Near hurricane devastates 1992's Greenbelt Festival.

AN EVENTFUL and at times controversial, Greenbelt Festival took place on August Bank Holiday at Castle Ashby, Northants. Gale force winds hit the site on Sunday with such force that parts of the festival were forced to temporarily close down. Because of an uprooted tree blocking one of the footbridges leading to the Mainstage area, the fire brigade asked organisers to close Mainstage on the evening when pop star Bob Geldof was due to fly in to play there. Geldof eventually played in the Big Top tent to a vastly reduced audience. During the Sunday near-hurricane, dozens of campers' tents were blown away or damaged.

The Festival, the last before its move to its new permanent site at Church Stowe, featured the usual stream of quality musicians, seminar speakers and artists of every type. But attendance numbers were well down from last year's Greenbelt and approximately 16,000 who did attend, represented a 20% decrease from previous years.

But possibly the most controversial of all the Greenbelt's many years of controversy occurred on Friday night on Mainstage. There the evening was given over to a "worship rave" organised by NOS {Nine O'clock Service) the radical church group based at St Thomas Crooke's, Sheffield.

Accusations and complaints of NOS engaging in New Age content and unnecessarily sexual imagery flooded after the Friday night. When Greenbelt spokesperson Martin Wroe was asked at a Greenbelt press conference whether the organisers were surprised by the criticism NOS received he said "I don't think we could have predicted our reaction because we didn't really have any idea what NOS were going to do. All we knew was that they're working in an orthodox, evangelical church situation and they're very innovative and unorthodox in their approach to worship." CR

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