A NEW book is once again shining a spotlight on the incredible story of the 1971 Weeley Festival.
Originally organised by Clacton Round table as a small charity fundraising event for around 5,000 advance ticket sales were more than 100,000 and it is thought as many as 150,000 eventually attended as the festival grew in importance.
Now radio presenter and music historian Ray Clark, who lives in Burnham-on-Crouch near Maldon, has put together a comprehensive look at the festival which saw top acts including the Faces, Status Quo and Marc Bolan and his band T-Rex perform over the August Bank Holiday concert.
The event was promoted as being non-stop music with acoustic acts scheduled to appear between the electric acts, and the music went on day and night.
Ray says his book, the Great British Woodstock, is the story of an event "organised by a group of young men with admirable intentions but with ideas that took them completely out of their depth."
"They were naive in the extreme, but then this true story took place in 1971, and naivety wasn’t seen as an obstacle to any endeavour in those days. "They just had a great idea – an idea that ran away with them while they were clinging on, desperately trying to control it."
At the time of the event more than 45 years ago the population of Weeley was 951 - far below the number of revellers who eventually turned up.
More than four decades later the event is now legendary having come to be likened to the huge Woodstock Festival of the 1960s in America and these images from the book capture it in all its glory.
The Great British Woodstock : The Incredible Story of the Weeley Festival 1971 is published by the History Press at £16.99 and available online and in bookshops.