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Barsham Faire 1974 and a Merry Albion Psychedelia: Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46/52a

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Just recently I was talking about the curious way that “in the early 1970s, some bands/musicians adopted quite medieval styles of dress, persona and even elements of such ways in day-to-day life.

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After writing that I came across some film footage of Barsham Faire in 1974 on the BFIPlayer:

Held on the Rectory Paddock courtesy of a local landowner, the Barsham Faire was a popular event with both local communities of former city dwellers who had moved up to the Waveney valley for a slower pace of life and stall holders who came to sell their handmade goods. The faire became a popular date in the calendar throughout the 70s and a great opportunity for people to let their hair down and sing and dance in the Suffolk sunshine. Dressing up qualified you for half price entry!

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This is a good snapshot of a point in time and culture when 1960s hippie-ness had melded into and explored medieval styles and related folk/folkloric interests – a sort of Merry England psychedelia.

Well worth a look-see.

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Below are some of the original posters for the Faire’s, dated 1972, 1973 and 1974:

Barsham Faire posters-1972-1973-1974

There’s a fascinating overview of the history of Barsham Faire, how it evolved into the Albion Fairs and related archival work by The Fairs Archive at the “folk arts and esoterica for the discerning” Hare and Tabor site, who have also created an accompanying t-shirt inspired by those Fairs in collaboration with The Fairs Archive:

Five heady events took place on Rectory Paddock in the summers from 1972 onwards.  What seemed like a temporary autonomous zone overseen by the Spirit of Misrule was established.  Out of the demise of these events emerged the Albion Fairs to take their place, which continued until the early 1980’s.  A precedent had been set that others would follow in other parts of the country. As Jill Bruce, one of the organisers  of the events explained, the experience was life changing for some: “That field, that place, that fair: the experience was colossal – a jolt into another reality, the one I was supposed to be in.””

Also well worth a look-see.

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(File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46:
Barsham Faire 1974 at the BFIPlayer

Elsewhere in the Ether:
Barsham Faire at Hare and Tabor
The Fairs Archive

Local Broadcasts:
Wanderings #46/52a: Steeleye Span, Imaginative Time Travel, Medievalism


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