Festivalized: Music, Politics, and Alternative Culture (Gonzo Media Group, 2016)
Before you start reading Festivalized I would suggest that you begin with one of the last pages where authors offer some further listening recommendation to prepare yourself to proper reading environment. Festivalized is a comprehensive view into a world of alternative culture based in UK – with its core in free festival scenes of the 70s, 80s and early 90s. I was quite surprised by unique and rich history it offers. After all there aren't many articles written about it. Therefore a big part of it remained unknown to a larger public.
Abrahams and Wishart really looked deep into the whole scene and managed to highlight different views upon it. Bridget Wishart herself being in Hawkwind, Hippy Slags, Demented Soats and Spirits Burning persuaded to indulge into a more personal view of the free festival scene. I was really surprised by conglomeration of stories that were shared by musicians, stage organisers, writers, band managers, attendees... and authors even interviewed landowners so the whole circle was properly concluded.
I really enjoyed the different points of view that interviewers presented. Festivalized is offering a very objective presentation of the free festival scene on a very subjective way with people who were there remembering both good and bad times and demonstrating their opinions on what the whole scene was all about and why it demise after the rave culture kicked in.
Musical, social and political fields are well researched and give us a further view into this unique scene that was only happening in UK. It takes us on a journey from Glastonbury, Windsor Great Park to Stonehenge and many other less known festivals. It brings us into the realm of being in a Conwoy coach, smoking chillum and hearing bands like Magic Muscle and Hawkwind starting to play and we urge ourself to find the way out of the coloured vehicle. There is also a wonderful chapter for music connoisseurs where authors are interviewing about music scene in more detailed way and bands that were active in it. I was also quite surprised that I found a lot of new material to check.
Let's name a few more well known bands mentioned in a book: Hawkwind, Magic Mushroom Band, Ozric Tentacles, The Levellers, Here & Now, Magic Muscle, Mandragora, Zounds, Smartpils, Culture Shock, and 2000DS, and notable counterculture icons such as Mick Farren and Penny Rimbaud were also included to share their opinion about music. I actually made myself a whole list of less known bands.
Space Rock, Punk, and later on Rave were part of this culture and it certainly is all very well documented. They even touched themes of squatting, which was a regular practise in winter time when there were bar none festivals going and of course the problems they had with biker gangs, Blue Crew and heavier drugs that found its way to the festivals and inevitable Thatcher regime giving an extremely hard time for all the free thinkers.
Festivalized is exceptionally well documented research about the almost forgotten way of life and its social and cultural impact on today's society.
Review by Klemen Breznikar/2016
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