Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Brighton Festival of Freedom, 1996.
Stilt-walker at Brighton Festival of Freedom, 1996. Photo: Sam Beale.

News and other Busyness

B-right-on Festival Not On

Annual festival of freedom victim of new ‘drug misuse’ guidelines

Squall 15, Summer 1997, pg. 13.

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL OF FREEDOM which attracted over 20,000 throughout the day in 1996 has been refused permission to go ahead this year. Mel, one of the festival's organisers, told Squall this was due to a number of problems arising from last year's event.

The council notified the organisers that "the police have said they would need a huge presence to combat drug-taking due to new Home Office guidelines on drug misuse". There were no drug-related arrests at last year's festival. "In fact I don't think there were any arrests," says Mel.

Additional problems, such as opposition to the organisers' choice of site could be negotiated with the council. The organisers plan to hold a festival next year but first need to pay off £4,000 debts incurred last year and says Mel: "We need more support; people who are willing to work on it."

Mel believes "the police are really against the festival" and fears that the need for a 'huge presence' could mean that in future years the police "might try and push us to pay for a police presence".

"It's a real shame that the festival's not going on because it's a cultural representation of something which doesn't happen that much anymore. There are so few free festivals this year. For us not to be happening is just another one off the calendar."

If you want to help BFF pay off their debts or get involved in planning next year's festival contact: BFF: PO Box 2762, Brighton.