Friends report :August 21st 1970.
About 3 pm On Monday afternoon, while most of the remaining kids were still sitting peacefully in their tents and shelters in the woods, a group of about 40 police arrived at the site and began to comb through the woods, destroying and harassing as they progressed. They gave everyone a statutory 3 mins to clear out, and began to wreck the area, pausing only to pick up roaches and put them in plastic bags. They ripped clothes , tore down tents , upset stew pots and, in the euphemistic words of Mr Oates 'shooed' the heads out.
BIT workers then went down to the woods and attempted to clear up and rescue people's belongings and took them back to the main tent. There they found members of the London Street Commune, notably Justice Freedman, Scripto and several others of the group. They pounced on the various possessions that were brought in and promptly ripped the lot off, exclaiming "there is no property man" and " I can wear this down the Portobello Rd" One BIT chick was so revolted she had to go outside the tent and be sick.
By the standards of commercially based festivals, Phun
City never had a chance. Of the tens of thousands expected about
3000 arrived plus the obligatory stall holders , Hells Angels, and local residents
came out to freak at the heads . The IT
organisation, under Mick Farren
and Jez Cox never got on top
of the problems the first of which was their inability
to pay groups or the various site workers .
Freearrived on Friday night
and demanded their £350 fee in advance.
When Farren was unable to hand over the cash, Free
Other groups either didn't make it or didn't bother to play when they arrived.
Formerly Fat Harry didn't
play and Renaissance, rumoured
in fact to have broken up, never arrived. But the musicians who didn't mind
the hassles were sufficient to get things on. Stars of the show MC5,
from Detroit, brought their own brand of revolutionary cock rock to the freaks
and the Phun City Jam Band▀
Mungo Jerry plus assorted
musicians▀kept things raving well into early Monday morning. New bands Noir
and Quiver proved that they
should be interesting in the future. The
Pink Fairies lived up to expectations and played part of their
set in the nude. Everyone
loved it, especially the local rag▀the Worthing
Gazette▀which panned the festival as "a
fiasco" and drooled hypocritically over "naked
lovemaking and drugs use".
Lack of funds
proved the main problem, and almost ended the festival early on Sunday
afternoon when the electrical crew
cut off the power for
the musicians when they were unable to be paid off for their work. Only
a "general chat "with announcer Jeff
Dexter cooled them out. Though Jeff was dubious of the IT
methods: "when you supply that much equipment, you
can expect to get paid, especially if people keep promising you the bread
every half hour. The only reason they were willing to put the power back
on was for the sake of the people". Jeff kept things together throughout
the three days, and his star turn was the pointing out of the wandering
police on Sunday afternoon. "Be
nice to 'em, turn em on" he suggested.
Ronan O'Rahilly, complete with a vast bus, arrived at the Festival and was faced with all the problems . He took over the financial side and all bills are being sent to him. It is rumoured that he also took over I.T .as part of the deal , but no confirmation has been received.
Photos of wrecked site after police raid
by Andrew Tweedie
While freak technicians were prepared to work for the people Mr. A. Carter, the main catering concessionaire, whose green and orange hamburger vans surrounded the stage like a besieging army, was distinctly not. With one black eye himself, he thundered around the site, threatening violence and 'the lads' to all who caused his displeasure. He terrorized one ice-cream man Lee Harris , and threatened the Friends tent, which was selling a few rolls and cups of tea and coffee, with "running my fuckin land rover over your bloody tent and mashing your bloody face in ". Friends retaliated by declaring all their stocks free, and fantastic contributions, in cash and food, from everyone there, made it possible for the free feeding to go on from early Saturday morning to late Sunday night. Carter was duly uptight but had little or no hope against the kids and the Hells Angels , who contrary to reports in the gazette , behaved well throughout the festival and caused far less trouble than the police or Mr Carter himself.
Carter, faced by the give away, said "I'm not going to give these lazy devils anything for nothing" and similar choice phrases, ended up by tossing his vast overstocks ot perishables into the rubbish pits. He claimed they were possibly contaminated and certainly some of his rolls - which found their way to Friends on Saturday night - were covered in mould. He complained that his weekend had been a "catastrophe", not a little caused by his own stupidity.
Given the problem of Mr. Carter's general unpleasantness Mick Farren could only protest that no reputable firm would touch the festival. He had been unable to get a caterer who could accept the freaks and had to make do with one who would exploit them. Coffee was priced at 1/- a cup, and stock brands of cigarettes were all priced at 6d over normal prices.
Local residents were divided over the Phun City presence. Mrs Lance, who lived opposite the site, about half a mile from the stage, said she had only 6 hours sleep all weekend, and complained about "the disgusting smells which drifted over from the common". One of her neighbours, Mrs. Burgess, spent her weekend frantically phoning the police and demanding that they stop the noise. They failed and Mrs B snapped" I think it is a disgrace that our lives should be ruined with no sleep. It was like the music from a indian bazaar all the time." Mr. Lanham , owner of a nearby fruit farm, also kept the police lines busy, and even got onto the Home Office at one stage. He suggested that Phun City had been primarily concerned not with music but with sex. Local shopkeepers had a different tale: well behaved hippies bringing in plenty of bread. Most hopeful sign was the payment of £600 of his own money by one Worthing Councillor who sincerely hoped that there would be another festival there next year. His donation paid for the water supply.
Another festival ?: "It's finished, no one would want to do one again", claimed Jeff Dexter, but even if Patching won't be the site again, there must be more festivals of this kind. The excesses that so bemused , and thus horrified , the straights are irrelevant . More important is the fact that heads , or anyway these particular heads, weren't able to organise adequately or efficiently. The electricity supply to the stall holders - the most efficient service, was laid down and serviced by local engineers , the washing and lavatory facilities were virtually non-existent. Forget the myths, even heads like to wash. Despite all the drawbacks . Phun is a foundation on which future events can be built. On several occasions the people showed that they were sufficiently together to get what they wanted.
In their willingness to donate whatever they had
so that all could get free food instead of a few
having to suffer the inflated prices of the main caterer, in their surrounding
of the police and their refusal to be cowed by
the forces of 'law and order'▀
for which those same forces exacted a swift and bloody revenge.
Its all there: good organisation , and a willingness to get people moving, rather than the vain reliance on spontaneous. action to get complex arrangements underway - could have made Phun City an even greater success. The injunction against the festival issued before it, the refusal of the local council to co-operate realistically, the grossly illegal police raid on the site - all underline the difficulty of putting on a festival thatrejects the music business and the straight world. But for those who went, Phun City, with one name group, with pouring rain , with all its chaos , stood out well above Bath, Hollywood or any other hypsters heyday.
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