Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Windsor Free Festival

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Covid-19
Frequency  annually
Years active  1972-1974
Windsor Free Festival wwwukrockfestivalscomwindsor73unknownbandfr
Location(s)  Windsor Great Park, England
Organised by  London commune dwellers, notably Ubi Dwyer and Sid Rawle

Windsor free festival 40th anniversary of the third festival in 1974


The Windsor Free Festival was a British Free Festival held in Windsor Great Park from 1972 to 1974. Organised by some London commune dwellers, notably Ubi Dwyer and Sid Rawle, it was in many ways the forerunner of the Stonehenge Free Festival, particularly in the brutality of its final suppression by the police, which led to a public outcry about the tactics involved.

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Windsor Free Festival The Windsor Free Festival 197274

Hawkwind windsor free festival windsor great park london 25th august 1973


History

Windsor Free Festival Windsor free festival 1974 violence erupts

The first Festival in 1972 was promoted as "Rent Strike: The People's Free Festival", reflecting the political concerns of the organisers (coming as they did from squatting and commune movements), with an anti-monarchist choice of site in "the Queen's back garden". Attendance was about 700 in its first year, rising to 8000 in 1973, and an even larger crowd in its final year.

Windsor Free Festival Windsor free festivals attendees recollections 1974

The 1974 Festival, due to last for ten days, was broken up on the sixth morning by a large number of police. Early on 29 August 1974 the site was invaded by hundreds of officers from the Thames Valley police force with truncheons drawn, who gave the remaining participants ten minutes to leave. Those who did not were arrested or evicted with a level of force that led seven national newspapers to call for an inquiry, and Roy Jenkins, the Home Secreatary, to call for a report from the Thames Valley Chief Constable. Nicholas Albery, playwright Heathcote Williams and his partner Diana Senior successfully sued David Holdsworth, the Thames Valley Chief Constable for creating a riotous situation in which the police attacked the plaintiffs.

Windsor Free Festival Hawkwind Windsor Free Festival Windsor Great Park London 25th

In 1975 both Ubi Dwyer and Sid Rawle were imprisoned, for attempting to promote a 1975 Windsor Festival. A further attempt to return to Windsor in 1978 led to another arrest for Ubi Dwyer. The government provided an abandoned airfield at Watchfield in 1975, in response to the public outrage, and as a means of moving the festival away from Royal castles, but the atmosphere of this event was poor compared to Stonehenge, where the energy of the People's Free Festival continued.

Windsor Free Festival Windsor Free Festival 1974 Vintagerocks Weblog
Windsor Free Festival Skyco 1973

References

Windsor Free Festival Wikipedia


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