2nd May 1992: Circus Warp, Spirals etc. at Lechlade festival, Gloucestershire

Hello Graudian readers! Thanks for visiting, but thanks to a mistake on this page, this isn’t the page you’re looking for! Click here for the Castlemorton Common free festival page. Cheers!

Here’s a report from someone who wishes to remain anonymous:

A disused quarry in Gloucestershire was the venue for this 8,000/10,000/15,000-strong free technofesty blowout. Who counts the numbers anyway ;P If it was based on the number of cars it would be an underestimate- 4 people per car was the absolute minimum those days. Police estimates are always ALWAYS under (for obvious reasons), especially at ‘oppositional’ events e.g. free unlicensed 3-day festivals, reclaim the streets etc. demonstrations.

This pic of Lechlade featured in an article in Select magazine:

An excerpt from Atomic Robot Man’s rave diary:

Missed Castlemorton due to leaving my brain at Lechlade. A long drive up. I think we got the location of the party from the news reports:

When we arrived we had a jittery moment because the police stopped our car on the way in. FFFFFFffffUUUUUCCCCkkkkk! Oh no, it’s OK, they’re just telling us where to park, politely. A few metres away a dealer was standing in the middle of the road bellowing “Rhubarb and Custards! Callies!”

I think the big white tent in the pics above was DiY’s but I don’t remember there being a rig in there at this do.

This blue and orange marquee in the pic above was Circus Warp’s. I also remember a load of far out UV stuff dangling from the roof of their tent, including bicycle wheels. Also a mad max robot and some red/orange speakers too:

A fantastic atmosphere but there was a little friction between the hippies and the ravers- heard a few expensively dressed ravers getting harangued by the crusties: “OOOOOooooh dress to IMPRESS!”. Oh yeah, and someone laughed at my hat. I deserved it for sure πŸ˜‰

Other sights and sounds:

Flinching at the sheer excessive volume of the beat coming from the Spiral system in the blazing sunlight on Sunday morning, when we felt particularly fragile.

A brew crew/keta/acid/whatever casualty rolling around on the ground trying to scratch the tattoo off his arm.

A bunch of well-spoken but off-their-tits Oxford medical students who came and sat in our car, and jabbered with us for either 3 minutes or three hours.

A misty and gentle sunrise over one of the huge trout ponds (which, incidentally, contained huge trout).

Seeing some poor fucker who’d overdone it being carted away.

Finding a lost crusty puppy.

Taking photos of ourselves and the next week wondering what the nice girl in Boots thought was wrong with our faces in the pictures.
The aftermath:

It was even mentioned in the Commons:

Sir David Mitchell (Hampshire, North-West) :

I noticed that on the spring bank holiday about 30,000 people attended a pop festival at Lechlade in Gloucestershire, and if more itinerants and hippies come to my constituency in the pre-solstice period, the noise disturbance, the petty crime and the filth that they will leave behind will cause my constituents great anxiety.


On 21 June, the summer solstice arrives and large numbers of hippies, itinerants and new-age travellers can be expected. Some of my constituents call them by names that cannot be expressed in parliamentary language.

52 Responses to “2nd May 1992: Circus Warp, Spirals etc. at Lechlade festival, Gloucestershire”

  1. Anon Says:

    I remember an amusing moment from the Lechlade free party. I was living in a truck at the time and had several off my non-crusty friends visiting the festival and hanging around in my wagon. I think it was the Sunday by now and the police were probably getting desperate to be seen to be doing something about the situation. We were standing outside a party tent at the West side of the site listening to the sounds banging out. Trying to off load some bits of square paper, of very dubious quality, no thanks for that one Mark (the Shark), you know who you are! Next thing you know a geezer known as Gobby Gary comes racing onto the site in a beat up old car with a lone Motorcycle cop following him heroically into the muddy field. Gary jumped out of the car with his mates and disappeared effortlessly into the crowds. Poor Mr Plod didn’t share his luck though and ended up getting his bike stuck in the mud. Within a few seconds he was surrounded by crusties who started taunting him and mockingly banging him on the head with sticks. With much softer blows than the police give to crusties with their sticks I might add. We just stood there laughing uncontrollably! Can anyone remember what happened next?

    • Kerrse Says:

      I remember Goby Gary knew him form the local berkshire/hampshire sites but do remember him at Lechlade harrasing us to buy acid from him ! He just kept saying their shit but not that shit lol

  2. banner Says:

    pud is that you mate?i loved them old parties,those were the days.

    Nope, I’m not pud, but I agree, those were the days πŸ™‚

  3. Riddler Says:

    Absolutely wicked! The best ‘daze’ of my life, never to be forgotten!Thanks for the memories.

  4. chicken Says:

    fuckin wicked festi, we done them good ,the old bill,never will be likeit was cos we’re ill europe now havin it in good style

  5. warick hunt Says:

    good old days before ketamin when people went to parties to dance,will we see them again?

  6. barnsy sn1 Says:

    looking back it has to be the best party i have ever been too!wicked up the swindon massive!

  7. anna byrne Says:

    i was there for days danced on speaker in circus warp tent one of the best parties ever

  8. Matt Morris a.ka. Tat Says:

    Yep did friday to monday crazy party. Rember cupid and the robot and a sea of people saturday night around the spiral system And just getting into peoples cars and chatting shit and swapping stuff!.Does anyone remember seeing Roger Cook? nutter grabbed my arm and started blurting something about drugs and filth, just give him the vs and laughed.He had his film crew with him dont think any of them lasted long before they got told to do one lol. Completley twisted from start to finish briiliant !!

  9. Drawmer aka Langalang Says:

    well talk about going back in time I just found this site I was traveling around with circus warp in 92 just after my first rave at Lechlade as I lived in on site in swindon and I had been to Hungerford festival the week b4. After this weekend I never missed another until the end of 93 where everything was going pete tong big time and everyone was going there seperate ways from circus warp, curcus extreme and d.i.y, spiral tribe so I decided to join society and move to the north of england and get a job, house and a legal car pmsl. Now I’m single I live in London and had a good year of doing free partys in Suffolk society sucks… So I’m leaving it all behind….

  10. Jules Says:

    The stub axle collapsed on my trailer on the way to Lechlade so I ditched the poxy sprite and settled on a stay in the dog kenel. A rather dejected looking ‘blackhead’, for that was his name, was left outside the kennel while two pairs of boots and four grubby legs stuck out the front. I managed to pull but imagine her surprise when I showed her my temporary des res. I travelled with Circus Normal for a number of years and generally marauded around the countryside and cities having more fun than is decent and proper. Love to all those who were part of it.

  11. siteyscum Says:

    I did festies 89-94 and a lot more! Those were the days of total anarchy…the best days of my life! Drugs ,alcohol, fighting the pigs, wot a life style! and so many of us up for it!!! where has it all gone? Why did it end? I stopped travelling when the old a-series finally gave up and wouldnt start no more and id had a guts full of everyone turning to smack and rave music came from speakers that use to blast punk! But i still live in a trailer pay no council tax ,aint on no electrol register, cant vote,wont vote, hate society…still living my dream of anarchy…but with a much clearer head not clouded by brew or speed! Im living my life like i did then…with no one telling me how too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. mark Says:

    so close to ditching the rented bedsit, overdraft, job and car….

  13. mark m Says:

    I was on the scene ’88-’97. I did my first festival – Glastonbury Tor 8/8/88 at the tender age of 17. It was high times and fast living, so ‘out there’ not everyone made it back. 1997 I finally packed my crack and smack addled body off to rehab!!! Living in London now – on the art scene, off the drugs mostly (- do the odd party and e/mdma out in Wales but not so often) but having a drink now and then – swerved the 12 step ‘total abstinence’ lark. Got two kids now, a lovely partner and live in a co-op in East London with a part-time job and an art studio practice to support us – so still resisting, to some extent, the ‘straight’ life. Spare a thought to all those young lives that didn’t make it this far – we were dropping like flies when inner city junkie culture caught up with us – Tania Dickinson (19), Gin(g)er (22)?), Teresa (Treacle) 20-22? from the Bristol/South West scene early ’90’s…and all the others too numerous to mention – love and memories.
    I didn’t make Castle Moreton to much regret, after Lechlade I ended up in Turkey on some mad mission.
    Anyone in East London, or London for that matter who fancies a reminiscing reunion about the old days post a reply.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Mark m…I spare a thought for them regularly, especially Tania, she was my bset mate for years, we started squatting together and moved on to site in Bristol, then I took off to Cornwall. She is buried up the hill from my house, and I go up and talk to her on occasion. Took my kids up to meet her, she was going to be the eldest ones godmother. They said “mum why do you want us to say hello to the ground”

  14. AlexB Says:

    Hi all,

    Can anyone tell me if the Swindon rave has 1 open air arena and 1 indoor marquee? I remember going to a Spiral Tribe rave in Swindon on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday I also remember Easygroove dj’ing in in marquee on the Monday?

    I went to quite a few in 91 and 92 and my last one was Castlemorton..I was 16/17 years old and can defintely say they were the best days of my life…at the time I didnt realise what I was witnessing/involved in!

    What I would pay for one of those capsules now lol


  15. lindy Says:

    hardcore days,still got my holey circus warp t shirt, tho how the fuck they got it together to print them only angels know!!!

  16. Kurt Says:

    I remember sitting down with a bunch of mates and then Circus Warp built a tent over us..then the sound system started up and people were dancing all around us! This must have taken all day to set up but for some reason it seemed like only a few moments to us πŸ˜‰
    I remember everyone cheering when loads of horse-drawn wagons turned up too! I think it had taken them about a week to get there πŸ™‚

  17. Jules Says:

    Oh those were the days of being free and partying hard. How I ever made it through alive I don’t know.
    Lechlade and Castlemorton were the moset memorable for me.
    I danced for days at Castlemorton, when I had to go back to work on the tuesday I was so stiff a little granny with a zimmerframe beat me up the hill lol. Good times
    I have been loking at all the old photos doted around the web and recognised so many people from those days
    If your life does flash before you eyes before you die I hope there are plenty of those old parties there lol

  18. Hitch Hiker to Lechlad Says:

    I hitched up to this party via a request on Touchdown FM…. Getting there was great and thanks to the MG that took us there at 80 mph through fog!!!

    Getting back now that’s another story πŸ™‚

    What a party though!

  19. mukka Says:

    anyone remeber the first night when there was only the bedlum crew playing in there small tent there was some fire breathing nutter, thought the whole lot was going to go up.
    also remeber the ketamin hit was just getting underway roobarbs with ket, there where a few at the roundhouse on it but at this party evryone seemed to be going out of body.
    touchdown fm fuck forgot about them

  20. dye tat mutant babbyz Says:

    eny one rememember jumparound john jumpin on that coppers head shouting boing boing jumparond jumparond when the pig grabed john 4 lobing that speacial brewe can at crack pipe keith ?and no nose mike from glastos who had his noze bit off and soed back on lol loland pendle hexen all the ravers for living in houses thoze were the days lol love it????live it still do

  21. lou Says:

    Hi Jules, for it must be you, Normals and a dog called blackhead, can’t be many of them? Don’t suppose you’ll ever come back to this site to read this but just in case u do, it’s me Lou, last time I saw u I was horsedrawn, n’ stuck in Winchester with a pony called Flicker who was havin’ a foal called Ned, don’t think I had my dog Elsa by then? I may have bumped into u later on site in London at kingsland rd/ laburnham st. I’m still with Alty by the way, if that rings any bells (K9) but anyway I’m still hangin’ in there just about, although more virtual than real these days, partywise that is. Yep they were good parties n’ Good to hear you’re still out there somewhere in the ether. Lou

  22. Dawn(motheraver) Says:

    I remember hearing there was going to be a big rave at lechlade and being into spiral tribe i just had to go, living just down the road in watchfield where the pop festivals used to be held i couldnt believe something so big was just about to happen on my own door step. So off i went and what a time i had. Everything you wanted on tap the jewson lot.As soon as my parents see it on the main/and local news my dad said our Dawn will be there. I still party now and im 42 this june but try to keep it to the smaller local raves mainly ridgeway and cotswolds sometimes if the mood takes me might go for it and go up to Dunstable area but its so easy to get back into i try not to go to often. Dont like all this K stuff though see lots of people rolling around on the floor and not dancing, surely thats what its all about aint it. Ive three kids 17,18,and 25 and they all rave some may say im a bad influence on my kids but at least they dont go around mugging and beating up people hey. Keep partying ravers. Motheraver

  23. RW Says:

    I had been to many free parties from the original Circus Warp party in Whiteshill, Chipping Sodbury, Oxford parties etc. White Goddess, Round House etc but this one eclipsed them all.

    Arrived at 6pm Saturday and danced till Monday 12.30pm, the beat was relentless and never dropped for a minute. The vibe, intensity and music was the best. I remember when the music finally had to stop on Monday evening everybody just applauded and clapped.

    Never forget the childern dancing on the buses and veicles on Sunday afternoon around the Spiral system.


  24. nick Says:

    what a weekend, robbed a safe of a couple of grand straight to the rave, and wow wanted to stay forever and god what were those rhubarbs stuffed with? had to smoke a whole 8th to level out then thought bollox lets have a couple more loved the circus warp tent was there a weed drought we seemed to be the only ones with any for a while, then inn the morning spiral banging out some hard stuff, and the hippies telling them to turn it down ha ha no chance great days the best

  25. mischief Says:

    ive got video footage from this party soon to be editted … πŸ™‚

    freepartypeople says: fantastic! we’d love to see it, let us know when it’s ready πŸ™‚
    I wonder if the freepartypeople are on film, hope not ;P

  26. mister beat Says:

    superb party…..went from site in norfolk got to hungerford i think where there was a massive police operation and the 4 us got searched but not very as we all had plenty sweeties of the red n yellow variety…..anyway asked random local who pointed us in the right direction and off we trotted happily and partied for 3 of the best daze eva

  27. Hardcore Bob Says:

    At Lechlade , there was another system away from the Warp tent playing from a trailer in between the Massive White tent,was that Spirals?

    Is anyone in contact with Oxford Jamie who used to live with Rosa for a while?

    Would love to get back in contact that group of Travellers.


    freepartypeople say:

    The open air rig was the Spirals. Their rig was to the left of Circus Warp’s tent (which you can see in the third photo at the top of this page), and the big white tent (the first two photos) was somewhere very near.

    However I don’t recall spending much time in the Spiral Tribe bit, I think I was in the Circus Warp tent for at least some of the time, I definitely recall sitting down in there before the music started, and I know I was dancing in there for a while, and that I came back there sometime after it had got light in the morning.

    My clearest memories of Spiral Tribe at Lechlade were seeing people dancing on a vehicle’s roof, seeing some messed up case on the ground in front of their rig, and wandering past it thinking ‘ooh this is FAR TOO LOUD’. That was all on the Sunday morning I think.

    There are two of Alan ‘Tash’ Lodge’s photos here- http://www.partyvibe.com/pictures/v/party/uk_party_pictures/album51/
    Does anyone out there have any more photos of Lechlade?

  28. Trixta Rick( Top hat and Alsation) Says:

    Just readin through some of these blogs, Castelmorton was the party that all parties aspire to be but will never come close! Big up To all those Who are still sane enough to remember and straight enough to read this.
    Spirals, and all you techno travelers you are legends (Cathy gutted to hear about your accident in spain) Bedlam likewise (mark, you da man) sp32 Thicker than mud

  29. 303loopy Says:

    what a party, got there 4 set up: in a hearst with Glous boyzs, stayed 4 a wk coz we broke down (shame), the AA didn’t want 2 assist at 1st but a flim sorted it on Thurs. Saw so much 2 much: hoof man (man with real horses hoofs at the end of his legs) no s##t, not an hallucination or microdots, dancin test tubes, flyin saucers, strawbs, k, PCP, lems & limes, Denis da menis, m25’s or r&c, just a mad party even saw a dog that looked like a pig (pigdog –pups 2 young) & a bee in da woods by the trout lake, size of a humming bird (may b it was) still v messy but I do remember most of it despite . Had a mud fight with my best mate Niki (got battered), got pisssed on by a crusty in a ditch (serves me right 4 sleepin in a ditch), got thrown out of the local shop 4 smelling bad (mud, piss, LSD & general party odor) still remember most of it: manikins at dawn, cupid, teckno art & big top. Wish we could do it all again, same place, same people same music, same vehicle (they look so old now just like us- mis chimps camper). Shine on Dizzy Dez & Harvey (2 tone bk 2 bk)

  30. Clare Says:

    OMG this is the party i remember, did DJ zebadee dj here ben lyons what ever happened to him ?

  31. spud Says:

    hey up

  32. vix Says:

    Ahhh just been reading these comments and they make me so jealous that I never experienced parties like these!! I go to quite a few parties and some squats in london and even though i love them i know that they are nothing compmared to the ones back in the day!! and its sad cos il never experience them. from what you guys are talking about yep the rave scene is a-changing! regretamine is mostly what it comes down to. chavvy teens in their tracksuits with huge polos, everyone acting like zombies staggering around pie eyed! oh well im just grateful that ive experienced the current rave scene now as oppose to the mainstream commercial clubbing scene!

  33. bimble Says:

    Heheheh,wot a party.four of us came down from Kent on the Friday.We’d been following the Spirals,Bedlam,Diy about foir ages going to the different doos.We weren’t sure of where to go and got stuck in a traffic jam which was a mix of ravers,crusties and holiday makers.Then we went round the corner and to the round about and their it was!!!Plod were freindly and directed us to park.
    We went for a mooch and counted our money between us.Β£400!!!So we broke up into two’s an arranged to meet back at the big robot in an hour to see who had found the best price for pills!!
    Met Griff(very old mate) who could do us rhubarbs for Β£7 a pop which was asnip in those days.Off we went for the whole weekend,nonstop with abit of acid thrown in,and then a DOET each on the Sunday,mental times.
    We then went to Holland when the tribe had to leave the uk and squatted in Lieden for ages,then back to uk with Squats,sites,woods anywhere that was free to live.
    I’ve been in a bender on and off for the last 10 years now,and refuse to conform.Only go to smallish parties in the feilds and woods now,as NOTHING can top those glorious years.Nowadays the drugs are wrong and the majority of music is shit.
    We’re all very honored and privalaged to have been a part of something truely amzing,inspiring and groundbreaking.We showed those fuckers big time!!!!
    Big love to all that survived,those that didn’t and to everyone who made it happen……….:)

  34. gilbert wham Says:

    That was Lee boinking that copper on the head IIRC. Fuckin’ branch was as big as him. It was fucking hilarious. I kept falling down all those bloody trenches there were all over the site at Lechlade; you’d be bimbling along in the dark, talking away, and whoomph’! You’re down a 3 foot hole with everyone laughing at you…

  35. Smoot Says:

    Just came accross this, first bit of video I have seen of Lechlade, proper scorcher of a bank holiday.

  36. EX-RAVER-LEB Says:

    Friday thru Monday for me! Mental party and at least 8000 people there at its peak! Remember being sold a lemon & lime on Sunday morning spiked with PCP! Tried walking home to Bristol on Sunday afternoon thinking I was some kind of superman. Fortunately someone I knew was driving back to the party and picked me up about 2 miles away and back I headed, thankfully! What was I thinking??? Still a classic of a rave but little did we know that Casltemorton was on the horizon….

  37. watermouse Says:

    an excellent piccy of the site can be found at

  38. karen Says:

    What a great party, the start of a great year, and sadly a big crackdown on travellers, festivals and raves. How scared they are when people unite. Really good to see the first pic as it’s mine and my friends benders shown, with our vehicles in background. A really lovely start to my day seeing this, thanks

  39. Anonymous Says:

    i remember the party got moved on in the morning ( one of the mornings) , on top a hill, somewhere ?

  40. Jamie Says:

    Class party with lots of mayhem! Stroud crew was on the scene early. Best memory for me was a lad in a car on the roundabout, leaning back in car seat with his feet on the steering wheel. But
    with gloves on his feet!!! Very confusing for a while!!!!

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Hi to all who made it to Lechlade and castlemorton from the Bath crew. Amaaaaazing weekends never forgotton. Special times and mayhem… Dont know how we got thru and still functioning!xxxxxxx

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Amazing weekend. Popped down for a look, left 3 days later. Had no money but an oz of herbage which I traded to survive. Collected a pile of hippies outside the car after giving them a lick on the ol coconut bong. Dancing to the single strobe on top of the spiral tribe trucks all night long. Good times.

  43. Anonymous Says:


  44. Lena Says:

    Loved this free party a I know I had to meet at cheivley services to get to the party. As I lived in Basingstoke it was only an hour up the road but what a great rave. Was there for 3 days from what i remember, wasn’t as crazy as cassingdon but met some pukka peeps!

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