Strawberry Fair, Midsummer Common, Cambridge
Free festival, 2nd June 2007, Report and photos © urban75
Unfortunately, our arrival at Cambridge was a deeply unpleasant experience, with a mass of railway revenue inspectors looking for ways to levy no-ticket penalties without prior warning, followed by an outrageously over the top police presence.
Passengers were forced to queue for ages to get off the station, and then led through metal detectors with the unlucky ones being dragged off into several temporary tents set up for searching people.
Other arrivals found themselves being led past sniffer dogs and having their bags rifled through.
A local on our bulletin board speculated that the ridiculous police presence/harrassment was thoroughly unwarranted, speculating that action was, "part of the continued and persistent drive to ensure the decision makers and general public see Strawberry Fair as a bad and dangerous thing - to get it stopped."
Being herded through the metal detectors. Early on, we'd had a long argument with mob handed ticket inspectors who'd conned us with a twenty quid fine because we'd run on the train without a ticket. There were no gates, no guards or warnings anywhere on te platform at Kings Cross, the bastards.
Several tents had been set up to search people arriving by train.
The festival's over a mile away from the station, but it's an easy enough walk.
Performers giving it a bit of Capoeira action, a Brazilian-based 'fight-dance, game, and martial art' apparently created by enslaved Africans during the 16th Century.
A rather selective crowd by the main stage.
Punk rock stuff.
Our favourite band of the day was the fabulous Selfish C*nt, but as you can see, not everyone agreed!
Inside the beer tent. The White Dwarf went down very well indeed. Oh yes!
Unlike some June festivals, it was a gloriously hot day!
Logo and merchandise.
The sign warns people from camping on the field, on pain of a fifty quid fine. It doesn't seem to have deterred campers.
The festival happens right next to the river, where rowing crews regularly puff past.
Late afternoon view of the main stage.
The queue for the loo! (they stayed clean all day).
Cafe in a VW van.
Near the end of the festie.
Site view at sunset.
We headed back to the station and thankfully weren't faced with sniffer dogs and metal detectors for the return journey. Our demand for a refund for the fine is in the post (along with photographic proof that there were no penalty fare warning notices to be see on at Kings Cross).
Our concerns that there's some political manoeuverings afoot on to kill off the festival weren't allayed by a local newspaper report that claimed that the cost of policing has 'led to calls for the organisers to pay for officers to patrol the common.'
Quick as a flash, Inspector Paul Ormerod, from Cambridgeshire police was ready to stir the pot, adding "Ultimately the cost of policing public events such as the Strawberry Fair is passed onto the taxpayer."
The urban crew would like to thank the organisers for putting on another great show for free. Respect to you all.