Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland

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The three-day Phoenix Park Free Peace Festival was arranged to take place over three days, starting on August 5 and running through until August 8. The aim of the festival was to “produce peace in Ireland through greater involvement”. The festival sounds like it was nothing less than a disaster.

Originally touted to include 90 bands from throughout the country, and expected to draw 50,000 fans, the actual festival was much smaller. The stage was set up at The Hollow in Phoenix Park, just across from the entrance to the zoo. The organizer of the festival, William “Ubi” Dwyer stated “I am confident that we will get 50,000 here. Irish people are lazy—they will get here sooner or later.”

A number of acts pulled out following the dispute over arrangements for the festival. The Board of Public Works refused to grant permission for the festival to take place over all three days and had limited organizers to one day between 11am and 5:45pm.

The bands touted to be at the festival earlier that week were Revolver, The Fabrics, Graffiti, U-2, Rocky De Valera, The Gravediggers, The Kamikaze Kids, Free Booze and Wheels, as well as Here and Now, and Watford Gap from the UK.

U2 performed on the first day of the festival. Torrential rains that day resulted in the event starting late, and small crowds in attendance. Only about 200 people were in attendance at the event on the first day. Attendance on the second day of the festival was around 2000 people, and on the third day it is said just over 3000 attended. It is unknown what U2 performed at the event.

The event was called a horror show in the Evening Press. A rival concert was organized at the People’s Park in Blackrock on the Sunday by bands who had dropped out of the Festival at Phoenix Park. Hell’s Angels had been used for security at the event, which raised a number of eyebrows. Groups participating in the event were asked to pay a £10 fee to help cover costs of advertising, equipment and security.

The organizer of the festival, William “Ubi” Dwyer, who called himself “king” of the hippies, was later faced with legal issues. He was wanted in London for a breach of court orders banning him for life from organizing pop festivals due to issues with an earlier festival held in London. He was also sought by the Gardai in Dublin to face a charge of assault that was alleged to have taken place at the Peace Festival.

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