TEN YEARS AFTER - August 26-30  - Isle Of Wight Festival







August 1, 1970 – New Musical Express:


Jethro Tull, Ten Years After and Procol Harum have been added to the line-up of this year’s Isle of Wight Festival. It will be Jethro’s first British appearance since last October. Other new bookings include Melanie, Fairfield Parlour, Cactus, Ralph McTell and a 30-piece Negro spiritual group named the Voices of East Harlem. The Saturday evening performance (August 29) is to be telecast in colour, live via satellite, to selected theatres and cinemas throughout the United States and Canada. And a huge video-magnification screen is being erected on the site, to enable the vast audience to gain a better view of the performers.

After protracted discussions, the festival  has finally received the full support of the Isle of Wight council. Already over 15,000 tickets have been sold for the event, but despite this, it could still be the last festival to be staged there by Fiery Creations.

The promoters will not decide until after this year’s festival has taken place, whether a similar event will be held in 1971. A spokesman told the New Musical Express: “It will be the last one if everyone wants it that way. There could well be a swing away from the big festivals, and a move towards well-run village festivals. It depends how the public reacts”.

Complete line-up for the festival is now as follows:

Friday (28) : Chicago – Family – Procol Harum – Taste – Melanie – James Taylor – Arrival – Cactus – Fairfield Parlour, Lighthouse and the Voices of East Harlem.

Saturday (29) : The Doors – Ten Years After – Joni Mitchell – The Who – Sly and the Family Stone – Free – Mungo Jerry – Cat Mother – John Sebastian – Spirit and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Sunday (30) : Jimi Hendrix Experience – Jethro Tull – Donovan and Open Road – Joan Baez – Leonard Cohen – The Moody Blues – Pentangle – Richie Havens – Ralph McTell – and Good News.    


Rare Bird, Fat Mattress, The Keef Hartley Band, The Wild Angels, The Strawbs, and Denmark’s Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe are among the new bookings for the three-day National Jazz and Blues Festival at Plumpton next weekend (7-9). Other bookings are as printed in the New Musical Express two weeks ago, except that Edgar Broughton has now withdrawn. The application for an injunction to prevent the festival from being held was due to be heard in the High Court on Wednesday, after being adjourned for two days.

Arrival, Country Joe, MC5, Soft Machine and Edgar Broughton have been added to the two-day non-stop festival, just outside of Nice, in the South of France, next Wednesday and Thursday (5-6). Sponsored by Radio Luxembourg, the event is now called “Popanalia”. Other artists booked were reported in last week’s New Musical Express. The festival will also mark the debut of “Balls” a new trio comprising of ex-Move guitarist Trevor Burton, Ex-Moody Blues singer, Denny Laine and former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White.

Jethro Tull and Ten Years After are among the new bookings for the massive Alter-Nation Rock Festival, being held in New Brunswick, Canada, next weekend (7-9).

For full details of the remaining line-up, see last week’s New Musical Express.

Pink Floyd completes the star bill for the Yorkshire Jazz Folk and Blues Festival being staged at Krumlin, near Halifax, for three days from August 14th. A spokesman for the group said that, contrary to reports elsewhere, it will not be taking part in any other British Festivals this year. But, The WHO is definitely not appearing at Krumlin.

The British team for the “Euro-Song Festival “70” in Ostend, Belgium, on August 17th comprises of Jimmy Campbell, Tammy St. John and The Merseys.






NME - August 8, 1970







 Complete line-up August 26 to 30       -       Melody Maker, 22 August 1970









The Isle Of Wight Festival – August 26th – 30th – 1970


Five Days That Rocked The World – “The Last Of The Great Rock Festivals”

The Festival was held at East Afton Farm in Freshwater, off the coast of Southern England.

On Saturday August 29, 1970 – 600,000 mostly stoned flower children went from a peaceful lot, into an ugly mob of angry rockers. With obnoxious displays of hippie self-indulgence and selfish attitude, they went astray, because of  feeling so betrayed.

On the local peoples side, many farmers complained that they could hear the music five miles away from the concert site.

From Melody Maker 1970:

It was a long wait before Ten Years After, who had not played a gig together for some time took the stage. It was good to see them again, and they approached their job of cheering up the audience with cool professionalism. One of the highlights of their set was the energetic class playing of Leo Lyons, who plucks at the strings with powerful fingers, and can keep the song – “I’m Going Home” steaming right along, almost by himself.

Alvin Lee seemed to be enjoying himself and his old magic digits have lost none of their nimble touch. A slow blues number wound up the tension and then Alvin tore into the bands, ace in the hole, “I’m Going Home”. The positively definitive boogie rock guitar solo. There was much dancing around the stage, as the three days of lazing in the countryside drew to a climax. As the group fled the stage, there came the loud demands for an encore, and

Ten Years After obliged with “Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen”. Maybe the band encored once to often, but at least they weren’t slighting the fans on this prestigious moment.

The Set List Included:

Love Like A Man – Good Morning Little School Girl – No Title – Hobbit – Classical Thing – Scat Thing Intro – I Can’t keep from Crying Sometimes – Sweet Little Sixteen

(Note: There is a soundboard copy of this event)


The audience was chanting, “Tear down the fences”  had a lot to do with the general dissatisfaction with society as a whole. This was the height of the No-War – in Vietnam.

We lost John F. Kennedy in 1963, his brother Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Martin Luther King as well. The audience felt they had nothing to loose, and most of all they were just plain angry, and the festival organisers were unfortunate enough to be in the way. Wrong place, wrong time and wrong issue. It was an experience never to be repeated again…

 The Festival itself was considered a complete disaster, on an organisational level, but I still have fond memories of my four days there. Good weather, good music, and a great atmosphere. Hopefully, never to be forgotten or duplicated again.

 I always wondered why the audience embraced Kris Kristofferson warmly on Wednesday and Thursday, and then by the time he played the main event, a huge number of people in the crowd were making so much noise, by banging cans together! I also never understood why Ricki Farr had to come out to centre stage and berate a fantastic audience.

 Back to the music: The band that stuck in my mind the most, and was worth the entrance fee alone, had to be Ten Years After, doing  - “I’m Going Home” . Some people left, and many stayed on. We stayed and eventually got forcibly removed by the police and then threatened us with arrest for allegedly stealing corrugated iron sheets, but hey, that’s life. Great memories of a great time, but you really had to be there didn’t you?

 The food was atrocious. The trenches in the area with the bathrooms such as they were. I watched the fence being tore down in an effort to make it a free concert. I sat in a five mile line to get transportation off of the island. I was only seventeen years old at the time, and this was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m so glad that I was a part of it all.

 The down was called, “Devastation Hill”  We quickly joined forces with a load of French Anarchists and Mick Farren’s White Panthers and some other nutters of the time. Our favourite band back then was the “MC5”. 

  I remember Kris Kristofferson retreating off the stage under a hail of beer and coke cans, and being booed off after singing “Blame It On The Stones”. Yogi Joe, who interrupted Joni Mitchells set to declare “ Desolation Row” the real festival was one of our people.

Three weeks after this event, word reached us that Jimi Hendrix had died, and things would never be the same again.

 And the music – Then a band came on stage that seemed to just grab your attention right from the very first note. It was Ten Years After, they just seemed to have the whole place rockin´.

My eyes and ears were glued to the stage for the entire performance. Their final song was “Sweet Little Sixteen” which also ended up as the last track on the band’s new album called “Watt”, which was released later that year.

Then came The Who – they put on a great show, but I still think Ten Years After had the crowd going better.

The festival did two things to me, first it made me a fan of  Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, and although I enjoyed the entire experience, to this day I don’t care much for large crowds. 

Isle Of Wight 1970


Stage View / Photographer: Peter Bull


The Isle of Wight Festival 1970: 
"This is the last festival, enough is enough, it began as a beautiful dream, but it has got out of control and became a monster". Said Ron Foulk - Promoter, on Monday morning, September 1, 1970.








Recording The  Isle of Wight Festival:

When it came to recording the festival, the limitations of the mixer technology meant that most set-ups used two microphones on each stand, often lashed together, one for the PA and one for a second mixer connected to the tape machine. “We made a buffer box with an equaliser that came out of the Audio-Master and it had about ten outputs. The recording engineers could get a pretty good mix from that." by WEM




Alvin Lee at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
Photo courtesy of Herb Staehr



" I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" 4:30  on YouTube








September 5, 1970   DISC and MUSIC ECHO – I.O.W. Special Report


The third Isle Of Wight Festival of Music, billed as “the great event,” has lived up to its name, there will never be another. As nearly half the estimated 600,000 people at East Afton Farm pitched camp on “Devastation Hill,” overlooking the site, the festival’s pressman said: We will never organise another Isle Of Wight pop festival, or another festival anywhere. We are all very disillusioned”. At press time it was estimated that Fiery Creations, promoters of the festival were £92,000 in debt, with over £20,000 lost in damage to property on Sunday alone.
Says Ron Foulk: “I suppose the shout for free music was inevitable, but the spirit which created this festival, a festival of convention, has now destroyed it”. And many of those backstage at the weekend confirmed that not only was this the last Isle Of Wight festival, but the last big pop festival in Britain.



“You’ve torn down the walls, now you’re tearing down the restaurants,” said Rikki Farr at 10:40 p.m. on Sunday. “For the good people, goodbye. For the rest of you, just go to hell! I am finished”.
This was just a sample of the “aggro” and tension in the air throughout the long weekend, and came just before the festival’s climactic finish with Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez.
Tension, often of nerve-shattering intensity, had been building between audience and organizers throughout the five days. Rikki Farr, compeer of the whole programme and, with brothers Ron and Ray Foulk, promoter of the event, left the stage with tears in his eyes.

But there was peace and goodwill here too, and almost 80 hours of the best music in the world.


 World’s top talent for two bob a head

The finest talent in the world for just two shillings a head, that in cold simple fact was the financial truth of the Isle Of Wight Festival. For a weekend, three pounds a ticket, there were over 30 top-line acts, and that doesn’t include the two free warm up days. Musically: This festival provided the biggest number of top world acts ever assembled in one place at one time. It has never been done before, and it will certainly never be done again. But why? Why did what should have been a runaway success, for artists, audience and promoters alike, ultimately collapse in alleged financial disaster, with a tidal wave of bad feelings between the organisers and the fans.

Almost half the fans had pitched camp on the hill known as “Desolation Hill” beside the site, ignoring all discomfort and happy in the knowledge that they had beaten the “bureaucrats,” to enjoy five days without paying a penny. Thoughts of barricading off the hillside were out of the question and even on Friday morning Ron Foulk was prophesying a vast loss. But, this in itself was not the trouble. Did the real trouble come from what Hampshire Chief of Police – Douglas Osmond described as a “lunatic fringe” an estimated 10,000 militants, mainly French we were told, whose sole objective seemed to be to break down all the barriers and turn the festival into a free-for-all?

Even when they eventually had their way at 3:50 p.m. on Sunday, when the arena gates were opened in an effort to avoid further damage to property, this “fringe” was still not satisfied.

“If the music is now free, why isn’t the food,” they cried, and so vented their feelings by demolishing rows of festival shops and refreshment stalls. Or were organizers to blame themselves? Did they aim too high, book too many artists in an attempt to make this festival the biggest ever. Certainly, for the fans who were anything less than open-air veterans, the experience of sitting in a cold field for up to 20 a day and night must have been enough to fray many tempers. Maybe, Rikki Farr, admired as he certainly must be for the absolutely phenomenal amount of work and organization he and his fellow “Fiery Creators” put into this festival, could not achieve the communication he wanted between himself and the crowd.

Maybe he was wrong to expect to make a lot of money out of so much hardship: maybe some of his emotional outpourings stirred up the wrong emotions, but was it right to make him the object of so much abuse? The answers may never be known, but the lesson of the pop festival has been learned. This was quite definitely the greatest musical event Britain has ever seen.

But now the festival bubble has burst and never again will anyone in this country (England) attempt to achieve what has proved to be the impossible.


Festival Scene

Incredible difference between Roger Chapman (the madman on stage and Roger Chapman the quiet gent off stage. Giant “Canvas City” inflated sausage marquee provided discothèque music non-stop throughout the festival. The Moody Blues appropriately dedicated  their song “Melancholy Man” from their “Question Of Balance album to compeer Rikki Farr.

Amazing job of work done by disc-jockeys, Jeff Dexter and Andy Dunkley, who seemed to be alive and working 25 hours a day. Terry Blackburn one of many “surprise” faces that we didn’t expect to see in the press-enclosure. Emerson, Lake and Palmer may regret using the festival as their major debut, seeing that the general consensus of opinion was that they were not well received. It was easy to spot the enthusiastic stars of the festival, which included:
The Who, Tony Joe White, Family, and Pentangle among the artists who both arrived early stayed late, and bothered to go front stage to see their competitors. Then comes the question, why did so many artists insist on playing for so long, knowing the number of people who were to follow them? To bring Sly and the Family Stone specially from America and then put them on at breakfast time was ludicrous. Then again, it was Tiny Tim’s rendition of  “Land of Hope and Glory brought out a feeling of national pride in the audience as they were singing along and waving peace signs.



 Wednesday: A security dog savages the arm of an engineer and the owner of a nearby private golf club is aghast to find campers merrily pitching tents on his sixth green!

 Thursday: Malnutrition strikes the fans and the Chief of Police offers an amnesty over drugs. The self-styled “White Panthers” storm the arena turnstiles in an attempt to turn this into a free festival, and the crowd turns ugly when the sound is turned down after midnight-apparently part of the festival agreement.

 Friday: Hitch-hikers and walkers span the 25-mile route from Ryde to Freshwater, yet some people are already walking back to Ryde on their way home. The ten-guinea V.I.P. enclosure sparsely populated is torn down by angry fans who serge up to the edge of the front press enclosure. A hand grenade is thrown at the ticket office and Rikki Farr is taken home in a state of nervous and physical exhaustion. Relief organisations recognise the needs of campers on “Devastation Hill” and attempt to lay on field telephones. There are rumours of a typhoid plague sweeping the site. A militant agitator is given the microphone to proclaim: “If this is for peace there must be no fences”.

 Saturday: Organization of the music begins to fall apart, and the show meant to end at midnight, eventually finishes at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Ron Foulk announces that he needs another ninety two thousand pounds in administration fees just to break even, and there’s rumours that some of the top acts may not appear. Onstage the messages from and for distressed people grow longer by the hour. There’s temporary panic when one of the giant lighting and sound towers is in danger of collapsing from the weight of people climbing up for a better view.

 Sunday: The superbly organized food and drink supplies begin to run out and “pirate” traders move in, selling same at inflated prices. The non-paying fans are let into the arena for free, but still the barricades are broken down. Pentangle’s act is interrupted “We’re now more naked than you” cries a hoarse Rikki Farr. We’re open to creditors”. And then as an afterthought, to try and restore goodwill: “I want you to stand up and hold your hands together in friendship” which we do in the arena, on the hill, in the press enclosure, and onstage. 

Joan Baez: Gives a press conference and denies rumours that she is being paid twelve thousand pounds, that she is living on a yacht, and that she is fighting with Leonard Cohen. A fire scare starts onstage after Jimi Hendrix, sends the press into panic and has water tenders rushing to the scene. But it’s only flairs which some militants had placed on the roof above the stage, then they throw newsletters into the press arena. He roof smoulders all through Joan Baez’s act. By midday the queue for busses home had grown to three miles, stretching right around the arena. There are reports that one person queuing has slashed his wrists, which brings fourth the dry-statistic – one person commits suicide. Welfare organisations express extreme concern at those hundreds of fans likely to be stranded on the island without food or money. Rikki Farr has had enough and vanishes without a trace. The roads for miles around are strewn with bodies, walking, stumbling or just sleeping exhausted in ditches.

 Monday: After five brilliantly sunny days, the “Isle Of Wight Festival Of Music 1970” awakes to … rain.

Festival Report by: Gavin Petrie and David Hughes for Disc Special Edition.



Wild, tight Chicago and rocking Procol Harum heat up the island's cold night


Wednesday and Thursday – Having two free days was a wise move on the part of someone. Firstly, it gave the ever-growing crowd a pleasant pastime in the sunshine and secondly, it enabled the superhuman posse of technicians to sort out the giant  banks of speakers. The highlights were David Bromberg, backing guitarist to Rosalie Sorrells, who played some incredibly slow, almost talking blues; The Groundhogs, featuring some really excellent bass guitar work from Pete Cruickshank and the splendid “Eccentric Man” from their, “Thank Christ For The Bomb” album; Supertramp who, despite confessing themselves that  their act was far from perfect, fully justified the faith placed in them by others, particularly on their version of “All Along The Tower” and “Black Widow,” who have at last dispensed with their Black Magic image and replaced it with some really fine tight music.

With the organizers managing complete control over the time limits of these lesser-known acts, the music came thick and fast, yet ended on time. Many acts were forced to stop while running repairs were made on the speakers and other equipment, but the promise was for good and efficient days ahead.


Friday: And with the two free warm up days over, it was Fairfield Parlour to open the first day of the festival proper, and a day that was to spotlight the heavier sounds, and a day which started at about 2:00 p.m. and ended at 4:00 a.m. the following morning with Melanie due to have been last on the bill, fast asleep backstage!

There were three notable highlights to the day. Chicago, who impressed with their musical professionalism; Taste, who impressed with Rory Gallagher’s aggression; and the amazing and unique Voices of East Harlem, who slayed a very cold 2:00 a.m. crowd with their raw gospel soul. The Voices are an incredible line up of black kids of various ages, looking much like much like several sets of Jackson Five’s dressed in “Dead End Kid” denim and punching out that wild soulful, gospel sound, that may not mean much here generally yet, but after this festival, well, you just wait and see!

The ideal act for that time in the morning, with an overall sound really filling the air, as did the roar for more, when they eventually left the stage, after an incredible version of John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary”. 

Taste, really is Rory Gallagher though Richie McCracken and John Wilson provide excellent bass and drums accompaniment and are rewarded by the occasional solo. But it’s Gallagher, swaying back and forth, with hair flying and mouth open in apparent ecstasy at finding note sequences maybe even he didn’t think possible, who leads the trio on and on. One of the highlights was Rory’s bottleneck solo on “Gamblin´ Blues,” and it was no surprise they came back and back again for three encores. The sun was coming down in the late afternoon and the mood and temperature was right for the Irish band who, until now, have remained sadly underrated in Britain, but no longer is that the case.

Chicago Transit Authority: Were the bill-toppers, and wisely presented half-way through the evening before hands were too cold or ears too blasted. They really are a force to be reckoned with, thoroughly professional yet able to let roar without once conceding to quality. It’s the brass section that really makes Chicago’s sound, sax man Walt Perry who also doubles splendidly  on flute. James Pankow is on trombone and Lee Loughnane is on trumpet. Those three really blow a storm, both together and individually, without once hitting a bad note. Pankow seems to be the band’s driving force, screaming words of encouragement whenever his mouth is free! Jim also wrote the long ”Ballet” which is based around their “Make Me Smile” single. Their song

“25 or 6 to 4” was the natural closer, allowing us to hear in full Terry Kath’s guitar solo, and the band obliged with a quick encore of, “I’m A Man”.


September 5, 1970 – Chicago About The I.O.W. Festival – Disc and Music Echo


Chicago flew in on Wednesday morning for the Isle of Wight Festival. The band was shattered by two days without sleep, at the end of a three-month non-stop tour schedule, and undecided whether they were looking forward to the music festival or not. Pete Cetera, “We’re visual and don’t leap about, so unless the sound equipment is really first-class, we don’t seem to come over very well. “In fact, this is probably the last festival we’ll ever play. Their coming to an end in America. I really don’t like having to play to an audience of more than 10,000 people. “Apart from anything else, the security precautions are so stiff that there’s always a huge blank area, between the stage and the crowd. We feel remote from the audience and unable to give our best”.

Honest stuff, but Chicago are reputed as an honest, straight talking group. They’ve ridden the waves of criticism and have emerged along side of Blood, Sweat and Tears, as the most powerful and original musical force in the United States. “The main accusation was that we are pretentious,” says Peter. “”People said it was pretentious for a new band to start their recording career with a double album. Even the record company were very worried about it. They were even more worried about the second double album. They told us maybe the first sold on a gimmick basis. “Initially, our reputation spread around by word of mouth. No one played the Chicago Transit Authority album, for about three or four months, so we relied on reports of live appearances to keep our name going”. Did the pretentious tag worry them? “I just laughed,” says organist Robert Lamm. “We knew we could not give the public a fair cross-section of what we were like on one record album, so it had to be a double album. What’s the logic in calling that pretentious? Maybe if the group had only one writer, we could have been accused of being long-winded. But the fact that most of us write, and all write in different styles, makes a double-album a must”.


Bandwagon: It seems very strange that, following the enormous success of Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears, there has not been a flood of groups adding brass sections and jumping on the bandwagon. “But there has,” says Peter, “though maybe they haven’t been successful enough for you to have heard of them. The “Ides of March had one hit here, and your band seems to have modified itself almost completely like Blood, Sweat and Tears. “At least the brass boom means more opportunity for good horn players. Five years ago, people studying brass instruments only, had a few outlets. Jim Pankow, out trombonist, was in a jazz band, Lee Loughnane, our trumpeter, was working with an Irish show-band, and Walt Perry, our saxophone man, was working with a rock group”. Rock `n´ Roll, in fact, is a subject that Robert Lamm feels very strongly about. “I listen to the rock and roll of ten years ago, and it makes me laugh. It’s totally unnecessary to revive these songs and release them on singles.

The best thing that can be done with Golden Oldies, apart from to bury them, is to issue them in two record sets, in a mail order catalogue. That way people can still buy them, but we don’t have to hear them on the radio”. Robert’s other sore topic is, American Radio. “Radio in America is governed by big white bosses who know nothing at all about music. They decide what the American public shall, or shall not hear.

That’s why we (Chicago) were forced to release edited singles”.


Article by David Hughes    


 An Aside: Earlier arrival’s – Frank Collins had passed one of the greatest test of his life, convincing the largest crowd yet assembled at a British pop festival, that hit single group’s are able to compete musically with their heavier friends. “See The Lord” was the song that broke the ice and had almost the entire crowd up on its feet clapping, shouting and singing – no little achievement !       


Lighthouse: A thirteen strong Canadian outfit, who managed to beat the Customs Officials and get the right work permits, and gave out some very freaky, wild and jazz-based numbers, such as: “Let’s Stand Alone Together”. But, maybe even for such a vast crowd, they were way too loud, for it was the quieter stars who were to steal the festival.


Tony Joe White: Appeared at an unfortunate moment in the early evening hours, right after an angry section of the crowd had voiced its disapproval of the ten guinea for the VIP enclosure by throwing Coke cans and other missiles in that direction. But the large, beaming, calm man from the deep south ignored the initial quiet reception and after each number, the audience warmed more and more towards him. He kicked off with John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and getting an amazing sound from simple guitar and drums, using wah-wah petal and vibrato. Someone leapt onstage to say how wonderful everybody was, and Tony Joe stepped back, to let him make his speech, and then added dryly: “Ya all must be havin´ an election here” “Groupie Girl” and “Polk Salad Annie” clinched his success and he encored modestly with his new hit single, “Save Your Sugar For Me”.

 Family: Yet to fail to please an audience, once again had the groovers-grooving and the freaks- freaking, and brought a new warmth for those beginning to feel a chill in the night air. Their secret is that they remain completely unique, drawing from no one but themselves, and always creating new and different sounds, both electronically and acoustically. Roger Chapman makes the group with his frenzied and often frightening stage antics. As he wanders around during instrumental breaks, glaring like a mad axe man before pouncing on the microphone and wrecking havoc with it. From sheer creation and power. With Poly Palmer on vibes, organ and flute must also be one of the country’s most underrated musicians.

 Procol Harum: Followed, well past midnight, facing a giant spotlight, the newly christened “Devastation Hill” dotted with a few fires and even a few flames inside the main arena (so that’s where the bathroom doors ended up – as firewood) !  All this made Gary Brooker. Who was sitting at his grand piano, look pretty incongruous. Sadly, the band was were very un-together at the start. A lot of Procol’s songs, have the “Whiter Shade Of Pale” approach, but not that lift. Songs from the, “Salty Dog” album brought the most reaction, the title track eventually getting them the normal encore. ”It’s too cold to play anything slow,” said Brooker as an aside, so they launched into the good old rock n´ roll, still guaranteed to get everybody going. “Move On Down The Line” – “High School Confidential” – and “Lucille” and another heavy band had won the day, thanks to Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard!

 Cactus: Ended the first long day’s night. The quartet of ex – Vanilla Fudge men Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appacie (drums) and friends Jim McCarty (guitar) and Rusty Day Vocals and Harmonica) – played loud and heavy, but honestly, was it anything new, and was it worth staying up until 3:00 a.m. to hear? Maybe the crowd also thought not, for after their set it was called a day and Melanie good-naturedly agreed to miss a booking in Holland and play the following night instead.


Saturday: The day started late and ended even later, so at dawn on Sunday to be precise, and with Sly and the Family Stone exalting “I Want To Take You Higher” right before breakfast and on an empty stomach no less! But, Sunday presented two of the festival’s highlight acts.

John Sebastian and Ten Years After. The day belonged to them. Chalk and Cheese on the music scene, but together earning the most delicious applause of the eighteen hour day.  

John Sebastian: Was the first artists to appear, and well after the alleged 11:30 a.m. start time and it went straight  on to appease a very tense audience. “Do You Believe In Magic” is one of his old songs, and in reply, we certainly do. No one else had arrived, so John had all the time in the world; nearly two hours to sing “ She’s A Lady” – “Daydream” – “Jug Band Music” – “Darling Be Home Soon” – “Younger Girl” – and many many more. Each song was linked with ecstatic shouts of “Out of Sight”- “Oh You’re Really Too Much” – and it was only unfortunate that the quality of his music slipped temporarily when he was joined by, old fellow Spoonful man, Zal Yanovsky for “Blues In The Bottle” and “Bald Headed Lena”.

He will be remembered as the great hit of the Isle Of Wight Festival!


 Joni Mitchell: Following the runaway success of John Sebastian, it looked at times like disaster for frail and pale Joni Mitchell was inevitable. She was obviously very tense and nervous to be playing to such a vast audience. She was cautiously dressed, appropriately in a big yellow dress. She started on guitar with “ The Midway” and went halfway through the song, “Chelsea Morning” before deciding, “I don’t feel like singing that song so much”. So, she moved over to the grand piano and then the trouble  started. First someone rushed on stage with an “important announcement”. Which he was not allowed to broadcast, and that got a large section of the crowd annoyed, and Joni was left bewildered and upset in the middle. As she struggled through “Real Good For Free” – and pleaded with photographers to stop pestering her. While twice she tried to play her “Woodstock Song” and twice she was stopped from doing so. Calls for a doctor, and other screaming and shouting. But, this was not Woodstock, and there can never be a comparison to that one time only festival. “It was almost all over”, she said, “you must realize that, although I’m very happy to be playing here, it takes a lot of hard work for me to get it together for you…so please, help me with some support”. She cried in a breaking stressful voice, and she almost had to leave the stage at that point. “Woodstock” was successfully completed and it was obvious that the majority of the audience was fully behind her appeal. She took the dulcimer for use on “California” and then switched back to her guitar to end her set with her hit “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Both Sides Now”. This undoubtedly, was the most emotional performance of the entire weekend.

 Emerson, Lake and Palmer: They were making their second appearance before this audience, They were ill-prepared, ill-rehearsed and yet never the less, full of all the excitement we expected and loved in the Nice. With Keith Emerson still the most exciting keyboardist to watch in all of rock and roll. Being backed up by Carl Palmer on drums and vocals, the trio has a great future ahead of them. While much of their set was taken up with the title track from their second album, “Pictures At An Exhibition”. But, the best reception was for the old “Rondo” which was now complete with 1812 overture cannons!

 The Doors: Were a relative failure, largely due to the nihilistic attitude of the brand new and very non-sexy Jim Morrison. Who seemed not to care one iota that a half a million people were staying up half the night  just to hear him perform. Justifiably, the audience gave him and the rest of the band a very cold reception, and in return, The Doors exited without an encore.

 The Who: Followed The Doors at 3:30 a.m. with “Can’t Explain” – “Young Man Blues” and the inevitable “Tommy” which is still getting riotous applause whenever played.

 Melanie: She broke the dawn chorus with a charming selection of songs from her two albums.

This ended Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.


Sunday: Amazingly, the sky was still blue, the world was still turning and the sun was still shining brightly. Maybe the gods weren’t smiling on the unfortunate promoters, but they were certainly smiling about the 3,000 sun-worshipping music lovers covering the fields and up on the hill. As Sunday represented the “Top of the Artists Bill” which included: Joan Baez, the unique Moody Blues, the incredible Ian Anderson and many more.

 Jethro Tull, now the five man line up were simply incredible, and not just musically. Ian Anderson was one of the few people onstage apparently unconcerned about the thousands upon thousands of faces watching him. “Just like the Marquee, only bigger,” he commented. In fact his “in between”  comments were as entertaining as his music, even if sometimes verging on the obscene, and he managed to hold the audience through tuning up and instrumental problems. If anyone wonders why Jethro Tull needed a fifth member, they only have to listen to the musical conversations between Ian Anderson’s flute and John Evan’s piano, and how well they complement each other.


 Ian Anderson, Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 – Reflections of the Event – 2004

From Nothing Is Easy: - Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the downfall of the Hippie Days. The clash of cultures between sleepy Isle Of Wight residents and the great unwashed hordes who descended on the island’s green pleasant pastures was a sight to behold. Well, the music fans may not have been unwashed when they left for the long weekend, but by the end of the festival, there was something (Funky Smelling) in the air…..

I personally had a good soap and scrub before climbing aboard the Tris-lander, which is a small commuter aircraft with an unlikely three, even smaller, engines – for the brief flight from somewhere in the South of England.

 We were joining Jimi Hendrix to close  the three day festival and things were getting out of hand for Rikki Farr and the organisers of the event. The demands for free entry and a general grumpiness on the part of the disillusioned hippies had brought about chaos and violence on the fringes of the crowd. Tiny Tim had wanted the money up-front. Joni Mitchell had broken down in tears on stage. Jimi Hendrix wasn’t a happy bunny. I don’t know if we were ever paid, but it wasn’t important. Having done a few shows with Jimi during the last couple of years, we were well aware of his highs and lows as a performer. The Hendrix crew and our roadies had the (by then) customary battle to set up their respective band’s gear first, since neither act wanted to follow the other and close the show. Our roadies, with perhaps a little less equipment to wrestle with, won and we took to the stage amidst much tuning up and kerfuffle. Not the best show of our lives, but a landmark gig in terms of just being there.

 This was “England’s Woodstock” moment. But with the unravelling of the ideals of the last hippie years. Our manager, Terry Ellis had pleaded for calm backstage. Rikki Farr pleaded for calm at the back of the enormous crowd and beyond the rapidly disintegrating barriers.

I silently pleated with the Gods of Tunefulness, that Martin and Glenn could align themselves with the grand piano and agree, if temporarily, on the precise nature of a concert C. Murray Lerner’s camera’s were rolling as they had been from the beginning of the event.The whole documentary of the Isle Of Wight Festival Of Music, is a magnificent treat.It’s a bright snapshot of the time. Jethro Tull was just a tiny part of it all. Tull gave out the white heat energy which overcame the occasional technical imperfections. Tull gave hints of more sublime and classical alternatives.

There was no one like Jimi Hendrix. This was his last major concert on planet Earth, and it began shakily, and I could see that he wasn’t having a good night. With a new band, and determination to find new beginnings to his music. Jimi had to bow to the crowd pressure, and play his usual hits. I left after two or three songs for the mainland, and the rest of my life. Jimi left us for good a few days later. So let’s dedicate this I.O.W. memory to the man who wasn’t exactly my pal, but would certainly have become one if he were alive today.  

The Moody Blues: Were another of the festival’s runaway success stories. It’s somehow odd, that these lovers of so-called “heavy music” can warm up so readily to the Moodies sophisticated sounds. “Sunset” – “Tuesday Afternoon” – “Never Comes The Day” – “Questions” and “Ride My Seesaw” – all went down incredibly well, with people leaping spontaneously to their feet after each number. But, it was the almost legendary “Nights In White Satin” that really got the biggest applause, overwhelming Justin Hayward and Mike Pinder, who like us all, could only lapse into superlatives, to show his appreciation. Praise also, during the Moodies act particularly for having the very best sound system. It was so loud, yet so well balanced, with all four voices coming through perfectly. Individually, and with not a bit of distortion.  

 Donovan: Would have loved, to have re-enacted, his “saviour” role here as he did at the Bath Festival. But, the problem was, that John Sebastian achieved this a full day earlier. As it was, he played for a good hour on his own, before being joined by The Open Road- John Carr on drums and Mike Thompson on bass guitar. Solo, the highlight was a naughty piece called: “How Much Of A Pee Do You Wee When You’re Little and Only Three” On which he was joined by his own son and two small friends for the liberated chorus. Then came the favourites: “Hurdy Gurdy Man” – “Catch The Wind” – “Atlantis” – and “Jennifer Juniper. Also his brand new single, “Ricky-Ticky-Tavi. It was a good set – but way too long!

 Free: With their heavy music playing in the sunshine, got a tremendous reception from the vast audience. (and who says singles aren’t important  any more?) But the band was plagued with instrument problems right from the start, when these were finally corrected, they put on a magnificent show. It was a solid, pounding, rocking beat, working around a melodic idea, rather than a melodic song. There was a noted lack of virtuoso solos, which was a real crowd pleaser, but when the cries came pleading for “All Right Now” were satisfied, things got really wild and exciting from then on. All the calls for more and encore’s were totally genuine and deserved. Free won the day.

 Pentangle: Who suffered right from the get-go due to terrible sound balance, and completely lost them their well-known melodic gentleness. Bert Jansch’s voice was completely lost, and Danny Thompson’s experiments with bass and bow came through the speakers as strange electronic noises….and added to all this chaos, someone jumping onstage and trying to broadcast an unofficial announcement of some kind, and you’ll appreciate the fact that it was one of Pentangle’s most hideous sets ever.

 Jimi Hendrix: The great guitar god himself. The music idol got off to an extremely bad start, as some others did as well. Not only did everyone there have to wait a painfully long time for him to perform, meaning an hour and a half, due to overwhelming technical issues, that needed to be resolved first, but once on stage, these problems continued and nothing Jimi tried to do worked in his favour. It was as if in retaliation, when things finally settled down, he seemed determined not to leave the stage until he and his fans were completely satisfied.

With wild man, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox hammering at the bass, Jimmy launched into a non-stop selection of known and unknown numbers, that got wilder and wilder as they went. The audience stayed and Hendrix stayed, and it appeared as if he’d still be onstage playing until Monday morning. It took so long to get the audience back on his side, and when they were there, they grooved and grooved – but when he eventually loped off the stage, no one called out for an encore, as would be expected. Everyone was satisfied.    

Joan Baez: She followed immediately, and proceeded only by a “fire” on stage, that was caused by a giant orange flare. The finest female folk singer in the world faced an almost impossible job of following Jimi Hendrix. Her opening song was the Beatles, “Let It Be”. It was even more meaningful under the circumstances, and he marvellous stage presence and personality won the –getting the audience attention battle after just one song, and that’s impressive in anyone’s book. Other songs followed: “Joe Hill” – “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” – “Farewell Angelina” – “Oh Happy Day” – “Blowing In The Wind” – “Te – Ador” “Suzanne”  - “I Shall Be Released” – and the obligatory “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – through them all, Joan was in complete command. The audience took to her warmly  with real respect and affection. 

 Leonard Cohen: He followed Joan Baez? Her beautiful voice and songs against his crass suicidal songs of despair and depression? To this audience who was dirty, cold, miserable and depressed enough already? Leonard Cohen in no way helped the situation, but it was too late anyway…….the damage and the healing were already done. (Dave’s Opinion)

 Richie Havens: What little was left of the Isle Of Wight Festival, was given to Richie, in order to make the final exit, of the final festival. It all ended right here…on an island, how appropriate is that !


Epilogue – Isle of Wight Music Festival – 1970 – Part One:

The United Kingdom’s most infamous rock festival, and the stuff that legends are made of.

The Isle of Wight Music Festival was true rock and roll mayhem. Where tales abound of Hell’s Angels appearing, insufficient food supplies, some violence occurred and plenty of chaos to go around. The event caused such consternation to the establishment, that all future concert’s and or festivals on the island were banned. It took the passage of thirty two years before the next festival could be held on the Isle of Wight. The 1970’s festival was also remembered for Jimi Hendrix who played his last gig there on Sunday August 30, 1970.

He died on September 18, 1970. But no one seems to remember that after the I.O.W Festival Jimi also played at Fehman’s Farm in Germany, and the last major place where Jimi played, and if you thought the Isle of Wight was a mess, you should have seen Fehman’s. We had to get many of the bands equipment out fast, because the German bikers went berserk towards the end of the festival, and they turned over trailers, lit fires and then left before the German police could arrive.

From Ford Crull 


Epilogue Part Two:

The second Isle of Wight Music Festival went out in a blaze of glory. It was generally agreed that the kids had behaved surprisingly well. The nearest thing to a disaster had been a small fire in a fish and chips van, and there were only a handful of arrest on minor charges.

Both the local Bus Company and the British Railway were quick to lavish praise on the exemplary behaviour of these 100,000 rock fans who came and went during the entire event.

Even the Isle of Wight “Country Press” described the event rather grudgingly as: “More like a Hindu prayer meeting on the Ganges, than a music festival in our Garden Isle”.

The “Portsmouth News”, waxed lyrical in its editorial column: “A large part of the glacier of prejudice melted away this weekend. Let the hippies ring out their little bells, for social history was made in that island field”.

“The whole thing has been analysed to death, by people who weren’t even there. It was an experience never to be repeated”.

By Gasmann








Bravo Magazin – Oktober 5, 1970

Zum zweiundzwanzigsten Male erfüllte Bravo einen Leserwunsch: Im Privatflugzeug landete Joachim Schultz (17) auf der englischen Popmusik – Insel Wight

                                   „Ich flog zum größten Festival der Welt“

  Ten Years After sind die Größten – jedenfalls für Joachim Schultz aus Duisburg. Um sie zu treffen, fuhr er extra nach England. Als ihm das nicht gelang, setzte er seine letzte Hoffnung auf die „Aktion Wunschbriefkasten“. Das Wunder geschah: Unter Tausenden von Einsendungen zog Joachim das große Los. Beim Festival auf Wight, wo seine Lieblingsgruppe auftrat, reservierte ihm BRAVO einen Platz, um den ihn 300,000 Fans beneideten. So erlebte Joachim die Ten Years After:

 Ein Ehrenplatz direkt vor der Bühne!

„Donnerwetter“ staunt Joachim Schultz aus Duisburg, als er auf dem Londoner Sportflughafen Biggin Hill vor einer viersitzigen „Cessna“ Maschine steht, „was BRAVO so alles auf die Beine stellt, das ist ja kaum zu glauben!“ Das Sportflugzeug ist von BRAVO gechartert worden, um Joachim zusammen mit einer BRAVO Mannschaft zum Beat – Festival auf die Isle of Wight zu bringen. Joachim Schultz hatte in höchster Not an die „Aktion Wunschbriefkasten“ geschrieben. „Ihr müsst mir helfen,“ hatte auf seiner Postkarte gestanden, „nun bin ich in den Sommerferien extra nach England gefahren, um die Ten Years After zu treffen. Aber es gelingt mir nicht. Meine letzte Hoffnung ist jetzt BRAVO.“ Und Joachim hatte Glück. Er fiel aus allen Wolken, als BRAVO in seinem Ferienort Weymouth auftauchte, um ihn abzuholen.

Bei strahlendem Wetter landet die Maschine nach einer Stunde Flug auf der Insel – kurz vor dem Auftritt der Ten Years After. Das Gelände gleicht einem riesigen Heerlager: Fans und Hippies haben überall ihre Zelte aufgeschlagen und ihre bunten Decken ausgebreitet. Joachim schaut an sich herunter. „Im Grunde bin ich viel zu brav angezogen“, meint er, als er die Fans in ihren Phantasie – Kostümen an sich vorbeilaufen sieht. Dem wird sogleich abgeholfen: An einem Stand kauft BRAVO ihm ein schickes, knallrotes T-Shirt. Dann gibt’s schnell noch eine Tüte „Fish and Chips“ und Joachim rennt zu seinem Platz. 300,000 Beatfans beneiden den Wunschbriefkasten-Gewinner: Joachim sitzt genau vor der Bühne, zum Greifen nahe spielen die Ten Years After vor ihm. Joachim ist begeistert: „Mensch, machen die eine tolle Musik, live sind sie viel besser als auf Platte“. Und beim Auftritt von John Sebastian vergisst Joachim sogar seine „Fish and Chips“.

Überglücklich steigt er schließlich wieder in die „Cessna“, die ihn zurück nach London bringt. Hier wartet noch eine Überraschung auf Joachim: ein Besuch bei Barry und Paul Ryan. „Hallo Joachim“, begrüßt Barry den Besuch aus Germany. Er erzählt ihm von seiner neuen Wohnung im vornehmen Londoner Belgravia – Viertel, die er bald beziehen wird. „Das müsstest du sehen“, schwärmt Barry, „der Eingang ist wie eine Höhle ausgebaut. Wir haben uns die witzigsten Betten der Welt bestellt: Pauls Lager sieht aus wie eine aufgeklapptes Boot mit Beleuchtung, meines ist völlig verrückt geformt und mit Kalbfell überzogen“. Wenn Joachim das nächste Mal in London ist, wird er das neue Heim der Ryans bestimmt besuchen. Denn Barry sagt zum Abschied: „Jetzt hast du einen Freibrief, jederzeit bei uns einzufliegen!“

Müde aber glücklich fährt Joachim nach Weymouth zurück.




Isle Of Wight 1970    -   Tribute Poster by Silversun Studio England



Please visit Philippe Gras' Website for more photos of  IOW Festival



"The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970  -  The View From The Crowd"

by Alan & Tom Stroud

Paperback, 272 pages, 32 Photos - publised October 2020

Photo Book, A4,  136 pages, 120 Photos  -  published 2021



Please also visit:  UK Rock Festivals 

(Photo Collection From Visitors, Experience Reports, Magazine Articles)





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