Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Legal But Late

14th August 2000

The Free the Spirit Festival which has taken place on August Bank Holiday weekend for the last three years has been moved to September 8/9/10.

Following the successful one night mini festival held near junction 13 of the M1 on July 29, a festival license application has been submitted for the same piece of land with the enthusiastic consent of landowner Lord Howland. A minimum of 28 days are required for the submission of a licence application and it was decided by festival organisers that the event would be moved to fulfill the time requirement. If the festival succeeds with its licence application, as looks likely, it will be the first time in the festival's history that the event will be granted legal legitimacy. Organisers say this will present a powerful precedent for the licensing of free festivals. It is intended that the festival date will be moved back to the August bank holiday weekend next year when there is a proposal to hold four Free the Spirit Festivals throughout the UK.

Organisers had always stated that the Free the Spirit Festival would be better licensed than illicit as long as such legal sanction did not involve any compromise on the nature of the event. The scene is now set for the licensing authorities to consent to the event without insisting that the organisers change their unique non-commercial stance.

Over the last three years, the Free the Spirit Festival has been hosted on the Exodus Collective's 17 acre farm near Luton. Having evolved into the festival scene's biggest and best free festival, the number of people attending the event swelled into five figures, pushing space and infrastructure on the farm to its limit. The provision of this new stretch of land will allow for this expansion although the intention to organise four separate Free the Spirit Festival's in the south East, South West, Midlands and North next year will prevent too many people descending on one event ,as well as spreading the festival's atmosphere and unique precedent throughout the country.

You can follow part of the story of Lord Howland's developing relationship with the Exodus Collective on the current series of BBC 2's Country House.

To see Squall's full coverage of Exodus click here