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24-26th July 1970
Ecclesden Common.

The view from the Mud: Part one.

Recollections of those who attended Phun City.

Part 2

Hi gwshark! (what kind of a name is that?)

    I'm delighted to discover the Phun City site as I was there and one of the (dis) organisers. In the picture taken outside the old cottage that's me on the left, (Kevin Buckley). As you probably know, the guy on the right is Dave (Boss) Goodman and next to him John Cox (now sadly departed). I'm not sure who the guy with the hippie bag is, though he definitely looks familiar. I remember staying in the cottage which was very basic, I think we just had doss bags on the floor. I also remember that the local police inspector turned up early one morning to discuss security arrangements with the 'Head of Security' and I was more or less shoved out the front door to meet him.

   He started asking me whether we'd got retired police officers etc patrolling the site and, of course, all we had lined up were Hells Angels but I managed to blag it somehow. I'd travelled down in my battered MG Magnette and a friend Mac (Michael McDonnell, former Deviants member) drove a hired landrover which Farren and co. used as a kind of staff vehicle (that may be it in the photo). What I remember most about the festival was the 'phun money' as it became known. This consisted of vouchers which were supposedly redeemable at food outlets on the site. We were like a kind of aristocracy staying in the cottage while the hippies on the site slept in the woods and worked on getting the site ready in return for the vouchers.

    Unfortunately the vouchers were fairly quickly rumbled as worthless by the food stall people and so they ceased to work after a while. My car had no starter motor and always had to be pushed to start it. I have an abiding memory of hurling bundles of 'phun money' out of the windows to pay for the freaks to push the car to get us going.

    Of the festival itself, I have a clear recollection of the Fairies stripping off and I remember the irony of Free refusing to play for free - wankers! One other thing I was involved in was negotiating with the hire company who wanted their generator back because they hadn't been paid. They wanted to switch it off and take it half way through the final evening. I remember pointing out that it was our petrol in it and they agreed to let it run until the gas ran out and then they'd take it away. Fortunately it held out.

    If you're in touch with any of those involved, including Mick Farren, Boss etc. please give them my regards. I've got a mate who's always pipe-dreamed of a film about Phun City (he wasn't there) - maybe someone should actually do it!


Kevin Buckley

Michael McNamara wrote

    I also attended the Phun City festival in Worthing (not far from Brighton, where we were living). I only went on the Saturday -- brought a tent and a bunch of friends -- we travelled by rail. I remember being very close to the stage throughout the MC5 set (who I had of course seen many times in Detroit and Windsor Canada) - it was a killer set. I also recall spending a very wet night in the tent, which eventually flooded. Soaked and tired on Sunday morning, we dragged our stuff to the Worthing rail station and caught the next train back to Brighton.
The pictures you have up are interesting -- I am wondering if there are any of me near the stage -- that shot of the guys sitting around the tent (by John May -where's he from?) looks vaguely familiar.


Anyone identify this lot?

© Dicky Howett


From the Phun City Planet newsletter

hola amigo: just read the Phun City review ...

hey, you know, some of the days might well have happened like that ... in the middle of it all, living with joy farren - hands on with the pink fairies, brother of Mick farren, as author of the Buttons book ... believe me, Buttons and Co were very pleased - people arrived, they were presented with the 'opportunity' to contribute, most of the cash went to the patched up clubbers ...not to Phun City ... and who can blame them ... but let's get over this 'joy' image of the romantic bikers not taking care of themselves. Joy and I ran that the collection team and I can tell you, while we were collecting cash - we paid the house rent..... all these years later ... fuck the history ... grow up... Phun City was a fuck up from the word go from the very unprofessional group of maniacs who dreamed it might be ... that some of them managed to find a creative rainbow in the middle of the storm will always be 'a miracle'.... and I guess that's why we'll always love them ...

Jamie Mandelkau

Oh what fun I had at phun city,its all bit vague tho due to being my first encounter with the sweet lady acid(strawberry fields according to the man that gave it me).Memories I do have include a large blow up tent like a hot air balloon on its side with a light show and sound system inside,entered through an airlock door it was like a different universe inside.I also seem to remember that radio geronimo had something to do with it as Irecall a banner either in front of or behind the stage.The stage had some kind of platform in front of it and I have vivid memories of it collapsing under the weight of pogoing angels.

I saw dave motherfuckers name mentioned I recall him and a chap called dave trippers being instigators behind the phun city liberation mob later to be active at the isle-of-wight.I have in my collection a post card of the festival which as soon as I get a scanner for this damn computer i will bung it of to you.God it all seems like an age ago, fuck it was. Still got most of me brain left and all me hair so I cant complain.

I took a closer look at the news reports and there was a photo of a guy in a disabled wagon .He went by the name of crippled Eddie and was truly an amazing guy.He held all sorts of records in his motor,furthest distance travelled in one day and also one year,also the most write offs. One hell of a guy you'd see him at all the festivals hanging out the roof and boogying fit to bust.The bloody things were only meant to be taken to the shops and he drove his all over the country.Does anyone know what happened to him?. . love
and peas Spike.

love and peace

SPIKE .....

P,S. does anybody else remember the pale blue woodstock headbands that seemed to be sold by the yard at all the festivals that wonderful year ?

© Dicky Howett

The blow up tent Spike mentioned, was an inflatable dome myself and friends took to festivals (free and otherwise) between 1969 and 1972. It was 50 ft high and 100 ft across and with a fair wind could get 1000 good folk inside. Festival organisers liked having us on site because most of them had a music curfew on stage of 11 ish but we could play, being "inside", all night. The dome called FairGround, had a team of 25 unpaid but happy labourers who all played some instrument or other and who lived all summer on the road with the dome: they spent most winters mending it!
I am glad you have memories of the light show and particularly flattered that you describe it as a "different universe" inside.

Apart from a lot of hard work that went into producing interesting all night gigs, the lightshow was designed by Phil Vaughn and Roger Dainton: their main claim to fame is their design and construction of the neon sculpture over the Hayward Galley, built at that time and still going strong today. The machinery was built to amazingly tough standards by Peter Wynne Willson, founder of WWG, the leading lighting innovation company of today: it seems old hippies don't even fade the way, instead of payment, the crew played a two hour set every night . Their band name was Cosmic Wreckage: no record deal was ever forthcoming.

       John Bloomfield

Annabel Smyth
I have just found your website about this event, which I remember very clearly. My father, Mr FitzRoy Somerset, took a *lot* of stick from the vicar, and some of the villagers for having allowed it to be held on his land, but I think to this day he doesn't regret it. The vicar never forgave him, and went on about it until the day he retired - most unChristian, really! We were only kids then, too young to be allowed to attend the Festival properly, but my father took us there and allowed us to wander about a bit, and enjoy ourselves.

        Annabel Smyth

Many many thanks for putting this site up. I'd run away from home some time in 1969 crashing a night at Richard Neville's bedsit in Notting Hill without his permission. I had a crappy job as night porter in a hotel that I just got sacked from but I didn't care as I was going to Phun city. I'd been given a free ticket by the Pink Faries at the Roundhouse and I was so looking forward to going.
Think I caught the train down to the coast and thence to the festival site.
I so wanted to be in the in-crowd of hippies, I was just a dorky kid who didn't know what way was up!
Hung around the side of the stage and watched the Pink Faries high on a variety substances. I sure wished I was one of them, suddenly they were up there on stage and asking why nobody was taking their clothes off.
Well it was a fucking cold English summer and no one seemed to respond.
So at this apathetic response all the members of the band except the drummer disrobed and played the set stark naked. This for me was the musical high spot for me.

I vaguely remember MC5 and Mungo Jerry. The other kind of high spot was taking Acid for the first time. I had a great time running around the festival site and I've been forever changed being at Phun City. Over 30 years later I'm listening to Dr Crow the Deviants new album. What a fucking long strange trip it's been.
               Brother Gonzo


Just found your page about Phun City. I was there with five other mates from Preston, Lancs, we drove down in 2 Reliants chock a block with egg boxes of food and stash :) The driver was on speed (liquid, out of a bottle in a soaked rizla), he crashed out for ten hours soon as we got there :)
It was perhaps the best one I ever went to for "feeling", it was a real Freaks Festival. You could be sure there was only Freaks there :)
Best memory : buying a full set of HP Lovecraft paperbacks from a stall in the market - that market was excellent. Also, a Hells on the entry with a big club who looked heavy, but we sort of drove up slowly and said "can we come in" and he smiled and said "yeah, just do what you want, man" LOL
Can't remember much of the music except Pretty Things, they were my alltime fave band. And Roger Chapman, but I remember him best from IOW with Family. And Wm Burroughs too, rest his Soul :)

The Hells is the guy in the middle in the photo you have on the Phun City photos page. Wot else? I remember best the market, I strolled round that market on the Saturday about fifty times, making up spliffs and joshing with this one and that one, those HP Lovecraft paperbacks really blew my mind and I've STILL GOT THEM. Not much else left from that period neither :)

The market area ? © Dicky Howett

 Of course, the pissing down of rain was pretty despondent, but coming from Lancashire you don't notice that reelly :) I remember putting a few quid in one of those collection buckets - this from Reliant riders, not Mercedes :) I best think of that festival as about the only one where you knew about 99% of the folk were just like you so it was real easy to just get chatting and sit round.
Right On



From the Phun City Planet newsletter

His name was smiler, just appeared in town one day, hitched up from london, dont know what he was doing in the midlands, a few years older than me and me mate, dead hip and streetwise, a lot of credibility.

He said something about going to Phun City near Brighton and would we like to come.
Me and Gordon grabbed our sleeping bags and with smiler and no money we hit the road.
Fast forward to the site 2 days later.

Remember feeling relieved that the site was located in such a lovely bit of countryside with an extensive belt of decidious woodland, while the area in front of the stage had a gentle ridge which with the woods offered great protection from bad weather, which was  warm and sunny mostly (I think).....

We ended up around a campfire in the woods. A genuine Californian hippie in long white robes holding a plastic bag with thousands of hits of pure acid came along trying to give us some tabs but all the people around the fire were surfing on lots of clean hi quality acid and everyone had more than enough anyways. Couldnt stop laughing, everyone around the fire got caught up in this helpless laughter and i cant recall if it was for hours or days.

At one point a young woman inside the bender by the fire suddenly winced and cried out in pain, we all feel apart in helpless laughter it was so bad that she couldnt help joining in, even though she was in a lot of pain.

I didn't find out what had happened until I  got back home in the midlands a few aeons later. I picked up me dads daily mail and read an article about how a young woman in the woods at Phun City had been shot in the back and had to be taken to hospital.

Just before she cried out there had been a very loud sharp cracking noise, the bullet had gone through the woods and got her in the back, she was about 9ft in front of me in the bender, had she not been there, it would have hit me in the face.
The rest of the festival was as brilliant as that was nasty, intense!

The dominant feeling though was one of being safe, not having to be on my guard,

Remember lying helpless in the leaves that had turned into millions of little paper cutouts of Marilyn Monroe, as I lay staring up at the sky, I could see  Marilyn Monroe projected onto the clouds. think I was too ripped to catch much of the stage acts with the exception of the MC5.....WHO WERE CHRONICALLY GOOOOOD,  blistering Hi intensity Live punk rock with a vengeance, they exploded onto the stage and delivered a set that took of like scud missile, still cant believe how great it was!!! and that I was within spittin distance.

Towards the end of the festival my green velvet smoking jacket (a real one) caught an ember from the campfire and literally started smoking which was an appropiate end for a smoking jacket.

Remember staggering towards London still tripped out with cars, lorries pulling up offering me lifts and got back to the midlands without hardly any effort.

I just found the web site by accident and what a find it is! I travelled with a friend from Wales to see the MC5 who I love at the time. The trip was well worth it as we got back stage and spent a lot of after performance time with the band in their tour trailer. What a memory. Now to get down to reading the reviews.

Dave Keats

I was there with my girlfriend. I'd been working with IT as a news/features writer, and we came to help -- I had some stage management experience and was supposed to help out in that way, but just never happened. I somehow ended up running a newscaster on a side-stage tower. We slept under a flatbed, having been told by Farren & Co. (who disliked me) that contrary to promises and the truth, there was no room left at the pub. I used to have some film of the event somewhere. My favorite anecdote? being asked, "Want some acid", and on saying no (there was no need to buy any), being asked, "Why the fuck not?"

Graham W

Positive ID- The guy in the light clothing centre is my erstwhile chum, Christopher Priest, acclaimed SF author of such as 'The Prestige', 'The Space Machine', 'The Glamour' and 'Fugue For A Darkening Island'.

© Dicky Howett

The tv crew were from Lion Films making a 'music video' of the festival using Philips LDK 3 cameras, quite new at the time. The video footgage was going to be converted to film and shown in cinemas. Again , does anyone have further details? I wonder in what form the British Lion footage is? It's no good if it's still 2 inch quad, the original format. Even a 1 inch transfer would be in doubt (stiction, dropouts etc). If in movie film form, even the dyes would have started fading by now.

Dicky Howett

Chaotic doesn't begin to describe it. I went for the mc5 and they were magnificent.
edgar broughton played out demons out for ever,well, at least half an hour, the weather was terrible but festivals seemed to attract rain.glastonbury,bath,worthing soaked every time.
very scary angels,chasing people about by torchlight cries in the night,but i seem to remember the freaks burning motorcycles in retaliation,maybe they were just burger vans.
didnt seem to be much peace and love there.

Adam Zeigler

Fancy finding a site like this ! I was there for a week digging the drainage pits and putting in the bogs. First time I smoked dope. I helped to carry William Burroughs to the medical tent, and duplicate a free paper called the Phun City Planet. Any copies of that around or is the only one in my mums loft.
I will write my account as soon as I have the time. Any idea where Gez Cox is ??

Mick Davis


From the Phun City Planet newsletter

I lived in Shepherds Bush at that time and hung out in a pub on Portobello Road where various members of Hawkwind and the Fairies would meet up before getting in a van to go to that nights gig.

That weekend I met up with Anita Richards (a friend) and went down to Phun City on the Friday afternoon/evening. We all (we were in someones van) put a little money together and the Hells Angel at the entrance gate of the field was happy to accept whatever it was we gave him to get in. I remember being immediately greeted as we aproached the stage area by someone selling good black dope. (I saw him later on the Sunday wandering around offering dope at a discount as he didn't want to carry it back up to town!)

The Friday night was relatively dry but the weather rapidly deteriorated. I understood that they had had weather insurance, but believing the weekend would be good they had cancelled the insurance at the last minute to save money.
I remember the MC5, and I remember Mungo Jerry playing 'Jug music'. He was asked by the audience to play his then 'hit'. (In the summertime) He refused saying "why do you want me to play that shit?" I remember 'Twink' of the Fairies, stark naked on stage (but do I remember him still wearing that tall top hat?)
I was sitting right next to the guy (mentioned elswhere) with the invalid carriage and we were all sharing food (mostly carrots provided by Anita) "take a bite and pass it on".

When the (Saturday?) rainstorm came we all crammed into the Dome and smoked- I particularly remember that high.
There was the time when two or three plain clothes police turned up and stood on the outskirts of the crowd (small crowd!) and someone from the stage directed us all towards them and we all chanted Pigs! Pigs! and pointed until they left.
One of the nights was (mostly) dry and I slept on top of one of the PA's speaker cabinets.

I remember the area between the stalls (good collection of books and the inevitable brown rice) and the stage being populated by a number of people tripping out of their heads and holding mirrors which they were looking into. (!)

I and others contributed a little money (no-one had any) on the Sunday 'diesel for the generator'. I saw, but didn't take part in, the arguments about the burger vans (weren't they hot dogs?) and I recall the French (?) anarchists digging out the buried food and handing it round.
Definitely a phun weekend and shortly after I went down the the Isle of Wight, which I shall recount on another occasion...

remember the burger vans being 'liberated'. I was supposed to be working in one of those burger vans, from a company in Luton, but abandoned it at some point to join in the merriment. Thanks for the site - I also went to Hollywood and Bickershaw so I'll send some comments if I can remember anything about them - but as Roger Chapman says, if you can remember, you weren't there...
Rod McLaughlin


From the Phun City Planet newsletter


Hello !
I've just come across your site and thought I'd tell you my (vague) memories of going to the Phun City festival in 1970.

I hitched to the festival from Fareham Hampshire with my mate Paul Roberts. We took very little with us but managed to eat for free after being invited into some kind of wedding reception being held in a barn at Fishbourne near Chichester. When we arrived at the festival site we were confused about whether we had to pay for entry or not and so tried to enter the site by wriggling under a hedge. Unfortunately we were met by one of the Hells Angels on the other side who made us put everything of value that we had into a bucket, essentially robbed us, but nevertheless let us stay in the site.

When it rained we were lucky enough to be taken in by two girls who had a sort of "bender" made of sheets of polythene. This was situated half under a hedge near the "Muesli Van" !!! I can't remember whether the muesli was free or not, probably not as I didn't get any. The music was great. I remember Clark-Hutchinson playing "Death the Lover" which went down well,or, was that another festival ? I wonder if anyone else remembers he guy with the mirror dancing around one while asking if you were a "free-loving individual", he seemed to be inviting you to prove it with a girl in the woods who was dancing behind him.

I seem to remember that Paul was briefly arrested by he police who gave him a brief but tough "interrogation" in the back of a van. After two exhaustng and mindblowing days, desperately hungry, we were forced to leave and took a long time to hitch the journey back to Fareham. Overall, I think it was the most interesting festival that I attended; the memory of it has stayed with me albeit in a somewhat confused form.

Don Stubbs Cambridge

On the far edge of a LSD experience that had begun at Hyde Park where Pink Floyd freaked, we all hitched in pairs down to Patching/Ecclesdon Common. My pals and I were somewhat nihilistic, eschewing money and most possessions. We built a cover out of branches, scrounged food and were the beaming recipients of more acid. I was 17 and very deep into an alternative life style. It was muddy, the HA such as they were, behaved like their general persona, wannabe toughs who caused much more problems than were necessary. The Pink Fairies stripped and played naked, Mungo Jerry invited all players up on stage which I was happy to join with my jaws/Jews harp. After the festval there was talk of a 'permanent' community there, an acid dream that wasn't going to work. Edgar Broughton, who we'd seen at the aforementioned Hyde Park gig jammed with Kevin Ayers, MC5 did their thing , I wandered around naked for a while with a naked young woman, we didn't screw, we were waaaay beyond earthly pleasures. It was a time, way back then, I thought 'we' were winning. Two years ago I visited UK after 26 years and stayed with my brother in Angmering, a kick in the arse from the festival. There's a highway dividing the whole site now, my memories are undiminished.

Thank you .

David Ian Robbins.

Sonoma California.

Part 2.


If you have any info regarding the festival please get in touch Contact us

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Recordings of Phun City and band details

More information about Phun City organizer Mick Farren and the UK Underground press can be found at these excellent sites.

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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