THE third year running, Windsor Great Park was taken over by thousands
of hippies tor a free festival of pop music, theatre (some of it in the
nude), and communal living. In keeping with its previous record, it was
a scene of drugs, litter, lots of booze and food venders, and most of
all disagreement and lack of understanding between police and organisers,
the local council and organisers, and in many cases the organisers and
organisers. This year, however, the disagreements ended in violence with
the police invading the site on Thursday, the sixth day in an attempt
to drive everybody off the site.
But it was free, thousands of people had a good time trying to foster
a scene of sharing and brotherhood among themselves.
all started last Saturday amid threats by the local council to spread
acid (the type that burns) on the ground to deter bare-footed hippies.
The organisers, led by veteran featival men UBI Dwyer and Sid Rawle ,
restricted their organisation to a few essentials and from then on it
was a free-for-all with nightly meetings to deal with the current problems.
Light Mission wea there, so were the Hare Krishna Movement, the Wallies
of recent Stonehenge fame, Gay Liberation Front, the Jesus People, with
their group Mountain Child featuring Jeremy Spencer late of Fleetwood
Mac , the Teachers, the Diggers, the White Panthers, the National Union
of School Children, and thousands more hippies, freaks, and drop-outs
of no particular sect. The featival's purpose, Sid Rawles told "The
Dlvine Times"' "is to prove that we can have a peoples festival.
That'a why its nine days. It's apolltical. You need to live wlth people,
experiment in living, tribal gathering." He admitted It was "a
blt untogether with a lot of commercial exploltatlon" from hot dog
and Ice-cream stalls .
His fellow organiser, Ubi Dwyer, 42-year old and a civil servant in Her
Majesty's Statlonery Office, was not available for comment as he had been
arrested on Wednesday. After two weeks of no sleep, according to the Festival's
own "Free Press" which is produced each day, he "has flpped
his lid". According to one organiser, he spent Tuesday marching around
the site wrapped in a Union Jack, proclaiming himself King of England
and demanding absolute obedience from his 'subjects.
It wes a little difficult to pin things down at the festival since nobody
was running It. But Release, the drug-help organisatlon wes there, and
reported a lot of hassles wlth pollce.
"There is a split between the attltudes of the pollce giving orders
and in the town, and those on the campsite who are quite nice. "
said Release man Don Aitken on Monday nlght. "But this is the blggest
operation ever mounted by Thames Valley Police. "
And Windsor certainly appeared to be a police state all last week with
pollce cars, jeeps, motorbikes and vans tearing up and down its streets.
There was even a hellcopter hovering over the site every day. According
to Aiken, they were picking up people everywhere, and searching every
,third or fourth car leaving the area.
were complaints of plain clothes police impersonating Release men.
When we asked Chief-Inspector Dennia Howells, about the searches, however,
he refused to comment. But he did tell us that at its peak, which was
probably last weekend, there were 500 police involved in the operation.
And by Wednesday they had made over 300 arrests, more than two thirds
of them for drugs and the rest for theft, assault and drunkenness.
However, It wasnt all heavy. On most nlghts there was good music
to listen and dance to.
One elderly couple, respectably dreased, stood out like a sore thumb.
But they were happy to be there. "We're educating ourselves,"
said the husband. "We're trying to see how the other half live
the better half. And we're really enjoying It all."
In one corner the Hare Krishna people were chanting, somewhere else the
Jesus People were giving out free meals while their group Mountain Chlld,
were rocking it out. And the organ-isers anti-boat devicea were working
smoothly. This involved ahouting, "Pig" whenever a plainclothes
policeman was spotted. We saw one such incident. In a matter of seconds,
a crowd of a few hundred had chased the unlucky copper off the site. And
if a bust was spotted, the same system applied.
Guru Maharaji's devotees were there in force.They arrived on Saturday
and set up a medical tent which caused a little misunderstanding with
Release workers who have been running a trip tent .