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Isle of Wight Festival 2010

 

The Isle of Wight Festival 2010 take place on the 11th, 12th and 13th June (plus entertainment for campers on the 10th). For more details please visit www.isleofwightfestival.com.

 

The Isle of Wight lays claim to the biggest ever rock festival in Europe when, in 1970, over 500,000 rock fans flocked there to see Jimi Hendrix’s last live festival performance (he died 18 days later in London).

1970

History of the Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight played unlikely host to three rock festivals of the 60s and 70s (1968, 1969 & 1970). The last, most infamous and definitely the biggest has almost completely overshadowed its predecessors, which is a shame, as they are also worth documenting.

However, because the spotlight has played so relentlessly on the 1970 festival, fuelled by the release of the films and the sheer goddam size of the event, it's now very difficult to find any good documentary evidence of the earlier bashes. Below is a brief summary of each event and the headline acts.

1970 Afton
Rock Island

2002 - Rock Island - Seaclose Park, Newport

Rock Island was the main event of a two week music festival. The Charlatans, Robert Plant, Ash and StarSailor headlined at Seaclose Park in Newport. This time around, the supporting musical palette was wide – from classical hip hop, samba to Irish traditional folk, avante garde jazz to good old rock n’roll. The ages of participants range from 8 to 80, and just about every performance space on the Island was pressed into use. Truly – to quote Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ – “the isle is full of noises/sounds and sweet airs”.

1970 - Afton Down, Freshwater

The Isle of Wight's initial three-year run culminated in a chaotic 1970 affair that truly redefined festival madness. Some 600,000 folks, most ticketless, descended on East Afton Farm, on the unsuspecting English Channel island, to hear the likes of the Who, Jimi Hendrix (in his final U.K. performance), Jethro Tull, the Moody Blues, Miles Davis, Joan Baez, the Doors (in their final U.K. gig with Jim Morrison), Joni Mitchell and Sly and the Family Stone.

1970 Poster
1968 Wootton

1969 - Wootton

The 1969 Isle of Wight Festival was an far more ambitious affair than than the previous years bash, which only had the Airplane as the overseas headliner and not a lot of other big names to back them up. The 69 line-up was far more heavy weight. With the BIG Z as the drawcard, none other than Bob Dylan himself, and bands like The Who and The Band taking support roles, this festival was guaranteed to draw many more punters than the earlier festival.

1968 - Hayles Field , Ford Farm, nr. Godshill

The 1968 festival was minuscule in comparison with the later shows , with the Airplane being the sole overseas act , the whole thing being held over only one night and the sheer scale of the publicity campaign and press coverage was dwarfed by the later shows.

A major feature about this one was the abominable state of its toilets. The immersion of a punter in an open cess pit was one of the less salubrious stories that was circulating in the press of the day, although there were no accompanying photos to prove the incident had taken place.

1968

For full details about the Isle of Wight Festival visit the official website - www.isleofwightfestival.com

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