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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971.

From the International Times 9-23rd Sept 1971.
    Proving that the underground press could be just as sensational as the tabloids when they wished to boost circulation , this over the top headline heralds an article covering  the battle between the Hells Angels and security goons at Weeley.

Below left, someone- ( an Angel, hapless spectator ? ) is attacked by what looks like an extra from Planet of the Apes !.


     The riot at Weeley between security men and Angels was inevitable. From the start there had been three separate  security groups. One consisted  of local heavies hired by the Round Table organisers and one called Marquee, which was made up of freaks.

The third, brought down by Fun Caterers of Battersea  who had the main catering concession (the biggest rip-off there) refused to carry walkie-talkies saying 'No-one's going to tell us what to do.'The Angels, all unofficial chapters, had turned up and pulled their usual number of looking heavy and getting  jobs in exchange for being kept plenty jolly.

    They had in fact involved themselves in lots of useful work, at one time being the main fire-fighting force as well as running important messages  direct to the stages and standing on the gates. At no time were they into provoking violence or attacking people who left them alone. It was the caterers' security people , all East Enders, who were looking to take on the Angels and took every opportunity to provoke them.

    A lot of the incidents arose when the organisers failed to find the Angels jobs. Their main target at times of boredom was naturally the rip-off caterers and they spent a lot of time in the beer tent. The organisers were not informed of trouble nor given a chance to work out a peaceful solution to the confrontation.

    In one of many incidents, some Angels "borrowed" a Fun Caterers' jeep and were driving around. - Security men chasing them caught up when the Angels stopped to let some people pass. The Angels were dragged off the jeep and hit with the edges of spades -among other things-  and hit again when they were down and again as they tried to get up.

   The culmination of this episode was when some Angels were thrown out of the beer tent and stomped by the guards. They retaliated by invading the main catering area, driving jeeps around it and generally smashing it up.

   Then the Fun Caterers' men went wild and laid into the Angels mercilessly, knocking one of them out with a 14 lb sledgehammer and leaving others bruised and bleeding. After that they smashed up their expensive bikes, many of which the Angels had built themselves.

   The police were strangely absent at times of trouble, but waded in afterwards to drag off  the Angels. Later in the week 67 Angels appeared in court ,many of them charged with possessing offensive weapons.

With much free, cheap or at least normally priced food around, some of the concessionaires charging high prices found themselves left with a lot of gear. The fruiterers had to take home about half a lorry load of fruit, and said that despite tight security 17 cartloads had been ripped off. The staff who were working on a percentage were expecting to get about 30 bob.

  The Round Table are claiming that they only made £2000 because of rip-offs and ticket forgeries. This despite tho fact that at least 100,000 had arrived at the festival when it was declared 'free' and that on Saturday organiser Colin King was saying 12,000 was their break-even figure and £30,000 would be given away.A Round Table committee  will be responsible for sharing out whatever proceeds there are. All the charities working down there have had to send in a report on the weekend so that the committee  can decide what if anything is to be paid to whom.
    Credit where credit's due: Bit did a far out job despite the obstructive organisers and Release dealt well with 100's of bum trips and by the end of the festival the Salvation Army were feeding 11000 people ,7 times a day, free.

  A freaky-clothes D-squad pig said the police couldn't afford another Reading"If you lot were all anti-police we wouldn't stand a chance." Altogether six people were busted for dope, and many of them burn-artists.

    The organisers did not live up to their responsibilities in many ways. Not only did community services have minimal co-operation but there was also no sleeping tent and none of the promised cooking facilities which was why so many people were lighting dangerous fires. ( above left )

    Wise Old Sam, asked about the bands, said "King Crimson were horrible, Pink Fairies were horrible, Edgar Broughton weren't too bad, Grease Band were terrible, Arthur Brown didn't play, Curved Air didn't play, Mungo Jerry got busted up by the Angels and the Faces were really good. T.Rex were horrible too."

Updated Jan 2021

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