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UK Free Festivals of the 1970s and after January 4, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

Here’s an interesting site that looks at a very particular cultural strand, that of the Free Festivals. As it notes, there were however crossovers with much more contemporary events.

When most people think of Festivals they think of the big ones, Bath, IOW , Knebworth , Glastonbury, Donington . The festivals that have gone down in rock history as being THE significant events of the age . But, throughout the 70s and 80s – and almost unnoticed by the rock mainstream press and punters, there maintained the fragile stream of free festivals. Organised by die-hards determined to keep some of the spirit of the counterculture alive ,( the organisers often facing harassment from authorities , even imprisonment) -these (mostly ) small scale events persisted throughout the decade. They were later to mutate into the raves and travellers gatherings that took place during the latter part of the century and which persist today.

Thanks to Joe Mooney for sending on the link.


1. Bruno - January 7, 2014

The Windsor Free Festival, on Crown land, was largely organised in the 1970s by a colourful Irishman styling himself as Bill ‘Ubi’ Dwyer. Originally from County Limerick, he was son of a bank manager, and sold republican newspapers like United Irishman in the Wexford area during the late ’50s when he worked as a junior bank clerk, and embarrassed the banking fraternity apparently. He eventually headed out foreign, living in Australia and NZ and fathering a daughter or two and imbibing 1960s hippy ideas about love and world peace before returning to Europe and getting involved in aspects of the alternative lifestyle scene in London and Dublin.
If you search Windsor Free Festival / Bill Ubi Dwyer you may come across more details. Dwyer ended his days in the 1980s residing in a caravan around Bray and associated with Legionaries of Mary. Now there are some elements for a fictionalised novel tracing cultural and political developments in Ireland and the UK between say 1950 and about 1985. I can’t wait for the musical version.


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