Archive for the ‘Chapel Common’ Category

3rd–6th August 1990: Torpedo Town Free Festival at Chapel Common, Hampshire

October 7, 2008

Please note: this covers the 1990 festival, here are links to the 1991 and 1992 festivals of the same name.

I’ve just realised, this post is NOT about a party that happened between 1991 and 1994! Oh no!

Actually it doesn’t matter. The only reason I originally decided to limit this blog to the years 1991-1994 was that those were the years in which I experienced some fantastic parties. As this blog grows, and as I run out of stories to tell, I realise what a tiny drop in the ocean my own experiences are, and how great it is to hear other people’s stories.

This page includes some vague and amusing information about the 1990 festy: http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/torpedo-town-free-festival.html .Including this quote:

There was a bit of agro between travellers and the young free party goers, especially when it emerged that some young entrepreneurs where charging an entrance fee to unsuspecting arrivals in cars, the was a rumour that a couple of coaches arrived for a rave that they’d paid 25 quid for, whether this was really true I never found out.

This was pre-Spiral Tribe, so I don’t know which soundsystems were there, does anyone? ;P

Here’s an excerpt from a self-published book on the early nineties free party scene by someone called Andy Brown. It’s a fantastic book full of spaced out enthusiastic ramblings and great descriptions of free parties and festivals. The name says it all really: Rave: The Spiritual Dimension.I found this in the British Library, and have sadly never seen another copy. Andy Brown, if you’re out there, please get in touch, I feel guilty publishing this without your permission. There was an address in the book for contacting you but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s decades out of date!

The festival was triggered off in the early 1980’s as a protest against the development of a place called Brambles Farm into a torpedo factory… ever since Brambles Farm was developed, the festival has been held at a different site each year. Things really started to move in 1990 when some clued-up people took some scratching record decks and strobe lights to the the Torpedo Town event at Chapel Common near Rake. It is dark, you’ve just parked up in some lane and are climbing over the brow of a hill towards the flickering strobes and thumping bass. You think the authorities are going to bust the whole thing at any moment and the buzz that gets going is just too much. The beat goes right through you and an amazing feeling rises from your stomach. It feels so good, it is as if you are going to explode with pleasure… In daylight you could see the whole site of what must have been at least 200 acres. There were two encampments: Travellers and their buses on one side of the valley and Ravers on the other. That festival was definitely one of the most wonderful times of my life… Nowadays of course we’re lucky to get one-weekend festivals and a bonus at Chapel Common was that it lasted for more than two weeks and had two party weekends. As far as the authorities are concerned, once these events reach a certain size, a critical mass you could call it, they are far too hot to handle so they just let them burn themselves out.

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