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Barny's Story

(what we kids got up to at 70's free festivals)

So here we are in 1970 sometime?? July is coming and we are all gearing up for Stonehenge Free Festival... fucking great. As you can imagine, as kids we didn't do anything at all, except for trying to suss out who was going in what van and who had the most comfy van that wouldn't break down before the A305 out of Twickenham. And trust me there were some bone rattlers - I know you all had special relationships with your buses or vans and even had names and talked to them like Percy Thrower to his plants... bless be the fan belt that got revived by someones tights - who bloody wore tights though?

Mostly I can remember always Me Ben George Trissy Maeve Gallico and Tim. There were more that came and went but it was mostly us that always got the bollockings for getting up to no good. (Most probably getting caught nicking out of Woolies on Twickenham High Street, or smoking which was always high risk. Stink bombs were also a great delight to the kids and I'm sure it wasn't until Gary caught us and locked us in a van that we had bombed that we realised it wasn't as funny as we thought... until we found a way out through a skylight and of course it was game on again.)

Even though I'm sure we radioed in once in a while, for us it felt like we alone were ready to take it all in. Even though we saw lots of people from the Street around, and of course other kids and people we knew, it seemed as though there was a whole world between the main gate at the bottom right up to the mounds at the back, and even more in between forest to forest on either side - golden! Sometimes it felt like we were the adults and the adults were the ones there to enjoy themselves and mess about. To get things we wanted we were like Flash 'Arry running about doin' deals and trying to get stuff, and it was geat cos people got what they wanted and didn't have to move, and it was an opportunity to barter a blim for a cup of mushroom tea or an omelette from Jack and Petra's. (Them dried bannanas were terrific.) Sometimes we would hang about in the Tibetan's marquee till well late, and sit beside people selling blow and just talk and what felt like great, and were great, conversations. Of course some drongos were totally out of it but that was ok too because nobody messed with kids in them days. At some stage we'd cadge a bit of blow and skoot off to the mounds, get some skins and a fag from different people, and get Chinese eyes with all kinds of people - it was quality. There was always a fire up there and someone played guitar or sang, and it was like being a thousand feet up and being amongst the stars and the moon. It's funny to think of what people thought of us and who we belonged too and why weren't we sleepin' at that time of night? But nobody complained cos we were all cool and I'm sure entertaining in our own way.

The mornings always seemed like late lie-ins but maybe gettin' to bed at four was a good excuse. Sometimes we slept under the main stage, and in them days you can imagine anyone from Dylan, Hendrix to Rolling Stones playing and it would be oblivious to us lot cos we were busy. It was great with George cos he was oldest of us all, and he could sometimes get cans of beer and stuff that was hard to get hold of. God knows how, or if, we slept but we had sleeping bags and candles 'n stuff. Our taxis up and down the three main strips were always fun. And well sometimes people got a bit pissed off at us but we would just jump onto the bumper or tow-bar and get lifted to the right part of the site we were heading to, whether it be off for a jaunt into the forest or to check out the free food at the Hari Krishna tent, which was sometimes a bit dodgy but mostly was great, instead of goin' to hassle people for food money. I remember one year a guy turned up in one of the fields with a mini van(?) - can't really remember but it was a totally empty field and he was goin' really fast and doin' handbrake turns and stuff. It looked well dangerous and I'm sure all the adults were thinkin' it was stupid, but we thought it was great and somehow I managed to get a ride - my god, it shit the life out of me, but man what a rush!    |   wussu\Grosvenor Road    |   Grosvenor Road Squat (Facebook)

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revised 27 February 2019