[A5 24 Page]
A short history describing the Travellers, Free Festivals and Free Party scene. Illustrated with sets of photo-montage.
Towards the end of the 80s a cultural phenomenon began to emerge around the country resulting in an injection of new blood and economy to the festival scene. Rave parties were similar to free festivals in that they were unlicensed events in locations kept secret until the last possible moment. Such events offered similar opportunities for adventure and began attracting huge numbers of young people from the cities. This scene grew dramatically. Where some of these parties differed from the free festivals was that they were organised by groups such as Sunrise who would charge an entry fee and consequently make large amounts of money in the process. Not all such rave parties were of this nature however, and the free festival scene began to merge with the rave party scene producing a hybrid with new dynamism.
Not everyone on the free festival scene was pleased with the consequences of this festi-rave fusion however.
Indeed, the outcry following events like Castlemorton 1994 provided the basis for the most draconian law yet levelled against alternative British culture. Just as the Public Order Act 1986 followed the events at Stonehenge in 1985, so the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill began its journey in 1992, pumped with the manufactured outrage following Castlemorton. By the time it reached statute two years later, it included criminal sanctions against assembly, outdoor unlicensed music events, unauthorised camping, and `aggravated trespass’.
The news-manufacture used to prepare the public palate for the coming law was incessant, with media descriptions of Travellers and party-goers including “hordes of marauding locusts” (Daily Telegraph), and “These foul pests must be controlled” (Daily Mail).
‘Pageturner’ video at: https://youtu.be/Xbz-iMGIeBE
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