View this site at 1280 x 1024 resolution
Last updated Dec 2012 . New recollections separate 1974 recollections page created as the page has become so big !
Any comments to add about the Windsor Festivals Contact us
Recollections. 1972-1973 .
Ecstatic anorexic freak dancing at Windsor 1973- © Vin Miles
What a great site!
I was there in 72 (I think) and it was fantastic and stays in my mind for many reasons.
I lived in Weston-Super-Mare and me and a couple of mates borrowed my mum’s V-dub beetle. I was a learner and my mate Brian was the ‘proper’ driver, but we soon were lost so we hightailed it onto the motorway reasoning that amongst all the cars I wouldn’t get spotted. Got to the Windsor area parked the car and made our way on foot to the festival site.
The things that stick in my mind are someone on stage exhorting the crowd to go and rip off a milkman who was selling milk at exorbitant prices; I think it was someone who had nicked a milk float, so he was duly done over.
It was my first meeting with the Hare Krishnas as we were young and stupid with not much money it was a revelation to find someone giving away food for free. The association with the Krishnas has been long standing and I still visit the temple in Soho St when I am in London. For many years after I always gave money to devotees I saw on the streets in thanks for the food we received.
It was the first time I ever saw a real live woman naked! There were at least two women, with body paint all over, just walking around the site. We were astounded.
Also we had a visit from the Hells Angels. On the first night we had pitched out tents and we were relaxing in out respective tents. I was lying on my back in mine, feet stuck out of the tent, candles making a nice glow. When I heard my mate Jimmy yelling from the other tent at ‘some bastards’ that had collapsed his tent, at about the same time my feet started to burn. I turned around and one of the Angels had put a candle under my feet. As I poked my head out of my tent, Jimmy emerged shouting and swearing but when he saw the group of Angels laughing at him he just retreated back into the collapsed tent. We didn’t particularly feel threatened it was just a bit of a laugh.
To be honest I can’t remember much about the bands but I still can remember the whole experience. It was great, my first festival.
Dr. Rob Burton
I helped organise the second and third Free Windsor Festivals. My memories are very vague. I remember an old Fire station near Fleet Street which had roof-top views over the Thames where I spent Saturdays mailing letters out. I also remember a meeting at a squat at Cornwall Terrace in London. The Second Festival had Hawkwind appearing at dusk with Calvert opening with On the Edge of Time. The Daily Telegraph had a very good photograph of the second festival which I was sent by the newspaper which is now lost. Somewhere I have the original poster.
I was only 16 when I got involved with helping out at the squat in Carmelite Street in London. I used to go there on Saturdays to generally help with mailing and other work. Ubi was there generally organizing the work but I cannot recall if Sid R was there. I think there was about ten or so people in the squat. I remember talking with a guy from Manchester particularly about anarchy.
The squat in Cornwall Terrace was attended by a hundred or so people to discuss Windsor III although I do not who actually lived in the squat. I remember a vote being taken of whether or not to let the press attend-I think he was from the Daily Telegraph.
problem is recollection. I took no notes or photographs; names came and went
and I am now 51.What I did 33-34 years ago is hard to recall. All I remember
is that Windsor II was a great experience which I never have forgotten while
Windsor II is always tinged with what happened on the final day.
i remember the tree being burnt down as i recall there was a north american teepee just in front of it and the owners were having kittens in case it got destroyed.
i did'nt stay to find out ,i remember the way the police treated every one it was disgusting, was it royal ascot that week ? i recall seeing lots of fancy cars and snotty people driving past,frizbees were being thrown everywhere ,and i camped next to hawkwind ,i tried to speak to them but they were well out of it,
i got filmed by the tv people shagging my girlfriend and her dad saw us on tv ,boy did we get it when we got back [ha ha]
your right people didnt do things to help you for profit, they did it because they could and wanted to spread there love and generosity i only went to two windsors 72&73
ps. do you remember the van driving through the park with big loud speakers on its roof playing genesiss nursey rhymes
Bikers circa 1973 Photo © Boz
"those were the days my friend. i wish they'd never end". i hitched down to windsor and got there very late at night. was walking alongside the park trying to find a way in when a cop car passed me, did a u-turn, then pulled up alongside. they asked where i was going ,so i told them. i was asked to get in the car. they asked if i had any drugs on me and obviously i said no. they then said they were pissed off as all leave had been cancelled to deal with something that they considered not worth bothering about. as we came up to the park gates i was told to get my head down so i wouldn't be seen. they flashed a torch and drove into the park making a neat manouver over a polo pitch and suddenly before me where about thirty cop cars parked at their temporary hq. "you didn't see that" i was told. after a couple of minutes driving round the park the festival was spotted in the distance.
they thought it would be a good idea for me not to be seen with them and dropped
me off there. the next day i was sitting with some friends, skinning up, when
who should appear but the same two cops. this time they were holding babies
and not in uniform. one of the smiled at me and asked if we were having a good
my blanket view that cops were all bastards changed that weekend.
next year i was bust at windsor.
I'm a belgian musician, and I played with my band (at the time) at the 72 windsor festival edition. I'm currently finishing a Ph.D. on psychedelic music, that's why I found your site.
I was on holidays in london at easter time in 72 and I met the organiser (can't remember his name...Rob ???) at hyde park's speakers corner, he was handing a petition about legalizing grass. I signed it and told him if he wanted a belgian band for his festival, we were the ones...at that time, i was making some kind of soft machine like stuff...
We came to the headquarters of the festival in london and were carried there in a van full of free food...
I remember that we played the same day as the Pink Fairies, and also Hawkwind, they were very good...
We did not have enough money to carry our equipment with us from belgium, so we had to wait for a band who had quite the same kind of setup as ours to play right after ;-)
Somebody recorded a cassette tape from our performance, but the keyboard player kept it and I never heard it again...
The next day, I remember the police harrassing people and we left the festival at that time
I had some leaflets with the festival headline...if I could get a hand on them, I'd send one to you, but it's such a long time ago... where are they in my house...
i was at windsor 72 with a group of white panthers -at that time i was the 17yr old girlfriend of one of them a guy called allan -i lived with him and his mates in a squat in prince of wales crescent in chalk farm london near the roundhouse-
we had an old bedford van which we took to covent garden market the night before we went to windsor and "liberated" sacks of vegetables - - we made huge pots of veg stew each day at the festie -and gave it away for free- we had a donatoin box on the table and it was constantly filled with hash and weed and acid by grateful customers
put up benders on site , huge tarpaulin tents like cities they were really dirty
on the outside but inside they were warm an comfy an very smokey- i dont remember
much else about the festival i guess i was pretty stoned most of the time
More about Ubi Dwyer here
Windsor Free Festival 1973
had heard about Windsor 72 from a chick who was living in the infamous
White Cottage in Tenby at the same time as me. She was full of enthusiasm
for the co-operative spirit, and told how when a band had played at night,
and there wasn't enough power for the lights, the car owners had pulled
their cars up in a semi circle around the stage and turned on their headlights.
in 73, when I heard that it was going to be on again, I convinced my partner
that we should go. Go we did, taking our young baby with us. When we got
to Windsor we weren't sure where the site was. A friendly policeman directed
us and several others to the wrong place, miles away from the real site.
It didn't look right. It didn't feel right. After a couple of hours we
went off and eventually found the right place.
The atmosphere was very friendly and supportive - a real community spirit. Added to that was the sense that we were doing something important. We were occupying Royal land for the people. We were standing up for individuality. We were making a statement of freedom. We were heroes! I don't know if it was 73 or 74 or both in which the Wallies from Stonehenge came and set up a tent full of tin cans of unlabeled food.
A sign read: "Take what you need - the rest is greed." I took a few cans. Mostly it was Heinz Vegetable Salad. Luckily, none of the cans were dog food! I also don't remember if it was 73 or 74 that, on the first day of the festival, before a a big crowd had gathered, a man built a geodesic dome in the copse. He was so pleased because people gathered round him in admiration. Then a couple of policemen came and asked him to take it down. He refused. They set about destroying his dome and arrested him.
girl took photos and shouted at the police that she was going to send the photos
to The Daily Telegraph. I remember thinking that The Guardian would have been
a better paper.
I don't remember many of the bands. Most of the time was spent chilling out or walking into Windsor to get a wash. There was an empty house not far from the site which had a broken pipe. This provided our drinking water and washing facilities.
Photo © Vin Miles
remember watching one band and someone asking if they could hold our baby. We
passed her over. We then saw her being passed from hand to hand as several of
the crowd thought it kinda neat to be holding a baby. Half an hour later she
was passed back to us from the other side - she had done a complete circuit
of the audience!
My main memory is of a couple of friends coming up to our tent in great excitement. They wanted me to see a band called Ace because they were playing a distinctive double necked guitar. The guitar was one I had liberated from a shop some months previously and then gone to Chalk Farm to sell, via a friend of a friend. While watching the band a girl came up to me. I don't recall much or any conversation. My recollection is that she mostly communicated with gestures and vocal noises like moans and grunts.
She somehow indicated that she wanted a cigarette and I gave her one. She broke off the filter before smoking it, then indicated a small, dark space under the stage. The stage wasn't very high, but there was just enough space to crawl underneath. Which is what we did. She wrapped herself round me and began kissing. We made love under the stage. Then I crawled back out and
went back to my partner. I don't think she's the girl in the picture dancing naked on stage. My memory is that she had short dark hair...but, it's possible. She was certainly crazy enough to do it.
I was fascinated by your site and offer a couple of nuggets that may be of interest. I've got a recording of Hawkwind at Windsor 73 buried in a box in my wardrobe. It's a C90 but the length of each side indicates that it was probably recorded on a C60. When I eventually turn it up I'll mail you a complete track listing. The quality is pretty grim but it's interesting as it contains a reasonable jam and a version of Calvert's Ode to a Time Flower both unavailable elsewhere. My efforts to track down the rest of the gig (one hopes that there was another C60 lurking), have come to nothing. If I remember rightly, the inside cover of Space Ritual Vol.2 on American Phonograph records had a couple of pictures from this particular festival but, sadly, they were rather badly reproduced in black and yellow.
Best wishes Michael Barnes
was there too! Been meaning to look for any references for a long time - as
you do. Finally did so and immediately found your entertaining site.
Can't add a great deal as I have a terrible memory and was so shattered (not being a natural camper) that I wandered round in a daze most of the time.
Like another of your contributors I was but 16 - 31 years ago - frightening!
I travelled down, fromThe Wirral, with a school friend, Mike. We arrived very early on as well and set up our tent in the woods. Can vividly remember wandering round Windsor at some point and being really stared at like I was an alien and at that point I didn't even really have long hair!
David Owen Davies.
Unknown band playing Windsor 1973 © Boz
Windsors were great. I was living in South Wales then and a host of us made
the trek in a variety of old vans and I on my trusty pushbike. The pushy was
always the easiest way past the police roadbocks etc, After all what fit-looking
young athlete on a road bike would be carrying quantities of contraband in his
saddle bags? Even a tatty one with blond locks and denim shorts managed to get
through unchallenged every time.
I have no idea what was going on on the stages or even who played. Our little tribe was big enough to provide our own entertainment and distractions. I remember lots of random acts of theatre and music all over the site.
As far as I can recall the first two Windsors were akin to a very colourful camping trip with a few hundred other nomads, surrounded by a wall of uniforms.
One of the biggest challenges was going into Windsor for supplies of food and water.
On one excursion I clearly remember about ten of us piling into an old Austin van (J something- I never was an auto freak) and going to town. After stocking up with food and a couple of drafts at the pub we headed back as the sun went down.
Low and behold, as we approached the common a couple of bobbies jumped out and waved down the van. I was in the front passenger seat with the first officer rapidly approaching, when the gormless git sitting next to me, in the middle, fessed up to having our total stash of acid and hash in his hand. This after we had clearly made it a policy that no dope was to leave the site, especially in the van.
Luckily I managed to grab it and, with a deft under-the-dash flick, it flew through the driver's side window just before we ground to a halt and the breathless officers ordered us all out for a strip search.
Needless to say I had to return to the spot after dark and spent hours on my hands and knees scouring the road, with a group of cops not that far away. Eventually I found a very flat but smokeable lump of brown squashed into the tarmac.
remember that at this festival Bill Dwyer wanted everybody to relocate to nearby
Virginia Water (Waters?). We had a vote and Bill lost.
He decided he would go anyway and led a small band off to camp out there for the night ('We will go to Virginia Waters' he kept saying).
At that time I remember thinking it seemed to go rather against the democratic spirit of the festival. Later I realised he was an anarchist, so I don't suppose he felt bound by democratic votes. I wonder would he have expected the others to go if he had won the vote?
I was about 16 and I found him quite charismatic. He had a gorgeous Irish accent. In fact, just because of his voice, I was certain that I had seen him at Speaker's Corner some time before promoting acid.
Also remember that every now and again people would start calling out for somebody called 'Wally'.
One person would start it off and then it would spread through the crowd. It seemed really funny at the time but it is only through reading the site that I have learnt about the 'wallies'. Or else I knew about them and have totally forgotten that I knew!
1975 I attended Watchfield and was amazed when looking through the pictures
elsewhere on this site to see my photo.
I spent just three hours at Windsor on August 26th, the bank-holiday Monday. The weather was fine all afternoon, not sunny, but warm, then around 7pm there was a thunderstorm, by which time I'd left. The bands were underamplified and the sound system kept breaking down or buzzing. I was never sure of the names of the bands who I heard, but it didn't matter. The atmosphere was friendly, despite a big police presence. One couple even got married; a call went out over the PA for "a vicar or a sea-captain". There were ice-cream vans, hot-dog vans, jewellery and magazine stalls - the usual festival stuff, but rubbish was piled in very neat heaps, unlike at Reading, where it was just chucked anywhere.
bought a poster of David Bowie for 10p. A naturist was there, handing
out leaflets. There was a rumour going round that Man would be playing
later. I had a friend who was a big fan of theirs, so I left the site
to get to a phone and tell him. No mobiles then. While I was phoning him
from a call-box in Windsor town centre the rain came and I decided not
to return to the site. I don't think my friend ever made it there, but
then neither did Man.
remember Windsor 73 as the coolest thing ever. I hitched there and the last
lift was courtesy of Sid Rawle (I have just been watching the interview with
him on youtube and it's good to know he is still around with his finger on the
pulse) in some great wallowing american car. There was just such a good vibe.
I remember a bunch of us going off to pick apples for the free food kitchen.
We were warned to make sure we were all clean so I had a big spliff before leaving.
Sure enough the blue meanies searched us all at the park entrance. I have always
tried to be high and not carrying when going through any kind of security check
ever since, a sort of ritual to make sure I remember those days and to remind
me of how much I learned there. I went again in 74 but it was very uncool thanks
to the bad vibes from the police and I left after a couple of days. All I really
want to say is a very big thank you to anyone who heped put it together. It
still is an inspiration after all these years and has never been equalled.
Just browsing your site, great days we went to all the Windsor Free Festivals from age 15, heres some pics of The Ruislip Crew at the 73 Windsor Festival
pic one l-R.. Sade, Me Ian Johns, Barry, Tony,Jim, Glenn, Morf,Gordon,
pic 2....Unknown Girl, Barry, Andy and me (Ian) on floor drinking wine
Changed my life for the good..forever
i came across your website during a websearch
im tracking down some key events in my own life journey
i was at windsor in 1973 and have several powerful,strong memories of the event which id like to post in due course.ive found some of my own involvement referred to elsewhere 2 which is a little spooky,even when me and my friends are referred to anonymously.
i was at the festival from its start until after the bank holiday.i was involved in an early incident with the police when there must have been only 50-100 or so of us there.the police thought they could bring things to a quick and early end.they drove one of their windowed trucks into a copse of trees driving at whatever speed they could must straight at a number of us.equally quickly they lost the initiative and when they stalled we rocked their van and turned it over with police officers dangling from seat belts inside.they were then allowed out of their vehicle with some difficulty and told in no uncertain terms to leave.as numbers increased we were able to keep police out and off the site for most of the time.
i later met up with other members and associates of "our"arts lab/promotions agency.some of us were involved in producing the daily free bulletin,effectively the newspaper of the site.
at some point the police infiltrated drugs squad officers onto the site although they must have been pretty ineffective.at some point the festival took on a slight political focus as stan,ubi and others identified drugs squad officers personally who when then assailed with cans and other objects raining down on them,and being chased from the field.
spent some time selling copies of peace news,socialist worker and other publications.
one of the bands missing from any playlist is wooden lion.someone else who has posted on your site made the same observation.at the time our agency had encouraged wooden lion to come,and others recollections confirmed that they did.
eventually left to organise political support for the festival and get other
musicians.i got waylaid and was not able to return, i went on to sheffield and
manchester.as i secured a place to begin training as a social worker in sheffield,i
never made it to catonsville roadrunner in manchester and life took a different
turn, but all these years on the memories are still strong and i remain still
I have just stumbled across your website and have just spent the last hour and a half of work time reading through it and day dreaming about my visit to the 73 concert.
I remember it, not only because of Hawkwind, but because of the fact me and two friends were driving an old Ford Anglia and as we drove towards the ground when we started to be followed by a police car. All three of us men had long hair and I guess that was what attracted the police to us.
The friend who was driving decided to take a detour, to see what the police would do, and rather than head for the concert ground, he drove off in the opposite direction. Still the police followed until my friend made the mistake of turning into a cul-de-sac. We were trapped as the police quickly blocked our exit.
In no time at all, three other police cars arrived and collectively all the occupants headed for our car. We were still sitting inside enjoying a leisurely cigarette and listening to an old cassette tape we had brought along for company. On reaching the car they hurled open the doors and pulled us out. I was sitting in the back and almost broke my leg as it ended up twisted around the bloody seat belt. Luckily I was a tad more supple in those days !
We were asked if we had any stashed in the car drugs. We said we did not. We were not believed and the police started pulling out the seats and opened the boot and started to go through there. By now all of the occupants of this pretty little middle class cul-de-sac were now surrounding the car and decided to throw their two bobs worth in and started to call us drug taking hippies and the like. Looking back I find it amusing, but at the time, it was a bit scary. I seem to remember that there was a huge dislike for hippies and guys with long hair, for some reason.
The police found nothing and eventually allowed us to put the seats back in the car and drive away.
By the time we got to the festival we were a bit jaded by our experience but settled down to listen to the music.
Got to say, that I hadn’t thought of that incident for many, many years but it can still bring a smile to face.
vivid memories of this, 39 years later. Not sure how I heard about it, but I
planned to go weeks ahead of time - courtesy of the art teachers at my grammar
school (which I completed that June) I had printed some bright yellow posters
and T-shirt with my own psychedelic design for the festival . . . wore the T-shirt,
taped the posters to the sides of my first car, a little black Mini van which
had been converted by turning the side panels into windowsAnd on another note
Things that stick in my mind:
- Hawkwind arriving in some huge American cars, one a pickup truck in the back of which was a bevy of very voluptuous underdressed (I seem to recall cowboy boots though) blondes who looked as if they had been borrowed from a strip club staffed by cheerleaders
- Hawkwind's set just wasn't the same played in full daylight
- at one point the petrol for the stage generator was running low, so I went into Windsor to get some . . . the only thing we had to put it in was some open oil cans, so I drove back to the site with 3 or 4 open-topped cans sloshing around on the carpeted floor in the back of my van
- seeing a police van actually drive over a festival goer . . . I could not believe my eyes
- seeing a policeman with a big wooden cross strapped to the radio he had attached to the front of his uniform; while a girl and I were chatting to him (he seems cool) she rolled a joint right in front of him . . . not sure if it really was hash she was crumbling there, or a piece of dried mud, but he did not bat an eyelid
I also remember the Windsor Great Park first festival. Which again I hitch kicked up to and it was a very small festival, again 200 people just outside in the park, enjoying being in the queens back garden for the hell of it. Was really fun just being outside amongst other people and in fact is what it was all about! The power of the people was what made it what it was.
More about Ubi Dwyer here