Alternative NR23

Free Festivals

priddy pool festival 1970

Priddy Pool Festival - July 1979. Includes recordings of someof the bands.


Peaceful Green Fair - Norwich July 1983

Norfolk festival 1987

North Norfolk festival - late summer 1987







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Free festivals have their roots in the 1960's hippy culture and became a very common thing in the 70's and 80's.

The "peace convoy" of the late 70's / early 80's was perhaps the backbone of the free festival circuit, a collection of travellers who had opted out of the consumer society, would come together at these fairs.

By the middle of the 80's though things had turned a bit dark side, especially with some of the travellers who became parasitic to the whole scene, dealing the nasty side of class A drugs, stealing and generally screwing it up for everyone else. Of course, not all travellers were like that, probably most weren't, but when the government crack-down came with the battle of the bean field, everyone suffered.

Despite that, the festival circuit was a vibrant scene and still remains active today, but you have to know where to look to find it.

The commercial festivals of today - such as Glastonbury - owe their success to the early free scene, but they are a pale imitation of the real thing.

Here is a small selection of free festivals I was a part of.

Glastonbury 1986. Glastonbury was a semi-commercial festival, huge in scale but still "free" in spirit, a very different thing to the modern festival

The Fish House Fair, Somewhere south of Norwich, July 1987.