Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Shindig! Reviews Festivalized

Festivalized: Music, Politics and Alternative Culture

Ian Abrahams & Bridget Wishart
Gonzo Multimedia

Taking the performances made by Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies outside the gates of the 1970 Isle of Wight festival as its starting point, and ending with the ’92 event at Castlemorton Common, the ambition and scope of this book is admirable.

Drawing on over 50 interviews with those who were there, including Nik Turner, Mick Farren and Penny Rimbaud, there are contributions from musicians, festival-goers, landowners, writers, and more, to produce an honest, unflinching portrait of this key period of social history.

Talking head source material is confidently and expertly marshalled into a coherent and powerful narrative that, despite its fragmented nature, vividly portrays and delineates the highs, lows, conflicts and achievements of this unique countercultural movement. Personal reminiscences and anecdotes, mixed with incisive opinions and perspectives on the political and sociological drivers that sustained and ultimately destroyed the movement, combine to paint a picture of its multifaceted nature. Watchfield, Windsor, Deeply Vale, Greenham Common, Stonehenge – all with their different purposes, intentions and outcomes – are explored, along with squat living, life on the road with The Peace Convoy and much more. The freedom and fears, the communal living and self-reliance, the love, peace, drugs, foods, violence and vehicles all feature in the kind of detail that only comes from actual experience.

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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.