Exodus In Talks With Bedfordshire Landowner
Squall Download 1, Oct/Nov 1999, pg. 6.
In an unusual twist to a dynamic story, members of Luton’s Exodus Collective have been approached by Lord Howland with a view to using some of his father’s vast Bedfordshire estate for underground raves. As recently reported on SQUALL’s Underground Update, Bedfordshire Police seized Exodus’s sound system on the way back from a rave near Woburn Golf Course at the end of May. Both the golf course and the land on which the rave took place are owned by prominent local aristocrat, the Marquess of Tavistock.
The £25,000 police operation broke a long period of peace between the Collective and Bedfordshire Police, and was attributed specifically to strong complaints from the Marquess. Exodus secured the release of their trucks and sound system the following week.
Tavistock’s Woburn Golf Course currently hosts two annual international golf tournaments and both the Marquess and his son Lord Howland are keen these prestigious and profitable events will not be disrupted by Exodus’s community dances. Until Lord Howland’s unexpected telephone call, Exodus had held around dozen raves on Tavistock’s land since the Collective began in 1992.
Several weeks after the large scale but fruitless police operation, the Marquess of Tavistock's son, Lord Howland, contacted Exodus with an offer to loan the Collective corners of his father’s 13,000 acre Bedfordshire estate. In July, three members of Exodus duly toured Tavistock’s estate in the company of Lord Howland, viewing prospective corners of the estate for potential dance events. They have yet to agree a suitable site but according to both parties, the negotiations are unusually amicable. Lord Howland visited the annual 'Free the Spirit' free festival on Exodus's Long Meadow Community Free Farm over August bank holiday weekend. This year’s festival was the third held at the farm. Due to the increasing size of the event and the fact that Exodus’s farm is to converted to permaculture beds this year mean next year’s Free the Spirit’ will have to take place elsewhere. Talks with Lord Howland are also inprogress over suitable sites for this event.
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