No-One Pays For Happy Haze
Free festival hits the right spot as thousands gather in Brixton
6th May 2000
According to the Metropolitan Police, ten thousand people attended the Legalisation of Cannabis March in London on May 6. In the interests of accuracy, therefore, it is safe to assume the figure was a few thousand more than this. March organisers suggest nearer 15,000.
A further 5000 people (again a police estimate) were assembled in Brockwell Park, Brixton when the March from Oval Station arrived there at around 2.30pm. The Jayday Cannabis Festival on May 6 proved to be a greater success than any of the organisers could have hoped for. Entirely regardless of a complete absence of media coverage, a day of blazing sun, celebration and political stance was attended by between 35,000 and 40,000 people across the day.
Sound systems on the day included Chimera, SQUALL, Exodus, Feminina, RDK, and Sunnyside whilst a host of live acts played on the Continental Drifts/Fleece main stage and the local Brixton stage. A variety of speakers including Lord Gifford and Howard Marks spoke on the speakers stage whilst an exhibition of hemp products was permanently packed.
There were no arrests, no trouble and not a single noise complaint. At the meeting between event organisers, Lambeth Council and Brixton Police after the event, police said they were entirely happy with the nature of the event with one police officer admitting seeing "a lot of spliffs, some of them very big". According to police they apprehended one man for dealing cannabis openly but released him after a talking to.
A shout from the main stage for people to help clean up the site produced a better than usual response and Shane Collins, who as well as being event co-ordinator and licensee, was also litter clear up co-ordinator told SQUALL: "It was the easiest clean up ever because a lot of people had responded to the call to help clear up when the bin liners were handed out."
Flushed with success the umbrella coalition of volunteer event organisers are planning a further festival later this year and another annual Cannabis Jayday in Brockwell Park next year on May 5.
For a look at the national debate check Smoke Signals on the The State It's In for April page.