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Updated Jan 2016
This site is dedicated to the memory of Roger Hutchinson, who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.
R.I.P. Roger .....
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Cumbria Free Festivals
Green Moon Gathering
Nenthead, Alston. Cumbria
15th – 21st July 1983
The pyramid stage, at the 1983 festival. © The Tortoise of Time
Mr T Tortoise, who was there, quoth thusly regarding the festivities
"one of a few
festies held up in Cumbria by local freaks in the early eighties -
this is 1983 , they were called Blue Moon, Silver
TUMT Convoy pic was taken en route from Nenthead ,Cumbria .Departing from one of the moon festivals blue , silver... dunno hazy lazy memory maybe '83.
© Gopher Wood .
© The Time Tortoise
I think I am in one of your photographs of the Green Moon Festival.
I am the small boy in the centre of the picture, beside a two tone blue transit van. My one year old sister is beside me, and the woman is my mother.
To the right is a green reliant robin belonging to my dad's friend Pete. We were all on our way to Northumberland to do some Hang Gliding, and stopped off at the Festival on the way.
The van belonged to a neighbour of ours, and we borrowed it to go away with. This is one of my earliest ever memories, due to the hailstones the size of suppositories than came down that day.
This places the festival as in fact the green moon festival, despite the recollections of the supplier of the image, as my sister was born in April 1982, and by talking with Dad, we can place it as Green or Silver, as my sister was there, and 84 sounds too late...
Wow. I found the site by googling rivington festival, which was held near my childhood home, and my dad attended, and find a picture of me after talking to my Dad about the site...
Can't help with any more recollections of the Festival, all I remember is it was very orange and the hailstones were huge, filling things outside the tent. It really is, well the hailstones are, my first ever memory.
© Janet Henbane
am from the North East of England and have been to Stonehenge 83,84 and attended
the 3 festivals in Nenthead, close to Alston in 82,83,84. The festivals were
in Cumbria and they were excellent. The 1982 event was "The Blue Moon
Festival" - you have a picture of this one on your web page. The 1983
festival was "Green Moon gathering" both the 82 and 83 festivals
were held at Pry House, Nenthead, Alston and the 1984 festival was "Silver
Moon Festival" which was held at a different site further into the hills
at Haggs bank Farm, near Alston.
82 and 83 festivals had the Tibetans etc and I think Nik Turner and others.
The Tibetans had their blue and white marquee but in 84 they had the larger
marquee with a trapeze type swing with a kitchen aarea attached. These were
great events, however, the 84 festival had a different feel about it, harder
drugs being openly on sale and as a result the locals got a bit freaked and
as far as I am aware that was the last of the Cumbria festivals.
The Buzz ( far right ) sticks its snout into the picture © Janet Henbane
was always interested in the Tibetans and my memories of what they used to
perform and the people surrounding them used to interest me. I would have
longed to travel with them etc but that was wisful thinking on my part at
Just one last point the Tibetans played music and put on performances at the Cumbria festivals under the Wystic Mankers. I have some photos of them still camping on the land about 2 weeks after the 83 festival and I have some pics of the 84 festival but not on my pc.
The Green Moon festival had a totally different vibe to the Blue Moon , it was far more spiritually militant and drew devotees of Anarchy, Witchcraft, Christianity, Divine Light, to mention but a few. The vibe was different, not so peaceful but possibly more stimulating, as was the storm that brought it to an end. The hail stones were as big as marbles and they collapsed many of the tents. I was in one of the cafe tents and the sound was awesome.
© The Tortoise of Time
to see these reviews and pics of these festivals!! The vibe was great,music
stunning and the weather mixed,at one stage i remember the heavens opening
and ice shaped like space craft descending on the site, very apt!!
I played with the heavy rock and free flowing band OGRE, featuring the immense guitarist Mike Hall,bassist Johan Knott and a young man named Nik Turner, free flowing it was as usual.heady pounding sounds and a great weekend as I remember was had by all/
Good to see the vibe of Teesdale still exists further down the dale at Thimbleberry, see www.thimbleberry.co.uk
The Buzz ( far right ) sticks its snout into the picture © Janet Henbane
Recollections of the Friday and Saturday a little vague. I do recall a sense of dynamic encounter and that I felt the music never quite took off. I also remember Pete (Reliant and hang-glider) who lived off-grid in a Lancashire Terrace with Mooney (I heard Pete survived a hang-gliding accident a couple of years later in Rossendale). The photograph referred to by Mike Morey features a green Simca (centre) with a slipping clutch which I bought for £25 that week after my own vehicle needed repair.
memory dominated by that amazing storm on Sunday. While in sunshine, but with
a strange light, intermittent rumbles of thunder went on for some few hours
before the storm broke. Local lightning, immediate thunder, at least one lightning
strike on site. Clear marble-sized hailstones were rapidly succeeded by chunks
of white ice anything up to 4 cm across peltingfrom the sky. I reached my
own tent for shelter to squeeze in with those who had already sought refuge
there. The hailstones were followed by torrential
During a break in the storm I went up the hillside to give help to someone I witnessed repeatedly dancing around then throwing himself on the ground. When I reached him, I behaved in just the same way: a large area of ground, held together with roots, had become a huge water bed with the pressure of an underground spring created by the heavy rainfall. You could set up waves in the ground by rocking your body from side to side. Brilliant.
The festival lost impetus after all of that. Most were occupied with the clear up. Many had difficulty driving offsite and I remember stepping in to drive one or two vehicles out where the competence of the drivers to deal with such conditions was limited.
There were a lot of people who believed themselves to be on some form of mystical or spiritual path, it seemed to me mainly without the capacity to fully engage people with their outlook. My own experience rather too coloured by my somewhat passionate relationship with a woman who proved to be dangerous to know.
Res Ipsa Loquitur,
as they say.
Rosie aka Dodoze
The T.U.M.T tent © Janet Henbane
just found your site. I was at the green and silver moon festivals and what with one thing and another probably get the two mixed together. The first year we had an old coach which was parked facing the stage. I can remeber watching hawkind from that vantage point and lots of people coming on board when their tents got flattened during the storm. I remember that it being a pleasant festival with a good atmosphere. The following year I had a truck and a band of the same name 'ygor's revenge'. We turned up with the convoy. Some people were unnecessarily freaked by our arrival but that didn't spoil the atmosphere. I recall the law setting up an observation post in the field up hill from the site and the solitary loon who climbed the wall and started to run towards it- it seemed then that everybody took up the idea and charged en-mass causing the coppers to flee up the hill. No harm was done though. There was nearly some agro later when they turned up looking for someone ( dizzy?) who had apparently stolen a tarpaulin from a truck stop.That was resolved peacefuly too. I can remember playing a set and then being part of an acid fueled jam session with the tibetan ukrainian mountain troop amonst others.... A good time was had....
© Janet Henbane
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