The 1970s Counterculture in the West Country

The story of the Bath Arts Workshop

From the late 1960s through the 1970s the counterculture helped to make the West Country fizz with creative ideas and events. One of the most successful ventures, locally and nationally, was the Bath Arts Workshop. As a spin-off from London’s influential Arts Lab, BAT was a loose collective of artists and community activists. To describe it as a community arts group, however, would be to under-explain its work. It was that and much more as it proliferated into festival organisation, media […]

Wally Hope and Stonehenge Festival

Radical History Zone 2014 poster
It’s 40 years since Wally Hope started the Peoples' Free Festivals at Stonehenge and 30 years since the last one. Wally Dean will tell the tales of The Wallies and the Peace Convoy. He will take us from Wally's utopian vision, his incarceration, and his suspicious demise, to the heyday of the anarchic free festival movement and its oppression at the hands of Thatcher’s Tory Party and the continuing struggle to free Stonehenge today. Wally Hope was the catalyst that spawned Crass and the […]

A History of Free Festivals: From the Wallies to the Battle of the Beanfield

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Radical History Zone 2011 Poster
If you can remember them you just weren’t there. Now Wally Dean will help to fill in the gaps. Firm fixtures on the counter-cultural calendar since the 1960s, free festivals had their heyday between the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970 and the police ambush of the Stonehenge Festival convoy at the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985. However the spirit continued and was much revitalised by the early rave scene. Free festivals functioned as autonomous spaces in which to celebrate, resist and […]