police attack teknival uk, six arrested


Around 2,500 partygoers descended on Dale Aerodrome in Wales last May bank holiday for the 2010 UK Teknival, only to be met with a massive police response. Police broke up the party on the first day, arresting 17 people in the process. Four remain on police bail and six have been charged.

Automatic number plate recognition, a police photographer, hand-held camcorders, helicopters and even a plane were used by police in a sophisticated surveillance operation which resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of equipment and vehicles being seized (not to mention a similar amount spent on the police operation no doubt).

The annual UK Teknival has emerged out of a long tradition of free festivals, its roots stretching back to the Avon Free Festival, one of a circuit of free festivals which emerged as part of the alternative and traveller scene in the 1970s. These gatherings were largely tolerated before the Criminal Justice Act, passed in 1994 (see SchNEWS 1-50), rendered them illegal.

Avon Free Festival took place each year on May bank holiday weekend, and culminated in the infamous 1992 Castlemorton party. Every year on the anniversary of Castlemorton, a teknival or large free party is held somewhere in the UK. The most notable of these was the 2002 Steart Beach party in Somerset, held on the tenth anniversary of Castlemorton, which coincided with the Golden Jubilee weekend and attracted forty soundsystems and over ten thousand people (see SchNEWS 363). Teknivals are now a global phenomenon, with an international circuit you can follow all summer, in the same way people used to be able to follow the free festival circuit around the UK. The French government actually permits two teknivals a year to take place unhindered.

Four of the six arrested were merely friends from the last soundsystem to leave the party and had nothing to do with the overall organisation of the event. (It’s highly probable that the other two didn’t either). Offenders under Section 136 are liable for up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £20,000. A Facebook group called ‘Drop the Charges Over UKTek’ has been created and has so far attracted nearly 3000 members. There is video evidence being uploaded all the time, including a clip of police leading the convoy to the party site, which would suggest that they actually allowed the party to take place.

read more about the free festival movement at schnews


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