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Isle of Wight Festival - History
The Isle of Wight Festivals were landmark moments for a generation - they sit alongside Glastonbury and Woodstock in the annals of festival history.
Isle of Wight Festival
At the height of the flower-power era, hundreds of thousands of music fans came from all over the world to chill out in the fields of the Isle of Wight.
They packed onto the Isle of Wight ferry from the mainland for up to five days (although some stayed considerably longer) of live rock, communal living, free love and mind-bending substances.
Besides all the peace, love and latrines, there was the music - non-stop performances from some of the greatest pop musicians of any era.
Boarding the IOW ferry
The first festival was held at Godshill - featured Smile, Jefferson Airplane, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Halcyon Order.
Bob Dylan and The Band played at the 1969 festival at Wootton. Joe Cocker and Moody Blues also played at the 2-day gig.
In 1970 it reached its climax. Festival-goers forked out £3 for five days of music at Afton Down.
Among the line-up that year were The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Who (Mungo Jerry were on the bill but decided not to play!) and the debut performance of Emerson, Lake And Palmer.
Half a million people
Acts at the 1970 festival played to a crowd of around half a million people. That's more than Glastonbury and Live Aid put together!
The Island struggled to cope with the extra population. Some of the more conservative residents were initially none too pleased at having their tranquil pace of life upset - there were even threats that acts would be shot when on stage.
None of that put off the festival-goers. They were busy setting up their community. A 'street' called Desolation Row emerged - a line of shelters set up under the hill. There was even a hippy wedding conducted at the local church by the vicar Robert Bowyer.
A medical tent was packed with people coming down from LSD trips and recovering from the effects of other drugs, or just living in a giant, not particularly hygienic, campsite.
Not all pot and peace
But the 1970 event wasn't all pot and peace. There were punch-ups, fires broke out and the police had to take action when Hells Angels tried to impose their own brand of law and order.
The summer of '70 was memorable for many reasons - but is gradually disappearing into a psychedelic haze.
This year's event in Newport is unlikely to have the wild excesses of the hippy era, but with top bands once again heading for the Isle of Wight, it should should stir some memories of when festivals rocked the world.
last updated: 12/03/2008 at 12:38
Have Your Say
Were you at any of the original Isle of Wight festivals? Tell us your memories (although if you can remember it, you probably weren't there!)
Paul 'Skydog' Jackson
Albrecht "Abby" Bergen
Michael Corke (Korky)
colin a ward