Sweat Soundsystem- Are you out there?

Were you one of the people that organised these legendary parties? The producer of a new independent documentary about free parties would really like to get in touch with some or all of you and give you a chance to tell your story. See the post just above this one for details of the documentary.

I too would love to interview you but my priority right now is to help with the documentary.

Just email me if you are one of the Sweat people: freepartypeople@yahoo.co.uk .

And if you haven’t heard of Sweat, here are some writeups of the events they put on:

22nd-29th May 1992: Adrenalin, Armageddon, Bedlam, Circus Warp, Conspiracy, DiY, Fun-de-mental, LSdiezel Spiral Tribe, Sweat and Techno Travellers at Castlemorton Common Free Festival, Worcestershire

UPDATE 24/10/21:

Here is a slideshow by top subculture chronicler Alan ‘Tash’ Lodge, enjoy!

UPDATE 21/6/21:

We just added the following sound systems, give us a shout in the comments if something is here that shouldn’t be, or if you know about any cases of rigs working together:

Armageddon

Conspiracy

Sweat

Also interested to hear whether the list in the title is correct 🙂

UPDATE 14/6/21:

Regular contributor Simon M sent us this report:

There were rumours going round about a free festival being held somewhere in the west country on the 23rd. At first we thought it might be at Chipping Sodbury, but late on Saturday night we found out it was going to be near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. We switched off the episode of Casualty we’d been watching (which was about a drugs overdose) and the four of us set off from Bridport towards Gloucestershire in my gold Mini Metro.

Once we got past Bristol we saw loads of other ravers and travellers headed in the same direction. Near Tewkesbury we joined a convoy of disparate vehicles that stretched for miles towards Castlemorton Common and realised this was going to be a big free festival.

Having got appropriately stoned whilst dawdling along in the line of traffic we finally arrived on site at about 2am and parked the overheated Metro on the side of the road going through the common. Jumping out of the car we hurried towards the lights flashing into the sky from what looked like a huge sprawling township that had grown out of nowhere. Music blasted out in all directions, a mash-up of house, hardcore, breakbeat and techno. There were people every where and parties already in full swing.

Surrounding the marquees were traveller buses, ravers cars, tents, fibreglass sculptures and human gyroscopes. People were selling stuff all over the site. Beer, dope, E’s, acid, speed, rizlas, fags, coffee. We scored and dropped some ecstacy and stayed around the DiY and Circus Warp tents for the night.

After coming up, my fellow raver, dressed in a boiler suit and gas mask hat turned yellow and went outside to puke. I only found him much later, dancing, luvved up, ice lolly in hand. Once the sun came up we had a better idea of the layout of the site and in amongst the 40,000 party goers we found some friends from Dorset and joined them at Spiral Tribe. We sniffed some K and did some wobbly dancing, creating solid shapes out of thin air.

I was never a big fan of Spiral’s hardcore music and would have preferred to be back at DiY, but the Ketamine had me stuck to the spot like glue. Some travellers with families were quite rightly annoyed at Spiral Tribe’s strict policy of 24 hour hardcore and techno. Other systems mellowed out with some dub for a few hours on the Sunday to give people a breather and for kids to get some sleep, but not Spiral.

UPDATE 8/6/21:

Fixed link:

Commenter Jam Smoot told us about the Sparks and Martian at Castlemorton mix, here’s a new link for it:

https://soundcloud.com/alistair-hill-2/martian-sparks-castlemorton

I missed Castlemorton but I believe everyone who says it was wicked. Interesting that dr_box (see below) mentioned the police herding him onto the common, people often forget that the travellers and soundystems were pushed/chased there by the cops. By the way, if anyone has exact dates for this please let us know, we know it’s quoted as going on for 6 days, but we need some sort-of-facts!

Interesting query from Hardcore Bob in the comments: the Techno Travellers (who we’ve now added to the headline) had their rig in the blue and red marquee, so which other rigs were there, and which tents were they in? Let us know in the comments 🙂

Thanks!

UPDATE 23/1/21:

It's Not About Me Lechlade p.56It's Not About Me Lechlade and Castlemorton p.57

From Ian Young, It’s Not About Me! Confessions Of A Recovered Outlaw Addict- From Living Hell To Living Big. Norwich: Anoma Press, 2013, p.59-60.

We came across three longish (slightly chewed) VHS videos of Castlemorton free festival recently. Thanks a million to youtuber discodelinquent (great name by the way!) for uploading them. Discodelinquent has also uploaded some footage from Sugarlump parties. We’ll probably do a post on Sugarlump sound system sooner or later… Meanwhile, enjoy these videos:

Here’s a quote about Castlemorton from ‘Adventures In Wonderland’ by Sheryl Garratt:

Mr Arm (you know who you are!) let us scan a load of newspaper cuttings from his scrapbook. Big up! :


The following photo was captioned “Festivalgoers on Castlemorton Common yesterday, enjoying the sound of music in the Malvern Hills”.

The following photo was captioned “Common nuisance: The 20,000 hippies encamped at Castlemorton common yesterday”.


A classic headline:

Click on images for larger versions:

The following picture and article appeared with the headline: “Villagers threaten to burn out hippies -An illegal festival in the Malverns has driven people living near the site to breaking point”

Continuation of article above, click on image below for larger version:

The following article and photo appeared together:



Here are a couple of videos, the first one’s been online for ages, the second one’s newer and includes some footage taken near the spiral rig-

Thanks youtuber Yangow for the first vid, and thanks youtuber hemustbemad for uploading the second (he credits his friend Matt with filming).

Old friend Simon M was there, and he sent us this page from his diary:

These great photos courtesy of Pete Dibdin whose work can be found at http://www.peterdibdin.com/ :

The photos below are from George McKay‘s book ‘Senseless Acts of Beauty’ and I believe they were taken by Alan ‘Tash’ Lodge (whose excellent website you can find in the links on the right hand side of our main page.

The Riddler (who has a great site, well worth a browse), has some pics of castlemorton here:

http://www.webm8.co.uk/riddler/castlemorton.htm

A Flickr pool with some pics of Castlemorton:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/castlemorton/pool/

A couple of contributors remembered some tunes they heard at Castlemorton and here are a couple of youtube links for them (see this post for details:https://freepartypeople.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/some-hardcore-mixes/ )

Tim Aldiss’s site has his account of his trip to Castlemorton (his rave diaries are a good read, look at the other entries while you’re there)- http://www.loftsites.co.uk/old_school_rave/diaries/castlemorton_common.html

Here are a couple of Guardian articles about Castlemorton etc: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/jul/11/castlemorton-free-party-scene-spiral-tribe?showallcomments=true

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jul/12/90s-spiral-tribe-free-parties

This lucky lucky person was there too:

dr_box wrote:

Castle Morton was an experience.. I’d been visiting a mates place in East London and he was coming over to mine in the depths of West Wales afterwards. we’d heard that there was a festi down near Bristol that weekend, so set off on the hunt along the M4. At one of the service stations along the M4 we got a lift from a Green godess fire engine that was loaded down with kit and Hippies, it was one of the vehicles spiral tribe was using to get to the festival. As we got close we found out that the festival might not be on, so set off on a hunt. the police herded us up to Castle Morton, by the time we got close there were several miles of trucks and busses full of people. At one point the line stopped and a guy with us got out and started counting vehicles as he walked towards the front. when the line started moving again, he waited for us to catch up. he’d counted over seven hundred vehicles, and he hadn’t reached the front of the line.

When we got there, the sun was setting and from the hills overlooking the site you could see the site starting to pulse with light and hear blasts of sound as things were set up. Travelling off all the way to the horizon there was a ribbon of headlights delivering more people to the festival.

Blinding weekend, my mate had his first E experience, Watched the police try and drive through the centre of the crowd. they got stopped in the middle, and a nameless longhair got passed over the crowd, and started selling Acid off the bonnet of the police car. after futilely attempting to get out of the car the plod ended up just laughing at the sheer balls of him.

Nighttime had more than its fair quota of low flying helicopters with spotlights. (although someone did take a potshot at them with a firework)

Last of the truly fun free festivals.

Early December 1992: Bedlam, Circus Lunatek, Dole House Crew, Safe and Sound Free Party in Elephant and Castle, London

Again, wonderful images from Jamie, but only a few details. This was stopped by police in riot gear late in the morning. The law ‘got a bit funny because there was a door they couldn’t get into’ 😛

We are not sure about who brought the sound(s) but we’ve listed Circus Lunatek, Safe and Sound, Dole House Crew, Bedlam in the title.

DJs that were they may have been Liberators, Ramjack, Colin Dale, and Alex Voodoo, but again we’re not sure.

If you can confirm the date, the rigs or the DJs or have any other memories of this party please let us know in the comments 🙂

21st-23rd June 1991: Circus Warp at Summer Solstice Free Festival at Peasedown St. John, Somerset

Update– The Spiral Tribe do at Rats Run/Longstock Free Festival, Hampshire was on the same weekend.

Shout going out to watermouse who alerted us to this video, thanks! And an even bigger shout out to dj jenjen (aka mis-chief) who shot the video 😀

 

3rd-5th(?) May 1991: Free Party People at Beltane Free Festival, Hungerford Common, Berkshire

Another puzzle, any ideas for an exact date and location anyone? Any reminiscences, however druggfuddled, are most welcome as always, as of course are photos 🙂

We know there was a Beltane festival that year and, assuming Beltane free festivals are held on the first weekend of May, that corresponds to the weekend of Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th May. We have also heard that this festival would have been on the May Bank Holiday weekend and this particular weekend was the Bank Holiday that year. However we don’t know if a) that’s right or b) the party started on the Friday.

Jen Jen aka mis-chief) who shot the video below. Thank you again for filming and uploading 🙂 We think it is mislabelled, it seems to be this event on Beltane on Hungerford Common, rather than a solstice party. Peasedown St. John was on Solstice weekend that year and can be found here.

There is a record of the 1990 event on the ever-excellent UK Rock Festivals site, but in 1990 there was no rave dimension to the festival: http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/hungerford-common-90.html

1st September 1990: People From Pepperbox and DiY’s Ley Line Lunatics Free Party at Pepperbox Hill, Wiltshire

All we know, or think we know, is that the People From Pepperbox joined forces with DiY for this, the third and final Pepperbox Hill party. Is this true? What else do you know? Memories, however scattered, are welcome here, just have a waffle in the comments 🙂 If you want to send us images or have more to say, then email us: freepartypeople (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk .

We have seen a flyer, do let us know if you have a photo of it as we would love to include it here!

Overall, we know very little about these parties. NB Here is the page for the July one, the August Bank Holiday one (Total Recall), and the party on the airfield at Barton Stacey.