Archive for the ‘DiY’ Category

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

October 5, 2012

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 🙂

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 :

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: )

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)-

Here are a couple of Guardian articles about Castlemorton etc:

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.



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

May 13, 2011

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 😉

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.

11th September 1992: DiY at Mind Body Soul & the Universe pay rave, near Bath

August 2, 2010

UPDATE 2/8/10: Just stumbled across Digs and Woosh’s set from this party: (more Mind Body Soul and the Universe tape rips here:

Here’s a long party report from an anonymous contributor:

Why the hell am I writing about a pay rave on a website that’s all about free parties and festies??? Well, it’s because, although I had a great time for some of the time (i.e. when we were in the DiY tent), this party had none of the atmosphere that makes free parties great, and I wanted to try and explain why.

The only time I ever went to a DiY do it wasn’t a free party, it was this Universe event where they ran a tent. It was quite a night, I remember dancing on the stage for a while, but I got so involved with the whole music/dancing/smiling thing that I hadn’t realised I was jogging the decks. Sorry! There were great psychedelic projections on the roof and wall of the tent, and the deep deep house music really drew me in for the first time, it made techno seem a bit grey and humourless, this was REAL FUN. Another good point for us was when we sat down by the edge of the DiY tent for a breather, and someone (er, girls, hopefully…) started massaging us through the tent. We never saw their faces but it was rather nice.

The other tents were less interesting. The second one, the house tent, which was empty, seemed to be playing remixes of Nirvana every time we went in.

Another tent had a row of people in chairs using ‘dream machine’ goggles. As we were passing, one of the guys using the goggles had a massive epileptic fit, pretty worrying.

The main tent was enormous, and condensed sweat was raining from the roof 😦 . There was a noticable lack of girls, and all the way to the back of the tent you could see legions of skinhead/tops off/gurning/bugeyed/macho/E-gannet blokes. I remember being a bit shocked at the sheer scale of it, why would people NEED to rave in such huge numbers? I just didn’t get it.

This party was my first pay rave and I really noticed the difference between this kind if party and a proper (free) one. A lot of the people there were unfriendly to say the least, unless of course they wanted to tell you how many E’s they’d had (usually more than three, for the record). Stingy too, a friend and I wandered round when it was getting light looking for Rizlas, but if anyone had any they certainly weren’t giving them to us. Tightwads :/ Of course there were stalls selling skins at loopy prices but sod that. And of course Rizlas were probably on the long list of things which got confiscated at the gate.

We also noticed (as I’ve already mentioned) that everyone was going well overboard with their intake. My raving buddy saw a guy’s eyes turning red due to overdoing poppers.

[Update: My raving companion that night remembers things a little differently: ” Nobody’s eyes turned red, that was black, I saw that. Two E’d up crew cut northerners had a bottle of poppers clamped to each nostril and were huffing vigorously until their eyes turned black. But could have been an active imagination, a lot of these things are I guess.

Also remember someone eating speed at the chill out area and then throwing up everywhere, near us as well. We moved on.

Apart from that I remember going on one of those horrible rides, it was half fairground really.”]

I also saw someone freebasing (which I’d never seen before). There was a weird vibe at this party and the other two or three big pay raves I went to- it was as if everyone had been locked into a fenced compound and told to neck as many pills etc as possible before the party ended. With free parties and free festivals there was a more relaxed atmosphere i.e. ‘Let’s go and chill in the car/van/tent for a while, then we can come back and fucking have it 🙂 ‘

Another downer was the fact that there were clearly gangs out hassling and hustling and generally being rude boys which contributed to the feeling of being a bit on edge.

The way the party ended was pretty top though. I can’t remember the details but it went something like this: in the main tent, maybe half an hour before the party was due to end, the music suddenly stopped, and the stage, which I was right in front of, suddenly swarmed with policemen. One of them grabbed a mic and started explaining (to a loud chorus of ‘booooo’) that the party was going to finish early. The crowd’s mood became even more menacing but suddenly the cop with the microphone turned round and told us that actually the party could go on for an extra half hour. The music started up again and the cops tore their hats off and started going for it like the rest of us. They’d been actors all along. Everyone went mental (in a good way this time).

Universe had a good reputation as organisers back then, and a lot of the things I’m complaining about weren’t really their fault. Fair play to Universe for booking DiY to play at this, I had a wonderful time for some of the time at this party, and also at some of the Tribal Gatherings and Big Love, but for me personally nothing was ever going to top a really wicked free party 🙂

13th July 1991: DiY Free Party at Morton Lighthouse, Birkenhead, Merseyside

April 4, 2010

Here’s a flyer:

And a video-

Haven’t seen many videos of this era of free parties, which is sad, but the ones I have seen, like this one, are great! Credit for this one goes to youtube user robberbyker (who I suspect is one of the original Gaye Bykers On Acid, whose music soundtracks the video).

There are some mixes doing the rounds too, or at least there were, but I haven’t managed to locate them. Can anyone help???

Apparently this was the second party at this venue, the first one was some time in 1990, anyone know when/how many/which sound systems in attendance? Photos from the first do here: and here:

Here’s a quote from Jane Bussmann’s wonderful book ‘Once in a lifetime’- I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s about ‘The Crazy Days of Acid House and Afterwards’ as it says on the cover, and is full of stuff to make you reminisce, chuckle, and occasionally think “what the fuck!”….

And here’s what the book looks like, if you see it, buy it!

So, who was there? Got any memories? Doesn’t matter how hazy, just post a comment….

24th-27th May 1991: Sweat and DiY at Avon Free Festival, Sodbury Common, Chipping Sodbury, Avon

December 23, 2009

UPDATE: Steve just sent us this clipping:


There are some black and white pics on this excellent site:

And here’s a couple of colour photos:

DiY was there, but no idea about other soundsystems in attendance. This was a year before Castlemorton and there were apparently house systems there according to this page: (it’s a great article which was apparently copied from the now-defunct DiY discs site).

For the first time the major festivals appeared not so much as hippy events but akin to the great orbital raves of 1988. Here, indeed, was the true spiritual heir to the Summer of Love. The commercial rave scene could no longer genuinely claim to represent love, unity or spiritual celebration. Chipping Sodbury, the eventual site of the Avon Free Festival of 1991, featured various house systems and was really the first free festival so explicit in it’s reveration of dance music. The antagonisms many travellers felt towards these foreign new sounds, also began to become apparent. Fair point, if you have to live on a site with a baby, five days of hugely amplified house is probably not ideal. However, it is undeniable that the influx of this culture breathed new life into an atrophying festival scene. The Avon Free in 1987, for example, had been without joy, a paean to negativity.

Alan ‘Tash’ Lodge had some unwelcome police attention there, the text below is from his page:

In May 1991 at a small “free festival” near Chipping Sodbury in Avon, a major police operation was mounted and road blocks were set up. The police were attempting to search most of those attending for controlled drugs. This “blanket” activity was held by our counsel to be illegal, since the police must act on individual grounds to suspect any particular individual. The law says that they must not make judgements on colour, style, appearance etc.

This was, however, exactly what was occurring and I was asked by lawyers to go and photograph the circumstances for later use (slides 134 – 142). I have engaged in this activity many times and know police frequently object or are obstructive.

This occasion was no different and while photographing, was threatened with arrest. It was never clear exactly why, but it would have achieved getting me out of the way. I was also subjected to a search myself.

The story is described in a statement that I made to record an official complaint against the police.

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