June 2004


Well, it all comes another step forward then.

Bloody heck!

over the last few years, we have had this 4 or 5 times a year, while we keep thinking an argument got one, and oh no, round it goes again ……

So, having heard the news, on the world at one, I realise that there is to be a pilot program, ahead of compulsion, Xyears in the future.

10,000 volunteers are to be enrolled on the first tests. I had contacted the Home Office, to enquire if these folks are to be specially invited, or, is it anyone that volunteers. I am told the latter, and have therefore just left my name, address and phone number as an ‘interested party’. Depending on what they send me, will give it a read, and may well volunteer.

All this out of academic interest, of course 🙂

just got back in from getting ‘done’ at the ID card trial.

Quite a painless exercise. They took all fingerprints, a face picture [with a four position facial ‘map’] and an iris read. This was done from about 15″ away, a little surprising that, since I thought it was right up close, like looking into a microscope. Then I signed an electronic pad. That was the databasing side. Filled out a questionnaire, while card was prepared.

Then there is the verification phase. They took my card, stuck it into the reader. I was asked to sit at similar machine that scanned my face. It took a few seconds. then the computer, whirred and rattled, then everything stopped, a few worried looks! then it started again, the screen showed my name and details. So it worked. Well, at least with a sample of 3859 folks to compare on the database. That’s as far as they’ve got now.

Not sure what a terrorist is going to make of all this. If is catches a few, that’s good of course. But with my experience of plod, I can see how awkward it is going to be for some folks ……

My pet fear still remains a policeman / soldier / neighbourhood wardens perhaps, being able to approach you in the street, and without any further evidence or suspicion, say to you “Papers”. and there we are, right back in the 1930’s Germany etc ……

ho hum.

Identity Cards

Home Office

50 Queen Anne’s Gate

London

SW1H 9AT

ID helpline: 0207 3473023

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/identitycards/index.html

Volunteer: Home Office Identity Card Scheme

If you would like to sign up as a volunteer for the biometrics enrolment trial which UK Passport Service are undertaking, the recruitment of volunteers is being managed by MORI (Market & Opinion Research International). Any request to take part in the trial should be directed to: Melanie Briere on telephone number 020 7347 3023, e-mail trial@mori.com, or via http://www.mori.com/candc/passport.shtml.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

28/06/2004

A world away from today’s money-spinning Glastonbury, the Windsor Free Festival of 1974 was illegal, drug-happy and absurdly idealistic, recalls Mark Hudson

Staggering across Windsor Great Park with my rucksack, I caught sight of a great encampment of tents, teepees, branch-and-polythene shelters and many thousands of dazed-looking long-haired people.

And in the glade beyond was gathered a great Babel of bizarre alternative groups – from ultra-Leftist White Panthers to the Divine Light Mission and

the notorious Children of God – everyone there with the intention of creating a perfect society, right there, spontaneously, illegally. And nobody was in control.

Something gets into Britain’s air every festival season. There’s a prickling under the skin of the nation’s youth – the feeling that, whether through burning sun or lakes of mud, you simply have to be there. But at today’s Glastonbury and Reading festivals, this yearning for generational togetherness has been safely corporatised. The world-changing agendas that powered Woodstock and Monterey have been replaced by a super-organised but anodyne bill of, well, rock music.

As one 17-year-old put it to me, that epoch-making sense of seizing the time is long gone: “If you miss it one year, you can see it all again the next.”

Perhaps that’s why the hippy era – after so long in the cultural dustbin – has become a subject of such fascination. From Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests and Allen Ginsberg at the Albert Hall to the Woodstock and Isle of Wight festivals, every last manifestation of countercultural utopianism has been the subject of some breathless article or TV documentary.

But of an event that was arguably more outrageous than all of these – an event that dared to take on the established order on the Queen’s own private land, while offering free LSD to all who couldn’t afford it – almost nothing has been heard.

I’m talking about the Windsor Free Festival of 1974 – the last stand of the psychedelic underground. While Glastonbury, that other legendary early-’70s free festival, has gone on to become Britain’s biggest rock event and a super-efficient capitalist money-spinner, Windsor is now little more than a bedraggled and rather bitter folk memory. Yet for weeks before and after its sudden and violent conclusion, Windsor dominated the headlines more than any British rock event before or since.

I was there: an idealistic 17-year-old who got up to read his poetry. But what I regret most is not the smashing of an ideal, nor the fact that I managed to miss the climactic battle, nor even the no doubt appalling quality of my poetry, but the fact that I didn’t get off with the dervish-dancing girl in the kimono.

“Free festivals were something that was in the air at the time,” says photographer John “Hoppy” Hopkins, a veteran of Britain’s “underground” from its origins in the early 1960s Beat scene. “They were about participating, rather than just sitting waiting for things to happen. To an extent, it grew out of squatting. Historically all these Crown Lands have been ripped off from the people. So the idea of putting Windsor Great Park to constructive use seemed very interesting.”

The three Windsor festivals were the brainchild of Bill “Ubi” Dwyer, a clerk at Her Majesty’s Stationery Office then in his forties, who – no doubt unbeknown to his employers – had been deported from Australia for dealing in LSD. While walking in the parkland around Windsor Castle, he had a Blakean vision of a psychedelic New Jerusalem, in which he would hold a free festival on that very spot.

A mere 700 showed up for the first festival in 1972, a figure that only doubled the following year. But, by 1974, an aura of excitement and danger had built up around the event, for which more than half a million flyers were distributed.

One of these, showing a photograph of a policeman being followed by what looked like a huge papier-mâché dinosaur, found its way into the sixth-form common room at my Surrey grammar school. By this time, much of the idealism and experimentalism of the 1960s had evaporated. “Progressive” mega-bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin led a life of mansions, private planes and bombastic concept albums. Reading, Britain’s biggest festival, was a staid, regimented affair of beer-drinking and hard rock.

But Windsor promised an event in the spirit of the great ’60s happenings – where spontaneity and audience involvement were encouraged, where anything might happen. And, best of all, it would be completely illegal. I wrote to Dwyer, offering to read my poetry, and received a polite card advising me to be at Stage C at 1pm on the Tuesday of the festival.

In the build-up to the start of the festival on August Bank Holiday Saturday, there was speculation in the media as to whether the event would or should be allowed to go ahead. “Sensible young people will show what they think by staying away,” boomed the Sun, while devoting page three of the same edition to a trio of scantily-clad “hippy chicks”.

Under a heavy police presence, a large crowd gathered in the park. At first, camping was permitted only in a small copse, but soon a great encampment of over 15,000 had spread over the flat expanse of the Cavalry Exercise Ground.

There were no toilets, no water, no provision of food. The atmosphere was, as one audience member later put it, “boy scout plus acid. That first night it felt as though everyone was tripping.” The drugs welfare organisation Release ran a tent which was, as their doctor wrote, “like a scene from Hieronymus Bosch”. Yet gradually a semblance of organisation emerged.

Meetings of festival-goers set “unexploitative” prices for ice cream vans and hot dog stalls – any that didn’t comply were chased from the site or had their wares “liberated” and distributed to the crowd. Daily newsletters appeared, encouraging the flashing of cans and mirrors to “fuck up” the police helicopters that hovered overhead.

Arriving in Windsor on the Sunday evening, I was confronted by the bizarre spectacle of an English small town apparently under martial law – the streets deserted except for screeching police vans, the verges around the park heaped with cars taken to pieces in drug searches. In the glade around the main stage, there were the usual elements of a pop festival – stages, people’s intimate living arrangements, semi-comatose bodies – but not separate, ordered, as at a commercial event.

Everything was happening on top of everything else, with nothing hidden. At first, I was horrified by the grunginess and insanitariness of it all: those trees on the other side of the glade were presumably the toilets. But I had wanted a festival that that invented itself as it went along, with no security guards or barriers, and this was it.

The beautiful people had long since moved on from freakdom (nobody used the word hippy at this time). What was left at Windsor was the hardcore – those who were too convinced or too stoned to move on. I had imagined myself reading my poetry to the crowd, a Ginsberg-like figure, standing – if only momentarily – at the centre of my generation’s history.

In fact there were only a dozen or so bombed-out people slumped in the sun before the small stage. I was very nervous, though no one knew or cared that I was there. The band that played after me seemed not only indifferent to my performance, but to their own. It seemed that in stoned freakdom, to be cool meant to be indifferent to most things most of the time.

Yet, despite 300 arrests and a near riot when a festival-goer was injured by a police van, the atmosphere was amazingly benign. Lying out on the grass and surrendering to the flow, you realised that in a strange way it did all work. Latrines had been dug, there was surprisingly little litter, and there were moments of idyllic beauty. Dancing in the central glade as night fell, Windsor seemed the best venue on earth.

Everyone danced without caring what anyone thought. Nobody had paid anything, nobody owed anything. Crazy people, naked people, straight people – everyone was absorbed by that mood of enchanted togetherness that is the purpose of the true festival. And just below the stage was a girl in a kimono with long frizzy blonde hair, a fairy amazon leaping in a kind of wild kinetic semaphore, dancing with a fierce unrelenting energy till at one point she looked round into the crowd to where I stood staring at her. And I’m sorry to admit it, but I looked away.

After three days, I returned, filthy and exhausted, to my suburban comforts, to be woken by my mother the next morning with the news that “my festival” had been routed. Early on Thursday, two days before its appointed end, 600 members of the Thames Valley Police had swept over the festival site, giving the remaining participants just 10 minutes to move on.

Things became tense: truncheons were drawn, women and children kicked, hundreds more arrested. In comparison with the civil strife we’ve seen since – during the miners’ strike and the Poll Tax riots – it was piffling. But in 1974, the sight of the police marching with truncheons drawn against a group who presented no threat to anyone drew wide condemnation. The Home Secretary demanded a full report from the police, and the Daily Telegraph was among seven national newspapers that joined calls for a full public enquiry.

Ubi Dwyer, who had been arrested for threatening behaviour, after “flipping his lid” and declaring himself “King of Albion”, was later sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for trying to organise a fourth Windsor festival. To avert further problems, the then Labour government provided a designated site for free festivals at Watchfield in Wiltshire, and a successful and peaceful event was held the following year.

Yet Windsor marked the end of something. Whether or not “flower power” died that Thursday morning, as has often been claimed, Windsor was the last time the psychedelic alternative society could claim to represent any sort of youth-cultural mainstream. Some of the fringe elements represented there, such as feminism, gay liberation and environmentalism, have become massively influential parts of the mainstream. Yet hippydom itself slipped into theshadows, until many of its strategies and ideals were revived by late-1980s rave culture.

Much as I wanted to get involved, I never really felt part of what Windsor represented. Like many of my generation, I felt I’d missed the best of love and peace. Our moment came a couple of years later with punk, and for the Johnny Rottens of this world there was little to choose between the “complacent” indifference I had observed among the hippies and the small-mindedness that destroyed their festival.

Now that I’m a father and property owner myself, notions of “freedom” defined almost entirely around drug-taking seem relevant only in a negative sense. If I’d examined myself seriously, I’d have found many of the assumptions on which Windsor was based – that all property is theft, that it is the existence of the police that creates crime – atently ludicrous even then.

Yet there’s something in the idealism of the festival that remains immensely attractive. From the perspective of our ever more money-obsessed society, where nothing seems possible without the collusion of financial interests or celebrity ego gratification, the idea that people without power would organise an event on that scale, for nothing, seems not only almost unbelievable, but still beautiful and admirable.

BBC Revisiting Britain’s biggest free festival

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3662921.stm

BBC In pictures- Summer solstice

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/photo_gallery/3825135.stm

BBC Thousands gather at Stonehenge

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/3823379.stm

Guardian Stonehenge builders identified

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1243952,00.html

Guardian Summer solstice

http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,6729,1243856,00.html

Salisbury Journal Crowd greets solstice dawn

http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/wiltshire/salisbury/news/SALIS_NEWS5.html

Stonehenge Reveller ‘Dies of Drink and Drugs’

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3104700

and

Google Search stonehenge

http://news.google.co.uk/news?hl=en&edition=uk&ie=ascii&q=stonehenge&btnG=Search+News

Observer Magazine Beanfiled: What happened next

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1151750,00.html

Also, since I’ve included this large set links about current material, I thought I’d add these as well.

I’ve encoded this videotape material, that you can watch using media player.

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Forgive_our_trespasses_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/NewAge_Trav_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Operation_Solstice_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Post_Bfield_Newsnight320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/sevendaysStoneyX_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Stonehenge_Pilgrimage_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Stonehenge86_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Stonehenge93_Seye_320x240.wvx

http://tash.dns2go.com/Vtape-WVX320x240/Trashed_320x240.wvx

Gaby Hinsliff, chief political correspondent

Sunday June 27, 2004 The Observer

· Police claim drug dealers openly flout the law

· Officers fear community backlash over arrests

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1248264,00.html

Police are demanding a U-turn over the softening of the law on cannabis, claiming it has brought a ‘sense of lawlessness’ to the streets as smokers flaunt their habit.

Officers say more people are openly taking and selling cannabis in public, with calculated attempts to provoke retaliation, according to the chair of the Police Federation.

Jan Berry said her members were ‘walking on eggshells’ amid tensions over whether they treated different groups in their communities differently for smoking in the streets.

Six months after the government downgraded cannabis to a Class C drug, there was still widespread confusion about how to treat blatant smokers who went beyond ‘acceptable behaviour’ in public, she said.

‘If a person insists on doing something to get themselves arrested, you can use your skills to try and calm them,’ said Berry, whose organisation represents frontline officers. But ‘there will be other people watching how you react, if you react in one way to a group of people and not the same to somebody else. It’s very often walking on eggshells.’

The legal change, which means that people can still be arrested for possessing cannabis but are unlikely to be, had left officers confused, Berry said.

Many would not, for example, arrest someone for blowing dope smoke in their faces, but they were torn: ‘The government’s saying, “It is not really serious, we don’t want you to prioritise it.” But it is an arrestable offence, and now we get people saying, “Go on, arrest me”.’

The Home Office insists the change allows the police to concentrate on more serious offences involving hard drugs and that there is no evidence of higher cannabis consumption. New figures expected to show significant successes in tackling the smuggling of heroin, cocaine and other Class A drugs will be used to justify the policy.

Caroline Flint, the Home Office minister responsible for drugs policy, is monitoring national arrest patterns across the country to see how different forces react.

Danny Kushlick, of the drugs charity Transform, said the reform had made little practical difference: many officers had, in effect, ignored personal use of cannabis before the law changed.

But some forces were still ‘being quite heavy’ on cannabis offences, while others were letting smokers off without even a caution.

Kushlick said it was ‘a hard thing’ for officers to operate. ‘You effectively have a law that cannot be enforced.’ The solution was the complete legalisation of cannabis.

The federation’s Berry called for a public debate over the law on soft drugs. ‘I think it would be wrong to change the law every six months because it hasn’t worked,’ she said. ‘But I am convinced it is not law enforcement which will make a real different in drugs. It’s about properly raising awareness and treatment programmes.’

She is concerned about growing evidence of a link between cannabis smoking and psychotic illness. Labour backbenchers want the government to commission more independent research into the potential health risks.

Although a European Union-wide study found that potency of the drug had changed little between 1979 and 2001, recent British research suggests some versions are now two to three times stronger than average.

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, who supported reclassification and believed it was ‘highly ignorant’ to suggest the change had encouraged dope smoking, also said more action was needed on the health risks.

‘There is a difference between drinking a bottle of beer and a bottle of whisky, yet people wouldn’t immediately recognise the difference with cannabis,’ he said.

Mann wants Britain to follow the example of Queensland in Australia, where dope smokers are cautioned, but sent to a health counsellor to discuss their habit.

Home Office aides retorted yesterday that the Police Federation had always been opposed the reform, and officers could arrest smokers who behaved provocatively.

‘This wasn’t done at the behest of rank-and-file officers, it was done at the behest of leader of the police services who wanted the operational freedom to spend more of their time tackling Class A drugs,’ said a source close to David Blunkett, the Home Secretary.

‘And part of the agreement we reached with police was explicitly to give them the power to still arrest people who were effectively winding them up,’ the source said.

Evidence on the psychiatric effect of cannabis had already been considered, and ministers had never denied it carried health risks. ‘It remains harmful to the user.’

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said it was ‘too early’ to judge how the law was working. It had issued guidelines on when arrests should be made.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1248264,00.html

Reefer madness :: No wonder the police are confused

Leader : Sunday June 27, 2004 : The Observer

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,6903,1248308,00.html

Not for the first time, the Police Federation is confused. As we report today, the union representing beat officers believes that the downgrading of cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug has left its members unclear about what to do about the rise in the numbers of people openly smoking marijuana on the street. They say that declassification has led to a casual culture of lawlessness and that police officers are provoked by people smoking joints and believing they are above the law.

The Police Federation has traditionally opposed liberalising reform, insisting it will lead to mayhem on the streets. The move to change the classification of cannabis was backed by senior officers, who believed that it was crucial for police to concentrate their efforts on the deadly trade in harder drugs. Now, though, they should listen to the federation. It is too easy to dismiss the complaints of ordinary officers who face a genuine dilemma in the policing of cannabis misuse.

In opting for the middle way between prohibition and full legalisation, the Home Office has confused all of us. This newspaper has always backed the liberalisation of drug laws, but we have to recognise that declassification has had a perverse effect. The endeavour was designed to free police time for other work, not to provide the means for users to taunt officers who are forced to tolerate what remains an illegal act.

The answer is not, as the federation demands, to return to the status quo ante, but to move towards the licensing of cannabis. This should be accompanied by full trials of the new, stronger strains of the drug available, which research suggests can induce psychosis.

The cannabis debate can fuddle the brain almost as much as the drug itself. What police and public need is a clear head from government on this issue and a clear message on its legality.

BBC Revisiting Britain’s biggest free festival

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3662921.stm

BBC In pictures- Summer solstice

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/photo_gallery/3825135.stm

BBC Thousands gather at Stonehenge

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/3823379.stm

Guardian Stonehenge builders identified

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1243952,00.html

Guardian Summer solstice

http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,6729,1243856,00.html

Salisbury Journal Crowd greets solstice dawn

http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/wiltshire/salisbury/news/SALIS_NEWS5.html

Stonehenge Reveller ‘Dies of Drink and Drugs’

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3104700

and

Google Search stonehenge

http://news.google.co.uk/news?hl=en&edition=uk&ie=ascii&q=stonehenge&btnG=Search+News

Observer Magazine Beanfiled: What happened next

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1151750,00.html

Stonehenge study tells pagans and historians it’s good to talk

More understanding among all sides in the great Stonehenge debate

might be made if the world was shown images of how the site is

experienced by visitors today rather than only its imagined past,

suggests new research sponsored by the ESRC. This research is

published today as a part of Social Science Week.

But the project, co-directed by Dr Jenny Blain of Sheffield Hallam

University and Dr Robert Wallis of Richmond University, London,

admits this would undermine the very potent and almost universal

need for Stonehenge to remain ‘essentially preserved’, shrouded in

mystery, and the ancient guardian of a hidden past.

A report from their ‘Sacred Sites, Contested Rights/Rites’ project,

comes at a time when considerable alliances have been formed at a

public inquiry in Salisbury by groups fighting redevelopment plans

for the Stonehenge area. These include a tunnel to take the A303 and

the siting of a new visitor centre.

The project examined what have come to be known as sacred sites, and

the climate of mistrust between heritage management and

archaeologists on one side, and pagans and alternative interest

groups on the other.

It included a detailed, systematic analysis of available published

material, websites and press coverage, along with fieldwork and

discussions with visitors and local people at Stonehenge and similar

places.

Dr Blain said: “Stonehenge is the centre of an on-going struggle

between travellers, pagans, ‘Druids’, members of the ‘alternative’

community, English Heritage, landowners and the police. The

situation there spotlights differences between, on one hand,

heritage concerns about preservation for future generations, and on

the other, the demands of pagans and others who want open access for

everyone.”

Accommodations reached between the different parties at times of

solstices and equinoxes remain contentious, and distrust is rife,

says the report. It points out, however, that dividing lines have

been drawn up differently over the current redevelopment plans.

For many pagans, prehistoric sites are not ruins but living temples

or sacred sites. They feel drawn to these places to perform seasonal

rituals or to observe astronomical events. Many pagans, including

Druids, accept the ‘preservation ethos’, regarding such things as

stone circles, barrows and iron age forts as artefacts of pre-

Christian paganism, and therefore sacred.

Access is important to them, but not at the expense of preserving

sites for future generations. However, other Druids and pagans,

notably groups campaigning for the return of the Stonehenge free-

festival, call for mass public celebrations, especially at the

summer solstice.

The study points out that archaeologists investigating the religious

significance of sites rarely consider rituals of the present day,

dismissing them as invalid. Some heritage managers speak directly

with pagan and other groups, and may even attend festivals, yet this

is seldom recorded officially.

Pagans sympathetic to preservation are interested in archaeological

views and want to become involved in site maintenance. They also try

to explain their perceptions about landscapes as ‘living’ entities.

But archaeologists who take part in pagan conferences tend to

provide information rather than seek it, and the result is

frustration for the groups.

Picture presentations of sites such as Stonehenge invariably show

them as dramatic ruins in splendid isolation, removing any signs of

people or present-day activity. And the emphasis on such things as

visitor centres and ‘interpretation’ handed out to naïve visitors,

suggests a ‘top-down’ approach by middle-class heritage management,

explaining something from a ‘closed’ past.

Dr Blain said: “Our project suggests that open and transparent

dialogue is needed between all the interested groups. And this must

begin with an appreciation of diversity.”

###

For further information, contact:

Jenny Blain on 791-955-6371 or 44-114-225-4413;

Or Iain Stewart, Lesley Lilley or Becky Gammon at ESRC, on 01793-

413032/413119/413122.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-06/esr-sst061804.php

If you missed the show, like you are at Glastonbury, or somsuch, then you can listen to the latest Archive Hour, for the following week.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/rams/archivehour.ram

Real Player required

http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk

19 June 2004

Police across the Westcountry are preparing to crack down on illegal raves this summer, armed with new powers to confiscate stereos and take revellers to court.

Officers have set up road blocks and barricades around the disused Smeatharpe airfield in East Devon which two years ago was overrun by revellers turned away from the Glastonbury Festival.

As the summer party season gets under way – with Glastonbury next weekend – the police could be testing out new powers to move on rowdy trespassers.

Armed with the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, officers can now disband gatherings once 20 or more people have congregated in an open or indoor area. In the past the police were unable to take action to force people to move unless at least 100 people had gathered.

Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Police have joined forces to scour the Internet for any mention of illegal raves in a bid to stop summer revellers invading rural beauty spots.

Any information gathered will be used to launch an action plan to nip illicit gatherings in the bud.

Police will also be asking local farmers, landowners and residents to let them know of any suspicious characters in their area who might be assessing its viability as a rave site.

The crackdown, codenamed Operation Hartley, aims to prevent a repeat of the illegal gatherings at Smeatharpe in 2002, where 1,000 people turned away from Glastonbury converged on the airfield, staying uninvited for several weeks and leaving heaps of refuse behind them.

“Access to the site at Smeatharpe was easy and obviously identified well in advance by the rave organisers,” said Chief Inspector Nick Jarrold, who is overseeing a police operation to ensure that revellers stay away from Smeatharpe this year.

Barriers have been erected around the disused airfield and officers will be patrolling the area within a five-mile radius of the airfield, metres from the Somerset border.

“When the raves go ahead unchecked, they cause disruption for the residents living nearby and can result in many of our valuable resources being tied up for long periods of time,” said Chief Insp Jarrold. “With effective planning, a smaller number of local officers can prevent these gatherings.”

But he said the powers would be used responsibly with police aiming to be as reasonable as possible with revellers. “We are not rubbing our hands with glee and using the powers to disrupt all sorts of parties – the laws are simply there to use if needs be, making our job a little easier,” he said.

“If people are aware that there are strangers or strange vehicles paying particular attention to areas of land such as beaches, woodland or fields, we would ask them to ring the police, noting down a description and licence plates so that we can build up a jigsaw of intelligence to crack down on regular offenders.”

The police initiative and new laws have been broadly welcomed by Westcountry MPs.

John Burnett, Liberal Democrat MP for West Devon, said: “I am in favour of people enjoying themselves as long as they don’t do it at others’ expense. If they behave anti-socially then I am delighted that the police are acting to stop them.”

Andrew George, Lib-Dem MP for St Ives, gave a more guarded welcome.

He said: “If there is such behaviour or an event is taking place on private land without the owner’s consent then the new powers will be useful, but I think the police may on occasion have problems with the interpretation of the laws.”

Chris Bobey, 31, a former outdoor rave-goer from Totnes went one step further. “It is a waste of taxpayers’ money and police time when they should be out catching murders and rapists,” he said.

“If people want to get out into the open air to have a dance and enjoy themselves, as long as they don’t disturb residents and they clean up after themselves they should be left in peace.

“Generally in this area raves are small parties that are well organised and controlled. People mainly go to listen to the music and they are far less problematic than the standard drug-taking and binge-drinking culture you see every Saturday night in licensed bars and clubs.”

and

Avon and Somerset Police

http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Tuesday, 15 June 2004 11:07

With the summer months comes the problem of illegal gatherings and raves across the country.

But for the first time this summer, and in the build up to the Glastonbury Festival, new powers mean the Avon and Somerset Constabulary is geared up to stop raves before they start.

The force is believed to be one of the first in the country to adopt the new legislation under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.

A joint police and local authority operation aimed at preventing travellers on the way to the Glastonbury Festival setting up illegal gatherings is already under way.

In the past, 100 people have needed to gather in an open space before action could be taken.

The new order means once 20 or more people have gathered in an open or indoor area, steps can be taken to break the gathering up.

The constabulary’s operational planning team have put together the new legislation under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, after previously only being able to use Public Order Act legislation.

Operational Planning head Supt Adrian Coombs, who has over seen the project, said: “This is the first time we have had a proper Permanent Operational Order to deal with raves.

“In the past we have had a situation where police officers have realised they could do little until a rave had been going on for some time, meaning serious disruption to both local people and officers.

“Now officers will have the power to take early action to prevent a rave getting off the ground in the first place.

“The new legislation gives police powers to remove 20 or more people who we believe might be involved in trespass, which will stop raves in disused warehouses taking place.”

The legislation also means it is an offence for anyone who has been dealt with for trying to start a rave to have any other illegal gathering within the next 24 hours – meaning people will not be able to simply be moved on before setting up again.

It has already been approved as official protocol by regional assistant chief constables and has been embraced by local authorities throughout the force area.

Supt Coombs added: “With our intelligence we aim to stop these gatherings before they happen.

“An important part of this will be working with local authorities who have already given the backing we need to take this forward.”

Supt Coombs and Ch Supt Mark Thompson will be available for a webchat with members of the public on all Glastonbury Festival issues from 6pm until 8pm on Wednesday, June 16, 2004.

Avon and Somerset Police – Press Releases

http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/newsroom2/newsroom_main2.asp

Avon and Somerset Police – Glastonbury Festival

http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/secure/glastonbury_festival/glastonbury_festival_main.asp

A note for your diaries.

BBC Radio 4 Archive Hour on Festivals.

Saturday 26 Jun, 20:00 – 21:00

Summers Of Mud And Madness: It’s Glastonbury weekend, and Annie Nightingale conducts a guided tour of the Great British Pop Festival, from its decorous beginnings to its wildest excesses. Then News.

Program website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/archivehour.shtml

Sat What’s on page:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-perl/whatson/prog_parse.cgi?FILENAME=20040626/20040626_2000_49700_58469_60

I’m interviewed on it and prepared some notes for them, on stuff to cover.

Full set of everything from the solstice this year collected at

Stonehenge 2004

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2004/index.htm

and last year.

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2003/index.htm

and on my PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=141373

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143062

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143077

The pictures I’ve put up over the last few days, are of the celebration at Stonehenge. However, if you have followed the links in those posts, you will know something of the authorities nervousness about the potential re-establishment of the Peoples’ Free Festival of Albion at Stonehenge.

English Heritage – SUMMER SOLSTICE 2004 CONDITIONS OF ENTRY AND INFORMATION

These pictures take you from the last few moments of the gathering, through to the clearance.

Summer Solstice, Stonehenge 2004 :: Black and White work

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143077

Have now also added scans of my colour slide work, in addition to that from a small digital camera, posted a few days ago.

Summer Solstice, Stonehenge 2004 :: Colour Slide work

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=143062

Pages on Indymedia at:

Tash Post – UK Indymedia Solstice Pictures 1, Stonehenge 2004

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293800.html

Tash Post – UK Indymedia Solstice Pictures 2, Stonehenge 2004

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293914.html

Tash Post – UK Indymedia Solstice Pictures 3, Stonehenge 2004

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293935.html

A jaunt out to another ‘Managed Access’ at Stonehenge, at the permission [and conditions] of English Heritage.

I had a nice time, met old friends and some weird and wonderful people, doing weird and wonderful things. BUT …. it is not as I would have it. The whole policing operation and security policy might seem a little ‘over the top’ for those just wanting to gather for an overnight party / celebration / homage. The operations are more intelligible though, if you have had any experience of the free festivals. In the names of Health & Safety, and Public Order, rules and regs are devised, together with the limits of stay, to stifle any possibility / attempt to re-establish

“The Peoples’ Free Festival of Albion at Stonehenge”

This place has such a history in recent times, that the public demand that there clearly is for a gathering at this time, that has been squashed by force. The police money continues to be spent to resist this idea. Now 20 years since the last proper event there and next year is 20 years since the Battle of the Beanfield http://tash.gn.apc.org/sh_bean.htm

Add it all together and the sum is huge. Other parts of the world hold events like this up to the world. The Kum Mella festival has 15 million participants every four years. The authorities plan for years and turn out in some force, BUT to help those gathering and to help enable the event. This country, well …..

More pictures from this set, on my PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=141373

and on Indymedia at: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293800.html

Also pictures of last years events, on various sites:

UK Indymedia Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2003 Pictures

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/06/273217.html

PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=4037

on my webserver:

Stonehenge Solstice 2003 :: http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2003/index.htm

Further, a reminder to check out some earlier work, describing how we have arrived at this phase, in the story, The story so far .. .. ..

Stonehenge: http://tash.gn.apc.org/stones1.htm

Solstice Ritual: http://tash.gn.apc.org/solst_0.htm

[pdf version] http://tash.gn.apc.org/solstice.pdf

Beanfield: http://tash.gn.apc.org/sh_bean.htm

Operation Solstice: http://tash.gn.apc.org/op_solstice.htm

The Story so far: http://tash.gn.apc.org/history.htm

My Diary: http://tash.gn.apc.org/diary.htm

Monday June 21, 2004

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1243952,00.html

Meanwhile, the sound of jungle drums and jazz saxophone reverberated around the site today as an estimated 21,000 people marked the summer solstice, braving chilly temperatures to catch a glimpse of the sun rising between the ancient stones.

With druids and the occasional punk mingling happily with tourists and students, the atmosphere was a far cry from the clashes between police and revellers that often marred the event in the 1980s and 90s. By dawn Wiltshire Police had made only a “handful” of arrests, all for public order offences.

And with the first solstice since the reclassification of cannabis, a police spokesman said officers were maintaining a policy in accordance with the law but concentrating resources on those suspected of possession with intent to supply.

Inside the ring itself, thousands of people packed tightly around groups of drummers and other musicians while some took the opportunity to sprawl on the ancient stones, which are normally beyond public reach.

The focus of the activity before dawn was on an impromptu dance next to the famous Heal Stone, the marker for sunrise on summer solstice.

The druid leader, King Arthur Pendragon, presided over the festivities, standing amid a ring of flaming torches.

King Arthur, who adopted the name in 1986 to denote his position as Battle Chieftain of the Council of British Druids, said the festivities marked the arrival of dawn.

He said: “The fire symbolically welcomes the sun for the longest day of the year, part of the seasonal wheel which we, as druids and pagans, celebrate. It’s not a day in church for us: it’s a celebration. We don’t sit in pews.

“At the end of the day this living temple that we call Stonehenge belongs to all of us. We all have a right to come here and celebrate the solstice,” he said.

For others it was simply a spectacle. Cara Whitehorn, 32, from Wiltshire said: “This is my first time. It’s my birthday, and I’ve always wanted to come here on my birthday.”

There were fears that the solstice would be marred by bad weather but the sun finally broke through the clouds at 6.15am to a chorus of applause from the crowds.

Peter Carson, English Heritage’s head of Stonehenge, said the event was a success. He said: “It’s wonderful. We are delighted at the fact that people have been able to come here and enjoy the solstice in a safe and peaceful manner.”

BBC News Online

21st June 2004

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/wiltshire/3823379.stm

About 21,000 revellers gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire overnight to mark the summer solstice.

The 5,000-year-old World Heritage site was open to the public, following earlier years in which it was closed amid fears of damage to the stones.

Some 150 police were on site this year, and a number of people were arrested for climbing on the stones and other offences, a BBC correspondent said.

Misty skies had obscured the 0458 BST sunrise for about 30 minutes, she said.

Other years have seen battles between police and revellers, including the infamous 1985 encounter, dubbed the Battle of Beanfield.

A violent confrontation between 300 people who wanted to reach the stones and the police saw 12 people hospitalised.

The fire symbolically welcomes the sun for the longest day of the year, part of the seasonal wheel which we as druids and pagans celebrate

King Arthur Pendragon

This year police issued several warnings and said anybody going to the site was liable to be searched.

The constabulary added that traffic on the A303 and A360 next to the site was expected to be very busy during Monday morning.

English Heritage, which looks after the site, also issued strict rules. Those attending were only allowed a small amount of alcohol for personal use.

And only acoustic instruments were allowed.

Inside the ring, thousands packed around groups of drummers and other musicians while some took the opportunity to sprawl on the ancient stones normally beyond public reach.

‘Celebration’

But the focus of the activity was on an impromptu open-air dance next to the famous Heal Stone, the marker for sunrise on summer solstice.

Druid leader “King Arthur Pendragon” presided over the festivities standing amid a ring of flaming torches overshadowed by a pair of giant horns, lit by burning branches.

“King Arthur”, who adopted the name in 1986 to denote his position as “Battle Chieftain of the Council of British Druids”, said the festivities marked the imminent arrival of dawn.

He said: “The fire symbolically welcomes the sun for the longest day of the year, part of the seasonal wheel which we as druids and pagans celebrate.

“It’s not a day in church for us, it’s a celebration, we don’t sit in pews.”

A jaunt out to another ‘Managed Access’ at Stonehenge, at the permission [and conditions] of English Heritage.

I had a nice time, met old friends and some wierd and wonderful people, doing wierd and wonderful things. BUT …. it is not as I would have it. The whole policing operation and security policy might seem a little ‘over the top’ for those just wanting to gather for an overnight party. The operations are more intelligable though, if you have had any experience of the free festivals. In the names of health & Safety, and public order, rules and regs are devised, together with the limits of stay, to stiffle any possibility / attempt to re-establish

“The Peoples’ Free Festival of Albion at Stonehenge”

This place has such a history in recent times, that the public demand that there clearly is for a gathering at this time, that has been squashed by force. The police money continues to be spent to resist this idea. Now 20 years since the last proper event there and next year is 20 years since the Battle of the Beanfield http://tash.gn.apc.org/sh_bean.htm

Add it all together and the sum is huge. Other parts of the world hold events like this up to the world. The Kum Mella festival has 15 million participants every four years. The authorities plan for years and turn out in some force, BUT to help those gathering and to help enable the event. This country, well …..

More pictures from this set, on my PhotoBlog at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=141373

and on Indymedia at:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/06/293800.html

Pictures of last years 2003 events, on various sites at:

UK Indymedia Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2003 Pictures

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/06/273217.html

PhotoBlog 2003 at:

http://tashcamuk.fotopages.com/?entry=4037

and on my webserver:

Stonehenge Solstice 2003 :: http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stonehenge2003/index.htm

Also, a reminder to check out some ealier work, describing how we have arrived at this phase, in the story, The story so far .. .. ..

Stonehenge: http://tash.gn.apc.org/stones1.htm

Solstice Ritual: http://tash.gn.apc.org/solst_0.htm

[pdf version] http://tash.gn.apc.org/solstice.pdf

Beanfield: http://tash.gn.apc.org/sh_bean.htm

Operation Solstice: http://tash.gn.apc.org/op_solstice.htm

The Story so far: http://tash.gn.apc.org/history.htm

My Diary: http://tash.gn.apc.org/diary.htm

By Steve Hawkes BBC News Online

21st June 2004

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/entertainment/music/3662921.stm

This Monday sees the 30th anniversary of the biggest free festival in British history.

BBC News Online examines how a small gathering of hippies celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge evolved into the high point of the British counter-cultural calendar.

Last year, more than 30,000 people gathered at Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice.

But police in Wiltshire and neighbouring Hampshire warned they would not tolerate any unlicensed “mass gatherings” after the midsummer event.

And officers were out in force to thwart any attempts to hold parties.

Andover divisional commander Superintendent Mark Chatterton said: “We are not being killjoys.

“We are all in favour of people having a good time, provided the event is properly licensed to ensure that it is safe for everyone.”

Stonehenge Free Festival was never licensed.

And in 1985 – after being banned by English Heritage – it became so unsafe that no-one actually reached the ancient stone circle.

Phil Russell, the orphaned son of a wealthy landowner, and Jeremy Ratter, who later co-founded the anarcho-punk band Crass, staged the first Stonehenge Free Festival during the summer solstice of 1974.

Five hundred hippies climbed a barbed wire fence erected by the Ministry of Works.

And after the solstice, a hardcore of 30 defied a court injunction to stay – for another six months.

The publicity surrounding their court case ensured the attendance doubled for the solstice the following year.

Mr Ratter later recalled the 1975 festival: “Wood fires, tents and tipis, free food stalls, stages and bands, music and magic… old friends met new, hands touched, bodies entwined, minds expanded and, in one tiny spot on our Earth, love and peace had become a reality.”

But the festival’s co-founder was not there.

Arrested for possession of LSD the previous month, Mr Russell had been committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Released immediately after the 10-day festival, he committed suicide weeks later.

Mr Russell’s ashes were scattered over the stones during the summer solstice of 1976 – by which time, the festival’s attendance had again doubled.

And, fuelled by the myth of martyrdom, the numbers continued to grow at the same rate until 70,000 people attended the 10th annual Stonehenge Free Festival on 21 June 1984.

It remains the biggest free festival in British history.

But the following year, the annual event’s colourful history came to an abrupt end.

And Stonehenge remained closed to the public during the summer solstice for the following 15 years.

On 1 June 1985, 300 would-be festival-goers were arrested – and 12 put in hospital – following a violent confrontation with the police.

Five hundred officers from six different forces dropped 15 tons (15,041kg) of gravel onto a road seven miles (11.27km) from the stones, and used council vehicles to block the path of a 140-vehicle convoy travelling to Stonehenge.

What happened next is hotly disputed.

The police say they were attacked with lumps of wood, stones and petrol bombs.

But those in the convoy say police “ambushed” their peaceful procession of vehicles – methodically smashing windows, beating people on the head with truncheons as they tried to surrender, dragging women along by their hair, and using sledgehammers to damage the interiors of their coaches.

English Heritage had secured a court injunction to prevent 83 named individuals from travelling within a few miles of Stonehenge.

But the Battle of the Beanfield – as it quickly became known – happened outside the jurisdiction of the injunction, and was indicative of a harder line being adopted at the highest level of government against the growing number of hippies spending their summers on the free festival circuit.

Every year since Margaret Thatcher had become prime minister in 1979, the number of “new-age travellers” had doubled – partly because of the growing number of evictions of squatters in London, historian Andy Worthington, the author of Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion, told BBC News Online.

And in 1982, 135 vehicles had left Stonehenge Free Festival and driven to join the Women’s Peace Camp outside the airbase at Greenham Common, where US cruise missiles were housed.

The self-styled Peace Convoy had evaded 2,000 police officers to stage their own Cosmic Counter-Cruise Carnival behind the base, during which sections of the fence were pulled down, Mr Worthington told BBC News Online.

And from that day on the writing was on the wall.

“Thatcher decided to take on the travellers.”

Mrs Thatcher would later tell the Commons she was “only too delighted to do anything we can to make life difficult for hippy convoys”, adding that “if the present law is inadequate we will have to introduce fresh law”.

True to her word, the 1986 Public Order Act made trespass a criminal offence and stated: “Two people proceeding in a given direction can constitute a procession and can be arrested as a threat to civil order”.

This was the final nail in the coffin of the British free festival movement – effectively stopping the “new-age travellers” and festival-goers in their tracks.

“People split all over the place,” festival photographer Alan Lodge told BBC News Online.

“Large numbers went to Europe.”

But rather than putting an end to the politicisation of the Peace Convoy, the Battle of the Beanfield pushed a significant number of free festival veterans further towards the activism of the emerging anti-globalisation and road protest movements.

As Mr Lodge, who was there, succinctly puts it: “If you have been hit around the head with a truncheon, you don’t feel the same as you did before.”

And by driving the free festival scene underground, the Public Order Act inadvertently paved the way for the numerous illegal rave parties that sprung up in increasingly remote locations during the late 1980s.

Today, Stonehenge is again at the centre of a bitterly contested conflict.

A plan to build a 1.3 mile (2.1km) tunnel under the World Heritage Site to reduce traffic congestion has divided opinion.

And with at least 30,000 people expected to converge on Stonehenge again for this summer’s solstice – on Monday 21 June – the stones seem set to continue to arouse passions on both sides of the cultural divide for at least another 30 years.

Have been invited to contribute some pictures to this event. I wish them well ……

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/04/289874.html

Vinny van GoGo, 25.04.2004 22:51

To celebrate the beginning of the end of BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Award, we (London Rising Tide) invite you to help put together An Exhibition of Resistance to BP and Big Oil, from June 15th-21st 2004.

We are asking you to rub your eyes, wipe away the mirage of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘beyond petroleum’, and create a truer portrait of an oil company in any way you like. It’s time to strip away the greenwash; in fact it’s time to save the whole planet from these robber barons with their bloody oil wars, climate chaos and massive pay hikes. We know there are better worlds out there, and they don’t include profit or fossil fuels…(or an art market, for that matter). It’s our desire to see London ablaze with powerful, passionate, positive and politicised art during the week – on streets, on airwaves, in galleries, in squats, cinemas – you name it. We’ve got a few plans we could do with some help with, but we’d be just as happy to see you and/or your compadres plan and carry out your own events and actions.

Events planned for the week include:

* A parade of true portraits of an oil company on June 21st (the date the National Portrait Award [NPA] winner will be announced) from BP HQ (St. James’ Square, SW1) to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG, St. Martin’s Lane). At the NPG we’ll celebrate our creations and insist that the gallery severs its links with BP and Big Oil. From there we’ll head to our own space for more information and celebration.

* a spontaneous ‘art not oil’ happening in the NPG on June 16th, (NPA private view day).

* greeting visitors to BP-sponsored relay of ‘Faust’ – an opera about a man selling his soul to the devil? Hmm, how appropriate – from the Royal Opera House to Covent Garden Piazza, Canary Wharf, Belfast and, er, Eden Project, 19.6.04

* Your event here – your help’s needed to make these and more amazing acts of resistance to the oil madness take place during the week. No one’s in charge, so if you have a fiendish plan that just might work, get out and make it happen…

Public meeting to meet, plot, eat and create: Sat May 8th, 2pm.

London Rising Tide benefit gig with films, food etc., Tufnell Park occupied social centre, 156-158 Fortess Road, May 13th.

Let’s kick the (oil) corporations out of the galleries, (not to mention museums, opera, planet earth etc…)

Contacts and further information: LRT, part of the Rising Tide UK and international networks, takes creative action to combat the root causes of climate chaos and to help build movements for social & ecological justice.

London Rising Tide: 07969 786770; london@risingtide.org.uk

c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES

www.londonrisingtide.org.uk (from May 1st)

See also www.burningplanet.net & Rising Tide UK: http://www.risingtide.org.uk

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