The Hastings Blossom Festival of 1960 became famous for its so-called ‘riot’. The float parade had been cancelled because of wet weather. This, combined with an influx of young people in the city centre, overcrowding in hotels and overbearing crowd-control tactics (such as the use of fire-hoses) created a tense situation in which fights readily broke out. Moral panic in the wake of this incident inflated it in the popular imagination to a full-scale riot instigated by rebellious young people. In reality only a few people were actually fighting. Twelve were charged, but only with minor offences related to disorderly behaviour.
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