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Stonehenge Festival 1976 -press articles.

"Officials in the dark over Stonehenge festival."

    Whilst large rolls of barbed wire were being put up around the world famous prehistoric monument Stonehenge early this week, up to about 100 hippies drifted into a neighbouring field with vehicles and tents for what one of them described as a ‘ pop festival likely to attract 15,000 fans . “

    The festival they were talking about and which has never been officially notified to the police or local authority, seems to be a ‘happening ‘ which could last for about seven days from tonight ( Friday ) . But local landowners , the Dept of the Environment , who are responsible for Stonehenge and the District Council are in the dark over the event .
On Wednesday just under 100 hippies were in the field and were recovering form a not -too -pleasant night of rain .
They were finding themselves under a siege position for the the field entrance through which they had gained access during the day was now padlocked and they were , according to their spokesmen , unable to get water form the nearby toilets at Stonehenge car park.
   A  Welsh rock group leader "Solar Ben "said the water and access to the public toilets had been denied them , but the police had been friendly and helpful towards them . He said they were at that site for the summer solstice which meant a lot to them and was a highlight of the year as it was for the druids. But they did not plan to join in the Druid ceremonies which take place from midnight on Sunday over to the following day, including the famous sunrise ceremony in which the Druids enact their principal ceremonies among the great stones. "We are nothing to do with the Wallies," he explained -" they are dead man" he added . He pointed out the stage that was in the course of being erected in such a position that the sun, if it shone at dawn , would light up the stage and the performers upon it.

   But the festival spirit was not abroad mid week for the scene was decidedly damp and bedraggled and not a note of music could be heard drafting from the vans , cars or tents in which men , girls and one or two tiny tots spend a dreary night .
In the meantime the ministry workers were putting up the protective barbed wire wall around the monument preparatory to the weekend druid ceremonies , an annual precaution made necessary a few years ago through rowdyism and vandalism .

   One of the hippies said he and his friends had been let into the field through a gate by someone who seemed to have something to do with the land and he thought eventually 15,000 fans would be turning up for the‘ happening“ many of them from the North Devon pop festival which finished recently .

    Police will be keeping an eye on the area and on Wednesday Salisbury Division Chief Supt Frank Lockyer said the hippies were occupying the land illegally and in contravention of the Stonehenge regulations made in 1975 by the Environmental minister . Amongst unauthorised which are forbidden are entry to the Stonehenge area , organising or taking part in an assembly , performance or ceremony, erecting tents or amplifying sound .

    But yesterday a question mark was put over the rock festival. As more hippies slowly drifted in , the dept of the Environment in London announced that the festival was off.
In a special statement a spokesman said." There is no free pop festival at Stonehenge this week."
He said regulations governing the monument forbade any assemblies at the the site without previous permission from the secretary of state.


Campers In Robes at Stonehenge Festival.

   Farmers said - Keep away and so did the department of the environment, but , over the weekend, thousands of young people ignored the warnings and transformed a field alongside Stonehenge into a vast mediaeval style encampment.
They brought their goats and their dogs and even their own bakery - and with many of the campers wearing long flowing robes, they could easily have been the army of Henry V at Agincourt.
   Playing in turn on the makeshift stage - built in line with the central arch of Stonehenge and the heel stone - were 20 groups . They included members of the cult recording band Hawkwind , Lightning Sphere, Jupiter's Child and Solar Ben , with Elizabeth Taylor's son - Michael Wilding , on flute and saxophone .
Local Bands
    Local bands also used the opportunity to play to a vast audience of people from all over the country . Shining Hearts , based in Salisbury , took along their own generator and gave an impromptu concert just outside the stone circle.
But music was only secondary to some . As one Londoner put it, here was their chance to practice their own lifestyle away form the prejudice of the cities. He pointed out the workers co-operative bakery - where wholemeal bread was being baked and the the tiny stalls selling teas, fruit and home made candles - all at rock bottom prices.
Food supplies were being bought locally and a farmer in the area , for example , agreed to supply daily churns of milk. Perhaps the biggest problem was sanitation - although the toilets at the entrance to the monument were left unlocked .
    Amesbury people had mixed feelings about the festival which was declared illegal by the Department of the Environment last week. But one middle aged man said " I only came to laugh but now I’m here I think its great ". And many of the leaders in the town agreed that the festival had "not been detrimental"
The manager of the coop-, Mr Ken Allen said "They’ve got their rules and I’ve got mine but we’ve had no ,problem with shoplifting or anything" .
On the other hand ., the manager of one cafe said he was only serving his "recognised customers "otherwise he would have to take the salt , pepper and mustard from the tables.
   Wiltshire police kept a low profile over the weekend - keeping mostly outside the festival site, which is owned by the National Trust and controlled by the department . But they occasionally went into the field to take messages to be tannoyed over the public address system . And they even directed traffic through the wide open gate at the entrance , past a departmental sign warning people of possible jail sentences for remaining on the site illegally , for organising or taking part in unlawful assembly , or for "erecting or raising apparatus for sound transmission" .
   By  yesterday ( Wednesday ) 52 arrests had been made , mostly on drug charges. The arrests were mostly outside the festival , but in the vicinity of Stonehenge.
   Chief Supt Frank Lockyer said "whilst perhaps the numbers of arrests and crimes may be low considering the numbers attending , the figures really reflect the amount of effort the police were able to put into it, rather than the extent of the problem . One should not ignore the fact that the festival is illegal , neither should one ignore the sordidness of the circumstances on the site" .

Nudes drugs and theft at the rock festival.
    Stonehenge's Midsummer solstice ceremonies may be over for another year for the Druids , but for 2000 or so hippies , the field around the ancient monument is still a site suitable for them to pitch their tents , tepees and mobile homes and carry on with the rock festival they started last weekend. Although there have been no incidents on the site , the number of arrests for theft and drug offences , both on and off the site, has steadily increased .
    Offences have ranged from a streaker caught inside the monument site during a druids ceremony to theft of food and equipment from other campers. Complaints were made to the police on Tuesday after a number of hippies were seen bathing nude in the river Avon at Amesbury. One American visitor - is Ann Thatcher , from Wisconsin - had 112 pounds worth of property taken from her tent , including her passport, return air ticket and cash . Miss Thatcher had stopped at Stonehenge to see the stones and camped at the site not realising that it was a hippie commune .
Store fire.
    On Tuesday a food store on the site was destroyed by fire along with most of its contents. Fans put out the blaze themselves. So far there have been close to 60 arrests for offences of one sort or another and a handful of hippies have already appeared before magistrates at Salisbury and been remanded .
    The number of fans built up towards the end of last week and by the weekend close to 3000 were camped on the site adjoining Stonehenge. Pop music blared out day and night , but by Wednesday the numbers had dwindled to 1500 and fans were still leaving the site in small groups or singly .

Cloudy .

    Despite a large number of visitors from the festival being held in the next field the annual druids ceremonies at Stonehenge at dawn on Monday proved the most orderly and least attended for some years. Several hundred sightseers and visitors to the ceremonies were joined by about only 1000 or so of the 3000 rock festival fans . Butt the Druids and their visitors were unlucky with the weather and because of cloud did not see the sun rise over the heel stone as is hoped on the Summer Solstice. Among the Druids was Coronation St star Ken Barlow ( Bill Roach )who sounded the trumpet during the dawn ceremony , which included some 60 white robed members of the order.
    The stone circle was heavily barricaded with barbed wire fencing and illuminated . Police were out in strength with dogs.
Visitors, including many from overseas who had come to visit Stonehenge, found a bonus attraction in the festival and many paid a visit to the site to see what was going on .
    Answering questions about the likely cost falling on the county council of the festival ,the county council chairman, Group Captain Andrew Wellman , said any cost would fall on the police .
"The people there are breaking the law if they trespass and the police will be expected to carry out their duty "he said .


Henge Documents

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