Counterculture, Local Authorities and British Christianity at the Windsor and Watchfield Free Festivals (1972-5)

Nita, Maria (2020). Counterculture, Local Authorities and British Christianity at the Windsor and Watchfield Free Festivals (1972-5). Twentieth Century British History, 31(1) pp. 51–78.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hwy053

Abstract

Four free pop festivals, held in Windsor and Watchfield in 1972–75, attracted significant public attention. This article discusses the aims and ideals of the festivalgoers, the confused reactions of the authorities, the ambivalence of the Anglican Church and the hostility of some conservative groups. We argue that the free festivals mark an important stage in the constitution of the counterculture and that they created a model which later pop festivals (in particular Glastonbury) attempt to emulate. We show that themes relating to a revival of the pilgrimage experience became important markers of this new type of event, shifting the emphasis from political protest to a memorialized and performative activism.

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