum collected!). The further north we got the more we were split up, harried and picked off by lots of police, and then all left on the edge of some dangerous quarry, before relocating to a site on Darwen Moor, another festival altogether.


Right: Possibly a poster from 1980, as the dates are wrong for 1981, but who knows, these things were always pretty fluid anyway . Poster courtesy Anthony Hewitt


Dain at the tower overlooking the festival site © Fred

I went down for a few days once, have a few photos of the fest somewhere, some of two friends me and by some weird tower/folly, I'll look them up. All very hazy now, I remember getting a lift back from the pub in an old ambulance, there was something about a fire but I can't recall it now. We scrounged a lift home in this van that dropped a load of friends off, they left at daybreak one morning a day or so later after one of them, sent out at night to find firewood, came back with what turned out to be the stage. Apparently, at daybreak some little but really annoyed guy came along, got physical with a few of them (after dragging one of them out of his tent by his foot) then got physical with his own missus who was with him as she commented on something and then, outnumbered, went to get help to press his cause home further. The lads thought that it was a good time to ship out and immediately did, across country leaving tents and whatever else behind.....I knew there was going to be trouble, they all piled out of this tranny van in immaculately clean and ironed jeans/t-shirts, Inglestone common was a little more than they were prepared for, if you get my drift.

All the best


Chris cleaning his feet and my sister Sarah. Lying down is an American guy whose name I can't remember. © Anthony Hewitt

PSI bus © Anthony Hewitt

A rare picture of Rico of Rico's bar fame, one of the famous Waggy Poo brothers © T Tortoise


The photos are of the 1981 festival - courtesy Mr T Tortoise, who quoth thusly regarding the festivities

This is a view of Inglestone common 1981, a great festy that happened after stonehenge in 81 and lasted for over three weeks. This was in the days before the anti convoy hysteria when the locals were friendly and used to buy freaks drinks in the pub and brought their lurchers down to race ours etc.The main venue was the Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe marquee - lots of stuff on them if you can winkle it out !. Put out an APB.

2- Main street on a hot afternoon.
3 - This is a girl called Min (sans pants)

Right - The e-pipe.

Click on the images to see an enlarged version

Inglestone 8th -31st July 1983

Guy Rowe remembers

   Inglestone 8th july 1983 took place on a village green which had trenches dug all round but which someone had filled in sufficiently of a vehicles width so you could get on it, I think there were maybe 20 vans or so on the Friday and we got there through deep fog on the wolds and had to wait for the sun to lift the fog off before we could find the place.

   It got dead hectic on the Saturday, people were parking a way off the field down near the shop which was quite a trek down through the woods, there was a bear in the air who was filming the field who had a knack of rising up from behind the trees and um trying to make like he was out of apocalypse now only with the camera pointing out filming pissing speedheads who’s willies had shrunk to nothing. Can’t remember who was on since with many others was gnashing teeth and furiously carving a piece of wood.


Left: Heavily retouched poster for the 1983 festival courtesy Gopher Wood .

Restored by Great White Shark

The mustering of the tribes © Gopher Wood

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe Embassy © Gopher Wood

"The surrounding countryside waits innocently , little knowing it is about to despoiled by hordes of marauding hippies.

See how they have already stripped the trees of their foliage !

sNext comes the bark, the trunk, the roots - is there no stopping these evil bus hopping fiends and their immense arsenals of deadly thermo-nuclear devices ? Is hanging too good for them ? We think so !"

The Daily Demoniser July 1983

Photo © Gopher Wood


my name is mandy and i travelled with the convoy in the early 80s, i note you are asking for info about inglestone common, i went to inglestone about 81 or 82, it was a realy peaceful place on a lovely common, the sunsets were amazing, i suppose every ones experiences are different but i felt it was a realy laid back place, i used to help rico out occasionaly, selling bacon butts , what i can remember is people chilling out, a quiet jam here and there, a bit of entertainment and lots of sunshine, i remember the welsh boys doing that, offering food to all, gypsy dave mellowing out, i fell in love with little chris that year, think hes prob happy married somewhere now, he was lovely natured, mind you everything had a golden glow.

think following year was different and obstructions were everwhere stopping vehicles , things started to change and peace was over. my e-mail, love to hear from anyone from those days.

More TUMT links here

The festival was revived in the late 80s

Inglestone 1989

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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.

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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 .

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