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Updated July 2021

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This site is dedicated in the memory of

Roger Hutchinson,

who inspired me to delve deep into the magic of the free festival and who passed away Sept 3rd 2010.

R.I.P. Roger .....

Green Gathering.

RAF Molesworth Cambridgeshire



Phil Hudson writes

Held within the boundaries of USAF Molesworth, a (then) disused WWIIairbase in Cambridgeshire on the Northamptonshire border, designated to be the second ground-launched cruise missile base in the UK (after Greenham Common), in the constituency of (then) unknown local dumbfuckMP John Major. Started as the Green Gathering in ?June?July?August?.Some of the Peace Convoy, who had just been harshly evicted from Nostell (sp?) Priory in Yorkshire, joined shortly thereafter.

The Convoy folk weren't all comfortable with being labelled "Greens", and so was born the Rainbow Gathering, which quickly took on more of the free festival aspect (always present to some extent in the Green Gatherings anyway). The Rainbow gathering soon became the Rainbow Village, with every kind of "alternative" freak, dissident and outcast inhabiting the converted buses, trucks, ambulances, horse boxes, tipis, geodesic domes, and the most splendid benders I've ever seen. There was a village shop (a double-decker bus), a postman, a freaky chapel ("Eirene", Greek for peace), a peace garden (largely built by a former RAF man who was badly irradiated at Christmas Island in the '50s), a small plantation of wheat for Ethiopia (planted weeks before Michael Buerk "broke" the famine story in the mainstream media), and the legendary Free Food Kitchen.

Acts I particularly remember from the free festival time, August ?, were the unutterably marvelous and protean Wystic Mankers, only some of whom I've ever seen any other time, at Pilton later in the '80s, and the Flying Patrol Group, who were local (well, one of them was American, but they lived in St. Ives, Cambs.) The Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe were there too, also amazing. I see you have a link to them on your site. Other highlights of the time were "Yes" blotters and the guy with the enormous nose who just sat by a fire all day and all night rolling the longest spliffs I've ever seen for anyone who cared to chip in a "half a mix".

Our lives were changed forever and for good, all of us who lived there (even if only part-time, like me) and who travelled on as the Rainbow Village Trucking Company after the 85 eviction.

On February 6, 1985, 1500 police and troops were deployed to the site to secure the base for the MOD. This was the single largest mobilisation of police and troops since the war. For the Royal Engineers it was their largest operation since the bridging of The Rhine in 1944.
Following the eviction of Rainbow Village, Molesworth was the focus of large anti-nuclear protests at Easter 1985 and February 1986, during one of which Bruce Kent, one of the leaders of CND, symbolically attempted to cut through the fence in full view of the police. A dedicated protest presence remained outside the base well into the 1990s.
Sourced from the Wikipedia

Free Festivals List

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Free festivals and small fayres held in the United Kingdom between 1967-90.




  • Windsor Peoples Free Festival 1972-74
 Free festival related articles
Pay Festivals- Benefits for Travellers aid.

Main list of Free festivals 1970-1985

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

Related Articles

The aroma of a free festival -by Roger Hutchinson

Dome construction instruction sheet (download-140k)-by Roger Hutchinson

Travellers Tales Convoy Steve's tale of how the freaks outsmarted the fuzz at Greenham common.

Zorch -House band for the free festival set ? A fanzine page on the UK's first electronic band .

Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe-surreal pranksters of the Traveller community .

Acidia Lightshow Lightshow for Windsor festival and Stonehenge in the 1970s.

Traveller Daves Website - Chock full of of free festival photos !

Many, many thanks go to Roger Hutchinson , Big Steve , Roger Duncan, Celia, Will , Chazz, Jeza ,Chris Hewitt ,The Fabulous Time Tortoise , Peter Piwowarski - ( 70s music site/photos ) Martin S, Steve Austin ,Traveller Dave, Herb, Tim Brighton, Vin Miles, Haze Evans , Noddy Guevara, Chris Brown, Janet Thompson, David Stooke, Gary Gibbons , Nigel Ayers, Rich Deakin ,Glenda Pescardo,Justin Warman,Brian F, Steve Bayfield, Kev Ellis, Paul Seaton and many other minor contributors for their help in providing the archival material related to these free festivals which has at enabled us to construct the site .

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us

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