Castlemorton Common Festival

Castlemorton Common Festival

The Castlemorton Common Festival was a week-long free festival and rave held in the Malvern Hills near Great Malvern, England in 1992.

In May 1992 Avon and Somerset Police tried to end the annual Avon Free Festival, which had been held in the Bristol area around the May Bank Holiday for several years.McKay, G. (1996) "Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance", Page 120, Verso ISBN 1-85984-908-3] As a result, thousands of gypsies, new age travellers and ravers en route to the area for the expected festival were shunted into neighbouring counties by Avon and Somerset’s Operation Nomad police manoeuvres. An estimated 20,000-40,000 During, S. (2005) "Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction", Page 131, Routledge ISBN 0-415-24656-3] people gathered on Castlemorton Common to hold a free party that lasted a full week, the biggest of its kind since the Stonehenge Free Festival in the mid 1980s.

Castlemorton hosted many of the large sound systems of the time such as Bedlam, Circus Warp, Spiral Tribe and the DiY Sound System, and bands such as Back To The Planet and AOS3. They played nonstop dance music. Big name DJs also attended and the immediate high-profile coverage in the national media only served to swell the crowd further, making it an impossible task for the authorities to close the festival down.

A great deal of media interest surrounded the festival. Simon Reynolds wrote that "during the next five days of its existence, Castlemorton will inspire questions in Parliament, make the front page of every newspaper in England and incite nationwide panic about the whereabouts of the next destination on the crusty itinerary." Reynolds, S. (1999) "Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture", Page 167, Routledge ISBN 0-415-92373-5]

Concerns about the festival and the way in which it was policed inspired the legislation which developed into the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Fielding, N. (2005) "The Police and Social Conflict",Page 113, Routledge Cavendish ISBN 1-904385-23-0 ] This wide-ranging Act effectively made illegal such outdoor parties that played music defined as "sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats."

Whilst some have argued that Castlemorton, with its attendant publicity, led directly to the Criminal Justice Act and was the "final nail in the coffin of the unlicensed event", [ed. South N. (1999) "Drugs: Cultures, Controls and Everyday Life", Page 30, SAGE Publications ISBN 0-7619-5235-7] others have seen the Act as a draconian piece of legislation which was "explicitly aimed at suppressing the activities of certain strands of alternative culture". [Gilbert J. (1999)"Discographies: Dance Music, Culture, and the Politics of Sound", Page 150, Routledge ISBN 0-415-17032-X]



ee also

* Spiral Tribe
* Free party
* Teknival
* Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
* The DiY Sound System

External links

* []
* [ Press clippings] retrieved November 1, 2006
* [ Rave diary] retrieved November 1, 2006
* [ Tash's photographs] retrieved November 1, 2006
* [ Historical background] retrieved November 1, 2006
* [ Criminal Justice Bill Public Order: Collective Trespass or Nuisance on Land] retrieved November 1, 2006
* [ Memories of Castlemorton ]

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