22nd August – 4th September 1991: Spiral Tribe, Circus Normal, DiY and Circus Warp at White Goddess Free Festival, Camelford, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

We just stumbled across this video, quite sweet really. I reckon it must have been a few days into the party and no-one’s up for dancing any more, apart from some of the smallest ravers you’ve ever seen. Big ups to Jenzen23 for shooting and uploading this 🙂

We received the comments below from Suzi on the ‘What is this site all about?’ page. First of all, thanks a million for your short but sweet comments Suzi!

The August Bank Holiday weekend started on Friday 2nd August 1991. According to various sources the festy lasted 2 (!) weeks. But if anyone else has more accurate dates let me know. Also the sound systems in attendance were gleaned from the Wikipedia page on Spiral Tribe.

Who else can add to this?

Suzi’s comments:

Just discovered this site – brilliant! Went to most of the Festi’s from 91-92… most memorable:

Torpedo town ; Camelford 91, Lechlade 92, ; of course the one that will go down in history being Castlemorton 92 (proper lost it big time there!!). Not much here on Camelford 91, so here is my contribution:

Good Memory:

After getting lost on Bodmin Moor around 3am, following a 4 hour drive from Bournemouth, we stopped at a phone box (pre mobile days of course) to cheekily ask for directions from the local plod and they surprisingly obliged!

Bad Memory:

Discovering there were no trees when daylight broke, hence no discreet toilet facility, and having to walk for miles through a minefield of turds with a layer of pink toilet paper fluttering not so discreetly atop each mound, just to take a girl piss.

More comments on this party from Dougie. This is copied from his post on our ‘about’ page:

On my way to Cornwall from Yorkshire I picked up a couple of hitchhikers who where going to the White Goddess festi. It was about twenty miles out of my way but I thought fuck it I have bought them this far I might as well take them all the way there.Best thing I ever did!
Having decided to hang around and have a look I was soon gobbling down every thing on offer, mainly acid I seem to remember, and being there for the whole week. My first proper festi and what a way to start. Saying that it is all still a total blur but I just get that glowing warmth when ever I think about it.


24 Responses to “22nd August – 4th September 1991: Spiral Tribe, Circus Normal, DiY and Circus Warp at White Goddess Free Festival, Camelford, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall”

  1. Ben Says:

    The best / weirdest thing about that vid is that those kids will be in their early-20’s now, which is quite a strange thought. I wonder if they are still dancing, or if they rebelled against their folks and are now accountants in Slough or somesuch?

  2. Headgames Keef Says:

    The Circus Normal Headed By Spider And His Brother Chris Were Great. Headgames Played Loads Of Gigs With Them. Keef And Norman Plus There Partners And Kids Lived On Sites And Travelled With Them

    • Anonymous Says:

      Yes i was one of the i lived with spider and his brother cris, N,Z,Andy,and some others we all endead up in a transit site in Bristol gav now living in Yorkshire

  3. Robert Says:

    I was there! Great nights (4 in total!!!) Went there with a girl called Lisa – if you ever read this – HELLO!

    I’m sure I MC’d at this….I was one for shouting and telling everyone to “Come On”!! and I think at one point I managed to get hold a of a mike…I also recall someone telling me the Rebel MC was there, but that could be bollocks….maybe MC Zebedee???

    Sounds cheesy now, but I also remember Cola Boy 7 Ways to Love being played a fair bit….and it was storming! Also, a bucket (yes, bucket) of poppers being handed around….Happy Daze!!!

    What a setting…and I can relate to the no-trees-to-shit-behind……problem when you’re coming up like a rocket….if you know what I mean…

    Wonderful festi, great setting and good tunes….

  4. Matt and Paula Says:

    Circus normal stage was there. i was parked right next to it.

  5. ally ally ally Says:

    The most brilliantly remote location for a festival was Davidstow Air Field (Goddess Festival) It was always right at the end of the season; end August/start September. Ribblehead time. Was there in ’90..About 9 of us tried going in ’91 from a site down in Cornwall. Someone borrowed without asking (in fulfilment of a unilateral debt), a massive semi automatic coach on siphon feed. We were all having a roaring fun time on way to festy..–Coach driven by the only person with the requisite ‘total lack of sanity’ to volunteer for the job. (And one our party was sectioned). Our driver, a brew-swigging crusty, stated he had no idea how a semi-automatic gearbox drove. However, “it was ok- he had “driven the Social Bus once or twice” he was “just getting the hang” of this semi automatic malarkey, when suddenly (surprise surprise), BANG it broke down/blew up in the middle of a dual carriageway in a major town and we all piled out, left it blocking the road and legged it…. But Spiral Bribe were a niusance; at every festy they went to. The ravers liked them; a lot of travellers didn’t. Pull up to a family area in that STUPID looking decker and deafen everyone with constant, boring, never-changing music. No respect, no compromise. Circus Normal however, were stars. Except the genny ran out very frequently and the music would stop while they “hatted” for bits of diesel money. Which then ran out again after 5 mins. ..And CN had kids with them (the ones on the gate asking punters for 50p) so they knew the score. Knew how to behave. On the road all year round. I don’t know if Spiral Tribe ever improved their attitude but they were new-comers, part-timers who just partied in the summer when I came across them.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Yeah, funny innit. I went up in a mates car and I had a squidgy green thing that lasted for about 48 hours, we all fell asleep in the car going back and crashed, dog RUNNING back and forth on our balls as the Fuego slid on its roof. Then I drove us up next weekend and there’s me in the illegal car and the cops telling me it’s illegal and I say does that mean you are going to stop us and they say no so on we go and are we a mess, sober as a judge ossifer innit.

  6. ferret Says:

    spider i loved u mate RIP pls could someone tell cris to get intouch. LUV N STUFF.

  7. Matt and Paula Says:

    does anyone remenber another stage there, im sur i saw Dick lucas playing at some point but not on spiders stage as i was parked next to that. I went to a party on the airfield again a few years ago, few thousand there. we took a rig down and had some fun. strange it was, i went ovet to the watchtower where id gone the first time rouind, remembered chasing light aircraft on my motorbike down the runway. the lake seemed to have dried up. first time we found a boat somewhere and were all swimming in it. this time it was a load of mud and weeds.

  8. dabadoo Says:

    My first festy this one, went there with my band and we played on the two stages that were there on the first Friday and Saturday. Then spent the rest of the week there before I had to leave. Great spot on the old airfield next to “that” reservoir.
    Wasn’t exactly keen on techno on those days.
    There was definitely 2 stages, the circus normal one, and another one on a dropside truck, I remember hearing weird noises in the middle of the night later on in the week and upon checking it was the guy with the P.A. on that truck playing with feedback and his effect rack.
    Tried to go back in 1992 but as that was after the Torpedo Town incinerator fire police had road blocks on all roads leading to the area stopping anyone with a likely look, searching vehicles handing out injunctions and taking pictures of people next to their vehicle holding the bloody bits of paper.
    So we went and visited friends near there instead.

  9. Phil Says:

    Me and a friend hitch-hiked to the awesome ‘White Goddess’ free festival on Bodmin moor in 1992 it must have been. Whilst walking along a moorland road on the way I found 22 really large magic mushrooms on a cow pat. I picked them really carefully to minimize the amount of cow shit on the shrooms. I stuffed them into a peanut butter sandwich that I had and ate the sandwich. It felt like a had done 100 shrooms shortly afterwards. Lots of traveller vehicles were going in the wrong way with the occupants looking really pissed off. We should have twigged that something was up. We got a lift in a very expensive jaguar for the last couple of mile to the festival. We arrived and the police outnumbered hippies by about twenty to one, they were fucking everywhere. We antagonised the police for a little while. We were faced with arrest unless we signed a piece of paper promising that we wouldn’t return to the site within the next seven days. It was fucking dark on Bodmin moor with no transport and no festival. Me and my friend walked as far as we could until we felt too cold. We went into some woodland, lit a fire and smoked hashish and drank whiskey until daybreak. On the way home my friend was in a really bad mood. I wanted to rest but he stormed off wanting to get home. I fell asleep in the hedge and a concerned motorist woke me up and gave me a lift home. I got back thinking that some people can still act as good samaritans; that the White Goddess used to be an amazing festival and that the police are cunts.

  10. Cool Kev Says:

    I was here……

  11. Mike Rennie Says:

    Just found this page. Read R.I.P Spider. Chris, I hope you are still with us. As I wish all of the Circus Normal gang are. Oh. It is Mike here, of ov Mike and Dy. (Blag me not cafe) . I now run a tree surgery business. Often thought about what happened to you all , Thinking about getting on the road again. Groover, Spider, Scots Jim , I forget all the names of folk……My cure was a memory killer. Would be good to catch up with survivers. Peace & much love.x

  12. Mike Rennie Says:

    P.S Remember Camelford, Fecking freezing, so burt fence posts, But the acid was soo good. I felt guilty & cried for the fenceposts 🙂

  13. DJ Pinky Says:

    I was one of the DJs at this.

    I’m 99% sure it’s me DJ’ing in the Video. In which case it’s the afternoon after the first night. It’s about 3pm. And the reason there is no-one around is because we’d all been partying till gone 7am.

    Based on that set I got given a 3am slot that night/morning. Was listed as a Spiral tribe DJ in their newsletter for at least the next year. I bumped into DJ Aztec about a year later and he showed me my name still listed on their flyers, This was the party where he left our local crew and went touring with Spiral Tribe.

    When I was doing the night slot Kirsty from Opus III (not famous then) came on stage and asked if she could MC for me. I bumped into her a while later as well when she was touring with Opus III.

  14. Dion Fen Says:

    camelford 91 – where scallywag Mc’d and spirals played Charlie by the prodigy until the grooves were gone I reckon!
    92 was a different matter, got moved on and an injunction notice at the original site, moved on and ended up at Bicknoller (or Bickernoller, my memory is a little hazy on that), on a farmers land who had a 28 day campsite licence, obviously hated the old bill (and vice versa) was letting people on for free in the end ( I think he was charging a tenner originally). Police stated no amplified music as it was a breach of the campsite licence, so they brought in a huge concrete slab to block everyone in. they also decided the farmer had illegally dug up part of his own hedge so the buses could turn into the field, and as such everyone would have to go or get nicked. Constant threats to come on site and start doing searches. It all culminated with the old bill escorting a convoy of vehicles on the A38 in view of the site (we could see them and them us) holding them their for hours and then stating we had to leave site or get nicked. They promised that you could leave in any direction… got off the field & up to the junction, and everyone is forced onto the A38 with the rest. Convoy escorted out of the county with the old bill driving ahead to tell petrol stations not to serve anyone (no doubt hoping we would all break down, cause an obstruction and get nicked) would have been far cheaper to let us party and pay for the clear up…

  15. Little Sue Says:

    hold on a mo i was meant 2b goin 2Camden roundhouse 4new year 1991-92 wen we was waitin 4a bus @Finsbury park 2go camden word got 2us @the bus stop (was loadsa peeps headin there as well) that the electrics were down. So the obvious alternativ was a school in Stockwell sqauted by sum traveller mates of mine, Chinese Paul is the only name i remember. Well wether they managed 2get the electrics up n runnin lata dont no, but the School in Stockwell was defo 1for the history books lotsa larfs

  16. Dan O'Brien Says:

    This was my first foray into the festival world. I was 17. I’d asked my social worker (I was in care) if I could go to the Reading festival. I’m glad she said no, because I got pissed off, took acid for the first time and hitched to Camelford with some mates for this festie. I bloody loved it. Our tent got nicked on the way there, so I ended up dossing in someone’s bus. The people were incredible, the music was ace and I fitted right in. I stayed for the whole two weeks. When I got home I found that the police had been looking for me in seven counties! I bumped into a couple of people I’d met afterwards, including the lovely lady (Tina) who was handing out her acid on the last day because the police were patrolling the perimeter. Strangely enough I met her several years later when she was giving a churchy talk about the evils of drugs… I still love small festivals best of all. I wish stuff like this still went on!

  17. Steve Says:

    I remember roughly 10 years ago I was stomping across Bodmin Moor looking for the ‘White Goddess festival’. I was sure I’d read that it was happening… We walked and walked, and then bumped into a local who told us we’d missed it by about 10 years!! 🙂

    We went to the Blisland Inn Pub instead and it was great!

  18. Rckay Rax Says:

    i was there–on ‘double dipped oms’ –moon slid down the sky–snake people writhing–in an arabian dsert–charley said

  19. Lena Says:

    Took us nearly 15 hours to get to this place but we made it. After raving for a couple of days saw this big lake(I thought it was a lake but was Bodmin moor.) Decided I needed an a boy of a scrub up so decided to go and have a wash, was nearly an hour getting to the water and ended up being just sludge mud and no water. Went back to the party To rave. Thanks Reggie from Spiral Tribe for making me have the best time !!

  20. Micky Mouse Says:

    I didn’t go to this festi but went to lechlade 92.. that is one party I will never forget. We drove up from Bournemouth and arrived at the early hours of Sunday morning. Great vibes and tunes. On the way out we got stopped by the old bill who had ‘amnesty’ bins. As they took the lids off I was faced with the sight of around 1000 ruhbard and custards!! Nobody threw anything in and they let us go anyway. About an hour later in the Oxford countryside whilst peaking on acid a girl who had blagged a lift back home had a severe epileptic fit..cue some of the worst paranoia I’ve ever had! All was well in the end thank god but the memory of that night will never leave me. I loved the free festis and thanks to whoever uploaded this vid. Great times

  21. The Backstage Diaries Says:

    The reasons the dates are unclear is due to the way this rave happened. My mates and I borrowed a couple of trailers from local farmers to use as a stage, we also borrowed a generator and lights from some road works. There was a lot of borrowing involved. We had been having small gatherings in the West Country for a few years. This time we were upping are game, we had a stage sort off. We started playing mix tapes we had made through a make shift PA (that was all we could afford), to a crowd of a few hundred. After about 4 days other sound systems turned up. The word was out; I was blown away when the Ozric Tentacles turned up. All I can remember is going on stage with red buckets and asking people to give money to keep the generator going. The buckets always came back full of cash, people were on it. I would walk the few miles to the local and only phone box, call for more fuel, more equipment just more of everything. As I cannot remember much else, I will add what happened at the end. Two local bobbies came up to me and told me to clean the mess up. They told me a local farmer had lost two sheep to some travellers dogs. As this was our home we took back everything we had borrowed, cleaned up the shit and settled up with the local farmer. This was an organic movement of people, this was a true Rave. For the record the bobby told my family and they in turn kicked me out, sort off. The following year nothing was planned yet thousands of people travelled down the A30 with expectation. There was a traffic jam from Bodmin to Exeter. With cars filled with ravers fuelled too high heaven and nowhere to let it burst out. The local villages and towns took a real hammering. Year one, just two local bobbies equals no problems. Year two over one hundred police blocking access to the airfield equals anarchy in the South West.

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