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1974 festival menu.

It began as an experiment in a new society of love and mutual co-operation ,functioned for six short days as a model world where all differences of creed, colour and politics were non-existent and ended in a nightmare that bore more than a passing resemblance to the wounded Knee massacre. The third Windsor festival was not a pop music festival, but a gathering of thousands of people , young and old, to experience for nine days the realisation of living what has been termed an alternative society. The creation of a tent city of people who longed to return to the simpler life of tribal concept . While the world outside looked in and saw nothing but the stages from which blared rock music, those who penetrated deeper became aware that by comparison to what was actually taking place , the music was incidental.

The Reverend Brian Ferguson

The 1974 festival was the biggest and the last Windsor festival. Its aspirations were lofty and possibly impossible to attain given the circumstances in which it was forced to operate- the site being surrounded by a hostile wall of police officers , many of whom just did not understand the philosophy held by the participants. It was this fundamental clash of beliefs and incomprehension of what the purpose of the festival was that ultimately led to one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the British police force - when on August 29th 1974, the site was invaded by hundreds of officers from the Thames Valley police force who , in an early morning invasion and with truncheons drawn , proceeded to use what most people would deem unreasonable force to remove the mostly peaceful festival goers from the site. It was a dark day for much vaunted British justice , not to be repeated until the even more savage" Battle of the Beanfield " that occurred near Stonehenge in 1985.

Despite this , before the lamentable events of the last day, there were many successful aspects to the festival.

Brian Ferguson

The only comparison to the true functioning of the festival that comes to mind is the annual gathering of the tribes of north American Indians.

Grouped around each stage area were a collection of tents and various tribes or sub-societies, many of the religious groups such as the Divine Light Mission, a children of God Hare Krishna Temple, the Wallies, various yoga sects, and so forth, plus various political groups ranging from Liberals to Anarchists. And for the duration of the Festival all the differences were forgotten as they functioned as one people. At 11 am each day the People met at stage A to discuss and democratically vote upon the important issues affecting the overall operation of the festival site, deciding upon such things as feeding, sanitation, policing to keep thefts and the sale of hard drugs at the barest possible minimum (it is interesting to note that this was done far more efficiently than in any other other community in Britain ) . At 9 each day , leadership representatives from each group met along with the "stage manager of each area of the site to discuss. the experiences of the day and to form proposals for the large meeting in the morning. It was an operation of non-bureaucratic city government that worked.


Photo © Peter Glanvill

We are peaceable people enjoying a holiday festival in time honoured fashion. lf the police would only go away and stop harassing and dominating the festival there would be no trouble. All we ask is to be left alone to enjoy ourselves in peace.

Bill Dwyer


Left: When the police moved to evict those remaining on the festival site on the morning of August 29th, many of those who attempted to take photographs close to the action either had their film destroyed by the police or were arrested . The plucky Jenny, who sent us the photo on the left , managed to avoid both fates and has now sent us her photographs . Despite her close encounters with the law she still has fond memories of the festival......

I was sweet 16, quite naive back then but the few days it ran are etched in my memory for life, people calling where's Wally? all night - watching the sun come up, giving up sugar in coffee (as there was none) 'Johnny be good' sang at most stages at some point during the day, spot the drug squad (obvious wigs and cut trouser bottoms) food hand out kitchens, happy people and people as high as kites, my first wrap around skirt , walking into the town to wash in the public loo's, meeting my brothers Spanish friends (lovely people kindly put us up for a few days when we were kicked out of the park) the list goes on and on, it was a good experience and I was glad to be part of it. My Brother played in a band back then, I think it was 'Here and Now' and his girl friend sang in a band I couldn't tell you the name of it but her name was Suze.


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Windsor Press 74

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