Comment: Four times a year, every time a solstice or equinox rolls around, thousands of partiers, rubberneckers, "neo-Druids," dreadlocked stoners, New Age types and Lord of the Rings fanboys swarm all over Stonehenge to get loaded, play guitars, beat on drums, spout New Age gibberish, denounce English Heritage, stage anachronistic ceremonies, take pictures with their iPhones and gawk at the sunrise before driving back to their decaying urban jungles, leaving trash and graffiti all over the site.
"Some 36,000 sun-watchers" mobbed the site and the cops made about 25 busts for "drug offenses" which probably involved potheads toking up to enhance the sacred experience. "Couples kissed, dancers circled with hoops and revelers took part in a mass yoga practice as part of the free-form celebrations."
The celebrations, such as they are, have to be "free-form" because no one really knows why Stonehenge was built or what the real pagans did there. There's some evidence suggesting that the monument was used for sun worship, but even if that's true, we don't know anything about the ceremonies that were held there--assuming that they were held at all. The one thing we can be sure of is that they weren't anything like these modern mob scenes with their inane drum circles, strange costumes and heavy police presence (which has included the use of observation drones in the past). For example, I really doubt that the ancient Celts practiced yoga or strummed guitars at Stonehenge.
The anachronisms in these gatherings are really mind-boggling and reflect a Romanticized view of the Druids which apparently dates back to the 18th Century, according to Wikipedia. These modern druids dress up in quasi-medieval costumes and stage knighting ceremonies. Some of them dress like characters in the Lord of the Rings or wear black capes and top hats as if they'd just stepped out of a Sherlock Holmes novel. What any of this has to do with paganism or Stonehenge is a mystery.
These celebrations attract a lot of environmentalist types and earth worshippers who leave a mountain of trash every time they have one of these parties. English Heritage, which manages Stonehenge, had to close the site for a day this year to "clear up after the summer solstice." This must be a regular routine for them by now. The visitors scrawl graffiti on the standing stones and who knows how much damage they're causing. This vandalism is particularly mindless behavior for people who supposedly think Stonehenge is a sacred site.
None of this really matters, though. The site has survived for thousands of years and it will still be standing a thousand years from now unless Britain becomes a Muslim state and the fanatics destroy the monument like they did with the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. The way things are going now, that's a real possibility -- and a much more serious threat than these transient mobs of "sun-worshippers." Barring a disaster like that, however, the impact of these gatherings will be minimal to nonexistent. The rain will wash away the graffiti, the neopagans will join their fictitious ancestors and Stonehenge will still be there, just as enigmatic as ever.