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Isle of Wight Festival

Isle of Wight Festival

Genre Rock
Dates Early June
Location(s) Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight, England
Years active 1968-1970, 2002-Present

The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival which takes place annually on the Isle of Wight in England.[1] It was originally a counterculture event held from 1968 to 1970.[2][3]

The 1970 event was by far the largest and most famous of these early festivals and the unexpectedly high attendance levels led, in 1971, to Parliament passing the "Isle of Wight Act" preventing gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence.

The event was revived in 2002.[4]


  • Original Festival details 1
    • 1968 1.1
    • 1969 1.2
    • 1970 1.3
  • Revived festival details 2
    • 2002 2.1
    • 2003 2.2
    • 2004 2.3
    • 2005 2.4
    • 2006 2.5
    • 2007 2.6
    • 2008 2.7
    • 2009 2.8
    • 2010 2.9
    • 2011 2.10
    • 2012 2.11
    • 2013 2.12
    • 2014 2.13
  • Awards 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Original Festival details

The original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers (Ron, Ray and Bill Foulk) under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited. The venues were Ford Farm (near Godshill), Wootton and Afton Down (near Freshwater) respectively.[5] The 1969 event was notable for the appearance of Bob Dylan and the Band. This was Dylan's first paid performance since his motor cycle accident some three years earlier, and was held at a time when many still wondered if he would ever perform again. Followers from across the world trekked to the Isle of Wight for the performance. Estimates of 150,000–250,000 attended. The 1969 festival opened on Friday 29 August—eleven days after the close of Woodstock. Dylan was living in Woodstock, New York, at the time and it was widely believed that he would perform there, after the event had been "put in his own backyard". As it happened, Dylan left for the Isle of Wight on 15 August—the day the Woodstock festival began.

The 1970 event was by far the largest and most famous of these early festivals; indeed it was said at the time to be one of the largest human gatherings in the world, with estimates of over 600,000, surpassing the attendance at Woodstock. Included in the line-up of over fifty performers were Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Doors, The Who, Lighthouse, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, Melanie, Donovan, Gilberto Gil, Free, Chicago, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, Taste and Tiny Tim. The unexpectedly high attendance levels led, in 1971, to Parliament passing the "Isle of Wight Act" preventing gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence.

The 1970 festival was filmed by a 35mm film crew under the direction of future Academy Award-winning director Murray Lerner who at that point had just directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Festival of the Newport Folk Festival. The footage passed to Lerner in settlement of legal fees after a dispute with the Foulk brothers in which the two sides claimed against each for breach of contract. Lerner distilled material from the festival into the film Message to Love (released on video in the US as Message of Love: The Isle of Wight Festival: The Movie[6]) released theatrically in 1996 and subsequently on DVD. In addition to this film, Lerner has created full-length films focused on performances by individual artists at the 1970 festival. To date there have been individual films of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Free, Leonard Cohen and Jethro Tull.


Held on 31 August and 1 September 1968.
Attendance: 15,000 (approx)[7]
Site – Ford farm, near Godshill.
Headline ActsJefferson Airplane.
Other ActsArthur Brown, The Move, Smile, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Plastic Penny, Fairport Convention, and The Pretty Things.


This took place on 30 and 31 August 1969 at Wootton, with an estimated attendance of 150,000.[7] The line-up included Bob Dylan, The Band, The Nice, The Pretty Things, Marsha Hunt, The Who, Third Ear Band, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Fat Mattress, Joe Cocker.


This event was held between 26 and 30 August 1970 at Afton Down; attendance has long been estimated to have been around 600,000, although promoter Ray Foulk has said he believes it to have been only half that.[7] Arguably the best-remembered of the early versions of the IoW festivals, due to its line-up, attendance and news coverage, the line-up included Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Chicago, The Doors, Lighthouse, The Who (their set produced a live album), Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Joan Baez, Free, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Donovan, John Sebastian, Terry Reid, Taste, and Shawn Phillips.

Revived festival details

The event was revived in 2002 at Seaclose Park, a recreation ground on the outskirts of Newport. It has been held annually since that year, progressively extending itself northwards beyond Seaclose Park along the fields of the eastern Medina valley. Many notable artists have performed since its revival including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Muse, Stereophonics, Donovan, Ray Davies, Robert Plant, David Bowie, Manic Street Preachers, The Who, R.E.M., Coldplay, The Proclaimers, Bryan Adams, The Police, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. It was sponsored by Nokia from 2004 to 2006. The promoters of the event now are Solo Promoters Ltd. Apart from being held on the Isle of Wight, and featuring the now customary artwork of Dave Roe, there is no connection with the festivals of 1968–1970.


Held 3 June 2002
Attendance: 8,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Saturday) – The Charlatans, Robert Plant


Held 14–15 June 2003
Attendance: 15,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Paul Weller, Starsailor
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Bryan Adams, Counting Crows


Held 11–13 June 2004
Attendance: 35,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Friday) – Stereophonics, Groove Armada
Headline Acts (Saturday) – The Who, Manic Street Preachers
Headline Acts (Sunday) – David Bowie, The Charlatans


Held 10–12 June 2005
Attendance: 50,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Friday) – Faithless, Razorlight
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Travis, Roxy Music
Headline Acts (Sunday) – R.E.M., Snow Patrol


Held 9–11 June 2006
Attendance: 50,000 (approx)[8]
Headline Acts (Friday) – The Prodigy, Placebo
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Foo Fighters, Primal Scream
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Coldplay, Richard Ashcroft


Held 8–10 June 2007
Attendance: 60,000 (approx)[9]
Headline Acts (Friday) – Snow Patrol, Groove Armada
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Muse, Kasabian
Headline Acts (Sunday) – The Rolling Stones, Keane


Held 13–15 June 2008
Attendance: 55,000 (approx)[10]
Headline Acts (Friday) – Kaiser Chiefs, N.E.R.D
Headline Acts (Saturday) – The Sex Pistols, Ian Brown
Headline Acts (Sunday) – The Police, The Kooks


Held 12–14 June 2009
Attendance: 50,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Friday) – The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Stereophonics, Razorlight,
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Neil Young, Pixies,


Held 11–13 June 2010[11]
Attendance: 60,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Friday) – Jay-Z, Florence and the Machine
Headline Acts (Saturday) – The Strokes, Blondie
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Paul McCartney, P!nk


Held 10–12 June 2011[11]
Attendance: 65,000 (approx)
Headline Acts (Friday) – Kings of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Foo Fighters, Pulp
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Kasabian, Beady Eye


Held 22–24 June 2012
Attendance: 55,000 (approx)[12]
Headline Acts (Friday) – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Elbow
Headline Acts (Saturday) – Pearl Jam, Biffy Clyro
Headline Acts (Sunday) – Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band


Held 14–16 June 2013
Attendance: 58,000 (approx)
Headline Act (Friday) - The Stone Roses, Paul Weller
Headline Act (Saturday) - The Killers, Bloc Party
Headline Act (Sunday) - Bon Jovi, The Script


Held 12–15 June 2014
Friday Attendance: Sold Out
Saturday Attendance: Sold Out
Sunday Attendance: 58,000+ (approx)

Headline Act (Thursday) - Boy George (Big Top)
Headline Act (Friday) - Calvin Harris, Biffy Clyro
Headline Act (Saturday) - Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Specials
Headline Act (Sunday) - Kings Of Leon, Suede


On 6 November 2007, the Isle of Wight Festival was named 'Best Major Festival' at the UK Festival Awards. The performances by Muse and The Rolling Stones at the last festival were a major influence. At the same event, the coordinator of the festival, John Giddings, won the award for 'Outstanding Contribution to UK festivals'.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival". Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  2. ^ "History Isle of Wight Festival History | Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries". 1970-09-01. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (24 April 2013). "Richie Havens: Folk singer and songwriter who became a hero of the counter-culture". The Independent (London). 
  4. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival History 1968-2013". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ "BBC Hampshire History – Isle of Wight Festival history". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c "2010 audio interview with Ray Foulk". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  8. ^ "Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2006".  
  9. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival 2007".  
  10. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival 2008".  
  11. ^ a b [2] Archived January 4, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers to headline UK festival". BBC News. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  13. ^ "Top Awards for Island Festivals".  

External links

  • Isle of Wight Festival
  • Isle of Wight Festival Official MySpace
  • Ray Foulk on The History of the Isle of Wight Festival
  • Isle of Wight County Press gallery of Festival pictures
  • Information on the Original IOW Festivals
  • 1970 Isle of Wight Festival Veterans
  • Isle of Wight Festival Rumours
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