WEELEY VIRTUAL FESTIVAL 2011
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In June the publicity was begun by putting large ads in all the music papers to sell advanced tickets.  The Round Table were expecting in the region of 10,000 to 20,000 attendees.  The advanced sales exceeded this figure by the end of June and by the end of July we were getting close to 100,000.  I went to Clacton to meet again with Vic Speck and had a meeting with the Chief Constable, John Duke, to talk about the logistics of such a huge number of people arriving in a sleepy little village.  It was fortunate that John Duke was very co-operative and saw the whole thing as a learning curve for his Force and a challenge.  I have to say that throughout the whole event the police went beyond the call of duty to maintain a good atmosphere.  In fact, when the festival finished I discovered that a lot of the backstage crew were plainclothes police; they had worked as hard as everybody else, whilst gathering valuable intelligence.


My position was really to act as a bridge between the developing counter-culture of the hippies and the music scene and the mainstream business culture of the Round Table and the public authorities.  When we told the Clacton Round Table members how many we expected to attend they were shocked and some of them were quite angry that they hadn’t been kept up-to-date on what was happening.  They were of course compromised and had no choice but to settle down and turn the field into a viable environment, including digging trenches for the toilets, putting up marquees and building a security fence around the arena.  Vic and I had decided that because so many advanced tickets had been sold already there was no need to sell anymore at the gate.  The cost of the event had been covered and it was agreed that we didn’t need any real security on site to stop people coming in for free. However, we found out later that many people were selling forged tickets at the entrance and putting money in their own pockets.  


I arrived on site on the Wednesday to supervise the stage lighting and sound system installation being erected and the backstage area being put together with 20 caravans that had been hired as dressing rooms for the bands.  Many people had already arrived from Glastonbury Fair and were helping the local Round Tablers. It was quite amusing to see these red-faced farmers with their sleeves rolled up, starting to use hippy language like “Cool” and “Far out, man.”  The whole atmosphere was one of friendliness and co-operation between all parties.  Everyone was very excited as the event took shape.    

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