Singer/Songwriter/Performance Artist Bridget Wishart (Hawkwind, Hippy Slags, Demented Stoats, Spirits Burning) and Music Journalist Ian Abrahams (Hawkwind – Sonic Assassins, Strange Boat – Mike Scott & The Waterboys, Record Collector, R2, Vive Le Rock) announce the publication of their ‘talking heads’ book on the British free festival scene of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, Festivalized.
Festivalized surveys the history of the free festivals through the stories and viewpoints of those who were there. Musicians, Stage Organisers, Writers, Band Managers, Attendees, Travellers, and Landowners all bring their eye-witness accounts and first-hand experiences to this vivid documentation of the alternative culture at play. Researched through over 50 interviews, including members of notable festival bands such as Hawkwind, Magic Mushroom Band, Ozric Tentacles, The Levellers, Here & Now, Magic Muscle, Mandragora, Zounds, Smartpils, Culture Shock, and 2000DS, and respected counterculture commentators such as Mick Farren and Penny Rimbaud, Festivalized relates the highs and lows, the conflicts and the achievements of the festival scene from the festivals at Glastonbury, Windsor Great Park and Stonehenge to the travelling Convoy park ups and the myriad 80s gatherings and on to the last great free festival at Castlemorton in 1992.
Covering the musical, social and political aspects of the free festivals, here is an even-handed and comprehensive account of their development out of the 60s counterculture, their peak at Stonehenge in 1984 when a reputed 80,000 revellers gathered on Salisbury Plain, and their decline into hard drugs and brew that saw bands attacked on stage, violent confrontations with police and the Thatcher government, and alleged infiltration by the security services. Never sentimental, always objective, Festivalized is a valuable and engaging oral history of a scene now removed, some would argue expelled, from the British countryside.