Here & Now Vaults: Your Tales 2

 

Memories Of A Free Festival Or Two
or

“losing marbles and finding diamonds”

Well now, in something like ‘71 I toddled along to a one day event at
Aldermaston at the end of a CND march and threw a tulip over the fence of
the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, thereby single-handedly bringing
an end to all wars forever - or not as it turned out. The reason for my
attendance however was not actually anything so meaningful; in fact I had
been advised of the presence at the festival of both Hawkwind and - more
importantly to me at the time - Steve Peregrine Took. A poster seen in town
(Reading) confirmed this, and thinking to myself that if both these acts
were there then there was a goodly chance that my faves the Pink Fairies
might turn up too, I made my way to the field in question.


The ‘Fairies role in the early Free festivals is a subject worthy of a
seperate essay - free sets outside the gates of both the IOW and Bath
festivals sowed seeds that bore strange fruit down the years - Here & Now
outside Blackbush Aerodrome during the Dylan gig for example (although that
turned out to be free anyway ha ha!!!), more free gigs under the Westway -
and their part in the organisation of Glastonbury Fayre ‘71 has been
undervalued of late. as various parties re-write history to their own
agendas. Then of course there was Phun City, dis-organised by Mick Farren
and Boss Goodman of the Pink Fairies and for many the ultimate Free Festival
of it’s time - but somehow different, more political perhaps - than the
mid-seventies events. Of course Phun City started out as a benefit and only
became free through confusion. I know Boss himself would vote for
Trentishoe.


A gloriously sunny day (weren’t they always back then?) saw us all slumped
in wonder as the cider went round, the joints burned and our heads spun. A
series of godawful acts (Armada? Who they??? Dunno) and some good ones like
Graham Bond paved the way for the entrance of the mighty Took - a much
neglected talent whose premature death by glace cherry makes the recent
release of some late period out-takes on Cherry Red Records all the more
poignant - who played a solo set (no PF’s boo-hoo) to the bemusement of the
many and the glee of myself who found his sandpaper and glue delivery most
compelling as did a small posse of Hell’s Angels. Everyone else seemed to
think he was terrible but what did they know? Then Hawkwind, in perhaps
their finest incarnation, played as night came down and sent us all home
feeling mighty cosmic. But it wasn’t just the music.


Fast forward to ‘74 and the Windsor Free Festivals’ third year of annoying
royalty with the presence of hippies in the Great Park brought out the
latent violence of the Police force with a vengeance. Having been banned
from a within ten mile limit of Windsor by Reading Magistrates for the crime
of distributing Festival literature sent to me by Ubi Dwyer, I wasn’t there
(why on earth I complied I cannot for the life of me recall), and so missed
the first throwing of HereNow but I guess I didn’t miss much except a punch
up. The violence was by all accounts horrific. So horrific in fact that a
backlash occurred, and in ‘75 we were given Watchfield Aerodrome near
Swindon as an alternative site that at the time was seen as a possibly
permanent fixture.


I arrived at Watchfield with about 30p, a spoon, and the clothes I stood up
in. Ten days later I left with new clothes, a tent, sleeping bag, more cash
having sold loads of out of date copies of IT (cut price natch!) and having
spent the entire time tripping on pre-Julie LSD. I met up with some old
buddies by chance upon my arrival and was duly taken under the collective
wing of friendship. One of said friends was Steve Lake who later formed a
band called ZoundZ which started out as a large hippie type collective in
Oxford, and whose debut recordings on Kif Kif’s Fuck Off Records tape label
were subject of some controversy, before cutting their hair and re-locating
to London as a three-piece punk band - more on them later.


Steve was with Debbie who was later married to Dave The Slave of Here & Now
infamy, also there was a dude called Rikki. It was a very hot summer and we
were camped near the so called bogs, which bad decision was rendered
irreversible by too much LSD. I recall climbing the old control tower and
looking out over the airfield full of hippies, the odd teepee already
sprouting up. “Wally” had already been going on at Stonehenge, and there
was a tribal vibe to the thing that gave a sense of community hard to
imagine now - we all belonged and we all trusted one another. “Wally” had
been named after the lost dog at the IOW festival which had inspired people
at any large gathering to shout “Wally” and the Wally’s of Stonehenge
distinguished themselves by ALL being called Wally. I suppose you could
call them a “bunch of wallies” if one were looking for a collective noun...
ah hem, but I digress. Mention however should be made of Wally Hope who was
one of the first martyrs of our movement.


At Watchfield it was easy to spot members of the drug squad, who were
already gearing up for Operation Julie. They stood out in their bright
white plimsolls and Levi’s with ironed creases; photos were pinned up and
daily newsletters pointed out the prime culprits. At one point an attempted
bust at the stage nearest the control tower was averted when the cops were
surrounded by chanting hippies and had to give up. This was also the
location of the “Longest Joint” rolling competition, won by a six-footer
that actually smoked - can’t remember what the prize was... Near that stage
was also the location of a Pinkwind style “space jam” which seemed to
continue for most of the festival. This was also close to where Rikki and I
discovered the Hari Krishna tent with it’s promise of free food. Several
days tripping and large amounts of hash had left us peckish so we joined the
queue. Literally three or four hours of chanting later we were given a
dollop of yellow goo on a piece of newspaper and off we jolly well went.
Now I’ve got nothing against ‘em but I hadn’t bargained on all that chanting
and my hunger was unassuaged. Amazingly enough about a year later I
discovered Rikki had joined up and is still with them to this day I believe.
Hope he digs yellow goo.


At one point a bucket appeared before us and some guys said they were
collecting dope for a “smoke in” at the Polytantric stage that evening. The
bucket was already about half full and we added to it. Sure enough that
evening, not far from a certain green bus, there was the bucket - now full -
and a smoke-in was had around the bonfire.... would such a thing happen
today I ask you? I mentioned trust didn’t I??? I am pretty certain this
was the same evening that a skinny dude with very long straightish hair
caught my attention as he shouted over the Mic from the Polytantric stage
“Will Twink come to the Polytantric stage NOW” several times with increasing
vehemence. In my ignorance I assumed he was referring to the gentleman now
known as Twank who was 2nd drummer with the Pink Fairies but no... the
yelling gentleman was one Kif Kif Le Batteur and the missing Twink was one
Mr Toes-Malone of the green bus.


Slowly but surely a rhythm built and layers of sound were added and then...
suddenly it seemed all that lysergic focus was on the unfolding energy
around us emanating from, and pointed toward, the stage. The first gig of
yer actual Here “Om” Now band, a jam drawing energy from the skies on the
same stage Viv Stanshall had fallen off the day before whilst jamming with
Traffic. They were joined at various times by Arthur Brown and Rebop Kwaku
Ba as legend has it. All I know is that at some point much later during the
night my brain was full and I drifted away significantly different to when
I’d arrived, but they hit the key that night that was the pulse of all the
tribal significance of what it all meant to us - or some such pretentious
bollox. It was fucking magic, very very powerful stuff indeed that lit a
little flame in all of us, and amazingly it could, and would, be repeated on
many subsequent occasions.


More of them later - mentioned in despatches should be the local chap from
the village of Watchfield who turned up rather sniffily at the middle of the
three stages only to be given some LSD. I saw him later that night dancing
naked and ecstatic and subsequently met him at a number of other festivals
over the next few years. Not a casualty matey - a convert!
I’ve since come across bootleg tapes of both Hawkwind and Gong from
Watchfield but in all honesty I don’t recall either of them playing. I had
the pleasure of playing a duo set with Steve Lake the day after Here & Now
on the same stage and I guess some of the magic dust was still there (even
if the audience wasn’t - ha!). Steve has since said that was his first gig
so... mind you in those days a festival wasn’t really a “gig” if you dig
where I’m coming from maan. I know certain Pink Fairies did turn up but
didn’t, or couldn’t, play. This was of course the same year that Motorhead
first came into existence, representing an altogether different path ( but
with the same t-shirts on sale today!!!). I’m tempted to say a more urban
one, but in fact Here&Now were an urban band too, though one that seemed to
flourish best in the fields. As I said before, this Festival thing wasn’t
really about the music at all, which brings me to both Stonehenge and
especially to Meigan Fayre.


There had been a gathering of sorts at Stonehenge in 75 I seem to recall,
certainly by 76 it was in full flow (I’m sure someone else will be able to
piece together the chronology better than me - bits of me brain are missing
in action Osiffer). Still small enough to be a trusting community (I think
Watchfield is quoted at 3,000 but maybe that’s an overestimate) and before
the advent of bad drugs and “breadheads”, the mid seventies Stonehenge
Festies were all magic. Free love, free acid, free food, free music -
because you brought what you had and shared it. Stuff would just turn up.
Of course there was work being done - wood runs, water runs, stages
organised - it didn’t happen without some level of organisation but the
point was that the people made it happen and they did it for each other out
of love and out of faith that what they were doing was right. And it WAS
right. And necessary. And awe-inspiring. And.... over. I’m sorry to be a
downer but even the best of the raves or whatever else happens nowadays
doens’t have that magic. Maybe it was just naivete but I don’t think that
matters ‘coz it DID happen and it WAS REAL.


Stonehenge brought more Teepees and at first, almost as an extension of the
Wally thing, that was great. I did notice as the years went by though that
a certain elitism crept in which is still there in todays travelling folk
that the more squalid or anti social you were the more “genuine” you were
and that was a bad seed to be sown. Back in 76 though this wasn’t even a
twinkle in a rogues eye. I’m expecting a load of shit for a statement like
that but there is an element of truth there - hell, if it’s perceived then
it’s there ok? Who loves da brew crew? You?


Of course over the next three years Here & Now became established as
free-festy favourites, and rightly so, though for me I’m afraid I treasure
the memories of full fruit “jammin” over the “song” based sets that later
became the norm. Mind you songs of a sort were there from the start - quite
apart from ‘Soviet’ ‘Addicted’ “Bom Shiva” etc who recalls such stuff as
“Every drop of air you breathe contains an atom breathed by me” or “Watch
out it’s the Gasman?” Blimey this writing lark don’t half joggle the grey
cells don’t it guv!!! One treasured musical memory of ‘Henge is of Richie
Havens walking about with his 12-string just strumming to himself, then
sitting down and playing for ages as a crowd slowly gathered around him. No
ego, no “performance”, just pure music mon. And who recalls Zorch whose
astounding electronics caused more than one witness to question the nature
of reality... Oh and of course Kif Kif “explaining” Steffy’s amp problems
by describing how a speaker cabinet is actually full of tiny goblins who
shriek out the notes as they are electrocuted in the bum by the guitar
signal (remember that one KK?)


Stages at festivals (or perhaps just PA systems) did of course bring with
them the ritual of the “stage announcement”, or, “There’s a message for
Blodwyn - can you meet StarChild at the Bit tent, she’s lost her third eye”;
in later years delivered ad infinitum, frequently mid-set, in a monotone of
enthusiasm only truly achievable if you are Grant Showbiz (I wonder if
Morrissey let him do that?). Another weird memory that’s just bubbled up is
that of a cassette recorder being passed around at Watchfield for people to
talk their thoughts about the festival into - I’d completely forgotten about
this until several years later at Stonehenge when myself and Debby Slave (as
she was to become) were stunned to hear ourselves being played over the PA
along with myriad other participants - I wonder what happened to that tape?
A final Stonehenge memory, other than the occasional air raid, is of a
stranger asking me with some urgency to hold onto a piece of string leading
into the sky... attached to what I have no idea! It was a clear blue sky
and no balloon or anything similar could be seen on the end of it, and no
amount of reeling it in made any difference - I eventually passed it on and
for all I know someone is still holding it, fearful of what might happen if
they let go. I hope they don’t!


Between festivals there were of course gatherings of a more “normal” nature,
I recall various all-nighters at venues around the country in particular a
couple at Sussex Uni involving mass use of herb n acid and accompanied by
musical acts like zorch n hillage, visitor 2035, skywhale, tim blakes
crystal machine. even the pink fairies and of course the by now ubiquitous
Here n Now. The first H&N gig at Oxford Poly with Daevid Allen also had
Crystal Machine etc and carried with it the festival vibe even though it
was indoors. The Sussex one was slightly more anarchic due in no small part
to the backdrop of porno movies which I recall Jonathon Barnett commenting
on in the press at the time (in the NME no less if I’m not deluding myself).
That raises the issue of sexism I suppose - one thing the Free Festivals
seemed to have over the Sixties was that women were no longer relegated to
the role of “chick” or “old lady”, sitting meekly rolling joints and making
chapatis - but then I’ve got a willy so perhaps it’s not for me to
comment...


But Meigan Fair - what a festival that was. I went two years running, I’m
guessing 76 & 77. The first time it was in a pleasant enough field above
the town of Crymych, the second time it was in a bleedin’ gorse field
further up the hill. Very little in the way of organised music happened
that I recall - with the honourable exception of Here & Now both years,
once with Hillage and the Mirrors duo jammimg, at least once as a three
piece of KK, Steffy n Twink. A very small affair with a healthy number of
teepees and - considering the number of people there - a very unhealthy
quantity of liquid lsd which emanated I believe from the cottage that would
later be raided by the Julie squad. (In a slightly related aside, I later
discovered that my next door neighbour but one, whose daughter was a friend
of my sister, was none other than the head of the Oxford drug squad
responsible for the whole Julie deal - Mo-Fo - if only he’d looked over the
fence to see what we were growing HA!!!). I still recall that bleached out
feeling after a solid week of pure acid. How everything seemed pretty
normal until you, for some reason, went into town and forgot how to ask for
cigarettes, or deal with change. Or at night how the locals would come
round the site and one began to feel rather like exhibits at a zoo. Some
were friendly and would sit by the fire and rap but many were rather nervous
I think. Also etched in the memory is the sound of the unearthly howl let
loose as some poor unfortunate soul lost his footing (his “arsing”?) on the
plank across the bog-pit in the corner of the field and fell in. It was at
least a week into the festival and the pit was ripe, it was night-time and
the moon was almost full. WOOOOOAAAAGGGGHHHHH! At Phun City a dedicated
group of maniacs had happily emptied the bogs on condition they were issued
with uniforms bearing the words “Shit Men” and were greeted by “Here come
the Shit Men” etc.


I do get the years mixed up regarding Meigan although I know that “Gorse”
year was the second one I went to. I got a lift up there from Usk - miles
away - with a friendly hippy Ice-Cream man who thought I knew the way as I’d
been there the previous year. We had a great time eating the broken Ice
Creams out of his ‘fridge but he burst a tyre immediately upon arriving on
site, and while I went to find tools etc from various teepees, he was
overrun by eager kids with no money - naturally he gave it all away and
ended up staying for days... The year that a small pyramid stage was erected
and H&N jammed with steve hillsidevillage etc as the full moon rose over the
peak of the pyramid - as the band’s acid began peaking too I believe - was
also a very memorable moment. The 3 piece H&N was probably the previous
year I guess and I recall it being quite late when a single, very loud,
synth note pierced the night quiet. It was really quite disturbing but had
the desired effect of drawing a crowd, and sure enough the music was just
fine. What a friendly bunch come to think of it - no bad vibes in them
days. It was after the gorse field that everyone headed for some
indeterminate place full of mushrooms near Devils’ Bridge which we
eventually found to be the beautiful valley so aptly described in the Gospel
Of Free booklet. I can’t improve on Frank Honest’s account, certainly the
H&N lightning and thunder set was a majestic thing to witness (or perhaps
participate in would be more accurate - that was the thing about that kind
of music... all encompassing and that sort of thing) but in all honesty I
was beginning to feel a little strange.


For me, I’d spent several years relentlessly pushing LSD into my brain and
something had to give. Consequently I fucked off to Northern Ireland for
the best part of a year to run a homeless hostel in the belief that maybe
the best way to help myself was to go and help someone else - a festival
trip if ever there was one! Well I suppose it worked in a way, and by the
summer of ‘78 you could have found me being driven toward Bury Lancs by a
geezer covered in coal dust straight out of the pit unable to understand a
single word he was saying. Nice guy though, at least I assume he was. He
did get me to Deepley Vale, and you can see my tent in the foreground of
page 2 of the “Gospel Of Free” booklet where I pitched up near Alf from
Scunthorpe who I’d previously met at Stonehenge and who had “turned me on
to” Datura Stramonium or Jimson Weed (Do Not Ever Under Any Circumstances
Ever Ever Ever, Don’t Even Think About It, Don’t Even Point etc ad
infinitum).


Now while I’d been away this thing called Punk had really taken wings and
flown. Before leaving I’d seen a ‘Fairies gig at the Roundhouse with
assorted punk bands in support and thought it was great, and whilst in
‘Derry I met and booked the unsigned Undertones (namedropper!) who seemed
to have got the whole thing slightly askew but still made fab 45’s later on.
I also recall the B52’s out of West London at a magical H&N gig in the
Tabernacle (thanks for the hash Grant - oh and it was me who left an
end-of-gig joint on your copy-cat Steffe). Deepley Vale was however the
first time I’d seen anything like the mighty Fall, or indeed the shock of a
short haired Kif Kif who’d always looked so pretty before (ho ho). Jeez
whatever happened to Danny & The Dressmakers? This was a good fun festival
but in the grand scheme of things I think it has aquired a status it doesn’t
really deserve. If anything it was the last good festival to my mind.
Things had changed, times had moved on, nothing to do but move with ‘em.
At Deepley Vale I recall sitting in Nik Turners “Sphynx” tent late at night
reclined with a bunch of people as various members of H&N jammed with
various other bodies. A stranger passed me a chillum and after a pretty
much ‘erb free spell in Northern Ireland it was a cathartic moment - on the
one hand I recall thinking “this is why I love the free festival scene.
Sharing...Love...With Strangers” on the other if felt strangely like the
end of something. Mind you there was a free food stall, and a make-yer-own
chapati stall and at least it wasn’t grass soup like at Meigan once. Which
reminds me... the Kif Kif patisserie - cream cakes in the middle of nowhere!
How, I ask you, How? I think it was Suze Da Blooze at Meigan who gave me
the first (and best) bit of Halva I ever tasted too.


In a sense I think it was the very efficiency of Deepley Vale, with a
constant flow of “entertainment” on stage, that was it’s undoing; creating
perhaps unwittingly an “us and them” division between performers and
audience that was the antithesis of the Free Festy spirit. The printed
timetable, although by no means new, was not a good sign.
Of course festivals continued happening, still do, but for me the Fuck Off
gigs at the Acklam Hall and Meanwhile Gardens, and the whole Street Level
thing seemed to be a more realistic way forward into the ‘80s. A dose of
urban reality after all that sunshine. I still felt there was a degree of
love involved there too, after all I guess it was still the tale end of all
those free-tours, and the cassette ‘zine scene was a good creative extension
of what had gone before but.... well for me the Free Festival scene was
over.


In 1984, a couple of years after my daughter was born (conceived at
Stonehenge ‘82 as it happens) I passed through Stonehenge Festival with Dave
the Slave as he drove us to Glastonbury Fest (and no, we didn’t pay). They
both seemed so huge. So impersonal. So commercial. The sign outside the
tent I saw at Stonehenge reading “Smack for sale £2.00 a line” said it all I
guess. No more buckets of free hash there matey. As for Glastonbury, well
it’s still a lovely place but you can keep the festival as far as I’m
concerned. I understand there are cash-machines there now. And fences.
And security.


I hadn’t intended to finish this on a downer, and anyway friendships formed
then can endure - I recently had the pleasure of playing on the same bill as
Steve Lake again some 30 years later, also did a small gig with Mick Farren
and still plot the downfall of the powers that be - and hell, it ain’t ever
really finished is it? But the free festivals as was are. While they
lasted though they encapsulated some of the best, the very best, that humans
can aspire to and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Maybe see you at
the Green Gathering if I can afford a ticket.... just a small word, please
say a prayer for Boss “Pink Fairy” Goodman who suffered a stroke earlier in
the year and is having a hell of a time getting better - send yr cozmik love
to a man who deserves it more than many!!!

Tim “Slim Tim Slide” Rundall July 2004

 

 

Got a tale to tell? Email us at the vaults!

 

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Hi! Something for the archive from that chap called Max Cann!

1976


I was living in a house full of bed-sits and musicians in Bath when a chap called Twink arrived and kipped on the floor for a few nights. Because of the music being created constantly in the house, we always had visitors from near and far. I was one of four singer/songwriting brothers living in the house at the time.
More info of these chaps at:

http://www.cannbrothers.com


Another visitor at the time, Pete Walton, owned the jolly green bus. From nowhere, a chap arrived from far distant shores with bags of wonderful pink microdots and much bartering went on. Twink ended up with the bus, which he couldn't drive. I drove the bus up to Hedgemead Park for him and there he lived for the duration. Later in the month, the rest of the band appeared, minus Keith the bass. They established themselves in a squat in Victoria Park and proceeded to paint Bath red! I was asked if I would fill in on the bass for them. Not really a bass player at the time, I agreed. Grateful thanks to Steffi for the advice about the open E string!! I'm still using it, Steff! After a while, my bus-driving skills were necessary. I was the only member of the entourage with a license!

Trentishoe festival 1976

was held on the border between Somerset and North Devon at a place called Challacombe.
Challacombe was tremendous. Full of incidents too numerous to mention them all. The first problem was finding the place, then I got the bus stuck in the stream at the entrance to the site. After getting settled, the music started and didn't stop. We were visited by a young local bobby on the second day. He was escorted off the site by two colleagues without his helmet after having very obviously tried some of the site psychadaelia.


Stonehenge 1976.

I drove the bus down from Bath fully loaded. We settled near the stones for the week. The band played as the Druids filed into the stone circle for the annual worship, a priviledge to have been one of the few who have played at that place at that time. After the festival, it was decided that we shopuld travel on down to Swanage-I can't remember why! On the road out of Stonehenge, the bus caused a tail-back of traffic and I saw a police car trying to catch up with us. We spent the next eight hours in Amesbury police station. The bus ran out of petrol (yes, it was petrol driven) and we parked in a lay-by outside Fordingbridge for the night.
Keith the bass returned and I moved on.
Give my love to thiose who may remember me!

Max

VAULTS ADDITIONS 31/3/07:

Fri, 4 Aug 2006
From: Richard Heley
To:  vaults at herenow.be
Subject:  all u need is love
I'm now living in Derby, in a 300 year old house with ten barns which my
wife Seema and I are turing into art galleries and poetry?acoustic music
venue. I'd love to contact all old friends from Blank Space & Here&Now
days.

My website is www.uprisearts.com and
click here to email me
Dave Reece if you're out there....love to here from you. lots of love and
blessings to KifKif.
peace be upon all you friends
love
Richard Heley,
artist, poet, songwriter


Thu, 7 Sep 2006
From:  chip teddington
To: vaults at herenow.be
Subject:  planet gong ..notgong ..but fucking here &now
truelly one of the most inspiratonal gigs(?) i've seen,only a youngster,having seen the Sex Pistols a couple of months before on 23/12/77 (my mate Sid got us in,that's another story)
being a slightly anarchistic kind of juvenile,i coulnd't beleive
there was a group playing for nothing and actually living the dream(how short lived that was for us nippers).....
Warwick Uni ,jobsworths clearing out the riff raff ...
i thought Grant was Daevid ho ho ho
the students made dinner ,rice and whatever else it was
and i joined in along with the group and felt part of the family.
As H&N couldn't play in the proper building the various charachters let their electricity be supplied through their
own flats and in a very pleasant amphitheatre setting the concert went ahead....fucking brilliant..but i think you had to be there,OK all you old diehards had seen this before but for a novice it was life changing,love to all old comrades,except you theiving dodgy c***s,you know who you are..love TC


Sun, 29 Oct 2006
From:  Lynn Hadfield
To:  vaults at herenow.be
Subject:  mic peacox
There i was in a squat in newport called the Captains
Cabin, home of the Demented Stoats,when Richard
Chadwick tells us there is a great band playing at the
Kings Head tonight called PlaneT gonG.So i drop my
first acid trip and head to the show.......Life was
never the same after that.
 The time and space that followed ,which took place in
the 70s and 80s and was found in lush multi-colored
fields throughout Great Britain, had the most profound
effect on those who lived through it.At the heart of
the movement of tribes that traversed that new aged
wasteland was a spark, an idealism, the unspoken
knowledge that would pulsate from a little green
pyramid stage.
Many sages would perform there, but only a few could
lay claim to the blissfull anarchy of the minds that
gathered around.In the sunshine....the rain.... the
mud...The astounding soundz....Here

pics below from Bodge's bedroom wall c1980
Date:  Mon, 26 Feb 2007
From:  Ben (Bodge)
To:  vaults at herenow.be
Subject:  Here and Now memories
Hello,
 
I'm very glad to have found your site!  The Here and Now Band were such a source of joy to me during the late 1970s.  I went to countless gigs and festivals and at many of them your band played.
 
I think Tim "Slim Tim Slide" Rundall's memories pretty some up the atmosphere of the time.  I was a little younger than the festival organisers (born in 1960) but I still felt compelled to buy the International Times in bulk and sell them at school and in the pubs.  I used to copy out the festival lists and distribute them, and I remember being on hand when festivals came together to gather wood, dig trenches or do anyting else that needed doing to get things started.
 
I've attached some photos of my bedroom wall taken in about 1980.  If you look closely you'll see a picture of Suze da Blooze and Annie Wombat, and stuck to it is a broken guitar string belonging to Steffi.  I think it comes from a Southampton or Salisbury gig.  In another picture you'll see two posters on the wall.
 
I remember the Stonehenge gig that ended up on vinyl - the one were you can hear Kiff forgetting his words and getting annoyed at some bloke who jumped up to dance with the girls on stage, "Yeah, I've forgotten the words, and we're all just a bunch of turds, and some people are sexist like this idiot in the leather jacket".  I remember watching that!  And later, when Keith (the bass) says, as the track fades away, "Thank you very much, I think it's those stones you know . . ."
 
At the Notting Hill Carnival one year I was sat on a wall and Steffi walked by.  I said, "Hello, your Steffi Sharpstring aren't you?" "Yeah", he replied with a grin, and then I think I blushed and mumbled something about great gigs etc.
 
Here and Now epitomised festivals for me.  The music was perfect for the event and the band lived the lifestyle that embodied what the free festivals were about.  I get a feeling of homesickness sometimes when I hear the music of those days, but I'm really glad I was there.  
Regards,
Ben (Bodge)