Monday, 5 March 2012

New Slack Space exhibition
From Barsham to Albion
7 March – 24 March
Open Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm

Colchester Slack Space, the pioneering empty shops artists collective, is thrilled to have secured the entire archive of the seminal and pioneering East Anglian Albion Fair movement of the 70’s and 80's for an exhibition at Slack Spaces’ new premises in Victoria Place, Eld Lane from 7th March to 24th March.

The exhibition, which is of national importance, is a retrospective and joyful celebration of the legendary Albion Fairs . It is collection of beautiful and iconic posters, photographs, films and assorted memorabilia from the fairs, including the ultimate monthly newspaper of alternative East Anglia, the Waveney Clarion. It will evoke memories for those who were there and will explain the magic and significance of the fairs to those who missed them. Their spirit of creativity, play and environmentalism was ahead of its time and has left a legacy today, not least in the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals. which were directly inspired by the Moon Fair, the Earth , Fire and Rainbow Fairs at East Bergholt, and of course the Rougham Tree Fairs.

Comfort was far from the norm (ask anyone who attended an Albion Fair about the infamous “long drop” toilets!), the music was sometimes dodgy, there were often far more naked people than one really wanted to encounter at the water standpipes in the morning, but the real ale and the vegan food was always plentiful and in an era when Mrs Thatcher was teaching us all to think of “me, me, me” and where riots had become a common occurrence in the major cities, there was something quite special in being part of several thousand people gathering together in our little corner of rural England to live for a weekend in peace, love and harmony …… yeah man!

Sadly, the festival movement was a mirror of the times. The relative tolerance of a "free festival culture " by government in the late seventies and very early eighties had given way to a far more repressive regime . The “Peace Convoys” -which were anything but peaceful - , had became very prevalent, with their hard drug acid-punk culture, and antisocial behavior, culminating in the notorious “Battle of The Beanfields” near Stonehenge. Free festivals could no longer flourish due to the new public order acts which banned gatherings on public land, and The Albion Fairs were no more.

THE EXHIBITION RUNS From the 7th March to 24th March. It is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11.00-6.00 pm at Slack Space, Victoria Place, Eld Lane, Colchester.

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