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24-26th July 1970
Ecclesden Common.

Friends report :August 21st 1970.

    This article from Friends magazine has a different slant to the IT report , generally more critical, which is natural, as they had not organized the festival . However, the over the top headline is either tongue in cheek or Friends were emulating some of the more unsavory habits of the loathsome tabloids who so exaggerated their reporting on the festival. 

    Phun  City, the first festival for heads by heads, collapsed into chaos late on Monday, July 27, one day after most people had gone home - when police rampaged through the woods, destroying all that they found and driving out the remaining kids . The police action, criticized most strongly as 'premature' by Worthing  Chief MOH ,Mr. E F Oates , was completely  illegal (the site, 100 acres of land including the adjoining woods , had been hired , at a cost of £700 , for another 36 hours )-and may well have been attributable to Sunday's incident when several members of the local force were spotted in front of the stage and were surrounded by a large crowd who jeered and catcalled while the officers , plainclothes men and women, fidgeted nervously.

    About 3 pm On Monday afternoon, while most of the remaining kids were still sitting peacefully in their tents and shelters in the woods, a group of about 40 police arrived at the site and began to comb through the woods, destroying and harassing as they progressed. They gave everyone a statutory 3 mins to clear out, and began to wreck the area, pausing only to pick up roaches and put them in plastic bags. They ripped clothes , tore down tents , upset stew pots and, in the euphemistic words of Mr Oates 'shooed' the heads out.

BIT workers then went down to the woods and attempted to clear up and rescue people's belongings and took them back to the main tent. There they found members of the London Street Commune, notably Justice Freedman, Scripto and several others of the group. They pounced on the various possessions that were brought in and promptly ripped the lot off, exclaiming "there is no property man" and " I can wear this down the Portobello Rd" One BIT chick was so revolted she had to go outside the tent and be sick.


    By the standards of commercially based festivals, Phun City never had a chance. Of the tens of thousands expected about 3000 arrived plus the obligatory stall holders , Hells Angels, and local residents came out to freak at the heads . The IT organisation, under Mick Farren and Jez Cox never got on top of the problems the first of which was their inability to pay groups or the various site workers . Freearrived on Friday night and demanded their £350 fee in advance. When Farren was unable to hand over the cash, Free split. Other groups either didn't make it or didn't bother to play when they arrived. Formerly Fat Harry didn't play and Renaissance, rumoured in fact to have broken up, never arrived. But the musicians who didn't mind the hassles were sufficient to get things on. Stars of the show MC5, from Detroit, brought their own brand of revolutionary cock rock to the freaks and the Phun City Jam BandMungo Jerry plus assorted musicians▀kept things raving well into early Monday morning. New bands Noir and Quiver proved that they should be interesting  in the future. The Pink Fairies lived up to expectations and played part of their set in the nude. Everyone loved it, especially the local rag▀the Worthing Gazette▀which panned the festival as  "a fiasco" and drooled hypocritically over "naked lovemaking and drugs use".
   Lack of funds proved the main problem, and almost ended the festival early on Sunday afternoon when the electrical crew cut off the power for the musicians when they were unable to be paid off for their work. Only a "general chat "with announcer Jeff Dexter cooled them out. Though Jeff was dubious of the IT methods: "when you supply that much equipment, you can expect to get paid, especially if people keep promising you the bread every half hour. The only reason they were willing to put the power back on was for the sake of the people". Jeff kept things together throughout the three days, and his star turn was the pointing out of the wandering police on Sunday afternoon. "Be nice to 'em, turn em on" he suggested.

Ronan O'Rahilly, complete with a vast bus, arrived at the Festival and was faced with all the problems . He took over the financial side and all bills are being sent to him. It is rumoured that he also took over I.T .as part of the deal , but no confirmation has been received.

Photos of wrecked site after police raid 
by Andrew Tweedie 

    While freak technicians were prepared to work for the people Mr. A. Carter, the main catering concessionaire, whose green and orange hamburger vans surrounded the stage like a besieging army, was distinctly not. With one black eye himself, he thundered around the site, threatening violence and 'the lads' to all who caused his displeasure. He terrorized one ice-cream man Lee Harris , and threatened the Friends tent, which was selling a few rolls and cups of tea and coffee, with "running my fuckin land rover over your bloody tent and mashing your bloody face in ". Friends retaliated by declaring all their stocks free, and fantastic contributions, in cash and food, from everyone there, made it possible for the free feeding to go on from early  Saturday morning to late Sunday night. Carter was duly uptight but had little or no hope against the kids and the Hells  Angels , who contrary to reports in the gazette , behaved well throughout the festival and caused far less trouble than the police or Mr Carter himself.

    Carter, faced by the give away, said "I'm not going to give these lazy devils anything for nothing" and similar choice phrases, ended up by tossing his vast overstocks ot perishables into the rubbish pits. He claimed they were possibly contaminated and certainly some of his rolls - which found their way to Friends on Saturday night - were covered in mould. He complained that his weekend had been a "catastrophe", not a little caused by his own stupidity.

    Given the problem of Mr. Carter's general unpleasantness Mick Farren could only protest that no reputable firm would  touch the festival. He had been unable to get a caterer who could accept the freaks and had to make do with one who would exploit them. Coffee was priced at 1/- a cup, and stock brands  of cigarettes were all priced at 6d over normal prices.


    Local residents were divided over the Phun City presence. Mrs Lance, who lived opposite the site, about half a mile from the stage, said she had only 6 hours sleep all weekend, and complained about "the disgusting smells which drifted over from the common". One of her neighbours, Mrs. Burgess, spent her weekend frantically phoning the police and demanding that they stop the noise. They failed and Mrs B snapped" I think it is a disgrace that our lives should be ruined with no sleep. It was like the music from a indian bazaar all the time." Mr. Lanham , owner of a nearby fruit farm, also kept the police lines busy, and even got onto the Home Office at one stage. He suggested that Phun City had been primarily concerned not with music but with sex. Local shopkeepers had a different tale: well behaved hippies bringing in plenty of bread. Most hopeful sign was the payment of £600 of his own money by one Worthing Councillor who sincerely hoped that there would be another festival there next year. His donation paid for the water supply.

    Another festival ?: "It's finished, no one would want to do one again", claimed Jeff Dexter, but even if Patching won't be the site again, there must be more festivals of this kind. The excesses that so bemused , and thus horrified , the straights are irrelevant . More important is the fact that heads , or anyway these particular heads, weren't able to organise adequately or efficiently. The electricity supply to the stall holders - the most efficient service, was laid down and serviced by local engineers , the washing and lavatory facilities were virtually non-existent. Forget the myths, even heads like to wash. Despite all the drawbacks . Phun is a foundation on which future events can be built. On several occasions the people showed that they were sufficiently together to get what they wanted.


    In their willingness to donate whatever they had so that all could get free food instead of a few having to suffer the inflated prices of the main caterer, in their surrounding of the police and their refusal to be cowed by the forces of 'law and order'▀ for which those same forces exacted a swift and bloody revenge.
Its all there: good organisation , and a willingness to get people moving, rather than the vain reliance on spontaneous. action to get complex arrangements underway - could have made Phun City an even greater success. The injunction against the festival issued before it, the refusal of the local council to co-operate realistically, the grossly illegal police raid on the site - all underline the difficulty of putting on a festival thatrejects the music business and the straight world. But for those who went, Phun City, with one name group, with pouring rain , with all its chaos , stood out well above Bath, Hollywood or any other hypsters heyday.

    The following pages consist of local press articles , as I have no yet managed to find any music or underground articles about this festival, any photos, recollections or other material will be acknowledged and gratefully received.

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Big thanks to Keiran McCann , Celia Bouquet ,Rich Deakin and Phil Jones for the donation of the press articles that have enabled us to construct this site and to Ronald Jensen and Dicky Howett for the great photographs.

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