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The Stonehenge Free Festival had been held at the Summer Solstice since 1974. However at 1977 event, numbers suddenly increased and this became the Annual People’s Festival. Since then, the numbers involved doubled each successive year. ‘Free Festivals’ developed. People were fed up with the exploitation, rules, squalor and general rip-off that so many events came to represent. They discovered something. It is a powerful vision. People lived together, a community sharing possessions, listening to great music, making do, living with the environment, consuming their needs and little else. The 1984 Stonehenge festival attracted hundreds of thousands over a six week period. It was the last. Through June, the gathering grew, until it is estimated that well over 30,000 were in attendance
At a meeting of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), in early 1985, it was resolved to obtain a High Court Injunction preventing the annual gathering at Stonehenge. This was the device to be used to justify the attack at the “Battle of the Beanfield” on the 1st June in Hampshire. Well it wasn’t a battle really. It was an ambush.
It was a magnificent convoy stretching and snaking its way over the Wiltshire Downs, as far as you could see in either direction. It was a warm Saturday afternoon as we drove through villages, people stood outside their garden gates, smiling and waving at us. A carnival atmosphere with little evidence of the ‘local opposition’ that we had been lead to believe was one of the reasons for obtaining the court orders. A police helicopter watched overhead but there was little other sign of trouble until……..
‘Pageturner’ video at: https://youtu.be/sG7GtLBH5sU
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