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24-26th July 1970
Ecclesden Common.

Friday 31st July 1970.
No more pop festivals for Ecclesden Common.
Ecclesden Common on Wednesday, the litter is being 
dumped into pits and covered by soil
    Ecclesden Common and its woodland , between Patching and Angmering, show few signs now of the weekend pop festival, which was a flop in comparison with the claims and hopes which preceded it. " Phun City " is no more, in fact , it never really was . Nor is there a hippie commune in the woods. Police with tracker dogs drove them away on Monday . And there will be no more pop festivals there.
Mr J Fitzroy Somerset , who rented the site to the organisers, announced that he would not allow another pop festival on the land. He stated on Wednesday that he had made his decision because of the police and Worthing Rural Council had asked him to do so and because he realized that certain people had been upset.

     Mr E. T .Oates , chief public health inspector , told the rural council on Tuesday that enough evidence had been gathered to stop any such event in the future  - wholesale contravention of food hygiene and public health regulations and noise he alleged.
Mr Oates also suggested that the action of the police in driving out the hippies had been a " bit premature " because people hired to tidy up had been driven away . The site , he said , was "a bit of a mess "

    This brought a sharp retort from Chief Constable Kevin Somers , head of Worthing Police division . He said that those concerned with cleaning he site had not been moved on . Of the hippies ordered to go Mr Somers said " The conditions under which many of the people were living in the woods were primitive to the extreme . Some were barefooted and looked as as if they hadn't washed in weeks . Personal hygiene  appeared to be taboo and there was no evidence of any kind of washing  or toilet facilities. The food that was seen , mostly sausages and bread, was dirty and decaying and the smell surrounding the area was most unpleasant."


    "In my view the whole situation presented a very real health hazard not only to the youngsters themselves but to anybody with whom they might come in contact . I have no doubt that the longer they remained there living in such deplorable conditions the greater would have been the danger to health of the people living in the locality.
I should make it clear that the only people who were required to move were those not connected in any way with the organisers or with the clearing up  "

No more pop festivals at Patching council told.
"Complete chaos, offensive and obscene , yet....."
      There will be no more pop festivals at Ecclesden Common , Patching , like the one last weekend, Worthing Rural Council was told on Tuesday night by Mr E. T. Oates its Chief Public Health Inspector. He said that enough evidence had been gathered to stop any event of the kind happening again.

     Mr Oates told the council that there had been wholesale contravention of the food hygiene regulations and the public health aspects in the lack of sanitary accommodation and a whole lot of photographs had been taken .

      Noise counts had also been taken ." The noise was appalling " He said" although some Patching residents were not bothered by it I could actually hear some of the words to the songs from my bedroom window at Ferring ."
The whole thing was in a complete state of chaos ," The woods were being used as toilets , there were cooking pots and burning incense in the woods .  The whole thing was offensive and obscene in many ways and you would have been surprised at some of the people there " Mr Oates added " There had been university people from America , Oxford and Cambridge and ordinary decent people  They just wanted to do what they wanted to do and they did it. I just cannot understand it"

    Quite a lot of food had been dumped in holes , but the holes were 12 to 15  feet deep and the obvious thing would be to bulldoze the earth over and seal the holes off. There would not have been water on the site if it had not been for M r A .Flowers, who guaranteed the cheque and he was very grateful to him .

    "On the whole, despite the chaos , the majority of the people on the site had been extremely well behaved ", Mr Oates said, but in the end it was still a dirty stinking mess.

    So far as the clearing of the site was concerned , Mr Oates said, this was up to the organisers, but it might be that the  a little expense be occurred in the interests of public health .The council agreed to make representations to the Minister of Housing and local government and to Captain Harry Kirby, MP for Arundel and Shoreham to consider introducing a members bill to give local authorities more control over such events . It was told that West Sussex County Council hoped to promote  a General Powers bill during the 1970-71 session of parliament , which would include a provision giving local authorities a suitable level of control.

"The pop festival ought never to have taken place and it only took place because of the week-kneed attitude of the West Sussex County Council " Mr H Williams said. " Our Local rector the Rev Neal Snelling , visited the festival on Saturday and reported he saw naked men dancing , drug taking and love making in an immoral manner."

Gymkhana ?

    "I personally visited Mr Fitzroy Somerset , owner or controller of the land and Monday evening and he said he had stated that he will never again allow a pop festival on his land , although he has reserved the right to hold a gymkhana or some other sporting event , which is perfectly normal and proper."
Mr Williams thanked the police for the excellent way in which they had the festival under control. " They acted with politeness and consideration the whole way through the festival "he said.
    Mr P. H Patterson , chairman , added thanks of his own for the steps that took to safeguard the public and Dr W. F Bewley spoke of the splendid way our people reacted . He thanked all those who helped to prevent what they thought would be an " exceptionally   nasty occasion "
    The weather contributed in a great degree to "softening the blow " he said" but I think from now onwards it is the duty of council to look very carefully into the giving of permissions of this kind.
In the future it is important that we look at it from  a legal point of view as well as from every other view" he said.

No Toilets.

" What surprised me was the lack of organisation at this event " said Mr Jenkin . He had visited the site on Friday afternoon and there had been   no toilets at all ' he said .
    Concern about sanitary arrangements was also expressed by Miss P. R Shackleton , who said she had heard conflicting  reports in the press, and referring to this Mr Oates said, " the whole thing was complete chaos from start to finish . All the arrangements which were made fell to the ground because of the action taken by the council and the country council to stop the festival , which resulted tin withdrawal of the financial support . No money was available and no one would do anything without money first. "
     It was quite true to say that the sanitary arrangements were  really not in use. Two mobile toilets had been provided but at one time these were not being used.
"To give an example, of the lack of thought  between the people organising these things, "said Mr Oates, "The first elisan  that went up were wrapped around with plastic sheeting, - but transparent  sheeting . It all had to be whipped down and some other type of sheeting provided. There were some ablution facilities , but of rough and ready nature. "
    Mr L. H Barry was told in answer to a question that the county council was investigating whether Ecclesden Common was in fact, common land or not. Last word on the discussion came from Mr Oates , " I never want to see anything like it again " he said.

"But what really does annoy me is the way some people only go to these things to find things wrong  "- Linzi Whinsper 20 year old.

  The other side to the pop festival has been put by some of the young people who attended. "Only the people who did not go to the festival are the "knockers " said a 21 year old Findon Valley photographer. "They are the ones using words like disgusting , "horrifying ' . I have never been to a pop festival before  and I thought it was marvellous. The music was really hypnotic, quite an experience. The tragic thing is that with this exaggerated outcry , the kind of people who are against everything will see that there isn't another pop festival here for another 10 years. "
    Linzi Whinsper, 20 year old dancer of West Lane , Lancing , told a reporter that she had never been to a pop festival before " It was fabulous , I shall certainly go to another. You feel really free there . Nobody was there to stop you  from enjoying yourself. But what really does annoy me is the way some people only go to these things to find things wrong and criticize "
    Tim and Jackie Edwards of Cokeham Lane Southampton, a couple aged 26 and 23 , found baby-sitters for their two young children before going off to the festival on Sunday. They said " We did not see anything nasty. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The groups were quite good. In its way it was quite something . Just being with all those young people was a great thing "
    A former Convent of Sion schoolgirl , aged 20 said " Personally all my friends are what the older generation calls "hippies' .I can honestly say that they wash their hair at least twice a week . Why does everyone think that they are filthy  - is it because they don't have short back and sides ?"


"I have walked down Montague street and been offered drugs. Why is this always emphasized at pop festivals. I wasn't offered any and the organisers acted responsibly by warning people to beware of heroin pushers from the stage , frequently.
Aren't people selfish when they want to stop 2,000 young people from enjoying themselves even for one short weekend

In retrospect.
    Reading these faded press clippings now I feel a curious mixture of mirth and revulsion . The overkill displayed by the reporters in the initial article, with its warnings of dire consequences of an "invasion " and pitched battles between Angels and Skinheads is blatant  scare mongering  and was simply designed to stir up passions that were already well inflamed . The subsequent articles , which try to play up any disturbances, no matter how small, are shown to be fatuous by the comments by those in authority, both police and council - that "the vast number of those who attended were well behaved and that the whole thing was no more trouble than a village fete" - gives the lie to the ridiculous statements of the vicar and the council inspector.
    It is also clear that while perhaps some blame for the lack of facilities could be laid on the shoulders of the organisers - it is clear that the council itself  bore the bulk of the blame for much of the chaos- a fact that was freely admitted by Mr Oates. If they had not laid an injunction in the first place ,the festival arrangements would have gone ahead as planned and there would have been more toilets , better food provisions and adequate shelter. No doubt many fans were put off from attending by the uncertainty of the event going ahead, , the possibility of heavy police presence  and general hassle. Poor attendance led to the dumping of masses of food and  lack of money caused by the councils injunction was the main reason why the organisers could not get enough toilets- the very things the council was complaining about  had been caused by their actions  ! The freaks in the woods were dirty because they had been living in tree houses for the best part of a week and there was no running water. Anyone would look pretty dishevelled in those circumstances.
  Noise is always a problem with rock festivals, lets face it , the majority of  people who live in the countryside go there for a peaceful lifestyle and most of those who lived there in the 60s and 70s were a pretty conservative bunch, they positively HATED and to some extent FEARED the new generations of  weird looking young  people . So this combined with the noise factor , was bound to cause problems and has probably been the main reason why the majority of Rock Festivals the world over have been forced to relocate so many times, or just been plain banned . However, to put it in perspective, three days of noise once a year  is NOT the end of the world and often festivals could provide a very welcome economic boost to a local economy. Residents would have been better advised to ATTEND and mingle ( as they did at Bickershaw ) rather than to have boarded themselves in their houses. This sort of knee jerk reaction was by no means unique, but it was a particularly vicious campaign at Worthing  and although the local paper played their part in this, they at least did print the other side of the argument after the show had finished.

    As for the sex in public, well, everyone knows that rock music can make you loose your inhibitions , throw some cannabis  into the equation and there's bound  to be some screwing , it just happened that the Phun City crowd didn't have many tents, so they did it in the woods. No big deal  if you were a regular festival goer. Well ,unfortunately for the promoters- it was a big deal for the repressed bastards who went looking for any signs of screwing  . They got what they wanted to see and of course they saw red . This is probably a very good reason  for NOT inviting sexually conservative religious groups to oversee festivals .Especially if you are hippies whose very credo of free love is diametrically opposed to those of the religious right who will come sneaking around looking to see if they can spot some nooky going on .

  Mick Farren points out that there was more shelter available for those without tents in the domes that the organisers provided ,  (something the papers completely failed to mention ) , he agrees that there were major problems , but that they were exaggerated by a hostile press who largely overlooked the fact that most people who attended had a good time . Its interesting that the press almost completely ignored the musical aspects of the festival , ( contrast this against the very positive  accounts the Hollywood Festival received in their local paper ) and also they ignored the presence of the world famous author William Burrough's  who , in Mick's words" moved through the fair doing instant audio cutups " Bloody philistines , here they have a legend on their doorstep and they ignore him, one would of thought they would have mentioned him if only to point out his heroin habit and his potential to morally corrupt the nations youth further- but then they probably had no idea who the hell he was !

    Ultimately, possibly the biggest factor weighing against  Phun City's being a success money wise was that this was just a bad time to try to hold a festival. There were too many being held around this time , Plumpton was only a week away, with a bigger line-up, with less hassle and  better arrangements - and yet,  its attendance was down by at least 10,000 .

    Bath , Hollywood, Krumlin and Hyde Park had only recently happened and the gargantuan Isle of Wight four day bash beckoned . Phun City had neither the publicity or the line-up to be a really big draw card and it was more an act of faith to go there - to run up the freek flagand cock a snoot at the establishment - than it was a pilgrimage to see the big acts . Most freaks could see almost all these bands at local venues anytime , whereas Joni Mitchell , Hendrix, The Doors , The Airplane , Zeppelin, etc- were not acts you could pop around the corner and see in your local town hall.   Ultimately, it was mostly  locals and the hard core freaks who braved Phun City , because the rest of the punters were saving their bikkies for the big festivals and the big overseas names they had in their line-ups.

Keiran McCann had this to add abou the attitude of the residents and subsequent events regrarding Ecclesden Common

Phun City/Karma

    Couldn't agree more with your bit at the end about the attitude of the locals. As a footnote to that, you might like to know that the old A27 Worthing-Arundel road mentioned in the cuttings has been replaced (within the last 5-10 years I think) by a substantial dual carriageway which runs right across the site of the festival.

    In itself this is a pretty sad comment on the priorities of this country. But the effect is that the miseries who complained about a couple of days of noize and phun, or maybe their unfortunate descendants, now have traffic roaring past them all day every day! Moreover, the old A27 is now a sad little side road going nowhere, which makes it a perfect place for hot-rodders and custom bikers to descend on at weekends: the couple of times I've been past, I notice that they base themselves at the local pub to admire each others' machines and then race up and down all day. So even on the days the residents might have hoped for a bit of peace and quiet, what they get is tuned-up monsters thrashing past the whole time!

   With a bit of tolerance and foresight, they could have had something like Glastonbury (ie the best thing this country has achieved since 1945) growing up on their doorstep. Instead they're condemned to eternal torment: your Karma may not always be instant, but it gets you in the end.

whilst David Trippas had thse recollections
well Mickys on tele most days, savin' the planet, as usual. I thought his book about a poet who gets enlightenment from the regime he helped to gain office.....bllluuur. sorry, where was I?

oh ye, stuck in some small field, with a dustbin on top of a fire, (local home grown wood).

The said dustbin was full of hot water, nettles bits of carrot and other, not drugs, brave heart , no one was "spiked@, it' was a capital crime in freaksville and anyway, we shared everything, including the revolting soup my mind had dreaged up..........but we were fighting the revolution, kids:-)

I suppose it was fun, considerably better than the last Stonehendge free ,1984, or could that have been, my brain damage?

anyhow, it was a trippy gig, we all had fun, no one got hurt, but we did seem such a threat to the powers that be, that they sent, worthings finest to evict us....i kept out of the way..i hear they said, fuk off mrs, to someone and turned tents inside out..lucky you, you could afford a tent!

poor mr red umbrella, a collective of one bedsit landlord who smoked a joint and thought he could make money......was firmly rebuked by me.....6ft aged 19/20?, long aurorn hair and nothing on but a loin cloth, with mud and fire and herbs from llahor, it's in wales:-) and cowry shells round me neck..arguin with this poor sod who was forced to chuck his sunblest in the bin..cus no fuker would buy it.........he told me that doin this was not nice and how would i like my crowley shells to be thrown in the pit..........i left the feild in set and fukin match.....beaten by a nutter giving away luke warm nettles...and dave there was a man:-)

support your local nettle no it makes sense....HO Ho Ho, Chi Min.......and  the leaves rustled aginst the castles walls, "alls well" cried the gravedigger and went for a moonlit pint........more latter..lovely to see I wasn't the only one at fun city.......Micky for president..and brave Edward.

lottsa love,



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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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