August 7, 1964: ‘4th National Jazz And Blues Festival’, Richmond Athletic Ground, London, England
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From The Richmond, Twickenham and Barnes Herald (Aug. 14 1964):
The reputation for orderliness gained in past years by the National Jazz Festival, held at Richmond Athletic Assiociaton ground, was maintained when the festival took place there at the weekend. The only casualties were two girls who fainted on Friday night when the Rolling Stones were appearing.
Rigid precautions were taken by the National Jazz Federation to ensure order amongthe crowds of teenagers who poured into Richmond from places as far afield as Cornwall, Wales and Scotland. For three days the ground was patrolled by security officers of both sexes, dressed in civilian clothes but with a “Security” badge on their lapels.
” We credit our success in maintaining such good order to the fact that we do not wear uniforms , and so the young people do not find us provocative” one of the security guards told the HERALD.
About 27,000 fans visited the festival during Friday, Saturday and Sunday, many of them lingering in the neighbourhood of Richmond for the entire weekend. Richmond police were ready to prevent any trouble. Twenty arrests were made, mainly for obstruction. Young people were kept moving band prevented as far as possible from sleeping in doorways and in open spaces, such as the parks and towpath.
” We stopped about 400 youngsters from sleeping out,” a police spokesman told the HERALD. “The thing that worried us most was the age of the girls. They all insisted they were 17 and we could not very well investigate them all when they were being orderly, but then I for one suspect that many of them were a good deal younger than they said, and what their parents were thinking about to let young girls roam the country like that is beyond my comprehension.”
Nine Hampshire youths and girls appeared before Richmond Magistrates on Monday charged with obstructing the highway in Richmond on Saturday night. The four girls were aged 14-16, and the five youths 17-19. One of the girls, aged 15, pleaded guilty to the charge, but her eight companions pleaded not guilty.
All admitted that, when arrested, they had their bedrolls with them and were planning to sleep out either in the Old Deer Park or by the towpath, but they denied that, as they stood in a group talking in the Twickenham road, they were causing an obstruction. The fathers of two of the girls attended, and queried why they should have been arrested for obstruction. The magistrates found the case proved and gave each of the accused an absolute discharge.
(Ref. national jazz and blues)
Six youths and girls from Kent, aged 16-18 pleaded not guilty to a similar charge of obstruction. After hearing the evidence, the Magistrate dismissed the case, the Presiding Magistrate (Mr H W Yoxall) telling them “We think the case against you was properly brought by the police and you have only yourselves to blame that you are here.”
Five young teenagers from Hull, all long-haired boys, pleaded guilty to insulting behaviour – bumping into people – and each was fined £2. To one of them, who was unemployed, Mr Yoxall remarked, “You would stand a better chance of getting work if you had a better appearance instead of following ridiculous fashions”.
During the weekend, Richmond police received many enquiries from provincial forces who had been approached by anxious parents trying to trace daughters who had “disappeared”, leaving notes to say they had gone to the Festival. Some parents travelled from places in the Home Counties to bring photographs of the “missing” girls to show the police. “We did our best to be helpful” a police spokesman said, “but identification was difficult because the girls all seem to look alike in their jeans and straight hairstyles.”
One fifteen year old girl from Brighton who lost the last train from Richmond went to the police station for help. Officers contacted her parents and then allowed her to stay at the police station until the first train in the morning.
(Ref. national jazz and blues)
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