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

News Shorts And Other Busyness

Black Moon Sound System - Fall Guys For The Mother

Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg. 10.

One of the few groups to be charged under the Criminal Justice Act after the attempted Mother Festival, was the Black Moon Sound System from Derby.

Police failed to issue warnings to Bruno, owner of the sound system, and yet he was still arrested along with two other of his colleagues.

Most charges arising out of the Mother debacle are for ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’ under the Criminal Law Act 1977. This includes eight members of United Systems including Debbie Staunton who, along with Michele and Andy from Advance Party, were raided by Hampshire Police on the day the Mother was due to take place.

However, three members of the Black Moon posse are being charged under CJA section 61. They have also had £9,000 worth of sound equipment confiscated by Northamptonshire Police, £3,000 of which was borrowed for the event.

Black Moon have been in operation for about a year, putting on free parties in the Derby area. They were the only sound system to have set up at the Wheldon/Corby site and had done nothing more than tested the speakers with music at “car-stereo level”. No disturbance had been caused.

“I just get a buzz off people enjoying themselves,” says Bruno on his reasons for running the sound system.

We were told there were going to be 18 sound systems turning up in the night. In the end there was just a couple and we were the only ones set up,” said Bruno. “The police were all round turning people back. If we’d known there were posters all round Corby advertising where it was, we wouldn’t have shown up.”

“We were sitting ducks,” agrees Dan, one of the Black Moon posse charged with the section 61 offence.

The origin of the posters and stickers put up all over Corby with people’s telephone numbers on it is a mystery, as is the identification of the person who posted the site location on the Internet and the origin of maps of the site circulating well before the event. “I’d love to know,” says Debbie Staunton from United Systems.

And she’s not the only one. Nobody SQUALL spoke to seems to know who was responsible for such a naked broadcast of the site location. The maps were sent out by post prior to the event with ‘Please destroy - this is conspiratorial information ’ written on them; as if such a warning made any difference once the postal system had been used and photocopies were flying about. Was it naivety or a conspiratorial attempt to flush out the party people?. Either way, some hard lessons have had to be learnt about how to organise an event for which people risk their equipment and their liberty to attend.

The police were undoubtedly given an ‘intelligence gift’ with the overt way the location for the Mother was brandished about. However, there are indications that the Mother Festival, which had been regularly talked about and even referenced in the Guardian, was an event the authorities were determined not to let happen.

“The police seem to be half hearted in the way that they’re dealing with us,” says Debbie Staunton. “They’re telling me in interviews that they’d rather not be bothered with this sort of thing but that they’ve been told to. To me it suggests the whole thing is politically motivated.”

Black Moon’s solicitor - the omnipresent warrior for civil rights, Peter Silver - thinks that with no previous record, Black Moon may well escape conviction and get their sound system back. Even if they don’t, however, there is a determination not to stop.

“We have had some offers to do benefits for us, so even if they take our sound system from us then we’re looking to be back on the road after winter,” affirms Dan.