The Isle of Wight Festival marks the beginning of the UK’s music festival calendar. Well known for great music and fun atmosphere the Newport site will soon be swarming with fans of popular music coming to see legends such as Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, David Bowie and REM.
The Island is no stranger to festivals with the first big Isle of Wight festival in Wootton in 1969 where Bob Dylan was the headline act with supporting acts that included Joe Cocker and The Who. Attended by around 150,000 people over two days it was a major success and set the scene for one of the most famous music festivals of all time.
The legendary Jimi Hendrix festival of 1970 was the largest musical event of its time, with a bigger audience than Woodstock - an estimated 600 - 700,000. People arrived at the Afton site near Freshwater Bay from all over the UK and Europe. Many turned up without tickets and watched the whole event for free from East Afton Down, which overlooked the festival site - much to annoyance of the organisers!
With a lineup that also included The Who, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, The Doors, Supertramp, Joan Baez, Jethro Tull, Leonard Cohen, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Free and Procol Harum it probably isn't surprising that music fans flocked to this quiet corner of the Island. For the organisers it was not a success and they faced a barrage of criticism for the inadequate facilities and general chaos. For music fans attendance was, and probably still is, a badge of honour, although most will be well into their 60s by now.
The most recent festivals began in 2002 when entrepreneur John Giddings stepped up to revive the Isle of Wight Festival and today it is still going strong with top headline acts and the Island providing a great location for the event.
The 2018 Isle of Wight Festival runs from 22nd-24th June.
Visit isleofwightfestival.com for full information.