22nd-29th May 1992: Spiral Tribe, Bedlam, Techno Travellers, Circus Warp, Circus Normal, Adrenalin and DiY at Castlemorton Common Free Festival, Worcestershire

UPDATE 1.3.2018:

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 where were Circuses Warp and Normal, and Bedlam? Let us know in the comments πŸ™‚

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! Thanks!

UPDATE 5.10.2012:

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 Atomic Robot Man 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:


A Flickr pool with some pics of Castlemorton:


Commenter Jam Smoot told us about this mixtape:


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


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.


60 Responses to “22nd-29th May 1992: Spiral Tribe, Bedlam, Techno Travellers, Circus Warp, Circus Normal, Adrenalin and DiY at Castlemorton Common Free Festival, Worcestershire”

  1. wayne Says:

    i have got plenty of pictures from this time, thinking about posting few on line, so watch out for them! Du remembr the chap above, don’t think he ever sat down but again who did?

    Please do post some, I’ll link to them πŸ™‚

    • Jimmy ross Says:

      I woz there…Would love some pics…Might be in some ov um…Im on lockdown at the at her magis pleasr…Orignal thachers prefug….

  2. toby Says:

    hi i am trying to find a tape called twisted-dj die-circus warp-1992.any one know where i can find any info on circus warp tapes etc as the computer just seems to keep offering me circus training etc. help please cheers in adv

  3. Gooey Says:

    Yeah i remember the guy with dreads Naz i think from Bristtol

    • EX-RAVER-LEB Says:

      His name was Jaz and he was from Bristol! He’s in one of the pictures above if care to look closely… πŸ™‚

  4. mulder Says:

    Anybody know when this page was written? There is no date to be found. I’d like to help Toby above out, as I’ve just ripped my tape and was looking for the track listing online when I discovered his post. I can’t find any other reference except on Tapes Galore.

  5. freepartypeople Says:

    Toby’s post was on 22nd November 2007. Hope that helps! If you’re uploading the tape please post the link here, with or without tracklisting, as I’m sure there’s a whole load of us who’d love to hear it! πŸ˜›

  6. big simon bedlam Says:

    i was siting here talking about the old days and the summer of 92, and the summers after that in france with the rig. lost touch with steve beders and the rest good times but life moves on i was one of the frist to pull on and watch it grow into one of the best weekends of my life the police got are rig and nicked ian and two overs with it thay did get of with it and we got the bedlam rig back after 6 months. if steve or anyone from then reads this drop a line

    • Anonymous Says:

      Hi Simon…. Steve can be contacted via his Noise Control Audio site he is doing PA stuff with Tim…. You still speak with Ginge???? Hit me back… Steve Spiral (last seen just outside Sevenoaks)

    • Murf Says:

      Simon you ol’ nutter!!!

      It’s Murf… *)

      I’ve seen Steve a handful of times, he’s doing really well with his soundsytem company!

      Last I heard about you, you were lurking about somewhere in Holland!

      I think we were amongst the first 10 or so vehicles to roll onto site – we were on a rescue mission to sort out Gary (coz’ he had all of the amps on his bus!)…

      Really good to see you online… *)

  7. Wiggy Says:

    Hello all πŸ™‚

    My story started when i went to Wales to chill for a bit with my mate Jock. He bought a single decker Duplo bus and stripped the inside apart from the driver seat. We deciced to set off to our destination, which was Cross inn about 20 miles below aberystwyth. After staying there for a few months indulging in the land, we set off to a festival we heard about. There was no specific place but we knew it was going to happen. We ended up in Morton valence in a layby with a ton of other vehicles. It came to our attention that there was two other layby’s close with the same predicament we was in. We all arranged to meet up and go for some land that was not to far away (castle morten), there was some other places but the pigs stoped us from entering the lands. We where one of the first to get there, but we broke down just outside lol. Once we got in it was amazing. The whole place was alive but relaxed at the same time. I admit i did get off my face to spiral tribe, ending up on the top of a mountain (the grassy one with the quarry cut out on the left of it ). Many things went on i could talk about lol. It was one of the best things i had ever been to (Visiting the particle accelerator being the best ever ).

  8. Toby Says:

    Was living in Bristo la t the time and we were following Circus Warp all over the west country in those days ,must have been for two or three years of seriously excellent parties ,one of the last being Castlemorton.Was an absolutely messy four dayz.loved it.Just want to take a second to say a massive thanks to anyone involved in the free party scene.It was my life.Circus Warp regular djs Shane and Jamie were the fukin bollox.Seriously unsung underground party rockers.I remember a woman called Emma always had a camcorder with her.Any footage[posted anywhere]would be quality.Also a massive shout to DiY we all know why.Proper.

  9. tekno surf Says:

    yΓ²! finallly I found it!
    Andy yesterday was crazy in Villaggio Globale in Rome
    your “eritage” is growing!!
    visit my italian tekno blog

  10. Robert Says:

    i man!!hi man!
    i’m looking for some documents about a free festival in castle morton in 1992 . i need video and audio documents for my degree thesis in ethnomusicology
    can y help me!?!?
    thanks a lot
    one love
    this is my mAIL temponero@hotmail.com contact me please!!

  11. HardCore Bob Says:

    I think we were there for Six days,i lost a day as i crashed on Dobbos bus and was gone.

    Spent most of my time either at the warp tent or Spirals rig apparently Adrenalin had a rig right up on the hill, but i never got that far.

    I been searching for years to find out what happen to the Gyroscope that you used to pedal,its in one of the photos.

    I was told Adie had it , but he hasn’t.

    I still got a Castlemorton tape , its not very long, was there many done?


    freepartypeople say: There are some DiY tapes of Castlemorton doing the rounds, but I don’t know about any others. If it’s good, rip it and let us know πŸ™‚ Cheers!

  12. jamie c Says:

    does anybody remember the mugga that got hauled onto the spiral stage on the monday morning and given a nice suprise. basicly as it was drugs he was after the nice people of spiraltribe decided to jack him full of enuff class As to stop an elephant. he wasthen told to call his m8s over the mic then attacked on stage! altho it waz generally a good weekend there was still a few bad apples that tried to ruin it 4 every 1 else!!! respekt to the oldskool!

    • ped Says:

      ped he got what he diservered if we did what he did were he cume from wed bin shot fer play them that sortid it

    • Steve B Says:

      I remember that really well. He was pulled up on stage and dj said “MC Mugga on the mike” put the mike in front of him and he begged his mates to come back with peoples wallets or he was gonna get seriously done over. He got pulled back off the stage (and got shit kicked out of him we suspected) and the DJ came back on the mike and said “Spiral tribe – on the vibe!” and dropped a big fat tune to cheers from the crowd.

      Also remember at another Spiral party a guy had a gun and got chased down the hill by hundreds of ravers. I think it was a revolver with 6 bullets and he calculated if he did shoot anyone the rest of the crowd were gonna rip him limb from limb…

      • Bob Down Says:

        He didn’t get a beating he was fed trips and sent on his way as I know who fed him them.
        Same lot were firing the remote wired flares at the helicopter flying over all the time.
        They were also one of the first buses on the site and they claim that they never intended to go to castlemorton and that the police possibly guided them there to have everyone in place for media circus and eventual creation of the criminal justice act.
        They also suspect that possible undercover cops were dressed as ravers and were dancing around the side of roads guiding people there too.
        All sounds a bit like a conspiracy but the people that claim this are not normally into theories like that but the police would do anything to get what they want

  13. HardCore Bob Says:

    At most of the Parties they were always there, the same gang and after a while you got to know who they wereand kept away from them.

    They come from some where near Cardiff and would rob any unsuspecting Raver including girls.

    As soon as it started to get light you could watch them running away, i remember on the Ridgeway there cars got block in and they physically ragged other motors out the way to escape.

    Also at Shilton Airfield they really beat a girl badly selling pills in the woods and left uconscious.


  14. Anonymous Says:

    does eny 1 now were eny 1 off the newbyleclassroom are or hoo traveld with them email me on facebook richard lots of people from droitwich are n facebook take cear and rip to all lost souls that arnt here wiyh us to day rip. ped the best family i ever had all sadly missd

    • richard pedley Says:

      im ped off the newbylclassroom iv just seen what you asked abut what happend to every 1 off the buss but first who are you im on face book so if you want to now you can find me on face book im not in droitwich no more not bin ther 4 years im still in contakt with every 1 tho sadly a few people are not with us to day i can help you if you get in tuch with me on face book but not untill i now who you are sorry but i wont give detaiels untill i now who you are

  15. Anonymous Says:

    punters hoo rob off travlers hoo ant got a pot piss in are skum it was hower way of life not gust a weekend if you think im rong then you are brain dead you must of took to meny drugs if you think it ok to rob off us so if you think its ok see what youl get if you try ped 2009 live long n prosper good luck

  16. jam smoot Says:

    I have just found s blog with a couple of Circus warp mixes from Castelmorton. http://ylow.blogspot.com/search/label/Castlemorton
    Lots of other interesting music as too!

  17. 303loopy Says:

    if vu own a porsha 9111 don’t go to castlemornton via druggers end

  18. WATERMOUSE Says:

    here is an old eze love mix of SHANE @ castlemorton
    side a.
    http://www.mediafire.com/file/ly50otqt1xw/Shane castle morton A.mp3
    side b.
    http://www.mediafire.com/file/nmwwd1w2k2m/Shane castle morton B.mp3

  19. mick Says:

    one of the best weekends of my life, a legend.

  20. mental george Says:

    can i ave me hat back? some bastard nicked off my head at castlemorton-cant blame me for drinking all that brew! (thanx for getting me back too my trailer lester(sited up polesworth 1992)). also does anyone know how i can get a photo from the dailymail from castlemorton-george.

  21. Joey boy Says:

    Evening free party people,
    do you have a vague source and rough date for that article that has been scanned in and looks all blury, the last one you guys scanned in. im writing an article on the development of the rave scene and early rave culture and would like to reference it appropriately πŸ™‚
    get back to me soon as

  22. fin mcbratney Says:

    Respect one and all,

    Does anyon e know what newspaper the aerial photo of castlemorton came from? the last dance was here for me after 3 years non stop weekend madness, and id love that photo on mmy wall as a reminder of The party to end all parties. one memory of it i do have is telling my mate martian (warp dj) that i hadnt come up on 2 acids then seeing green men flying in the sky…mental! how are we still alive today some proper mad times i for one wish them times back for my kids..

    • Anonymous Says:

      It was the daily mirror. My old man buys it and i kept his copy. Still have it as a souvenir πŸ™‚

  23. fin mcbratney Says:

    just like to add i remember the bad boys coming up taking doors at warehouse mfi in stroud the robberies (taxing) that went on. we just tried to avoid em tbh, anyway they were no match for main heads who behind circus warp and spiral once they got hold em game over. i remember vaguely one party in quarry (dont think castlemorton) where they stopped music and shouted over mic there was a robber in crowd and everyone stopped dancing and he legged it (coloured fella) with people chasing after him.

  24. Smoot Says:

    Hey I’m pretty sure I went to a bedlam party on 18 April 1992 in Aylesford ( Location could be wrong) and didn’t get there till sometime on Sunday it was in a barn type structure. I think a farmer came down and started chucking bricks at cars. This was the same weekend as the Spiral party in Acton Lane which we then went to on the Sunday evening. Now thats another story.

  25. Smoot Says:

    oooh! another Bedlam party I remember, some time in Feb 1992. A warehouse on an industrial estate in Edmonton north London. Pretty sure I remember hearing Aphex Twin didgeridoo here. There was a big pay rave near by which I remember having a flyer for in the shape of skull and crossbones. I have a feeling that Spiral were doing a party in Welwyn Garden City that night. I remember one of the bedlam flyers with a little ryhme on. It went something like this ….
    ‘Bedlam beggars non-stop headstrong with the bass in your face no time for lightweights, The tribe with the vibe the clan with the vans. Waging the war for hardcore no laws no more. Unity in subversity’ Procaiming that we will not lunch your money. True to their word by the time of castlemorton they had a massive marquee and big rig.

  26. Smoot Says:

    Another party I beleive has not been mentioned here was probably between the two dates I mentioned above was at Membury Services on the M4 the part was in a warehouse next to the services. Police blocked the entrance so people just parked on the hard shoulder and walked up. I think the lighting rig must have been prevented from getting in as it was very dark inside. It could have been Circus Warp though not 100% sure. Good party though.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    mad days good memerys RIP to frends that are not with us to day all the best to frends that are still here loads of love pedley

  28. richard pedley Says:

    all the best to old good frends miss and love you all loads

  29. watermouse Says:

    i just come across a video of the peasedown st john party (near bath) which took place prior to castlemorton.the title says solstice 91 but thats incorrect.

    • freepartypeople Says:

      We just set up a post for this party, thanks for pointing it out. We’ve read about there being a party (parties?) there but have no further ideas. What else do you know about this one?

  30. EX-RAVER-LEB Says:

    What can I say? The mother of all free parties, and it was all pretty much downhill in my opinion after this! Having got there on the Saturday night and my friends car slipping into a huge hole in the dark outside someones house on the common. I can remember finding the Circus Warp tent and staying in that all night untill the Sunday morning and walking up the road and then seeing the Spiral Tribe (open air) and then further on the D I Y tent. Danced there for a while and then the maddest thing happened. About 100 people started doing the conga down this hill towards a riot van with about six coppers stood outside it. We then proceeded to dance the ‘Conga’ around the bemused coppers and then back up the hill and back into the D I Y tent. I will never forget the look on their faces!!! LOL! After that I Tried to walk up that massive hill (got about halfway) and left for home the following day…Couldn’t believe the news coverage…Can also remember someone firing a flare gun at a police helicopter! MENTAL MENTAL MENTAL party that will live long in the memory…. πŸ™‚ And the New Yorkers weren’t bad either!

  31. Jimmy ross Says:

    Woz at morton. Loved it..Had j tiyp..Lechlade !! Ace. got lade . But gezzr in bus tun my wing mior off…Bus with all the black spots….Been on roud now 23 yeas…My life..Lush

  32. Grand Moff Tarkin Says:

    bunch of crusties and ravers from Birkenhead headed down in a wirral council (?) van someone had blagged to chipping sodnot happening join a massive convoy through gloucester (?) got on site thurs or fri night got monged, and continued in a lordly fashion for the next several days. Enjoyed Spiral Tribe, DIY – the robot statue was there? and dawn at Wango Riley’s. THanks to Dangerous kitchen for feeding me, I only took a tin of pilchard and some bombay mix. the phrase ‘buy an E gerra beer for free’ is ingrained. I think these festivals are the main reason I cannot abide the structure of a workplace – I dont recognise ‘figures’ of authority unless they’ve earned it and not just been bestowed a flimsy title. As such I upped and left the British isles and been enjoying sunnier climes!

  33. charlie brown Says:

    I was there pills and acid good times,charlie, worcester

  34. Matt Says:

    I know I was there, I just don’t remember much about it! I remember Spiral Tribe for sure and just the sheer scale of the event in general. I’ve never seen anything like. It really saddens me that this kind of ‘spontaneous’ mass gathering really isn’t possible in this day and age. Go figure.

  35. gordon matthews.cirsus normal Says:

    where is George ward. new zeland andy

  36. WallyDean Says:

    Circus Normal George (one eye george) was in menheniot railyard few years back, circus normals Scottish Sam (Campbell) was here in glasto but passed on to the free festival of forever rip 2015

  37. Darren Worrow Says:

    What really happened after the free festival at Castlemorton; did you really just go home shattered with sore feet, a sore jawbone and pupils like piss-holes in the snow?

    Did the government decide enough was enough was enough and curb the whole shebang with a new law, or did a spaceship land on the site with a crew of madcap ravers from a far off future, help us all convert our busted up old buses and cars into spaceships in order to fly off and colonise a small moon of Jupiter?

    Did it, did it huh? No, don’t be so damn daft I hear you cry….well how do you really know, you were on pukka one that night I hear, anything could have happened and probably did? Well, if you cannot be completely sure I suggest you read this stunning factual and very serious account of the events in May 1992 on Castlemorton Common, Stark Trek; White Space Van Man 2…. it might just shed some light on your whereabouts that fine weekend, it might not, but it will (I hope) evoke some fond memories and maybe, just maybe make you laugh.

  38. Lena Says:

    What can I say. All the best sound systems together, everyone untied. I remember some bloke on a bike giving people lifts on the back of his motorbike up this big hill. I’m sure people were diving into a lake as well. It was all about camaraderie in those days, we all stuck together. Remember the helicopters above, wondered if mum was watching me on TV. I was only 16/17 years ok lol

  39. April Mccabe Says:

    Went there with Easygroove and mc digger! Had an absolute belter, raves me tits off and had the best week of my life! Massive respect and love for all involved in the party that changed the world! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜πŸ„πŸ„πŸ„πŸ„

  40. Bob Robinson Says:

    There is always much said about the Sound Systems at Castlemorton, and I should know I dance often enough it front of all of them….
    But one Sound System which was there and had one of the Bigger Marques has never been mentioned in the time since 1992 ……
    My name is Hardcore Bob from Oxford , you can find me easy enough and tell me who’s missing 😎

    • freepartypeople Says:

      We weren’t there ourselves so have to rely on everyone else’s accounts, so please do let us know who the mystery soundsystem was πŸ™‚

      • Bob Robinson Says:

        Hi there ,
        The Techno Travellers Rig was in the Blue and Red Marque ….
        No one seems to know where Warp , Normal and Bedlam were on the Big Photo …
        Please could some one mark where they think all the Sytems were?
        Know where Andrenaline , Spiral , and DIY were …..,
        Hardcore Bob 😎

      • freepartypeople Says:

        Hmm now there’s a puzzle… We’ll add Techno Travellers to the list in the headline, and we’ll stick your question at the top of the post to see if anyone knows which rig was where. At a guess maybe some rigs combined, but there may be reasons some would be reluctant (even after all these years!) to say whether their sound systems were there or not πŸ˜›

  41. Castlemorton: How a field in rural Worcestershire changed the party scene forever… [May 1992] | 909originals Says:

    […] [Kudos to Spiff Monk andΒ discodelinquent for the YouTube uploads,Β and also to the Free Party People blog for their excellent write up here] […]

  42. Mat Kenny Says:

    Hi, the same weekend as Castlemorton I was at a rave in Holland, in Leiden, a squatted school, and some Spiral Tribe peeps were there cause their coach was parked outside a big, British squat in Leiden called PTT (its the Dutch BT).
    There were 3 parties at this school, the 2nd one was during Castlemorton. Anyone know what I’m on about? These were epic parties, industrial quantities of chemicals were consumed. The 3rd one quite a few Dutch folk turned up. There was gonna be a 4th but some Dutch kid died at the squat in the week, so of course, not happening.

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