The Archive.

click HERE to find out more !

Big thanks to our sponsor Neil !

For information on today's festivals see

Best viewed at 1920 x 1080 min resolution.

Updated June 2019- new photos.

The Elephant Fayre

Port Eliot .

St Germans. Cornwall.

July 26th - 28th 1985.

Killing Joke ,Chevalier Brothers, Pookiesnackenburger

Ra Ra Zoo, Howard Hughes and T.W.A , New Model Army,The Kosh Dance Co, Popticians,

Rent Party, Earl Okin ,Black Roots,John Martyn.

poster courtesy Ray Weston



Unknown band Elephant Fayre Photo© Bodge

    Usually the Elephant Fayre was blessed with good weather, but for once , it rained and the Saturday night was a washout, although the event still went ahead. This was the last year but one for the festival, but we need more eyewitness accounts and a full lineup of bands , as we only have an incomplete list so far, gleaned from audience tapes of the festival.

   There were reports of can throwing , which would have been unheard of in the earlier years of the festival.

The 1985 Elephant Fayre was my first festival. Four of us drove down from Cardiff in a borrowed car. We passed a whole bunch of traveller's vehicles stopped by the police on the Taymar bridge and I seem to recall that everyone was happy the Peace Convoy were being prevented from attending, especially after their increasingly bad behaviour at Glastonbury.

The site was beautiful despite the rain and I remember having a very civilised cup of tea in the house. The Labour party had a big red bus there in an effort to entice the 'yoof' vote. That seemed a bit pointless to me as the number of Tory voters present could probably have been counted on one hand.My memories of the event have now merged so I can't put any order to them.

I remember seeing some Hells Angels messing around and whilst one of them was peeing on the ground, another one fell over and got a mouthful of the piss. I guffawed at this and found myself facing ten very cross-looking angels. cue hurried exit stage left.

Killing Joke seemed to be a little miffed at the rain and were grumpy,whereas New Model Army were happy as anything. At one point they declared that the next song was one for "burning hippies to". I noticed several long-haired types looking slightly paranoid at this, but most of them were clutching plastic containers of super-strength scrumpy so I'm guessing that they weren't fit to see the joke.

The Fayre in good weather

The comedy tent featured some blokes from Brighton who were doing performance surfing and singing about 'Sex Wax'. Quite marvellous. However, the reggae tent was the highlight for me as I had just bought a slab of hash fruit cake. After two hours of listening to dub I turned to my friends and said "let's go". In reality only half an hour had passed and I actually said "leeeeeeeeeetttssss... gooooooooooooo... "

In the morning my mate Toby returned to the car after spending the night sleeping under a tree, in the mud. He looked like shit. My girlfriend and I had spent the night in a very leaky canvas tent and, as she will confirm, we spent most the time after that bickering.

There was a boat moored up on the river bank and I decided to wade out to have a look at it. The owner then returned and pointed out why and how I was the stupidest man he'd ever met. In retrospect he was right.

I have no memory of what I ate for the weekend, nor what I drank (but the betting is on one of those plastic containers of scrumpy). I have no recollection of what kit I took, whose car we borrowed, nor the name of the fourth member of our party. I do, however, recall thinking that it was all quite mad and very good fun.

Graham Carrick

I attended The Elephant Fayre from 83/86 and loved every minute of it. My friends and I - the group got larger each year - would all travel down from Leeds to Plymouth,have a dip.then on to the festival on friday night.

I remember The Round Room where you could get a Cream Tea with a buttered scone whilst listening to live chamber music and staring at the amazing ceiling (anyone got any pics ?)

There was The Maze, the swimming pool,the Quarry where I discovered Dub Reggae, the mettalic upside down horses hooves and wooden warrior maiden,the tree that had been split by lightning that someone had carved hands clad in chain mail climbing out of - the free bus to the seaside resort of Looe, but mostly the BEAUTIFUL VIBE.

I felt very at home at the Elephant Fayre and would like to thank all the organisers for their efforts - you achieved something that will be (has been !) remembered for a long time.
I must try and find some pics


Elephant fayre 1985
I was 14 when my older mates dragged me all the way from Norfolk down to Cornwall in a vw camper van for the fayre - we pitched up and went out to see the main site. on the short walk down the hill we were offered acid, mushrooms, speed, hash - we bought everything - and thus equipped for the weekend ahead I went on to have probably the best time of my life - things I remember - queuing up for the Showers and once in saw that it was one big tent with no partitions and loads of naked big hairy hippies ( men and women !) ,then on sheepishly exiting without my shower being heckled at by Crustys because I had a towel and toothpaste in my hand! We passed Friday Saturday andSunday taking stupid mixes of all the drugs we had bought - regularly going back for more supplies - - drinking and hallucinating as much as possible and generally having one of the best trips / experiences of our lives - we passed monday trying to drag the van out of the mud getting pissed and buying socks in plymouth ..... I've been to many festivals since ( including Elephant 1986 ) but none have ever matched up to this - as for the bands Killing Joke , New Model Army and John Martyn - brilliant!


Recordings and Setlists

Killing Joke 7-27-85

Audience tape.

The Hum, Darkness Before Dawn, Requiem, Empire Song, Tabazan, Night Time, Kings and Queens, Good Samaritan, Love Like Blood, Bloodsport, Complications,The Wait , Pssyche, Eighties, Wardance, Sun Goes Down, Follow The Leaders.

New Model Army 7-27-85

Audience tape

Ambition (cuts in) Frightened, My Country,The Price
Heroin, Better Than Them, Adrenalin
No Mans Land, No Rest ,Young Gifted And Skint
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,Small Town England
Christian Militia ,Betcha

90 minute tape of John Marytn's set also exists


courtesy Ray Weston

1985 Sitemap

courtesy Ray Weston




  We are looking for eyewitness accounts of this event

Please feel free to contact us and contribute towards building pages about this festival by Contacting us. We try to reply to all messages, and will do immediately if possible. Usually we wait until we have enough new material to warrant a page upgrade , so posts may take quite a while to emerge on the page .

Return to Archive