Free festivals are a combination of music, arts and cultural activities, for which often no admission is charged, but involvement is preferred. They are identifiable by being multi-day events connected by a camping community without centralised control. The pioneering free festival movement started in the UK in the 1970s.
|Related genres||Rock (electronic rock, punk rock, psychedelic rock), country music, jam band music, metal music, folk music|
|Related events||Music festival, rock festival, teknival, technoparade, rave, jam band festival, heavy metal festival, punk rock festival, reggae festival, Christian music festival, concert tour, rock concert|
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David Bowie's song Memory of a Free Festival, recorded in September 1969 and included on the 1969 album David Bowie, mentions the free festival organised by the Beckenham Arts Lab and held on the Croydon Road Recreation Ground on 16 August 1969.
The 1972 to 1974 Windsor Free Festival, held in Windsor Great Park, England, was a free festival. The 'organisation' was mostly Ubi Dwyer distributing thousands of leaflets and asking people and bands to bring their own equipment and create their own environment – "bring what you expect to find."
"Free festivals are practical demonstrations of what society could be like all the time: miniature utopias of joy and communal awareness rising for a few days from a grey morass of mundane, inhibited, paranoid and repressive everyday existence…The most lively [young people] escape geographically and physically to the ‘Never Never Land’ of a free festival where they become citizens, indeed rulers, in a new reality." Un-authored leaflet from 1980, quoted in George McKay's Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance Since the Sixties (p. 15).
Free festivals by yearEdit
- Woodstock Festival, 1969 (partly free)
- Croydon Road Recreation Ground free festival, 1969
- Phun City 1970
- Glastonbury Free Festival 1971
- Windsor Free Festival, 1972–1974
- Trentishoe Whole Earth Fayre 1973–76
- Stonehenge Free Festival, 1972–1984
- Battle of the Beanfield (1985)
- Rivington Pike/North Country Fair 1976–78
- Deeply Vale Festivals 1976–79
- Leamington Spa Peace Festival
- Elephant Fayre, 1981–86
- Jazz at the Lake: Lake George Jazz Weekend (started as a free festival in upstate New York in 1984)
- Castlemorton Common Festival, 1992
- Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival
- Free Fringe
- Dragon Festival, Orgiva, Spain, 1997–2009
- Przystanek Woodstock
- Davestock - Vancouver Island, BC
- Heineken Music Festivals, 1990–1995, UK
Simon and Garfunkel at The Concert in Central Park
- Clarke, M. (1982). The Politics of Pop Festivals. London: Junction Books.
- McKay, G. (1996). Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance Since the Sixties. London: Verso Books.
- Remember the Battle of the Beanfield
- Green World Yoga & Sacred Music Festival, Skåne
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