It doesn’t feel that long ago we were writing about Bestival, the mid-September event back in 2015, heralding the end of Summer music, a swansong – so to speak – before Autumn’s talons take hold and drag us slowly into winter.
It is with great joy then that we can report the summer festival returns; a season set to music with the Isle of Wight kicking us off next week on …. ahem, the Isle of Wight!
Older than Glastonbury (1970) and even beating Woodstock by a year, The Isle of Wight Festival (IoWF) came into being in 1968. It was set up by brothers, Ron, Ray and Bill Foulk, and took place over the next three years on farmland on the island.
The first headline act was Jefferson Airplane (aka Starship), with the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex also on the bill, but is the two subsequent years the festival is most famous for.
In 1969, saw the return of Bob Dylan after his bike crash three years earlier. With people wondering if he’d ever play again, it meant there was a lot of interest in his return to performing. It was thought he’d be playing in Woodstock, in the same year, but he chose to perform at the IoWF instead. Interest was then very high, with visitors to the event later being estimated to be between 150K to 250K!
Isle of Wight Festival 1970. When's Jimi on man?
In 1970, acts included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Leonard Cohen and Jethro Tull. With the festival growing in popularity and with such music luminaries on the bill, visitor numbers, at the time, were believed to be around an incredible 600K!! The government, concerned at such a large number of people coming together under the freak flag of counter-culture passed the Isle of Wight law preventing the gathering of more than 5000 people without the proper paperwork. Here endeth the festival. Well, until 2002 until woken from hibernation, given a good meal, a stiff drink and revived for a new g-g-g generation.
Since then, it’s become a fixture on the music calendar with the likes of The Charlatans, Paul Weller, Manic Street Preachers, The Strokes and the Foo Fighters passing through, with The Who making a return in 2004 and again at this year’s event.
Other indie pop rock outfits on the bill this year include Everything Everything, Feeder, The Damned and the Stereophonics, as well as a visit from true rock royalty in Queen, featuring Adam Lambert.
So here starteth the summer festival music people. Get your wellies, pitch your tent away from the toilets, pack your drink of choice to serve warm and hoist that flag of yours and get out there and don't let the British weather break that spiritual connection between you and your band.
The festival starts on the 9thJune and runs to the 12th. For full details please go to the official site.
IoWF 1970 image courtesy of Roland Godefroy via Wikipedia.
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