A Succession of Repetitive Beats

A Succession of Repetitive Beats. BBC Radio4 8pm o 14th May 2022


Political journalist Tom Barton recalls the rave that changed Britain, at Castlemorton Common in May 1992.

In the weeks leading up to Castlemorton, New Age Travellers had tried to establish small festivals in Gloucestershire and Somerset – but had been moved on by police at every turn.

Arriving in West Worcestershire, they parked up at Castlemorton with the intention, they claim, of gathering just a few hundred people.

But, to the horror and outrage of local people, between 20,000 and 30,000 people arrived, with many staying at the site for an entire week.

The law that was created in response to the gathering, Part V of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, makes it a criminal offence to hold an unlicensed gathering playing any music that is “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.”

The festival is now widely regarded as the tipping point in a culture war which saw many aspects of the Traveller lifestyle outlawed in the UK.

Presented, written and produced by Tom Barton
Sound Design: Barney Philbrick and Joel Cox
A Bespoken Media production for BBC Radio 4

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