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The Weeley Festival.
Clacton On Sea . Essex.
August 27th-29th 1971.

Photo Gallery .

Hells Angels :assaults against Angels bikes by rival security gangs.

Initially the bikers at the festival thought they were top dogs. Hired by Colin King as backstage security , they 'borrowed' some of the 4 wheel drives and raced around the site , generally being 'high spirited' , but their behavior was probably regarded as something of a menace by a number of the ordinary festival goers .

However, they fell foul of the security guys- a mix of wide boys and toughs who were apparently hired by Vic Speck , another of the local rotary club organizers.

There seem to be various versions of stories as to why the ruckus began . The first is quite sympathetic towards the Angels.

International Times 9-23rd Sept 1971.

The riot at Weeley between security men and Angels was inevitable.
From the start there had been three separate  security groups. One consisted  of local heavies hired by the Round Table organisers and one called Marquee, which was made up of freaks.

   The third, brought down by Fun Caterers of Battersea  who had the main catering concession (the biggest rip-off there) refused to carry walkie-talkies saying 'No-one's going to tell us what to do.'The Angels, all unofficial chapters, had turned up and pulled their usual number of looking heavy and getting  jobs in exchange for being kept plenty jolly.

    They had in fact involved themselves in lots of useful work, at one time being the main fire-fighting force as well as running important messages  direct to the stages and standing on the gates. At no time were they into provoking violence or attacking people who left them alone. It was the caterers' security people , all East Enders, who were looking to take on the Angels and took every opportunity to provoke them.

    A lot of the incidents arose when the organisers failed to find the Angels jobs. Their main target at times of boredom was naturally the rip-off caterers and they spent a lot of time in the beer tent. The organisers were not informed of trouble nor given a chance to work out a peaceful solution to the confrontation.
 

    In one of many incidents, some Angels "borrowed" a Fun Caterers' jeep and were driving around. - Security men chasing them caught up when the Angels stopped to let some people pass. The Angels were dragged off the jeep and hit with the edges of spades -among other things-  and hit again when they were down and again as they tried to get up.

   The culmination of this episode was when some Angels were thrown out of the beer tent and stomped by the guards. They retaliated by invading the main catering area, driving jeeps around it and generally smashing it up.

   Then the Fun Caterers' men went wild and laid into the Angels mercilessly, knocking one of them out with a 14 lb sledgehammer and leaving others bruised and bleeding. After that they smashed up their expensive bikes, many of which the Angels had built themselves.

   The police were strangely absent at times of trouble, but waded in afterwards to drag off  the Angels. Later in the week 67 Angels appeared in court ,many of them charged with possessing offensive weapons.

 

The Angels having "fun"

Backstage 'security "

The medicial officer's account.

We now have the acount of Dick Farrow the medical officer in charge of the festival.

TRAUMA

"The third group of major problems confronting us were the result of accidents or as in the case of Weeley the outbreak of The Third World War on the Saturday late afternoon. This incident which was all over in a short time, was the spark that brought Weeley its notoriety, it produced the images that were shown worldwide and on the front pages of every national newspaper, TV and radio on the Sunday & Monday and many will judge Weeley on that one incident.

There are many and varied apocryphal stories as to the trigger point. I have listened to and read many but I firmly believe, based on my own experience, that Colin King’s account is the correct version. It is important to understand that Colin had employed the Hell’s Angels to carry out the security back stage – he had worked successfully with them on previous occasions. Vic Speck employed local “security men” to look after the security in all areas front of stage. This arrangement seemed to be working well, especially back stage where the Angels kept a tight rein.

Let me quote Colin King on what happened next: “I learned that local thugs were trying to get protection money from local concessions, so I took some Hell’s Angels who escorted them off site. They returned two hours later with 30- 40 mates who laid into their bikes, causing havoc and then disappeared”. It was literally putting a match to a can of petrol. Despite the dramatic headlines I think the Hell’s Angels received an unfair % of the blame, maybe because, in my capacity as police surgeon over 32 yrs, I knew some of the local security quite well!

My first contact was a local security guy being brought in with an obvious fracture of his upper arm. While dealing with him I was told that the Hell’s Angels had heard that I was shielding the enemy and were advancing towards the Medical Centre. I went outside in an attempt to reason with them and somewhat embarrassingly quoted the Geneva Convention, which had little effect! They were eventually persuaded to retreat.

A short while later four Angels came in carrying an old door, commandeered from a farm building, on it was an unconscious Angel. I knelt down to examine the pupil of his left eye, and surprised to discover no eyeball in the socket! His mate simply said “don’t worry about that doc, he lost it in Brighton last year!” There were a number of fractures, ten head injuries including two fractured skulls.

The medical students proudly informed me that they had inserted 168 sutures in just under one hour!"

Other people who worked backstage ( see Bill Greenwell's account ) say that " The Hell's Angels had not taken kindly to a member of the hot-dog traders' heavies, and had thrown him clean across the stage" . Which led to retribution at the end of an iron bar from the stall holder security. Whatever the reasons behind the violence, these gentlemen proved to be far tougher then the average festival goer and were prepared to deal out some serious beatings with iron bars and bats (as well as trashing the bikers most prized possessions.- their bikes.)

This sequence of shots shows the arrival of the bikers , the violent trashing of their bikes, and a vicious assault on an Angel by "the other "security, despite the presence of police. The bikers are finally hauled off in a police paddy wagon and appeared in Colchester crown court for their pains.

a trader recently contacted me about his experience

I was present at the Weeley Pop Festival. I had a tee-shirt concession and had only been on site for an hour or two before Hells Angels started to threaten traders and generally behave like bullying louts - even using a security jeep to flatten tents.

The Angels deserved what the traders meted out to them. I witnessed first-hand, the traders drawing their vehicles into a protective circle with cash in (if I remember correctly)  an ice cream van and it was at this point that the traders opened the doors on one or two TK Bedford vans and out popped the traders protection - rough, tough men with dogs, pick-handles (many with hammer heads and axe heads attached), but these men would not have been deployed had the HAs not started the trouble in the first place.

There's much more I can tell; I shared a prison cell at Clacton Police Station that night with (among others) an HA and when I asked him how they could tell if anyone was in the tents they drove over, he said, "you could feel the bumps".

I can tell about Police hiding in trees and ditches when the trouble started and of a very tall, long haired man, with an usherettes tray hanging from his shoulders. Attached to this tray was a six foot pole (sapling) with a large white cloth attached and on it, in foot high lettering was the word, ACID and a large black arrow pointing toward the tray. the tray contained hundreds of cubes of sugar, but the police never saw him!

I remember that my mini-van was featured on the front page of one of the National Daily papers the following day and showed at least one person on the bonnet. What it did not show was how a trader had saved a policeman from a severe beating and the unconcious form of his attacker on the ground.

I have many vivid recollections and I was an eyewitness to the destruction of the HAs m/cs and the HAs scaling the stockade when they were surprised at the sudden appearance of the traders protectors.

My understanding is that the traders only responded in this way after the HAs announced that they would gather in the stockade then march on the traders.
David Rand

"I am the fellow being attacked!! Still alive despite the photo not showing the iron bar wielded by my attacker, luckily missing my head & hitting me on the shoulder!!
 
We were also in fact FreeWheelers Wessex a motorcycle club riding mainly out of Aldershot & Reading. There were some Hells Angels in the mix too!
 
The Sunday Mirror had a very clear picture of the attack all over their front page! Much to my Grandmas horror! I would be very interested in seeing any photos, if a good clear copy of any of the photos exist.
 
Many thanks for your time & attention on my behalf
 
Best regards,
Andy Bunting. "

 

The " Top Drawer Villains's "account Eddie Blundell had sent his vans to sell ice-cream and hotdogs at Weeley. He had stayed at home but early on the Saturday morning he received a telephone call. Hells Angels were creating havoc and had attacked his vans.

This looks like the guy who was beating up another Angel on the front page of IT mag .

The extract below comes from Eddie’s recently published book, ‘Top-Drawer Villain.’ Many thanks to Johnnie Johnson who ghostwrote the book with Eddie for permission to reproduce this extract .

Interview with Eddie here

I got a team together at short notice. There was Bill Bailey, the O’Connor brothers, two or three soldiers I knew and some other handy lads. We were eleven, six of us in the Bentley and five in the Rover and we were tooled up in the usual way with pick axe handles, iron bars, monkey wrenches and God knows what else and when we got there we just quietly weighed up the situation.

It was a glorious day and all these kids were in their fancy clobber, Afghan coats and beads, not at all menacing. They were dancing round like a bunch of weirdos but that was the way then with the young. They kept shouting ‘Peace’ and giving you the V-sign. A lot of them were cooking their own grub outside their crappy tents so the smoke from the fires stung your eyes. What a ripe stench there was from all the smoke and the cheap bangers and onions and the already overflowing bogs which were no more than just slit trenches.

More to the point we found out that the Angels were nicking food off our trolleys and if anybody said anything they’d give him an almighty kicking. And then they’d nicked a couple of jeeps belonging to us and were riding round in them as if they were their own.

And when I say riding, I really mean racing and like the mad fuckers they were, they were driving through the tents. There could easily have been some of these kids kipping in them and they would have lost their lives. It was just empty-headed nastiness, just for the hell of it. Mindless.

Our involvement had all started off when a group of Angels went to Arthur’s barrow where he was setting up the food and they started helping themselves. Arthur wasn’t the sort to encourage them: he told them to fuck off and when they ignored him he just left them. Bet they had a bit of a laugh the way he scampered off. But he knew what he was about: he went over to where their bikes were standing all in row and he just went bang and kicked them all over.
 That put the tin lid on it.

After they’d turned the barrow over and generally made a mess of it, the Angels were on the war path.
Bill saw what was going to happen and he got the lads together. ‘We’re gonna get done unless we get tooled up,’ he told them so off they went and did as he suggested. ‘Let’s knock hell out of them.’ Bit optimistic with only eight or nine of them but at the time they didn’t think it would be beyond them.
‘Don’t anybody run away,’ Bill ordered them when they came back ‘Let’s stick together, he said, ‘and we’ll be okay.’
But they weren’t. There was too many Angels and they were kitted out with all sorts of weapons: knives, pick axe handles, hatchets, you name it. And there was a hell of a lot of them.

When Bill turned to encourage his troops he realised he was on his own so off he raced, breaking through the cordon of Angels but as he did so he took a couple of wallops from fists and truncheons and baseball bats or whatever else was handy and then somebody landed him a nasty one on the head with a cider bottle. What a mess he was in, covered in blood and cider, cut with the glass, his shirt torn off his back. He was a lucky boy to get away.

Plod puts biker behind him for "protection"

So once we got there and sorted ourselves out we set about them. Took them by surprise. Picked them off in twos and threes. They’d be motoring past a tent, Bang! Bash him with a baseball bat. Wallop! Smack him with an iron bar. Biff! Give him one with that spade. We really hurt them, giving them a tickle as they went past, standing up in the back of the jeeps. And down they’d fall onto the ground where we’d give them another reminder that they weren’t supposed to behave in that naughty manner. A real summery activity: the satisfying smack of wood on leather. There’s some great press pictures taken that day and one of them shows three Angels lying face down as if they were dead. I can assure you that they were alive but beginning to regret that they were.


We belted a fair number of them, gave them some right good hidings. We chased them out of beer tents and away from anywhere we found them. At one point we met three cozzas and they were talking to some Hells Angels. And you know how they were - how they are, in fact - these Hells Angels. They were shooting off their gobs. One of them, a fat bloke, was pointing at me, cheeky bastard, and he sort of strolled over towards us. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t react. And the cozzas, there was just an inspector and a couple of constables. I mean, what could they do? They weren’t there in numbers. The Angels would have eaten them alive if they’d started trying to keep them in order.

But its hard to believe that the little guy was prepared to wade into the bikers with the club given the presence of the police and cameras. Fortunately he did not hit Andy on the head.

All they could do was try to defuse any situation that might arise. So here’s the three coppers and they positioned themselves between us and the scruffy bastards. ‘Come on, now,’ the inspector was saying as if he was trying to persuade a group of four-year-olds not to be naughty. ‘Leave it out, lads.’
So being reasonable, cooperative fellers, we eased off a bit. We stood back and just waited and wondered who was going to break the peace.
Well, I happened to have a German shepherd dog with me and this fat Angel – did I say he was ugly as well? -  looks at me a bit sarky.
‘I’ll fuckin eat that dog for me dinner,’ he says, sort of giving the idea that he’d follow that with me as the main course.
I might have had an answer but Bill Bailey got in before me.
‘Well, eat this,’ Bill says and he does him with an iron bar right across the chest. Then it all went off. The cozzas grabbed hold of Bill and I’ve grabbed hold of one of the cozzas. Naturally, the Old German Shepherd doesn’t want to be left out so he’s taken mouthful out of the cozza’s leg.
‘Bomber, Bomber,’ he’s shouting, ‘get the fuckin dog off!’
Bomber! Well, I never.
That was my nickname when I was doing serious stuff in the ring when I was younger. Most people didn’t know that. I was quite flattered that this cozza had recognised me.  Fancy that. It was quite pleasing to be remembered in that way as we were disposing of these twats.

whatever, the bikers ended up being carted away and the security guys got off scot free !

Oh yes, we gave out a number of real good spankings to the Angels but they didn’t give up. They started collecting in a compound behind the stage. (I don’t know who was on stage at that moment but the music played on whatever activities me and my boys were engaged in.) That area was meant to be for staff but thirty or so Angels were there, walking around like they were fuckin kings with pick-axe handles and giving it the large and stooping down from time to time to stroke their bikes as if they were family pets.
I called our troops together. There was probably eighteen of us, maybe one or two more, and we marched into the compound in a line. I know at one point we were joined by a geezer carrying a shotgun but he was picked up by the police. Probably just as well because things were getting very edgy and you could sense that something very nasty was likely to occur. But our blood was up and so was theirs.
I said my lads, ‘All stay together. They can’t harm us if we stay together. No matter how many there is, together we can do ’em.’ Then I remembered that they’d done a runner earlier in the day when they’d left Bill on his own. So I gave them a reminder of how they were expected to act. Bit like Nelson at Trafalgar. You know, ‘England expects…’
‘If any fucker runs,’ I told them, ‘we’re gonna fuckin take care of you later! Got it? You won’t get away with it! You run and you’ve had it. You’ll answer to me!’
Seemed to do the trick.

So forward we went and a few tried to stop us but we lathered them. There was a guy there fancied himself. He was one of the Wessex Chapter leaders and he was sounding off. ‘I’ll kill the fuckin lot of you,’ he was shouting. Lot of guts that feller but none of us was listening to him. In the end somebody gave him one with a shovel round the head and it nearly took his fuckin ear off . But even when he went down he was still mouthing the odds until somebody had a go at him with a sledgehammer.

We bashed up every Hells Angel we could find. Most of them scarpered over an eight-foot mesh fence but that collapsed because of the number trying to climb over. They ran across a field towards some woodland and we went after them. And there was Stretch with one of these guys in a headlock and he was thumping the shit out of him with a club hammer. Some the Angels ran across a field towards some woodland and we went after them and we caught them There was bodies all over those woods, loads of them lying where we’d given them a well-deserved smacking.

Then we went off looking for the rest of them. I went in one of the beer tents and had a look round. There was an Angel there and when he saw me he pulled out a great big knife

He gave me a nasty look, a real menacing eyeball, and then he turned, raised the knife above his head and brought it down with one savage sweep. He’d slit the tent canvas and then he was through the hole like a jack rabbit. I never saw anybody move so fast. Never saw him again.
Then comes a walkie-talkie call from the security guy on the main gate. There’s one of his mates, one of the security blokes, with us. I think he probably felt safer when he was with my team. So he takes the message: the Angels have been gathering at the main gate. About sixty of them and they were just setting off up the hill in our direction.

Not all bikers were Angels.

Well, we thought, okay, there’s nothing we can do but face them.
‘You’ve got to stick together,’ I reminded my lads. ‘If they catch you on your own, you’re fuckin dead. But once they see us holding firm, they’ll run just like most of their mates.’
So off we went to meet them. We hadn’t got far when there was another walkie-talkie message. ‘It’s all right. The police are between you and them.’
Oh yes?
We got down near the entrance of the compound and we could see the police being barged aside. The Angels were coming on towards us again. And we were still marching down towards them. And then they stopped. They began pointing at us, making all sorts of threats, saying what they were going to do to us. It was a bit like Zulu except that we were on the higher ground.

And then they let the police come in front of them. The inspector I’d seen before with his two mates was still hoping to keep the peace. He came across to where I was standing. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘this is really getting out of hand.’

‘We’re only protecting our own gear,’ I said. ‘They’ve been going around spanking everybody. We’ve just been protecting ourselves.’

He nodded in the understanding way that people do when they know they’re outgunned but at the same time he was pleading with his eyes.
‘All they wanna do is get their motorbikes out of the compound.’
‘Oh, well,’ I said, ‘if that’s all they want, we’ll retreat. We’ll go back but if they start coming too close in our direction, we’re gonna do ’em. We’re gonna defend ourselves.’

He looked very relieved did the inspector. So did his two constables. Looked like I’d offered a diplomatic solution. And even the Hells Angels looked relieved after the inspector talked to them and told them what we proposed. At least they were going to get their property back and that must have been at the forefront of their minds.

We moved back about twenty yards past the gate to let them into the compound. About a dozen or so went in to get their bikes and within seconds out they came again, crying like babies. These great-big-hairy-leather-clad monsters that everybody was supposed to be afraid of had tears running down their cheeks like a bunch of teenage girls except that these were blokes, some of them in their thirties and forties.

All their lovely bikes. All their handsome machines. Expensive bits of top-class engineering. Looked after like babies. Cossetted. Cared for. All shiny as if they’d just come out of the showroom. But those Harley-Davidsons didn’t deserve to be in the hands of such people, that had been our feeling. These were machines with class. Quite unlike their owners.
We’d been to the compound a bit earlier and we’d taught them an expensive lesson. A couple of the lads had happened to be carrying sledge hammers and the rest of us had something that could do damage. The spades were very useful in this situation. We smashed every part of every bike. The tank, the wheels, the forks, the mainframe, everything that could be smashed beyond repair was smashed. Some of them had been set on fire. It may seem brutal but we took no pity on those bikes. They were tainted by belonging to such wankers.

The inspector was furious. ‘You’ve smashed all their bikes up,’ he said. It was quite beyond his understanding.
Yeah, we had. Smashed them up good and proper. And it looked by the way the Angels drifted away that the problem was partially solved. By now, brother

When it started getting dark we had a new ruse. We disguised ourselves as hippies and we didn’t stand out because the majority of those attending were hippies though they’re now probably bank managers and IT consultants and teachers. You know how they used to go round at these raves with their tatty blankets round their heads and shoulders. We did exactly that.

There was still odd groups of Angels dotted about and we’d get close to them. Then all of a sudden the blankets would come off and out would come the tools, the hatchets and the bricks and the pick axe handles. They weren’t prepared for us. And Crash! goes Stretch. Bang! goes Billy. Wallop! goes Colin and I even have a little tickle myself. Down they went, the Angels. They were having a dreadful day.

Then loads more police started to arrive and we weren’t needed any more. In addition to the county police, there was police coming in from London and the adjoining counties. All the roads were being blocked off. The publicity had been tremendous on the radio and the telly. And the Hells Angels from other parts had heard about the ruckus and they thought that it would be too good to miss and in any case they wanted to support their noble brothers. But the police weren’t having any of that. About sixty Angels had their collars felt, in the main for carrying offensive weapons. I should think so.

Getting on for about nine o’clock, apart from a few of the crew I left there just in case it all erupted again, we got back in the cars and headed home. 

© Kevin Herridge

© Kevin Herridge

The bikerl who threatened to kill the photographer © Kevin Herridge

© Kevin Herridge

Trashing the bikes.

Angels legging it to avoid a beating

Banged up, but cheerful , bikers ready to face the beak at Colchester Crown Court.

Photo Gallery Links.

Bikers Fires Crowd Site

Updated Jan 2016

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Thanks to Celia Bouquet , Keven Herridge ,Rich Deakin , Garry Bodenham , Redrich, Bill Greenwell ,John Sellick, Kieran McCann, Lin Bensley ,Brian Nugent, Steve Cook , Bill Greenwell and Phil Jones for the donation of articles and pix that have enabled the construction of this site.


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