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24-26th July 1970
Ecclesden Common.


Friday July 24th 1970.
Invasion Rouses Residents Fears
Pop festival on today

Home is what you make it - and home this week for hundreds of pop fans has been the woods around Ecclesden Common , the scene this weekend of a pop-culture festival. This party was pictured on Wednesday at breakfast around a camp fire. 
   Residents fears grew as hippies this week moved into the woods at Ecclesden Common, between Patching and Angmering , to prepare the site for the pop-culture festival which opens today ( Friday ) and continues until. Sunday. Others occupied a derelict cottage on the Arundel road.

   The fears were that the festival might become a battleground between Hells Angels -already there as a security force - and skinheads.  Police promised reinforcements and urged the public to show "considerable tolerance "and avoid trouble. 

   Organisers  said that the festival would go ahead although some financial backing had been withdrawn . Yesterday ( Thursday) they said they were now being backed by Mr Ronan O'Reilly , of Radio Caroline fame. 

   Giant holes had been dug in the common, but there was no sign of proper toilets. A stage and lighting equipment were going up . 

    And all  the time more and more youngsters were arriving .
    On Wednesday hippies were complaining that they were starving and the organisers promised food . They also promised to check on reports of damage to the woods and that the pop groups announced would turn up. 

Resident's fears :Police urge "tolerance."
   The three day" pop-culture' festival due to start today at Ecclesden Common off the A27 road at Patching this week brought a growing invasion of hippies, Hells Angels and other fans . Yesterday (Thursday ) the number of arrivals mounted sharply as organisers raced against time to prepare the site.

   It was indeed a race. Giant holes had been dug but proper toilets had not been erected., The stage and lighting equipment were being assembled. 

   By Wednesday there were at least 160 hippies encamped at Ecclesden Common and in derelict buildings around it . Many claimed that they were desperately short of food and money, despite the fat that they were supposed to be employed to erect equipment on the site and later , to maintain internal security.

   Shelters had been constructed out of branches and trees in the woods surrounding the Common and open fires dotted the area as the hippies cooked the food they said that they had been able to 
"hussle " 

Studded belts
    Leather jacketed , long haired young men, sporting studded leather belts and some carrying motorcycle chains, paraded around the site. Some were helping to put up the stage which will support the pop groups expected to play at the festival. In the centre of the 45 acre field stood a large white tent which is called "the Jesus Tent" and form which the Christian organisations will attempt to pass on the message to the expected 20,000 fans .

    We contacted Jes Cox , a former Worthing High School boy, who is one of the principal organisers of the festival and asked why the work force was short of necessities. He said that he had visited the site on Tuesday night and passed out some money to those who wanted it , but the food shortage was a surprise and he had taken steps to get some food to the site from London , mainly fruit and vegetables. Yesterday food was being distributed.

    We also contacted the Rev I.S.W Reith , rector of Angmering and told him of the hippies plight. He said it concerned him very much and he would see what he could arrange about getting relief to them . He agreed it would be a good opportunity for the Christian organisation to show good intent and narrow the gap between them and the hippies.
The Rev H. N Snelling , rector of Clapham and Patching , took a different view and said "They don't do any work and then expect other people to help them. I don't think we should encourage them to carry on with this mode of life. I can't feel any pity for them"

Old Cottage.

    About thirty of the hippies are living in an old cottage at 13 Arundel road, Patching , near Castle Goring . The property has been let to the organisers as a base for the staff by Mr J Fitzroy Somerset , the farmer and landowner who has also rented Ecclesden Common for the pop festival.
He said he had let it to Mr Mick Farren , another former high school pupil, who is the main organiser of the festival " what he does with it is his business, " said Mr Somerset.
But for the residents living near the festival site in Angmering , Clapham and Patching, this was just one more reason for their growing fears. Many have already stocked up with food, locked their doors and say they will, not appear again until the festival and invasion are over.

   Hippy members of the pop festival organisation pose outside 13 Arundel Road Patching, which has been rented from Mr J Fitzroy Somerset for the duration of the festival. Its windows are broken and the contents are sparse, but it is , they say sufficient for some 30 hippies who have made their homes there this week. 
   Mrs H . A Lance , who lives in Selden House, directly opposite Ecclesden Common on the A 27, is fearing trouble, but not she says from those who are helping to organise the festival. 
" The trouble will come from the fringe elements, who will just come looking for it " she said. " We certainly will not be going out over the weekend . I have stocked up with food and we are moving  into the back rooms of the house. The police have advised us to leave the  lights on in the front of the house so that they can observe what is going on . They also advised me to take my car out of the drive and I am leaving it in a garage in Worthing for the weekend. "

   Mrs Lance has some comfort from her two large dogs who will be in the garden. 

   The police also advised the Lances to remove a spiked chain which decorated their front garden wall of their home . It was suggested it would make a good weapon for troublemakers. 

   She added " I am afraid the rumour going around the village that the festival is going to be a battleground for skinheads and Hells Angel's is going to turn out to be true, although I hope to God it 

    The man responsible for making sure that it does not become a battlefield is Police Superintendent , E Holloway of Littlehampton , who is in charge of the policing of the festival area. He said to the Herald that it was up to the public to show considerate tolerance to avoid trouble. During the short period of warning which he has been given he has been doing his homework on behaviour patterns at pop festivals and he says that the evidence is that the pop fans are generally non-violent .


    "We might get other elements who want to make trouble , but we will be doing everything we can to make sure that there is as little trouble as possible."he added. "We are drawing on officers form other divisions to reinforce our own men and we should have enough to deal with any problem that we anticipate. Our biggest problem , in my view, will be traffic. The festival comes at one of the busiest weekends  of the year when all the schoolchildren are on holiday"
Superintendent Holloway asks motorists and others to be patient , tolerant and try not to aggrevate the situation unnecessarily .


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