David Stooke wrote us an email about this first Pepperbox party (there seem to have been others prior to this but the series of three parties that David drew the flyers for are the ones that everyone still talks about thirty-odd years later). This is his tale about drawing those flyers (which we would still love to see scans of, we know they’re out there!
I was living in an old bus around Salisbury at the time, knew Oli and Eric very well and we were all totally into the music. This has begun a couple or three years before, when a mutual friend of ours discovered the “Land of Oz” club nights in Heaven, below Charing Cross Station. He was there right at the beginning, going to Shoom and Phuture, in fact he was so ahead of the curve that we all thought he had gone slightly bonkers. We were all saying “Have you heard about Roger? He’s going to Disco’s”! We hadn’t heard of House music, at the time disco music was still uncool, we all thought he’d lost the plot! But he started sending mix CDs down to us in Salisbury, and invited some of us up to the Land of Oz and it wasn’t long before we all knew that something incredible was beginning to stir. Fast forward to the time of the first Pepperbox Free Party and by now it was getting huge. Oli and Eric did most of the organising, there were a couple of others as well, can’t remember them now, they were more peripheral. I was a long established artist, I’d been painting and drawing the free festivals at Stonehenge and the New Age Travellers for getting on for 10 years at that point, so I was used to people wanting posters and flyers designed for gigs, etc.
My bus was parked up a lane between fields about 10 miles out of Salisbury and one night, quite late, and pitch black, Oli and Eric turned up at the bus wanting a flyer designed to advertise the first of the three parties. At later dates I also did the others, but it was always the same scenario, the late night knock at the door, the heartfelt plea, can I design them something, and can they have it there and then? So, no time at all to try and come up with several ideas, it was a case of gathering all the candles together behind my shoulder to get enough light to draw at that time of night. I’d sketch the idea out in pencil lightly, then use a fine liner felt pen to do the more detailed, precise bits, a fatter magic marker to do some less detailed areas, and finally black acrylic paint to fill in the big areas. Usually, when it was too late to change anything, a better idea would spring into my mind but we had to go with that initial first design. They would take them away and get them photocopied on thin paper, they were cheap to produce and looked that way, rough and ready, nothing fancy. Somehow they really caught the vibe of the events, so despite being stressed out at the time, wishing I’d been given a few days notice to play with various ideas, in actual fact they suited the parties perfectly!
another design with Oli and Eric’s faces on, taken from the famous photo by Alan Lodge. I did mention my website, www.davidstooke.co.uk
Where my free festival and New Age Traveller artwork can be seen.
Hope these words and images provide a little more detail on those free parties, on top of that windswept Hill.
David sent in some other images which can be seen on the other Pepperbox posts here.
Harry Harrison, in his book Dreaming in Yellow, suggested that the first People From Pepperbox free party at Pepperbox Hill took place the same weekend as Torpedo Town 1990. However, one of our commenters says there were more before this but that ‘Other parties preceded this one, albeit on a smaller scale, with clubbers coming from Bournemouth and Southampton.’ Thanks Oli!
An anonymous organiser gave us this tipoff. He…
was … involved with the”Pepperbox party’s”under the guise of”People From Pepperbox”,on the first occasion I was the first to arrive on site, where there was a B,B,C, radio transmitter vehicle,that was relaying a recital from Salisbury Cathedral, I made them aware of what was happening that everything,and they wisely decided to re-locate to a layby just down the road on the Southampton side, besides our own D,J,,North& South from Bournemouth, it was for many the first time that that we had the pleasure of”D,I,Y,,… there was no tent,and no admission charge,,, approximately 5,000 people attended according to the local papers (Salisbury Journal),where it made the front page
The second party is here, August 25th Total Recall party is here, the party at Barton Stacey can be found here, and here is the post for the Ley Line Lunatics do.