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Ulster Refugees and Friends . Windsor 1974 © Steve Hurley

A bit of background to go with the photo...

We (the crowd on the photo) were working 12-hour shifts through the summer in Donald Cook's canning factory in King's Lynn and camping in the garden of an abandoned villa close to the factory. If I recall correctly, out mate Putsy had the idea we all bugger off to the Windsor Festival and, being a bit stoned at the time, we all thought that would be a brill idea (including my brother who had just had his meniscus removed; (the one on crutches).

So, making a few phone calls to absent friends Up North, packing up our tents, we loaded up with tins*, loaves and lucozade, ('Vitamins are important if you're taking 'that' stuff', was our motto). and piled into a Ford Transit, and off we went. *Because of the food scams at other festivals, and we had 'liberated' tins from the factory,
Windsor was sunny, the mood was lazy and the pubs were full of long-haired extra-terrestrials. Perfect!

We all had a great time skirting the DS patrols into the park, (Putsy was the expert at packing a Transit - an aside about that great lad, he turned up at Watchfield the next year with a paper carrier-bag full of grass, with a bunch of bananas on top! He wasn't caught by the DS: "Who the fuck expects a hippie to be openly carrying a shopping-bag full of grass?", was his comment.

We had a great time; having hysterics listening to Hawkwind (again), stunned by Syd Barrett, telling the Hot-Dog vendors to Fuck Off (Loudly), "Just tryin' t' make a livin' lad". We had a big cider party the night before The End. Lying around the fire totally relaxed, changing the world. Ah, bliss!

The local Windsor police lining the road in the park we invited to our fire for tea. Had long chats with some of them. Very calm, very relaxed, very friendly (pointed out some DS to us).

Then the rude awakening. The Thin Blue Line of rather irate Thames Valley's Best. We, being Irish catholics, immediately sat down in a big circle and started reciting the mass in Latin. The poor boys in blue had no idea what to do when Putsy said he was a priest. So we escaped the brutality. We agreed to pack our stuff if they would keep the 'nutters' away. As the Windsor police detachment were embarrassed by what some of their 'colleagues' from the TV were doing, they agreed to be our 'protection'. So we packed up quietly, packed the van, (there were three local policemen hiding behind it looking a bit shocked), wandered around the site, laughed at the police standing on the stage, asked if they could do a bit of acapella, were told to 'Bugger Off", so we did. Windsor village was like a sea of blue - reminds me of the photos of the football-rowdy era.

Two things I brought out of that festival.
1) Before the festival I always thought that the Boys-in-Blue were basically a nice bunch, just doing their jobs (After all, I was breaking the law consuming 'certain substances'), and the odd clip-on-the-ear I got as a kid I probably deserved. I suppose that's because I was brought up on Dixon of Dock Green.

After that festival, I knew there were some very nasty people who were going into the force. Real GBHers. I can still see one policeman (thug) bent double , screaming as he stormed through the tents with his arms wide ripping down everything in his path, then being restrained by two of his colleagues and escorted to the road.

2) I'm going back. The bastards are not going to grind us down. And I did, and they didn't.
Thanks for the memories,
All the best,


 My memories of the Windsor festival are a little different. In 1973, I was sharing a squat in London with Bill "Ubi" Dwyer, the festival organizer. We worked many long hours putting the whole thing together, making flyers and distributing them, contacting artists and agents, dealing with the police and press - it was a heady time. Bill was a gentle guy with a grizzled beard, but he could be fierce when he needed to be.

The problems he encountered demanded that he be tenacious and I loved watching him deal with the media and the naysayers. His passion for the festival was something to behold. I also remember that he was impressed that I knew the derivation of his nickname - "ubi" is Latin for "everywhere". I often wonder what became of him.

Bruce Bradley.

More about Ubi Dwyer's fate here  


your site is brilliant - I would be honoured to have my little bit included.

About the  Windsor 1974 Free festival. Can't remember one bloody band! I spent most of my time pursuing rumours about the likes of Syd Barrett and Peter Green.

There seemed to be about 50 stages.
On day 4 I was rudely awakened at when a line of police moved across the site, ripping down tents, wig-wams etc.

It was amazing how peacefully the majority of the concert-goers took it.

Mind you the Old Bill were arresting anybody they could actually get hold of

Regards from the Sunny UK

Tony Pendrey

This from Andy


    Found your tremendous Windsor site and thought I'd offer my recollections. Summer 1974 and the buzz among the local hippies was Windsor. At that time I was hanging out with an older hippy who had the use of a farm cottage (cliche eh?) through which a constant stream of wannabe counter-culturalists, druggies and general neer do wells flowed. Anyway Chris and I decided to go. My girlfriend wanted to come so it was arranged (!) that she should travel down by bus whilst I and Neil hitched it. We arrived (I think on the Friday), our last lift dropping us off a mile or so away. We were immediately picked up by a hippie van full of colourful characters and taken to the site. We set up camp just outside the trees with the main stage in full view. I was impressed by the variety of tents/tipis etc and the sheer weirdness of some of the people. There was also acid etc on free and open sale. My young mind was blown! As darkness fell people got down to some serious partying and we went in search of Helen and Chris. Amazingly after only an hour or so's wandering we found them.

You read it here first ! Windsor 1973 © Vin Miles

    Saturday dawned bright and sunny and by lunchtime we had fallen in with some serious hippies from Wrexham who obtained some brown acid at 50p a hit. I was later led to believe this was some of the famous "Operation Julie" produce. Anyway, despite being a relative acid neophyte we all necked one. There goes the neighbourhood! The remainder of the day passed in a blur of music from the main stage - no idea who - and some very bizarre sights. I recall hundreds of people standing round a tree which had been set on fire - it was a beautiful sight. A long line of people - the Wallies I think - snaking through the crowd, many with grotesque masks on (although that could have been the acid!). A huge frame tent being moved across the site by virtue of being walked by people within it. Police in the fields to the rear of the main stage and police at the side of the road being taunted by some stupid hippies. Watching the helicopters overhead and actually believing I could shoot them down. Clusters of hard-core freaks in the woods, strange groups of people all involved in serious weirdness. The encampment of the "Kilburn Midnight Tokers". I recall that around dusk they were playing a spoken word tape from the stage which was of a"metaphysical" nature. No idea what but it was designed to freak the trippers that's for sure!

    As darkness fell we settled down to watch the main stage. I still can't recall who played but I do recall the light show. Called Acidica it was just that, acid in light form and absolutely the best lights I have ever seen. We went for a wander and found a couple more stages. On one there was a Brinsley Schwarz type band playing with about thirty scantily clad female dancers. Somewhere else, very late into the night, I recall a huge geodesic dome/tent with a sign on it saying "Celestial Mechanics". God only knows who those people were - I looked inside and could see a circle of freaks passing a chillum. The "doorman" wouldn't let me in for some reason. I just presumed I wasn't high enough! It was a fantastic night! The next day I was a little, er, "delicate" but soon got going again. I just remember a lot of people having a wild time with the music and drugs turned up to no. 11! I have no idea what we ate or drank during the few days I was at the festival. I desperately wanted to stay until later in the week to see the Edgar Broughton Band, but for some reason had to go home. I saw the carnage later that week as the police trashed the site, and was glad I'd gone when I did. I still have my lasting, if fragmented, memories of the event and a fabby A3 poster which I treasure.

Happy Trails



Windsor 1973 © Vin Miles

From Del

    First of all I would like to say congratulations on brilliant site and give you a few memories of Windsor 1974. I went with a mate of mine named Lou and a couple of girls from Romford Essex. We arrived to what I then thought was the greatest gathering of Hippies in the world. We sat around smoking and saying "Man" a lot. I had a tin of pineapple for some reason and the opening of it was fascinating one of the girls Pauline as she was tripping. I also remember the metaphysical spoken words mentioned by Andy in his memoirs I think it was a Tangerine Dream tape in the background with a voice overexplaining just what happened when you took acid it certainly seemed to meet with the approval of the trippers anyway. Some one told me the tape was made by Zorch but I'm not sure who or what they were. It was also the first time I saw a smiley. The black guy in the photo on your site was watching the same stage as us and at one point got up on stage and gave a speech about how terrible it was that some of the beautiful people were being arrested and then said he was the king of Africa , we all cheered of course. These were great days when we were going to change the world after all.

   That night I remember The Half Human band playing and wandering about all night speeding, there was a band jamming on the back of a lorry and they had a generator that was playing up and anyone with an instrument was getting upand joining the jam. I think Gong played on one of the stages but I'm not sure. There was a rumour that the P.A at one stage (the one on a slope) was loaned by the Grateful Dead? We left before the Police wrecked the festival- I remember lecturing my Dad how they were taking our freedom. Ah! yes those were the days.

Peace and Love to you all,


Roger Hutchinson

        I had read the Cool Aid Acid Test, Doors of Perception etc before taking my first trip and at the 2nd Windsor spent either doing the lights all nightlong in a heightened state of creative awareness or at the release tent helping those Londoners who had over-indulged in the Welsh strength acid. (that all ended later with Operation Julie) The youth of UK were about 4 years behind the drug culture of US but as the free festival movement became established, the element of taking acid at these events became a bedrock reason for organising them. From my point of view, it was the creation of a protective and supportive environment with suitable entertainment where it was safe to indulge the synapses and allow the lambs and tigers to enjoy themselves to the full.

       It was in this state of mind that I was still standing after a memorable night watching Zorch on the Virgin Stage at the '74 Windsor when I spotted the start of the police invasion. Most were asleep in tents as the early rays of sun were recieving my attentions and I saw the black buses pull up on the main road and black ants swarm out. I shouted myself hoarse alerting the thousands of slumberers to the crisis, hardly believing my eyes as six of the rapidly growing 'ants' made a beeline for me! I turned tail and with the feet of Mercury flitted and hopped through the tents until I dived unseen into a modest ridge affair on top of two disgruntled bodies who took understandable umbrage at this rudery. Apparently, the effort of escape had robbed me of air from my vocal cords and my mime of explanation was mistook for a fit. One look through the nylon flap was enough to convince them that things were afoot and a desperate struggle with hiding stash ensued. My initial efforts to arouse the site was gaining ground as others emerged to take up the cry and I was safe from my pursuers who had withdrawn back to their line. The rest is common knowledge except for the number of agent-provocateurs planted in the mostly peaceful protesting crowd to up the anti on the physical violence front so that the police could respond with like in front of the newshounds. I sent my camera back with a load of inflatable equipment the day before so no images of that fateful day.

Windsor 74 was the ugly one. But, before the police raid, it had been a very cool place indeed.

I had gone alone and met a guy in Windsor. It was his first time, so I took him to the site. We bumped into his sister. Because of the small scale of
the Windsor festivals, and the nature of the event which mostly consisted of walking around and chatting to people rather than just dumbly sitting in front of a stage, it was quite common to bump into people you knew.

The three of us scored some Purple Haze. As it was already quite late the guy and I were planning on dropping the tabs next day. His sister popped hers into her mouth straight away. We shrugged and joined her. No point in letting her trip on her own.
As we peaked the girl and I got randy together. The guy was embarrassed, packed his stuff and left. I never saw him again.
Around us we could hear other people also tripping out. Some people were going into the hedge to make love. The girl was keen on that. I was keen on doing it in the tent. We would get so far in the tent, then she would stop and say, "Let's do it in the hedge." I would insist we stay in the tent. We would start up again - and she would stop me again. We got into a loop that seemed to go on for hours, until I just fell asleep exhausted.
She woke me in the morning and told me she was splitting, but that I could keep the tent and sleeping bag because she had liberated them anyway. She left, and I never saw her again.

I met up with some friends and moved my stuff to join their camp. We all had a great time, but memories are hazy, and are overshadowed by what happened on that last day....

Courtesy Andy Worthington

I was woken by a friend and told that the police were raiding the camp. I got up straight away. I had no jacket, no money, no cigarettes - just the clothes I had on. I went up to where people were shouting at a police line that had cut the camp into two. I moved along the line to the left and found that I could get behind the line at a point near the road. I walked into the bad side. The police were everywhere, and people were hurrying to get their tents down. I walked to the other side of the copse. Some police were urging a couple to get their tent down quicker. The woman was crying and asking for more time. The police started to pull down the tent. I stepped nearer. "Hey, give them some more time," I shouted.
I was told to clear off.
"Not until you give them more time," I replied.
"Clear off!" I was told again.

I moved toward the tent to give the couple some help. Two policemen grabbed an arm each. I sat down. Two more policemen then grabbed a leg each and proceeded to carry, bounce and drag me to a police van parked on the road. They took great delight in bouncing my back on the small railing near the road. They heaved me into the van where there were already some people caged up. I was not struggling. I was not abusive. Once they got me into the van, one of them punched me in the stomach. Not a hard punch - I think it was more for show than anything. One of the prisoners in the van called out the policeman's number, but it was an empty threat, and the policeman knew it.

We were taken to the barracks at Windsor Castle where we went through a form of processing. We had to strip naked and stand in a line in front of several policemen who looked for ways of humiliating us further. One of them pointed at my penis and said, "I've seen bigger than that on a woman." We were given back our clothes then led into a large hall with no chairs. There were already a few people in there.

During the rest of the day the hall filled up. We were given no food. At some point a jug of water and some plastic cups were brought in. We shared the water as fairly as we were able - it meant a mere mouthful each.
Much later, during the evening, a few of us were taken to a court-room. It was a conveyor belt appearance. Name, offence (breaking a local by-law), and date for the hearing. Then, shoved out the back door, in the gathering darkness, to fend for ourselves.

I made my way back to the camp-site. All my stuff was there. Of course, when I got to the site everything was gone. No tents, no stages,
no people. All that was there was an old white ambulance parked by the side of the road with the name Agnes on the front.
I sat on the low railing by the road side and wondered what to do. After a while two girls came walking up the road. They looked at the empty
park and asked me where the festival was. I explained what happened. They sat with me and gave me a cigarette. As we were talking a guy came running out of the ambulance and offered the two girls the hospitality of his ambulance. The girls accepted on condition that I was also invited. He nodded. Cool! I had a bed and shelter for the night.

A few months later I made my appearance in court. At the start of my defence I mentioned that I had been assaulted by the police. I was told that I should take that matter up with the Complaints authority. I then produced my trump card and announced that I had not been formally arrested. This resulted in a good deal of quizzing of the hapless policeman who kept consulting his notes. My problem was that I had not made contemporary records, whilst the policeman had. It was his word against mine. He won.
The fine (£10 plus £5 costs) was read out. My final gesture of dignity was to pay up immediately.
I have never been back to Windsor Great Park.
Steve (SilkTork)


What a great website - here is my contribution. The Windsor festival was inspiring in many ways - democracy in action, freedom and a general good vibe - until the Thames Valley pigs moved in. My friend Nev and I had driven down from Huddersfield in my aged Austin A35 with a huge supply of booze (the drugs came later...) We got caught up in the positive mood and helped dig latrines and trenches under the supervision of Sid "King of the Hippies" Rawl. The food was free too, my first intro to red beans and rice. We listened to the White Panthers tell us how all the generators for the nine (?) stages had been nicked form Covent Garden market, simply by walking in and unplugging them. Bill (Ubi) Dwyer came across as a bit of a nutter - he shouted at the people in the next tent because the had hung beer cans from their guy ropes, he thought it looked unsightly! The music varied from amateurish to very trippy, but there were so many stages you could always find something good. One evening we were at a stage and we spontaneously gave all our booze away - who needed stimulants? We were high on the festival. Even the Angels stayed away, or I don't remember them. The only downer was when someone nicked our car battery. I had to go into Windsor and buy a new one, when I got back someone had found the old one. A bunch of people asked if they could borrow it to start their van, and were last seen roaring off the site... Happy daze.

Garry Bodenham


The "Everyone Involved" band 1973 © Vin Miles

Hiya all,

I lived at the windsor festival commune in Islington london in the 70's.The commune was small at the most 7 or 8 we all worked, Bill (Dwyer aka UBI ) was insistent even the US refugees (on the run from the army ) were supplied with false id to get work.Every waking hour was spent planning and organising the festivals and I would not have missed it for the world.Sadly the outcome was bad -very bad.When the police attacked they really went for it - most of them took off their I.D. they encircled us and some very dear friends were hurt ,I attended the trials when it went to court and was amazed when the police were found guilty.
Looking at your site was a real trip dowm memory lane and I am now full of nostalgia for the good old days.Thanks for making an old hippy happy.

Love Jan

As for the final Windsor. That is one I will never forget.
I came down on the back of an old BSA with a couple of friends from Cambridge, where I'd moved.

We set up camp and I scouted out my old South Wales tribe. What I discovered was less than pleasant. One of my best buddies had died in prison after the authorities withheld his asthma medication and a couple of my other best mates had succumbed to the dreaded smack. (the main reason I left Wales was the infiltration of that kind of stuff into the local scene). At least one of my favourite ladies was there and we wasted no time catching up.

Anyway we had a great party for the first couple of days, dented only by a run in with the band of Angel-style bikers who were running around waving big sticks and generally intimidating a lot of people.
Once again I was pretty oblivious to what was happening on the stage. We were well entertained though.

On the final day I know we'd gone into Windsor early to have a look around and do a bit of restocking. When we came back to the site I was shocked to see a line of police literally flattening everything in sight. Our tent, our clothes and everything we had but the bikes under our bums and the clothes on our backs was trashed. One of our crew had left his wallet in the tent. We tried to reason with the police and get permission to go onto the site to retrieve our gear. The cops were so rude and heavy that we backed off quickly before we got arrested too.

In short it was a terrible day and put a black cloud over my warm feelings for Windsor for many years to come. We were very lucky not be arrested or injured but we did lose a good deal of personal property, which was devastating at the time because we had very little and no visible means of income with which to replace it.
For the next couple of summers we kept our ears open for any chance of a return to Windsor, but I think the dream died on that day, and perhaps my desire to leave Britain for good was born.

Actually I've just realised that the guy who gave me the lift down from Cambridge lives here too, up in Murwillambah. Funny world eh?
My recollections are probably not that useful as I wasn't one for worshipping heroes (or musicians) much. I just loved the atmosphere and living outdoors for a few days.

Michael McGrath

I read the web sites on the internet about the Windsor Free Festivals and got your e-mail address from there. I am a former friend of Ubi's and went with him to the 1974 Windsor festival and lived with him at his caravan HQ parked just outside the festival site at Queen Anne's Gate. At that time I was a student at Keele University.

At one point during the festival Ubi took a band of dedicated followers on a long hike and for a few hours I was in charge of the festival although nothing happened and I did not do anything. In the caravan was Ubi's girlfriend and housemate Anne McCartney. I left the festival before the police broke it up because I did not agree with Ubi charging tradesmen money for selling food and drinks at the festival. I think Ubi had "flipped".

I first met Ubi at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park where he spoke about many things. At the beginning he was accompanied by his Finnish girlfriend. After a while I visited Ubi at his Caledonian Road squat where he lived with a man called Eddie and Anne McCartney.

Sometimes I went to Ubi's flat on visits to London from Keele.
I helped with printing flyers for the 1974 festival and distributed large numbers of these at Keele; some students from there came to the 1974 festival as a result.

Despite my final disagreement with Ubi over the tradesmen I still remember him with great affection.
Many of the things he said stick in my mind today. I was truly sorry to learn from the internet that he has probably passed on.
I would like to meet Sid Rawle again whom I think I remember visting us in our caravan and anybody else who went to the 1974 festival who cares to meet me. I am also anxious to know if you have more information about Ubi's life after 1974 than is available on the internet.

Ali Ismail

I was There at the 1974 festival. I had a boyfriend who knew Gabriel and Ubi and I met them first at the commune in London. My boyfriend helped to organize the parking and he was arrested. It was my first experience with trippys or whatever it was. I hardly remember the rest...Later I lost contact with my boyfriend. His name was Jesus and he was spanish. Does anyone know about him?

Love from Myriam.


I've got quite a few memories, which I'll try and write down properly if it would be of any interest. But one (very trainspotterish) detail that struck me as I looked through the list of bands, is that I have no recollection of Gong playing. I certainly remember The Global Village Trucking Co, and my memory is that they were the most famous band that played!

The MC on the main stage was a relatively straight guy, who referred to every single act as 'a really tight little outfit'... It became a bit of a joke. And he kept telling us about an amazing French band that would be playing called Zorch (!!!) - who were, he kept telling us, the heaviest band he had ever seen! I think I heard some Tangerine Dreamish noises coming from the main stage at about 3am that night.
I performed myself - reading out my poetry - which brought me into contact with Bill Dwyer. I was 17.
Mark Hudson

Ultra rare hand drawn leaftlet courtesy Tony Farrell


I was sweet 16 and in a band called White As White And Twice As Dirty.We got the gig at Windsor by meeting up with Wally Dave Bennett who was helping to set up one of the myriad of stages (we had impressed him by playing in the front room of his council semi,not sure about his neighbours tho,).Our journey to Windsor was a tale in itself ,the band was based in Aldershot ,so the drummer and piano player took a bus ,with their gear and assorted roadies/friends, me and a couple of mates drove there 3 up on a moped,with a bass guitar between us !

I was much thinner in those days,and the guitarist, Ian, who went on to play with Balaam (remember them?),persuaded his mum that 30 miles was far too far for him too hitch especially with a guitar and a combo.So he had the luxury of a lift.

A big thank you has to be added to Ashtyn ,the father of my girlfriend,who had actually gone to Woodstock and had a commune in Farnborogh  and was so cool ,he brought everything else.So we got there to find our advance guard Jonn had been nicked and done for possession ,a heinous crime in those days.It was the first Saturday of the bank holiday weekend and I remember being amazed at how many people were there .I think Reading festival was on at the same time .It seemed that there was at least 30.000 if not more.It was great to be with so many people who were in tune with each other.

Anyway we played ,using an ice cream van generator for power and it really was our first proper gig,but people were really appreciative and I remember us going down really well .I spent the next 3 days in absolute rapture ,this was it ,the colours ,the sounds and the smells,whenever I smell woodsmoke ,I always think of free festivals.

Other bands,I saw Global Village and remember Jon Owen the singer saying that he had been listening to the description of a suspect drugs squad cop and realised he was the one being described.Great band tho.Half Human and,Gong and a lovely folk band Contraband,but my accolade is reserved for Byzantium who were absolutely wonderful and I still love em to this day .Zorch played all night ,they were from Surrey not France -not my cup of tea - but it didnt matter, the music was secondary.Windsor was the start of a love affair with free festivals which I still havent shaken and my band the Prarie dogs will still do any we get invited to do.

Oh by the way I caught the bus home and I had lost my shoes but I didnt care.WE'RE ALL PART OF THE SMILING REVOLUTION


Paul Trew

By the way Ashtyns daughter's name was Danny and I still love her 31 years on !

As for 1974, Gong, Laughing Sam's Dice, Wooden Lion played that year; if that's any help. I remember watching Gong - Daevid Allan giving Steve Hillage grief because he was so out of it.... that's the pot calling the kettle black! Another memory of a young shirtless guy doing crouching starts next to me - in the front row of the seated audience - to the stage, full pelt; back to base, doing it again and again and again and again and again and again.... and some old lag behind me commenting with authority - "Shouldn't take it if you can't handle it".

Brian F

Thanks for the message, and I was amazed to see that a document citing my name as stage manager of stage E is still in existence! Stage E was the stage that never actually showed up: the owners of the generators and what sound equipment we had planned for were ultimately none too willing to entrust their decrepit but vaguely functional equipment to a 19-year old hippie with a head full of willowy ideals, no money, and no particularly practical bent of mind either. A tactically sound decision in the light of events, and certainly of advantage to my cohorts and I (that would be themembers and camp followers of Lightship, a band slated to play on the invisible stage F), as the band (who had been against my involvement with Ubi at the outset as they thought I should be concentrating on managing them), and I were all able to discreetly leave the scene, exit (missing) stage left, as the line of police moved across the ravaged festival site bringing te event to a close but opening the raw wounds of injustice and discrimination wide enough for even the most blinkered citizen to see.

For several months prior to the festival, I had spent many evenings with Ubi Dwyer, Sid Rawles and several others in Ubi's squat, which was near Liverpool St Station as I recall. I remember wondering why he had chosen to squat in Central London and not somewhere nice like rural Surrey, which is where we camped. This core group attempted to plan and coordinate as many details as possible, although I am sure that my input was pretty limited and their acceptance of me was based more on altruism and a degree of kindness rather than any actual perceived ability on my part, other than being keen to help. Having an endless supply of Postage Paid envelopes supplied by HM government, a "perk" of Ubi's job certainly made it easier to send out flyers and requests for assistance from potential donors.

Stage C possesed by the plod ! © Steve Austin

I have many memories of Windsor '74, not all of them perhaps suitable for publication. It marked a watershed in many people's lives, and despite Ubi's worsening mental agitation and confusion as the festival wore on, it served to show what mostly poverty stricken, young hippies, social misfits and political outcasts could achieve by working together towards a common goal. In my case the achievement was somewhat modest, as not one piece of stage or equipment actually showed up, but one enduring memory I will share here is of Sid Rawles, Ubi and I, together with the other stage managers, re-assigning the bands that were supposed to perform on the patently missing Stage E. I was of course mortified, but Ubi was forgiving and understanding. Of the other
stages, one was being run by "the breadheads from the music industry", it had the best sound system and was basically a showcase for signed bands, slick and not available for any overflow.

Of the other stages, most were woefully under-equipped, lacking most of the basic requirements, and were
all hoping that various bands would donate bits of equipment for the duration to allow everyone to perform, a dubious proposition in most cases.

Sid's stage was in a like state of chaos as we held our meeting, Sid beatifically telling me not to worry, he would absorb the entire Stage E roster. At this, his assistant stage manager frantically protested that they couldn't handle their own fucking bands, let alone fucking anyone else's. After listening for a moment or two, Sid announced he had a headache and felt tired, and he wandered off with a tired, dazed smile on his face.

In the final analysis, most of the stages were able to offer some form of entertainment, even if only acoustic, and had the police left well alone, the many thousands of visitors would have moved on peaceably after enjoying
a laid back few days with like-minded citizens. The burning of an ancient oak tree in the middle of the festival site was, in my mind, the defining moment that gave the authorities the moral upper-hand, in their minds, and
therefore the justification to beat up on unarmed hippies and stop the party.

I was sad to hear of Bill Dwyer's passing: he was an icon, a gentleman who played by his own set of rules. He was one of the first people in my life who entrusted me with anything important to do, and despite my
eventual failure to produce a stage, he subsequently confided in me that actually having the stage was not the issue here, it was the belief shown in the concept that was important. This all made sense in some peculiar way
back then... In closing, allow me to remind you of Bill Dwyer's rallying call, which he often used to get people motivated or to get his point across - "get your brains out of your knickers, you fuckwit!" I couldn't have said it better myself.

Heneage Mitchell

Stage Manager, Stage E,

Windsor Free Festival 1974

For the past 3 months, I'd been working fulltime as a volunteer on a north london parish council playscheme. My contract was coming to an end and I needed a break. Out of the £5 a week pocket money I'd been getting I managed to save enough for a bus ticket to windsor park.

The site was great, so was the weather and the vibe, loads of sunshine and colour, the atmosphere was remarkable and people who, although strangers, made you feel safe and able to relax.
Early one morning, I'd just got up and was sitting besides my tent, I noticed a group of people a few yards away preparing breakfast. A couple of young guys, with their girlfriends, I remember feeling a twinge of envy, tho no more than a twinge! at that precise moment one of the young girls got up and walked straight over to me and without saying a word gave me half of her breakfast of dried fruit, then walked back over to her friends. Totally blew my feeling of being on my own right out the window!


© Roger Hutchinson

Can't recall much in the way of music, execpt that their were an awful lot of single guys with guitars who couldnt play them. An army of bad guitarists who flocked to every festival, too fucked to bother about things like tuning up. I know, I was one of them hahaha!
The day before the bust, I went into the town and phoned up windsor council and explained that there was an enormous effort being made on the site to clear litter and deal with things like sanitation. Trenches had been dug for shit pits etc. I explained to the council how we needed help with things like black plastic bags and they said that they would come on site the next day with loads of stuff, to help keep the site clean. They never got the chance,
courtesy of the boys in blue who turned up to conduct their own form of ethnic cleansing.

I find it hard to get my head around the contrast between the wonderful atmosphere that hung around the event like a particularly pleasant incense, and the terrible atmoshere forcibly injected into the event by the Thames Valley police.
On the day of the bust, police flooded the site and hung around waiting for orders. A meeting was called in front of the main stage, with various people going onto the main stage to reassure people with talk of negotiating with the police, who were obviously going to give us a good kicking, I got up on the stage and grabbed the mike and explained that their was going to be a police riot and that we should make a note of the number on the epaulettes of any cop seen kicking the shit out of anybody.

A thin blue line of cops formed at the bottom end of the site, a young hippie girl undid her top and pulled out her breasts and proceeded to do a wild dance right in front of the cops shaking her tits right under their noses! Then the line started advancing up the site anything, anyone in their way got trashed tents, people, personal belongings.
Lots of confusion, fear, horror.

A small skinny hippie with a toddler clutched tightly to his chest ran past me like a greyhound. I'll never forget the look off total fear/sheer terror on his face as he flew past moments later a huge cop built like a rugby player went fying past in pursuit, he flung himself at the skinny hippie in a classic rugby tackle around his legs and brought the skinny hippie to a violent halt, the hippie slammed to the ground with the toddler in his arms, the infant hitting the dirt with such force that I felt sick. I'm ashamed to say that I ran away, mostly because I was afraid of losing my temper and making things worse, and cause I was expecting to be jumped by the cops mates. The burly cops helmet went flying as he brought down the hippie,
I scooped it up as I ran.

I found a bunch of journalists and proceeded to yell insults at them, assuming they were going to do an airbrush job on what was happening. Then yelled abuse at the cops, who just laughed.

Never forget the seige of stage 1, some young guy on top of the scaffolding, with a guitar raised above his head silouetted against the sky, beating back the cops underneath, with his battered acoustic guitar!!!

Resisting the stage invasion 1974 © Jenny

End of the day, down in the dumps, exhausted, shocked, wondering around seeing tents, personal belongings piled into big heaps, upset people wandering home, felt like shit!

Instead of fucking off. I got this crazy idea to stow away in the back off a furniture removal lorry that had the disassembled main stage inside, absolutely did not want to do what the boys in blue wanted. Jumped in the back off the lorry only to find a whole collection of shellshocked people, who'd had the same idea!

Shortly afterwards the lorry moved off and slowly trundled through London, was really surprised to see all these newspaper boards in the streets with headlines about the police violence at windsor park! The lorry was heading for Exeter, but intended to stay overnight at Stonehenge, which was what happened.

The next morning, a group of us were standing around a fire, rubbing the sleep out of our eyes, when a guy in a suit walked up introducing himself as a journalist from the Daily Mail, he said that he had heard that the windsor festival was moving to Stonehenge.

We all looked at each other, the idea hadnt occured to anyone, but it sounded spot on  then I turned to the journo and said "yes, thats right" and pointed to the lorry behind us saying it contained stage 1 from the windsor festival
The journo was delighted and scurried back to London. 

The next day an article appeared on the front page of the Daily Mail, in the middle of the page, something about the festival moving to stonehenge and carrying on from there. The headline was  bleating on about a new Camelot!
Thanks Daily Mail u know not wot u did! Maybe someone can go thru the Daily Mails archive and dig up the article!

There were a lot of people who had arrived at stonehenge for the solstice but for the most part they looked like ordinary tourists, so this gave the impression of some kind of event happening.
Over the next few days, courtesy of the mail spreading the word, lots of people began turning up and a festival was born!


The security guards were pissed off with people setting off the sensors around the stones so a deal was negotiated whereby we'd stay away if they agreed to let us in for a holy ceremony,we were allowed in late one night, there must off been upwards of several hundred of us, all very calm and quiet except for the resident bad guitarist, some guy badly strung out on speed, who mounted a stone and intermitently bashed out a sound intensley discordant, his voice crying like an animal hopelessly tangled up in barbed wire, naked horribly painful, yet somehow it worked and was totally appropiate, everything else was dead quiet.

We all gathered in a circle and held hands, and gradually we all began to chant  OM only it came over more as an MMMMMMMMMMM that got louder and louder, as this was happening the entire landcape started rumbling like constant thunder, in the distance, a deep throated growling uuummmmmmmmmmmmmm sound. I looked up and in the night sky I could see a string of lights approaching the Stones, It was a convoy of military transport planes using the Stones as
a navigation beacon,  the closer they got the louder the rumbling became until our ohm chant became a roaring thundering sound that made everything shake and tremble, the ground the stones, the entire landscape!

I stayed at the stones, met Wally Hope and lost my blue suede shoes(thats true as well) got seduced by a hippy girl from east anglia and ended up in Norfolk.
Think thats it!

Wow, for many years now I have wondered what happened to Bill "Ubi" Dwyer. I was one of the many admirers of Ubi who preached “Free love and muscle power” in Hyde Park Corner every Saturday. I had returned to London in 1973 at the age of 18 from finishing school in Canada. I was full of idealism and had managed to land a job working for Help The Aged as a 'Youth Organizer' – a job that offered a very basic salary… but with the perk of a car! During that year I would religiously go to Hyde Park corner whenever I could to hear Ubi preach about free love and the 1974 Windsor Free Park Festival. He would arrive on his bicycle wearing a floppy hat and a ponch overcoat with a big smiley face on the back and front. He was very charismatic and I can still hear him laugh as he talked about the festival, free love and anarchism. I was hooked and ended up handing out leaflets with a small band of followers – going back to the squat and helping print more. I think my motivation was slightly skewed in that I developed a crush on Ubi’s girl friend Anne – I had long forgotten her name till I saw it on an earlier post on this site. Nothing ever came of it other than some great hugs every time I saw her – and for that mater hugs with Ubi as well – who would always wink at me when I made eyes at Anne.

One of Ubi’s weapons in his attempt to legitimize the festival was a letter he had received from the Queen in response to his letter inviting her to the Windsor Park Free Festival; the response from the Queen’s secretary was that 'Queen Elizabeth would not be able to attend due to the fact she would be in Balmoral that weekend'. A clear acknowledgment of the legal existence of the festival – as far as Ubi was concerned.

Resisting da polis © Jenny

All revved up – I wanted to make my own difference in support of the festival. So without adieu I organized a food stall to benefit Help The Aged for the 1974 Windsor Park Free Festival – convinced several rather wary Help The Aged staff to help me staff the booth. We sold fresh dairy products – cheese, milk, and flavored yogurt that I would buy daily from a local dairy. The whole organizing of that is a story unto itself! Even though I later heard about being taxed by the festival – Ubi was fully in support of my efforts. I slept in the back seat of my ' charity' car during the three days till the awful end by the police. It was horrific – I was awoken about 5am by blaring sounds of 'you have 10 minutes to clear the site' - in the next two hours hastily produced flyers from the 'Windsor Freek Press'– and from Release encouraged people to take down there tents and to spread out and sit down in small groups – and when asked to move by the police – move but then sit down again – much frustrating the police action. One tactic that saved probably many peoples lives was that the media were called and within half an hour the cameras were there to witness the Thames Valley Police action – which was front page news for the next week – prompting a discussion in the Houses of Parliament on the action of the police.

The police held back for a few hours until the order was given … and a line of hundreds of police brandishing truncheons moved in and stomped all who would resist – tearing down tents in their path. I think on the Saturday through the Monday Bank Holiday there were 12,000 people in the park. On that morning, many had left to go back to work – there may have been about a thousand remaining. Some others may have better memories of the numbers.

The die-hard supporters finally surrounded Stage A holding it until the final melay where truncheons were drawn – and many suffered severe concussions. Personally I stayed back as far as I could – sitting down on the grass on my own – and taking pictures. I was scared, horrified – and enthralled all at the same time – I was witnessing an event that would go down in history.

During the three days of the 1974 festival Ubi had become quite erratic – the pressure of the event finally doing him in. The last thing I had heard was that Ubi had fled the park and managed to get into the courtyard of Windsor Castle where he was arrested stark naked. During the time he was held in a local prison cell – he managed to break several of the glass brick windows with his bare hands – spreading faeces all over the walls. I have never been able to confirm this – or have heard about him since.

Paul Willies
Tampa, Florida

By this time I had done Reading and then followed it on to Windsor, and we were proper Hippies then. We had been soaked at Reading and spent a miserable night in a Salvation Army Tent with a free breakfast of cold beans on cold bread; we had done this because we had no tent and like the year before were sleeping rough. Morning saw us cold wet and undecided as whether to go on to Windsor as originally planned, the weather cheered up and after buying a copy of the Sun newspaper we saw our photograph in there, so we were famous and just had to go.

Windsor railway station saw us being met by the plain clothes drug squad who took us into the dirtiest dustiest room they could find, emptied everything we had with us onto the filthy floor and told us the best thing to do was to go home.

So we took no notice and made our way to the park. Although very aware of the music or types of music, this was perhaps the first time that the ethos of being a hippy was actually felt. Music was free and their was to be no rip off prices, the freak press kept everyone informed of what was happening, the best acid and the ones to be aware of. The drug squad officers were followed around with placards saying "I am A Drug Squad Officer"!!!

It was a way of life being put into practice and the establishment were afraid – very afraid.
So they sent in the police with one aim only break up the festival at any cost.

We were at the far end of the park at stage C and we saw the police line up in the morning and march down the road like an army. Stage C went first without any/much resistance and we fell back, drug squad officers in denim jeans and police chequered headbands joined forces with the regular plods and moved onto stage A , this was the maximum resistance and it was held for a while, screaming children and shrieking women, police started to dismantle the stage piecemeal and the brave and defiant climbed the scaffolding poles and held on to the end. It became apparent that it was over and that arguments were futile and led to arrest, some still took this option but we left.

I can’t remember the trip back, we probably left defiant and certainly very angry, we would take up the sword again and next time win, it was all wrong. Being in a park and listening to music wasn’t illegal and even if it was we weren’t listening to music at the time !
So we returned to work and carried on the routine. Wiser.

Steve Austin

Nasty melee when plod attempt to clear the park -Windsor 1974 © Jenny


I was a student at the time and was over in London from College in Cork where I was studying Law. A few of us were staying in Twickenham and decided to go to Windsor, by train for the festival. One memory is a lad we knew from College in Cork playing Irish Music on the rocks in front of the Palace.

On the festival ground we went from event to event. I can’t remember if we slept in a big tent provided or out of doors. We left on the Sunday and I think the Police raided the site the following day. From memory there was a very heavy police presence with helicopters around the park. I am now a lawyer for my troubles!

Pat Crowley

Well yes I was there aged 17 with three buddies and heavey into whatever (whoever) was available, although the Ice Cream Van got busted a couple of days in.
Luckily we had personal blow buried under the tent for emergencies.

The general buzz was cool, loads of Music to check out at the various stages during the day but most would gravitate to the main stage in the evenings. The 'Wallies' were forever in your head or down by the stream or running from camp to camp the whole night. Even sounded off a couple times ouselves, just to attract some alternative conversation.
Know-one minded the Hells Angels ladies on thier daily shopping trip, borrowing food from those who could spare it. We only had muiesli and ran out of milk on day two, so it was dry or with water and took some getting used to. To us, the whole sense of community was secure buy the presence of the Angels. It was only the morning after they left the site in numbers that the pigs mustered the courage to attack.
And it was an attack!

I remember vividly waking up to a fullscale riot with our tent being pulled over and being trampled on. Being camped on the rise infront of Stage 1 we were all set apon, by our friends in blue, in hand to hand combat. All four of us had Judo training and were up for pig bashing but were quickly out numbered and beaten and stabbed with tent poles. We would have been nicked if it wasn't for a woman running around with a camera taking photos shouting "If you got a camera use it, it don't matter if there ain't no film. THEY'LL LEAVE YOU ALONE!'

Great thinking and it saved our bacon. I even got a chance to recover the stash before they came back. We had to leave everything else though.
Being herded like cattle only added to the high tension and anything that could be thrown at the line in blue, was.

An incident that stands out is where we had just passed a smaller stage which still had a bands equipment on it . The pigs mounted the stage and started to throw stuff of. Then they proceded to pushed what looked like a keyboard/ piano off the stage. Before it hit the deck the Stage had a sea of bottles raining down on it. Pigs do bleed.

Managed to get a train out of Reading before the Angels returned and witness hell breaking loose.

There is more, but honestly, you really would not believe it.

Never regretted a second and developed a taste for the outdoor events (Reading Festivals, Blackbush, Watford F.C., Charlton F.C. ect) from then on .


Windsor 73
I was 17. I went with mates from my home town. There was about 5 or 6 of us (or possibly more...can't remember!) and we were all sleeping in a big orange tent with a mattress and loads of cushions inside...very cosy. We were camped near to the Hare Krishna tent. They chanted and tinged bells all night, we quite liked it and got loads of free food from them.

The first night we were all sitting round our camp fire tripping off our heads when a smiling policeman appeared. 'Are you having a good time?' he said. 'Yes thanks' my mates said smiling back at him. I actually thought he'd said 'what's the time?' and in my state of altered consciousness started frantically asking everyone 'what's the time?' whilst trying to sit on the joint I'd been smoking. The 'friendly' policeman wandered off through the tents still smiling and chatting to people. In our tripped out state we decided that the cosmic spirit of peace, love and happiness which had descended on Windsor Great Park had got to the cops too......well, we were tripping. For the whole time we were there the police had the site completely surrounded but generally seemed to keep their distance and not bother people. It was a different matter off site tho.

The following day, our mate Phil and someone else (can't remember who) decided to walk into Windsor to get some essential munchies. They got picked up, searched and Phil got arrested for possession. Everyone knew not to go off site carrying anything but I think he just forgot he had it on him. They marched him off and kept the other guy waiting around for ages for no other reason than to be gits. He tried to find out what they were going to do with Phil but of course they wouldn't tell him.
Eventually he came back and told us what had happened. We went to the Release tent and gave them Phils details, they said they would try to find him for us. I can't remember how long we stayed at the festival altogether but it was at least two more days. Just before we left Release told us that he was being held at Egham Detention Centre. Release oganised legal representation for him and he got back home a few days later. He'd been held in custody for 4 or 5 days as there was no option for bail and it took the local courts ages to deal with everyone who'd been arrested.

I can't remember which bands I saw but I loved Hawkwind (still do) so I think if they played I would have seen them....I can't claim to remember that tho! I remember quite long periods with no music when the generators packed up and everyone going crazy once the music came back. When there was no music tho just walking around was entertaining enough.

Unknown group at Windsor 74 taken by unknown photographer . The black flag might indicate this was an anarchist group ?

Windsor 74

In 74 I went with my then boyfriend and his brother. Walking to the Festival site people had written messages on the pavement in chalk. Some were information, some were messages for people and others were warnings about police and drug squad up ahead.

The brother (can't remember his name) had a tent but we didn't, so when we got there we found some plastic sheeting, borrowed some tape from someone and fixed our plastic to the ridge of brothers tent holding the front up with two sticks. Perfect.

I was 3 months pregnant and therefore staying straight. My boyf was generally staying straight with me but at one point ate a bag of Morning Glory seeds in an attempt to get high. He said after a bit that he felt 'funny', started sweating and then got the serious shits. Don't think he was too impressed with MG seeds.

The very strong rumour we heard everyday was that, that day the Dead were going to turn up. I remember going to look at the burning tree. I remember naked painted people and seeing a bloke sitting cross legged outside his tent sticking a syringe in his arm.

I remember the ripe aroma eminating from the woods or any area with bushes. And I also remember people cutting down trees for firewood...eventually there were annoucements from the stage asking people to stop breaking the trees. I remember stage annoucements asking people not to buy the rip off milk too...someone was selling it for 10p when it should have been 5p or something like that.......or maybe some of that happened in 73? It's all very hazy...We read the Festival Press every day so that we could keep up with the latest info and advice. There were limited copies so people read it then passed it on. We heard that the Festival might be moving to a new site a few miles away and waited for the word but it didn't happen.

The weather had been good and we'd been fine under our plastic but on the Monday night it rained. I woke up about 6 on Tuesday morning to see the plastic sheeting hanging about 3 inches from my nose. It was full of rainwater. About 2 seconds after I opened my eyes it gave way and drenched us.

It carried on raining quite heavily, we were wet and cold and brother had had enough even though he wasn't particularly wet and cold so we took this as a sign that maybe it was time to leave. We decided to go to boyf and brothers parents house which was only about 10 miles away to dry off. My boyfriends mum had a complete rant at us both when we got there about how I shouldn't be sleeping in a field in the rain under a plastic bag 'in my condition'. Nowadays, I wouldn't think this concern to be completely unreasonable but then I did!

We woke the next morning to find out about the police evicting the site. We heard about people getting beaten and losing all their stuff. It was outrageous and tragic but we were relieved that we'd left when we did.
Don't remember any bands from 74 either. What I do remember very well about 73 and 74 was that I loved every minute of both Festivals, they were great times and I'm really glad I can say I was there. I'm sure I've probably slotted some of the things I remember into the wrong year but hey....maybe the vagueness is proof I was there!!


I was on my way to a Led Zep concert at Earls Court in 1975 when I saw Bill standing outside the tube station handing out leaflets.

We'd met a few times before so I went to say "Hi".

I was really pleased he remembered me. He had been written about in the "News of the World", and that was one on my ambitions.

I had experienced the "King Bill" episode in the park..he wasn't that bad, but I felt he hadn't completely landed back on Earth....if you know what I mean.
He was talking about the ' 74 festival as if nothing had really happened.

As well as the way it ended, I had been very unhappy at the way some of the stages were roped off and 'normals' had acted like bouncers. I had wanted to use a large park in a city (like Caulderstone Park in Liverpool or Hyde Park in London) with multiple entrances that would be difficult to close off like Windsor had been, and that would allow people to use local networks for crashpads and 'stuff'.
Also, it would mean the press would have better access and their presence (because of ' 74) would offer some protection.

But what did I know?....I was just some provincial hippie and knew nothing of the 'greater plan', the importance of Windsor Park, or The Magna Carta.
I guess Bill was right, I'd done little more than help do the leaflets in Liverpool for ''73 ....and picked up what seemed like most of the rubbish afterwards with a young hippy called Danny - (amazing what 5 blues and a tab of acid can do!!!!).

I had left the day before in ' 74 - I just didn't feel comfortable, call it a premonition, but the vibes were just 'wrong'. I never even bothered to take my tent. I left it for other people to use. We offered our place in Birmingham as a halfway home stop for people going further north when we heard the news. One person stayed with us for a few days, and had to visit our GP because she was still bleeding after being kicked between her legs. I remember she had really bad nightmares for 2 nights.

The guy who also got arrested outside Windsor Castle on the last day - the one it took 6 coppers to actually arrest - was called Stephan Maguire (Mugsy) from Liverpool.

The police were around Earls Court for the Led Zep concert anyway that night, and the ones that approached Bill and arrested him had been standing in the tube entrance watching us all the time. I had just walked off and was about to cross the road when they went up to Bill and said something like "William also known as Bill Dwyer I am arresting you for distributing pamphlets attempting to organise a festival in contradiction of a court order"... or something like that.

I was stunned and just stood and watched. It was the last time I saw Bill.

Allan Fletcher

Ubi Dwyer - a Public Servant in the true sense

Omg, I remember Windsor!
I am a 40-something, (and terribly respectable!) mother of 2 grown up children, but for one day in the 1970’s (can’t even remember which year!) I was something else altogether!

I was so young – 15? 16? – and I’d never been to a festival before – none of my friends had, but we loved Hawkwind, and with all of us lying to our parents as to our whereabouts, off we went in our best hippie finery to Windsor. There was me, my boyfriend Ian, another friend Bob and his girlfriend and the oldest of the group, Paul?, who being a very grown-up 19 year old, had borrowed his dad’s transit van for the occasion.

Along the way, we picked up any and every hitch-hiker, and by the time we reached the festival site, there were more than 30 people crammed into the van. There were loads of Police along the road, but they ignored us completely, despite the bodies who were by time hanging on the door handles on the outside of the van.

We parked next to a large Police caravan! I don’t exactly know why ……..!
It turned out to be a good move – a smiley, and old (at least 35!!!) copper came over to the van shortly afterwards and asked (very politely!) if we would mind awfully moving, as we were blocking the Police view of the cricket match that was taking place nearby! As we had no idea of where we supposed to park, this very nice Policeman suggested we park up against the back fence of the festival – there, he told us, we could climb on the roof of the van and get a very good view! What a nice man!!!! And of course we did as we were told.

It was so good. It was like being in another world. Hawkwind was brilliant, the people were brilliant, especially the group of Hells Angels who parked next to us and instantly decided us children needed “looking after”. And look after us they did! They took us on their bikes to a pub in Windsor and I have the fondest memories of a very hairy biker, probably old enough to be my father, who refused to buy me alcohol, but back at the festival bought me a yo-yo with a flashing light in instead! Bless him! And I still have that yo-yo.

I was a dab hand with the make up in those days, and I amused myself painting coloured stars and tiny patterns on my friends’ and the Hells Angels’ faces. This caught on and before long there was a queue of men outside our transit waiting to have their faces painted. (Presumably girls could do their own!) Anyway, the Police must have seen each man going in the back of the transit and emerging 20 minutes later. Being Police they put 2 and 2 together and came up with 35.

I remember a man shouting into the transit at me to "hide everything" because the Police were coming. Hide what exactly?? No time to think about it, we were completely surrounded by so many Police that appeared from nowhere. We were dragged out of, and off of the Transit and pushed up against the fence. A plain clothes copper kept demanding to know how old I was, and how much money had I made. I told him I was doing it for free. Think he got the wrong end of the stick there too!

But help was at hand – the same cheery old copper who had asked us to move the van when we first arrived appeared. He took me to one side and asked what was going on in the van. So I told him, presenting the makeup as evidence. He laughed, He laughed and laughed until he was scarlet in the face. Within minutes, all the Police were laughing, except the plain clothes one, who was clearly severely peed off. To show just how peed off he was, he insisted that the entire van be searched – the seats were taken out, they crawled underneath, they looked in all our bags, in Paul’s dad’s tool boxes (in which were a pile of mucky books – the embarrassment!), but they found nothing, because there was nothing to find. We were such good children!!


At the end of it, cheery copper apologised for the inconvenience, but we didn’t mind. For the rest of the day, people stared at us, pointed at us and took photos. We were so proud – our first taste of "street cred"!

The end of the festival is a blur (ok, we weren’t THAT good!) I recall it ended very abruptly and early and there was a virtual stampede to get out. We all sang “der-der” very loudly and in unison, in a very passable impression of a Police siren. That worked, people and cars got out of our way, and we negotiated the field in the dark without actually killing anyone in the process.

Thank you Windsor.
One of the best days of my life.


one good one was the Windsor Free Festival in about 1973 - free n easy -sleeping under the stars -
one local Milk company decided to cash in on the thirsty hippies and arrived with milk floats -they had hiked the prices and while we were standing around grousing , a girl grabbed a few bottles and ran , with that 100's of us nicked bottles and legged it. The driver was trying to get away bombing across Windsor Great Park with hippies hanging on to the van throwing bottles of milk out to everyone...

walking into Windsor stealing bread , local girl came running out after us to help us and say the owner had seen us and to be careful

same festival I remember a French girl 16 yrs ish lost her boy friend on day 1 { now day 3 } -she spoke no English hardly but was happy , thought she might meet up with boyfriend at some point

and ...Mohican leather clad toughie clubbing with lump of metal anyone who got in his way when watching Judas Priest on stage ///

plenty of Dope -not many police and strolling in twos for own safety

Bill dwyer -well was never sure about him -seemed to want to organise everyone and everything { and move festival to Virginia Waters where there were lakes so we could all swim } -trying to mobilise a vote on what we should do a lot of lazy hippies having a good time were ever gonna recamp . Saw him or heard someone say that he had made a citizens arrest on a firechief who was doing something that Bill didnt like.

Children of God still handing out leaflets

small fires at night to keep warm -noone really with tents , just rolled up in sleeing bags -
presumably didnt rain { cant remember }

irish boys talking of going to Morrocco and never going back to Northern Ireland until the troubles were over

thats all



First of all, may I say what an incredible site this is. Like many other people on here, I’ve been searching for anything about the above festivals for several years now, and couldn’t believe my luck when I found you!

Looking through all the photos has been wonderfully evocative for me…and very moving…have felt quite emotional about it all actually, as it was such an unbelievable experience for me. I was just a kid of 14 when I went to the Windsor Free Festival! And I was on my own!

Many times over the last several months I’ve felt myself transported back in time to the Windsor Free Festival in 1974, sat in that field with hundreds of fellow hippies…and could almost smell the woodsmoke mixed up with joss sticks, patchouli oil and dope (of course!) Mmmm!

It’s taken me an age to start writing this…LIFE got in the way…so apologies. The photos I’ve enclosed are of me at Watchfield Festival 1975 (taken on the back of Oakenload’s white van) and at Reading Festival circa 1974 (I think!). I was gobsmacked to find that ukrockfestivals had a photo of me already…it’s the one with festival freaky, Jesus, and I’m crouched down on the grass, I remember I was very stoned and freaking out to the music! I was also probably a bit embarrassed that he’d taken off all his clothes… Quite amusing to view now!! I can recall that a group of lads were calling me ‘Mrs Jesus’ which really annoyed me.


Dolores and Jesus grok to Hawkwind

I remember the veggie food (but there wasn’t much of it whenever I looked) and I particularly recall the muesli with apple juice.

I don’t know how I survived it all really; I hardly ate, I didn’t sleep and I don’t think I had a proper wash in one whole week (yikes!).

My most enduring memory of that festival was all the lovely people I met and hung out with. They were all, invariably, a lot older than me. I DID get into some awkward situations with a few men, coz I looked older than 14, but by and large, people were respectful and tried to look out for me. I had many good conversations and a lotta laughs. Music and festivals, at this point in my life, was my sanctuary. I had few friends at school (where I was being bullied) and always found I had more in common with people 10, 20 years older than me. I had an alcoholic, violent father and life was very tough at home and at school. I actually ran way from home to be at Windsor. So being at this festival was just sheer bliss.

I clearly recall the Hare Krishna freaks, and also people shouting “Wally!” each night (which they did at Reading festival 1974 too).

It’s safe to say I spent the whole time digging the music, dancing, chatting, smoking dope, tripping (or whatever else was offered me)…the bands I saw were: Hawkwind, White As White And Twice As Dirty, Witches Brew, Wooden Lion, Global Village and probs heaps more!

I was devastated at having to leave the festival on the last day…that’s when the ‘pigs’ (as the police were referred to in them days) invaded the site. We were all exhausted (or just stoned) and the Police started hassling us to leave. I clearly remember sitting on the grass just yards from the wall of ‘pigs’ surrounding the campsites…Actually, looking back with hindsight I really didn’t realise the GRAVITY of the situation, altho’ I can recall feeling scared…it’s alarming to read other people’s recollections,here on this site, mentioning the police brutality.

I don’t know how I left the festival…alone or with people? But I did hitchhike most of the way back home. I was in huge trouble with my dad, who beat me black n blue for running away from home. All I know is it was worth it coz that festival was a life-saver for me. I was an extremely unhappy young girl and here I found people I could connect with. For me, music and dance have always been my way to express myself…and this has continued right up to present day…And I still get enormous pleasure from going to gigs. But the vibe of those days…they can never ever be replicated and I feel sometimes today that something is missing at the gigs I go to, and the few festivals I’ve attended lack a real sense of community spirit and togetherness.

I was also present at the Watchfield Festival 1975…another great experience. I was one of the people who braved sleeping in the Hangar!! I didn’t sleep much actually…far too many people coming and going at all hours lol! I smoked lotsa Leb and dropped microdots…I don’t know how I found the energy to dance as much as I did (every day!!!!)…I can’t recall any trouble with Police or freaks. I was there for most of the whole 9 days (but I think I went to Reading for a few days too).

All in all, an amazing time. I am glad I was there. I was LUCKY to be there. You know, it’s funny to think we were being a part of the ‘counter culture’, but we really were…coz we were all definitely looked upon as society outcasts (even if most of the people I met were actually middle-class types lol)

Well, once again, thank you so much for setting up this wonderful wonderful place…
They do say that getting older makes you look back to the past with rose-tinted specs…well, it’s kinda true. But all I know is I’m glad I lived my teens back in the 70s…and not these days.

Please can I say a big hello to Roy, from Wooden Lion, who helped me out with getting in touch with you direct…and to also say hi to anyone who I might’ve met at these festivals here…you can contact me via my music page on myspace:
All good wishes from

I had found my freedom, busking and sleeping wherever I could, carousing in pubs and smoking dope round camp fires. But that was merely at a personal level. Issues cropped up everywhere and I always did what I could. I only met Bill a few times at the final Windsor Festival. I had been living in a tent village at Clodgy Point, near St Ives, Cornwall and planned to find accomodation for the winter, via a visit to the festival. I'd heard that it would be well attended so set off a week early,hitching as per the norm.

I met with a few other festival stalwarts or whatever you might call themand we survived on nettle stew, nettle soup and fags; some were in acaravan as I remember (how together is that?). Among these was Bill whom Ifelt an accord with. I knew not who he was then, but as we talked,something clicked and he asked me to help with a few things (hey, he seemed monarchic so who could refuse?).

As I have disabilities I couldn't actually dig the latrines he asked forbut I did have a whole bunch of mates arriving whom I urged to getinvolved. As I recall they got dug pretty quick. The St John's Ambulance arrived well in advance and they looked like something out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - but they did help with the ODs and other mishaps.

Before the festival started, the press arrived and spoke to us. In St Ives I'd started some stupid joke about Hyper- Dermots (during a police search of the tents) and we told this reporter that the St Ives Dermots were coming. He asked how many. I said 'five or six' - and this guy Dermot added 'hundred'. Woo, says reporter, so I continued: 'Hey, that's nothing compared to the Wallies.' 'Wallies, who are they?' asks Telegraph geezer. 'Oh, they'ye a mixed tribe of teds, hippies, Dermots, Dermot Wallies and so forth' I explained. 'Some of them are trying to get here by magic.'

The magic wasn't included but they printed pretty much the rest - and I have a photo and cutting which I'd sent to my mum.
What I did do was join Bill in a field meeting with the head of Thames Valley(?) Police. This gent confessed to his disapproval of camping and etc where camping and etc are not permitted. He did seem to have a realistic attitude though. He told us that he might not be able to stop us arriving, but he would certainly evict us and close it down at the first opportunity. He also said he would be enforcing drug laws and any others he might. In my estimation he was seeming to allow the happening but secretly hoping we would be hoisted on our own petard or worse.

Bill said that wasn't really the point of the fesival - all the leisure aspects were merely pastimes while people showed in great numbers that they disapproved of certain politics. The copper didn't see how this was the right time or place, to which I asked where then might such a time and place be. Our local politicians listen to other politicians but certainly not men with long hair.

It seemed we had found some kind of pax with the bill - indeed, we had nine days of festival, where the only harrasment and trouble came from a police helicopter trying to film/photograph everyone so we flashed pans, baccy tins, anything shiny at it. There were the police searches (to which I was subjected to no avail) - it provides an amusing story these days about if you wanna search this unwashed hippie cavity you're welcome to any dope you can find...

The cost of food from vendors stank. There had been some Krishnans and other jumpered types giving out tinned food - guess who became popular for his tin-opener:) but this was a spit in the ocean. It seemed there were a lot of other skint hippiesaround. Softies but with beliefs?

In the spirit of the festival (and I think charging these vendors was OK, surely the money went somewhere good) I decided to approach one of them to see if they would price their stuff reasonably. Sadly I was followed by a bunch of angry lads, who, before I could speak to the guy, turned his hot dog cart over and legged it - nicking hot dogs as they went. I then helped
the guy upright the cart and gather his stuff up. I was shocked by the behaviour of these people whom I'd thought were peacable.

Towards the end of the fest I had noticed the arrival of what were being newly-dubbed lager louts. They were tinnie bovver, into football and fighting (the chances of the other F seemed slight). they were noisy and unwanted and seemingly the excise the police needed to enforce the law
more sternly.
The police cordon woke me on the last day as kids and mums kicked up over being seperated. i managed to slip through to return a mate's guitar. The bobbies seemed affable enough, but we could hear chaos somewhere. we suggested they might be needed elswehere but they stoically remained at their post.
I decided not to risk taking my lovely big lump of red leb with me and placed it by a tree...after having eaten half of it. I thence flew to Birmingham, seemingly by magic. Oddly enough, my first lift was with a senior police officer and we had a good laugh (despite me laughing and laughing and laughing).

Sorry this isn't so much about Bill, but like everyone else's tale, it echoes his thoughts and deeds across time to this day and I'm still anarchaic despite my having worked in social services. I do remember his police jacket and wellies and grandad shirt, his beard and colossal presence. His demeanour was convincing even when I again saw him in alleged flipped mode. It just seemed that even such a larger than life bloke could also get desperate. Hell, times never change do they? Win from the inside my sister once said, and it seems Bill thought the same. It's slightly less punishing than trying to blow the buggers up.
Alex Oliver

Bill and friends 1973 © Vin Miles

Brilliant site. I have been looking at it on and off for about four years now and I have wanted to addd my contribution but I have never got around to it.

I was from merseyside and hung round with the Scouse hippies up there. We used to drink in a pub called the Swan in a little lane behind Bold Street. On Saturday's we watched bands in The Stadiium. A few people I knew had been to Windsor '72 and '73 so at some point before '74 I decided to go and see if their enthusiasm for the other festivals was justified.

I don't remember how I got there. It would have been hitch-hiking but I don't remember the exact trip or arriving. I remember that straight away I was bumping into people that I had met either up North or in St Ives were I had bummed around for a bit. I was 19. I remember the weather being georgeous and there being 'heads' everywhere and feeling as though I belonged and feeling safe.

I was pretty desperate to get some acid and found someone who had some green stuff. We could only get one tab of this though and I selfishly dropped it. My mates got this brown stuff and after about an hout or so their trips seemed a lot better than mine so I took some of that as well.

As everyone has said, that was some pretty special stuff. I wandered around all day, going from stage to stage. Sometimes I would be with my friends, sometimes I would be with people who I didn't know but were very friendly. I remember walking past the long trench across the field that people were using as a toilet, watching some guy have a shit.

I thought I had put my hand on a campfire ot one point. I was sitting down and leant backwards. I looked at my hand and could see lots of blisters. The people I happened to be with took me to a first aid ten (was there one?). I showed them the hand that had all the blisters. They were very nice about it but they couldn't see any. I said they must be looking at the wrong hand and showed them the other one. I could now see blisters on that hand but not on the first one and I became totally confused. In hindsight maybe I got stung by a wasp or something. The next day there were no marks at all!

I remember watching the tree burn and wondering if it really was happening. No one else seemed worried by it. I remember it falling down and I thought there were loads of people in the flames burning to death, but, again no one else seemed worried about it.

After dark I watched a Hells Angel and another guy having a fight. I was totally spaced and walked and walked until my brother came and fiound me and took me to where everyone was sleeping.

We had been told by someone that if the police tried to arrest someone we had to shout Bust ! I was in a bender when a blue arm came threw and unhooked some rope that was holding it up. A guy I knew pushed the arm away and hooked the rope back on. He got dragged out and thrown in to a van. I shouted bust but when I looked outside I could see it was pretty pointless.

During the general melee I watched a very calm guy I knew, who had just taken his tent down, walking across the grass, carrying a tent pole to put it away. Ten police jumped on him and dragged him away, not too gently. When I asked why they said that he was carrying an offensive weapon.

I ended up being taken to a police station where I tried to calm a girl I met there who had taken acid ten minutes before the police came.

I miss the lack of materialism we had there. I have never come across the same sense of brotherhood and easy to make friendships. I talk to my kids about it but they don't seem to understand.

The hippy scene in Liverpool ended up as just another excuse to take drugs and by the end of the 70s it was starting to get mixed up with organised criminals etc. I think this happened everywhere.

British society has reverted back to type. On the news today was a report that working class kids are no better off than they were in the 1950s in terms of their prospects of social mobility. They should have let us have a go. At least society would habve been a lot more colourful!

Any chance of a noticeboard so we can see how we have been treated by the last 33 years? Hippies reunited!

(known as Mugsey then)

Aged 17 & festival virgins me & my mate headed for windsor in 74
I remember there were 2 bands called "madhatter" so a coin was flipped & 1 became "greeny",they did covers including a good version of split part 1 by the groundhogs , tinys hot toddies came on late & could hardly play but went down a storm with the crowd next day,soaked through & a bit demoralised,the final straw my mate losing his pyjamas!

we went home
...thus missing the cops assault later in the day

One of my outstanding memories of Windsor 74 was Tiny And The Hot Toddies blasting out an absolutely storming set at who knows what time one night (or morning). I've no idea who they were - local band, bunch of guys from other bands, if anyone has further info on them I'd love to hear about it. One thing I will never forget about their set is some naked guy flailing around on the stage scaffolding singing "Please Officer Witney, don't hit me, don't hit me. I don't know why I'm happy... AAH HA HA HA HA!!!!". You could hear him over the PA, which wasn't a quiet one! Classic looney! :-)
I seem to remember hearing Gong from inside a leaky parachute (tent substitute) at about 3am - though I may have imagined this (Gong, not the parachute, that was definitely real).
Mark Serlin

brilliant, brilliant, brilliant ---
your site and some of the recollections from various people have literally blown me away.
It brought back memories that I didn’t know I still had (if that makes sense), when I read the bit about the free tins of food (cheers Silk Tork for that) with no labels on I immediately thought about the tins of salad (yuk) and some people mixing this with tins of tomato soup from the same free tins (double yuk)
The only band that I really remember was Zorch who played all night, I think? The acid was good! For all these years I’ve been under the impression that they were French.(some of my friends were the dragon weaving in and out of the crowd that night)
Some people give the angels a bad press, we supplied them with some acid and in return they re-appeared later on looking for us, they were carrying a blanket laden with a mountain of alcohol which we and many others were told to help ourselves to.
My friend and I had our jackets, sleeping bags etc. ripped off, and that night it started pissing down. We were drenched when an announcement came over the pa that there was an offer of somewhere to sleep, so we made our way backstage and met a couple from Slough who took us back to their place. Thank you whoever you were/are.
I was at two of the festivals at Windsor; in 72 or 73 I hitched down from Coatbridge in Sconny Botland with a friend (John Adams), and in '74 a load of us came up from Torquay.
I am amazed at all of the bands that I don’t remember seeing!
Wull Mullen

The Windsor Free Festival, 1973 and 1974

I'm delighted to have found a site dedicated to these festivals which I thought only I remembered! I've a few memories to share.

I was only 14 and 15 when I went to the Windsor Free Festivals of 1973 and 1974, with a group of much older friends each time… the first time with my 21-year-old sister too. I stayed the duration of the festival each time and witnessed the dawn raid by Thames Valley police that closed down the one in 1974. Looking back on it, I'm astonished my parents allowed me – such a young girl – to go at all. I took a wonderful old wartime bell-end scouts' tent with a huge wooden pole in the middle; it slept five and so we accommodated a couple of new friends we met there.

I was asked to work on someone's stand. We sold light-show badges (I was told the stuff was called diffraction grating), chillums, huge Rizla papers labelled Esmeralda, tiny glass beads on threads and a frightening implement called a flaschen-schnappe which cut a perfect line through glass leaving no rough edges, to convert a milk bottle to a drinking glass.

I remember lovely food being handed out; I still wonder how it could have been free. It was a sort of bean stew flavoured with hot chillies. There were various stalls around the place selling things. I bought two bamboo flutes from a Mexican or perhaps South American couple I think I'd also seen in Portobello Road market (which was where I got the initial flier advertising the festival, that made me want to go).

I remember two bands that aren't mentioned in your lists here: Raw Sienna, and Chilly Willy and the Red Hot Peppers. Raw Sienna were from Stoke Newington and included in their line-up were a female singer called Grace I think (with superb cowboy boots), someone called Jolyon (I was told he was Jo Lyon really and heir to Lyons Corner Houses… I'm not sure if that was true) and a guitarist Steve Roberts, who had studied fine art: at only 20 he was a wonderful surrealist painter. I still have a tambourine Steve painted, and a sketch he did of me later. I became friendly with Raw Sienna and used to go to their squats in Clissold Road quite a bit after that. I'd love to know what any of these are doing now. We loved Chilly Willy and the Red Hot Peppers: especially their name. When years later I heard of the Red Hot Chili Peppers I wondered if it was the same band – but as far as I know it wasn't.

I met other people at Windsor too whom I remember; an impressively well-organised girl of 16 who had run away from home, and a young man who was trying to keep out of his mother's hair for the summer. Both came to share our tent. In our part of the field, it was fashionable in the first couple of days to go round calling 'Wallywallywally' for no identifiable reason. One night, in high spirits, I pranced about between tents and joined in the chorus of 'Wallywallywallywallywallywalleeeeee…'. Later someone came to our gathering looking very serious, and told us to stop it: a young man in a nearby tent had taken LSD and was having an extremely bad trip; the madly exuberant chanting was making him a lot worse… his name happened to be Wally. We felt terrible. I think they got him medical help.

The sanitation arrangements in the field were primitive, but very well organised. Some of us still preferred to find bushes to hide behind because the stench of the hand-dug latrines could be overpowering. The latrines had a huge canopy over them that when the sun shone through it was translucent. I'll never forget looking across the field to the latrines tent very early one morning to behold the tall, slim silhouette of a young bearded man with long, Jesus-like locks, apparently naked and crouching to defecate. I stood to watch the rather beautiful vision of his excrement slithering into gravity until he stood up again, handsome and tall… and walked off.

On one afternoon an announcer over the PA system warned us happy campers that there were plain clothes police officers walking round. It was quite funny: they were so obvious... they didn't have the first idea how to look like the rest of us and got it embarrassingly wrong, with ridiculous beads and headscarves like something from 1960's Woodstock (which by 1974 was way in the past, of course!). I remember enjoying this – until the announcer decided to comment that the bra-less WPC had 'scrawny tits'. Suddenly I felt annoyed with him for humiliating her like that… she became a human being in my eyes and not the enemy we were being encouraged to mock.

For the first few days the Police had looked friendly, and kept near the road; I felt they were just keeping a watchful eye and this was probably in our interests. However, they didn't do themselves any favours after that. On about the fourth or fifth day at 5am, there was a 'dawn raid'. We were woken by our tents collapsing upon us: the officers had been ordered to pull up every tent peg on the site.

We felt hurt and angry: this assault on our peaceful holiday seemed unnecessary. It was a bad move in terms of PR for the police; it certainly upset me a lot. Later in the day, I heard news reports which gave the impression that campers at the Festival had been violent and that we were a bad lot. It wasn't at all true, and my image of the Police and of the press was somewhat tainted after that.

All happy memories though, apart from that! It was a great experience. And I remember Bill 'Ubique' Dwyer, who started it all. Some of us were invited into the organisers' tent where he presided, and I remember sitting in a circle while, like some kind of quiet guru with a great sense of humour, he addressed us… if only I could remember what it was about! Most of all, though, I wish I had photos of my own – it's great to see other people's.
Susan Richards

6 July 2008

I was at the Windsor Free Festival in 1974. I travelled there with a bunch of friends from Norfolk in an ex BR passenger vehicle with a dome packed on top. Every time we took the van off site to get food and water the police took everything out - spent a lot of time going in and out of Windsor! The local farmers spread pig manure on the fields so my overriding memory is of the smell. Then there were all the piles of human shit and toilet paper in the bushes - what was left of them after they'd been ripped for firewood. I remember vividly a guitarist who believed he was the reincarnation of Hendrix. He played endlessly on an out-of-tune guitar.

The night before the police arrived someone nicked my brand new tent and everything in it. As for the police, well, I've never trusted a police officer since. Most of the people who were randomly arrested and dragged into the backs of vans were later charged with refusing to give their name and address. I saw a lot of people arrested but none of them were ever asked that. I gave evidence at a couple of trials afterwards but in those days magistrates always believed the police.

Paul May

I had read the Cool Aid Acid Test, Doors of Perception etc before taking my first trip and at the 2nd Windsor spent either doing the lights all nightlong in a heightened state of creative awareness or at the release tent helping those Londoners who had over-indulged in the Welsh strength acid. (that all ended later with Operation Julie) The youth of UK were about 4 years behind the drug culture of US but as the free festival movement became established, the element of taking acid at these events became a bedrock reason for organising them. From my point of view, it was the creation of a protective and supportive environment with suitable entertainment where it was safe to indulge the synapses and allow the lambs and tigers to enjoy themselves to the full.

It was in this state of mind that I was still standing after a memorable night watching Zorch on the Virgin Stage at the '74 Windsor when I spotted the start of the police invasion. Most were asleep in tents as the early rays of sun were recieving my attentions and I saw the black buses pull up on the main road and black ants swarm out. I shouted myself hoarse alerting the thousands of slumberers to the crisis hardly believing my eyes as six of the rapidly growing 'ants' made a beeline for me! I turned tail and with the feet of Mercury flitted and hopped through the tents until I dived unseen into a modest ridge affair on top of two disgruntled bodies who took understandable umbrage at this rudery.

Apparently, the effort of escape had robbed me of air from my vocal cords and my mime of explaination was mistook for a fit. One look through the nylon flap was enough to convince them that things were afoot and a desperate struggle with hiding stash ensued. My
initial efforts to arouse the site was gaining ground as others emerged to take up the cry and I was safe from my pursuers who had withdrawn back to their line. The rest is common knowledge except for the number of agent-provocateurs planted in the mostly peaceful protesting crowd to up the anti on the physical violence front so that the police could respond with like in front of the newshounds. I sent my camera back with aload of inflatable equipment the day before so no images of that fateful day.

Roger Hutchinson

Roger is one of the contributors to Andy Roberts new book - Albion Dreaming ,this is an essential purchase if you are interested in the free festivals and underground scene in the UK in the 70s and 80s, there's a big section on Windsor , with lots of fascinating new information .

I was eighteen in 1974, fresh out of school, and I drove down to Windsor, from my home in Knebworth (which was yet to become really famous) in my old Anglia van intending to sleep in the back. In the end I met up with the Stevenage Longship crowd and shared someone's tent. My strongest memories are of lying in tents getting stoned and watching policeman's boots passing just the other side of the little metal fence that separated us from the road, and of being stopped coming back from a wash session in the toilets in Windsor whilst driving someone else's van with no tax or insurance but not getting arrested because they were only looking for one thing.

I had forgotten the Global Village Trucking Company played (maybe I missed them) but I do remember Gong, who, if I recall turned up direct from France at about midnight and played into the early hours.

I left soon after to get back for my father's birthday on the 29th so missedmost of the excitement, although I did get stopped at a roadblock outside
Windsor where I was asked to provide serial numbers for all my possessionsin the back of the van.

For years I had a vague recollection of seeing another good band there who put on a sort of Hawkwind/Early Genesis show. I remember I dragged everyone back to see them but could never remember who they were until a couple of weeks ago when a band turned up at my local pub. They are now The Legendary Wooden Lion but at Windsor they were just called The Wooden Lion. They do not seem to figure on any of the lists you have. Does anybody else remember them?
Peter Gill


I was there too, for the 1974 Windsor Free Festival. I stayed right up until the final, agonising moments, when, whatever the Thames Valley police force covered themselves in that day, it was certainly not glory!


Another rare hand drawn leaftlet courtesy Tony Farrell

I can remember only small snippits of the events of the preceding days of the festival. I do remember Bill (Ubi) Dyer roaming around the site, ranting and telling everyone to leave - was it due to exhaustion, or just too much acid ? , I never found out - which made many of us uncomfortable, for until that moment Bill to us all WAS the festival! He sat at our campfire and was shouting at his companion (I forget her name now)!

I still have a copy of the excellent free newspaper- produced on the site- dedicated to the state of `Albion,` if I remember!

I was smoking a lot of dope, and did a few trips during the festival, so, my memory is pretty poor, of the events of the week. I remember however, meeting a lovely girl, from, I think, London. My friend and I paired off with her and her friend. The two of us spent the night together; most of the time, I remember, sitting around a campfire smoking and chatting with other `freaks!` In the morning, we met up again with her friend and my mate, then the two girls went off, back to London and I never saw her again!

I also remember most of what took place, on the last, fateful day: the scenes are still, 34 years later, indelibly etched in my memory. I, like most people, was awoken early in the morning by the sound of police ordering everyone to leave the site immediately. When I crawled, bleary eyed, out of my tent, I was astounded to see a large circle of police encircling the tents. I managed to scramble both my thoughts and possessions together, before they began walking through the camp, trashing tent after tent with none of us able to do anything to stop them. We all gathered around the main stage, in a vain attempt to stop the police from dismantling the whole structure. I seem to remember seeing, who I took to be two plain clothes officers, picking up a female between them, and ramming her head against a post! I also remember, very vividly, watching in horror as what seemed the whole head of hair from one guy come away in the hand of a policeman as he grabbed the guy and pulled him off the stage.

Afterwards, many of us marched from the festival site, into Windsor town, and tried to stage a sit down protest, in the street. The police, however soon began shifting us, and carrying many of us away.

I remember listening to a discussion, between a sympathetic copper and a freak. The copper was saying that he didn't like any of the violence he had just witnessed. The conversation then turned to the whole alternative lifestyle, with the copper expressing the opinion that the whole thing was just a passing fad, more of less suggesting that the freak would be better off planning for his future than dropping out ! A rare - on the day - coming together of two opposing and contradictory lifestyles, with each person respecting the others point of view. I always remember that conversation. And it forced me to realise that not all of the police were evil!

Afterwards, I left the town and in a state of shock, hitched down to Cornwall, to recover with friends. I remember one lift, where the driver was outraged by what has transpired at Windsor and I remember glancing at the headlines in a newspaper the next day, when the inquest began into the actions of the police!

Best wishes, and thank you for your efforts, in assembling this amazing site.

John Ashwell

I was only 16 when I got involved with helping out at the squat in Carmelite Street in London. I used to go there on Saturdays to generally help with mailing and other work. Ubi was there organizing the work but I cannot recall if Sid R was there. I think there was about ten or so people in the squat. I remember talking with a guy from Manchester particularly about anarchy.
The squat in Cornwall Terrace was attended by a hundred or so people to discuss Windsor III although I do not who actually lived in the squat. I remember a vote being taken of whether or not to let the press attend -I think he was from the Daily Telegraph.

The problem is recollection. I took no notes or photographs; names came and went and I am now 51.What I did 33-34 years ago is hard to recall. All I remember is that Windsor III was a great experience which I never have forgotten while Windsor III is always tinged with what happened on the final day.

On Saturday 13th of this month I went to Windsor by train to visit St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and (not surprisingly) to visit the festival site at Queens, Gate, Windsor Great Park.

The site is still completely clear and free of obstructions with grass that looks as if it is infrequently cut by some large machine. There was the usual flying strip for model aircraft and the low barrier by the Kings Road that proved to be a problem for getting vehicles onto the site is still there.

The screen of trees between the festival site and Windsor Castle is there and as the trees grow it will become correspondingly more difficult to see the Castle from the site.

The whole place seemed to be crying out for another festival to be held there in the summer, and then more and more ...

The large oak tree under which Ubi lived in his caravan is still there but time and rough useage has left its marks. I think it must be about two centuries old.

I will be interested to know if anybody else visits the site from the festivals to keep their spirit alive.

Warm regards,

Ali Ismail

For one of the Windsors myself and my then boyfriend, Steve Winning, did a bit of design for the International Times (in the Notting Hill office) for their newsletter for the event. Somewhere I have a copy which I will try to find.

Windsor: Thames Valley Police were a bloody disgrace - I saw an obviously pregnant girl get kicked in the stomach by a policeman. I thought the recent behaviour in the G20 demos in the City looked very recognisable in terms of police attitude. We eventually managed to escape in our knackered Beetle, giving a nice guy called Derek a lift back into London. Our neighbours, who had escaped from the then Eastern Block, were staggered to think English police behaved like that; they thought they'd come to a civilised country.

Noelle Greenaway

Just found your site. Such memories. (1974) I was in the band Gemini and I also played in a band called Stag (both on the same night ). The list of bands on the fliers was subject to change to say the least. Hawkwind played before us and they aren't mentioned on the band list flier, although the Pink fairies are mentioned on the second and they did turn up, but late - if I remember correctly. I also remember playing knock-about football with some of Hawkwind and that Michael Moorcock took to the stage with Hawkwind. We played "Master of the Universe" in our set, which felt strange considering Hawkwind were backstage.

Ron Bowes

I was 17 when I went to Windsor Festival in 1974. I was hitch-hiking and one driver told me about it. I slept in the open that night then got a ride into Windsor. While I was there I saw a Hare Krishna monk in his bright orange robes going into Woolworths. I stayed on the same spot on the pavement until he came out again, and asked where he was from. He told me about the festival happening in Windsor Great Park. A little later I walked out there, determined to meet the Krishna people and also to talk with anybody else who had a spiritual message.

First person to catch my eye on entering the site was Sid Rawles walking around organising things in his long ginger hair and a black top hat. I thought he was pretty impressive. Later on I saw Ubi Dwyer who seemed as if he was on something, as he was having a dump in a hole in the ground in full public view. Something I hadn't seen before. Indeed, I would see a lot at the festival I hadn't seen before!

Aside from going to Knebworth in Hertfordshire for John McLaughlin, and to Buxton in Derbyshire for Chuck Berry, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Medicine Head and Brewer's Droop, I had not been to festivals. This was to be my first festival, and also my last as an 'ordinary' punter. By the time I went to my next free festival - Watchfield - I had also become a shaven-headed, orange-robed Hare Krishna monk.

The Krishnas had a tent at Windsor festival and were doing what they always did at festivals: giving out free food and inviting everyone to join them for their chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. I had just walked past the big oak tree on Windsor Great Park; 'Jessica' by the Allman Brothers was blaring out from a stage somewhere; then over the top of the music I heard the 'ching, ching, ching' of the small cymbals the Krishnas use in their chanting. Then I saw them off in the distance. I was drawn in by the sound and a Krishna woman in a red sari gave me a plate of fried peanuts and a kind of semolina pudding they called 'halavah.' I was hungry and ate it gratefully. After picking up a tambourine and joining in one of their chanting sessions - kirtans (and very nice it was) I moved on to walk around the tents to see who else might have an interesting and alternative life I could learn from.

I spent a long time talking with some of the Guru Maharaji people and bought a magazine from them. They had a 17 year-old guru who said he was God himself. I didn't find them convincing or very friendly, and there was no free food, so after half an hour or so I moved on again. Later I found myself back at the Krishna tent. They had just started a fire to boil up some water. When I spoke with one of the monks he looked disapprovingly at the magazine I'd just paid for and asked if he could burn it. I refused initially because I wanted to read it. I also thought it was a bit impolite to ask if you could burn someone's magazine, but after a few more minutes I reluctantly gave it to him. It burned very quickly.

That night they performed a play about the struggles of a man trying to find happiness in the world. The play finished with a kirtan but because it was late, and not everybody liked their brand of music, a man came over shouting at them to stop. He didn't have a stitch of clothing on and the Krishna women looked away while the leader of the Krishnas spoke to him and apologised, persuading him to return to his tent.

The next morning I went with them to nearby Virginia Water for a 'bath' and then the leader of the group, a friendly and persuasive Irish monk named Tribhuvanatha, suggested that I come with them back to the Bhaktivedanta Manor, a house given to them by Beatle George Harrison and named after their founder, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I didn't need any persuading as I was already interested in many of the things they had to say, and I wanted to find out more. It was August 28th. The next day, when the police moved in, I was at the Hare Krishna Manor in Hertfordshire - but all the Krishnas had returned to Windsor, chanting and dancing as the police did their festival-busting and tent-pole ripping up. So I missed it all.

The next year, in my shaven head and tangerine robes, I went with the Krishnas to Watchfield where we'd been given a large barracks hut to use as our base. We served up endless plates of a rice and dahl combination known as kitchari. It was spiced with, among other things, our trademark yellow turmeric. For years afterwards, people who'd gone to the festivals would say: "Oh yeah, the Krishnas gave out that yellow food - very tasty" One morning I went to the air control tower and saw Sid Rawles and his friends making up the festival edition of the International Times. The Krishnas had shared a building with IT in London some time previously.

In 1976 I went to Seasalter. By that time I was the leader of a small group of monks in a single-decker bus, converted into a mobile temple. It was silver with a large red sign running down each side with the mantra painted on in yellow. Festival-goers looked at it in appreciation. We gave out food as usual and invited everyone to come aboard our Krishna mobile for energetic kirtan. That year, two freaks at the festival joined us and are still practising Krishnas.
Years later, I met a photographer in the Govinda's vegetarian restaurant in London, run by the Krishnas. It turned out that he had been at the Windsor Free Festival in 1974 and had taken lots of photographs of events on the different stages. He very kindly sent me some negatives of the Krishnas on stage and there I was in the audience. Never got to meet him again.

Mike Harrison (Kripamoya)

Like most people I have mixed memories of Windsor ’74 - I enjoyed the festival greatly, but not the attention of the Thames Valley police!

I was 17 & hitched up from South Wales - standard mode of transport in those days - to join some friends who'd gone ahead. I recall walking up the road into the Great Park when some guy about 10 years older and looking like some kind of Vietnam vet came up to me saying the cops were searching people up ahead. He suggested that I attach my stash to my leg and offered me some tape. He was quite insistent and in the end I said I'd just keep it in my pocket and take my chances (I only had a small piece of hash), at which someone grabbed me from behind and pushed me off the road and through a hedge where there were loads of uniformed police with vehicles & dogs. I remember a DS guy saying he liked a bit of Moroccan himself and if it was up to him he wouldn't bust people like me. Yeah right! I was taken with a few other people to an army camp in Windsor where we were processed and held in a gym. They provided some food and mattresses – they’d obviously prepared well! I was there with 20 or so others and I remember talking to a guy about the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, who told me he planned to spend the festival sitting in a tree and carving flutes.

After a while there was a commotion in the room outside the gym and I heard a guy being processed and giving his name as “Ivor Block”. He eventually joined us in the gym and ended up rolling a splif from crumbs in his pocket and a piece of toilet paper. Someone found a match and they lit up right under the cops’ noses. I was too low in the pecking order to get a toke but we all enjoyed the symbolic gesture.

Later on, during the night, “Ivor” was going on about how there were many more of us than the police so we should just beat them up. Pretty scary dude actually - he wrote “kill the pigs” on a blackboard – then kicked an external door open and walked out. He must have just walked past all of the police & army guys as I met him a couple of days later, when he was walking around wearing a widow’s hat with a veil. It took a few hours for the cops to realise he was gone. The following morning we all went through the court – I think I was fined around £35 – then I walked back to the festival.

I can recall wandering around from fire to fire on a pitch black night, just chatting to people and occasionally hitching a lift from stage to stage on some old vehicle. It was exciting, anarchic and free. I especially remember the cacophony of several stages at once – a crazy mix of sound. The next day I linked up with friends and got some “blue pyramid” acid which I dropped with a girl I’d just met. Powerful stuff and great fun!

My other memories are quite hazy, until the morning I was woken up by someone kicking the tent pole next to my head. I opened the flap and the first thing I saw was a pair of police boots. I was told to pack up & leave but I hung around for several hours. The cops were pulling people’s tent pegs out but a couple of us got inside my mate’s army tent and held the poles upright so by the time the police realised the tent wasn’t collapsing people had put the pegs back in. There were a few early scuffles and I remember someone knocking a cop’s helmet off. This seemed to be a favourite prank – there was an announcement on the main stage that PC someone’s helmet had been handed in and he was invited to collect it.

The police killed the power on the main stage and formed a line to push us all across the site. I saw a girl stripping off & dancing in front of them – someone else has written about this so perhaps several women did this. We all gathered at the last stage with power - Stage F I think. A guy on the PA told us to link arms and offer passive resistance. A large group of uniformed cops was gathered about 100m away. One with a flat hat, presumably a senior officer, stood on top of a van waving his arms around and pointing at us. The police then charged our line and the tension meant my mate Nick was suspended between me and another tall guy when he got punched in the stomach by plod, which I must admit seemed quite funny at the time.

Everything then got very messy and I have some bad memories of what I saw. Cops were punching people in the crowd randomly, though I don’t remember any truncheons. I saw a pregnant woman lose her balance and grab a cop to avoid falling. He just turned around and punched her in the stomach. I’m sure this was just instinctive self-defence and that he didn’t mean to punch her, but it was still a nasty thing to see. I lost sight of her in the crowd and I hope she and her child were OK.

So I have mixed memories, with police problems at the beginning and end, but a great festival in between! Shame I can’t remember any of the bands!



Hi, I was at and played at at least 2 of the Windsor Park Festivals and I remember Heneage simply because I thought it a very strange but good name. I also lived in St Ives in those years primarily in a squatted Hotel that the local Rugby Team were drafted in to evict us. I remember very little of the last Windsor Park Festival except playing on one of the Stages and waking up on the Monday to a line of policemen walking toward the crowd. I was living in Archway when the first Windsor Festival happened. I also remember that the SPG a notoriously violent unit within the U.K. Police Force was formed specifically to deal with the squatters outside the gates of Windsor Castle. The Castle is surrounded by common Land which Bill had found out about. It was owned in common by the residents of Windsor and the Queen as far as I can remember. I remember the police kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach and banging other sit down protesters heads off iron railings deliberately as they carried them to Black Maria's. The police were not at all well behaved. A lot of the protesters on the other hand just sat down and refused to move which triggered beatings with batons. I played at a lot of those Festivals such Windscale (to stop the building of what is now Sellafiend and the early Glastonbury Festivals pre-Worthy Farm, Watchfield, Stonehenge, and Meighan Wells as well as The Dublin Anti Nuclear Festival in St Stephens Green and Carnsore in Wexford in Ireland. most of the playing I did in Carsore was around the camp-fire and in tents rather than on the Stage. I escaped from the Park by walking away after everyone scattered at the baron charge and climbed through a hedge at the edge of the Park and hitched to Reading from there to Luton and thence back into London. The Bit Offices were at the corner of Westbourne Park Road and they had a crashpad in Oxford Gardens I stayed in for a bit. There were a lot of mentally damaged people knocking around and a lot of the Festival people squatted en-masse at an old warehouse at the back of a patch of converted waste ground called Meanwhile Gardens beside the Station at Westbourne Grove. They were seriously crazy times.

Martin A. Egan

I know the festival was brought to an abrupt end and things were a bit chaotic I'm wondering if any of the contributors to your archive can remember the Welsh group Man playing at the festival. I've been trying to find out this information for years without success.

Best Regards

John Bannon


I was just reading your website about the Windsor free festival, well I was there over the preceding weekend and bank holiday Monday in 1974. I got a bit confused reading about the police activities cos at one point someone wrote twas on a Friday and someone else mentioned Wednesday. Well we left on the Tuesday morning which was dull wet and windy and I was always under the impression that the police moved in shortly afterwards?

A bunch of us travelled down from Norfolk in a VW camper van and right near where we parked our van was where all the bad trippers were sent to calm down and chill out which phased us out a bit. I cannot add any bands to your list but one band played a few heavy Reggae sounding tunes which did not go down too well.

We got stopped by the police after one jaunt into town where some local was shouting abuse at everyone with long hair. They did a thorough search of our van but forgot to look inside the hubcaps, and failed to notice that the chewing gum that I apparently spat out later was wrapped in silver foil.

Kind regards,
Tim Metcalfe

More about Ubi Dwyer here