Incident At a Free Festival is a tribute to the mid-afternoon slots at Deeply Vale, Bickershaw, Krumlin, Weeley, and Plumpton – early 70s festivals that don’t get the column inches afforded the Isle of Wight or Glastonbury Fayre, but which would have been rites of passage for thousands of kids. Bands lower down the bill would have been charged with waking up the gentle hippies and appealing to both the greasy bikers and the girls in knee-high boots who wanted to wiggle their hips. And the best way to do that was with volume, riffs and percussion.
Compiled by the venerated Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne, this is the heavier side of the early 70s they summarised on the acclaimed English Weather collection. There’s an air of menace and illicit thrills among tracks by Andwella, Stack Waddy and Leaf Hound (whose “Grower of Mushroom” album is worth well over £1,000). Bigger names include the rabble-rousing Edgar Broughton Band and kings of the festival freakout, Hawkwind. They are represented by the rare Ejection single.