The alternative news-agency SchNEWS, frequently offers inchoherent and borderline-mad stories, but it does carry some interesting stuff from time to time, including this well-composed and entirely plausible account* of how even hippy festivals are now closely regulated by the authorities:
In spite of these setbacks, [the Big Green Gathering (BGG)] managed to scrape themselves back off the floor with shareholder cash and some potentially dubious corporate involvement. Every effort had been made by the gathering’s organisers to accommodate the increasingly niggling demands of police and licensing authorities. The procedure lasted over six months – just check out www.mendip.gov.uk/CommitteeMeeting.asp?id=SX9452-A782D404 for the minutes of meetings held between organisers and the authorities. Demands included a steel fence, watchtowers and perimeter patrols, having the horsedrawn field inside a ‘secure compound’ and wristbands for twelve undercover police. At a multi-agency meeting on Thursday, police took those wristbands in order to maintain the pretence that the festival stood a chance of going ahead. A catalogue of other obstacles were also continually placed in the organiser’s path.
All of the businesses associated with the BGG came under scrutiny, licensing authorities contacted South West ambulances, the Fire Brigade and the fencing contractors and asked them to get payment up front from the BGG. Needless to say this caused huge problems.
For their own good, of course. One cannot just have hippies hiring fields from farmers in order to have a place to enjoy themselves as they see fit. Someone might not get hurt. And that would open the floodgates to anarchy in the UK. Or Wessex, at least.
hat-tip: Dr Geraint Bevan
* Though they do get the date of the vile Licensing Act 2003 wrong