Over the years I had heard of "The Isle of Wight" when great groups like The Doors, E.L.P. and The Who were mentioned. I would dismiss it as just another concert scene kind of like a "Woodstock". As it turns out is was actually bigger than Woodstock, Live Aid and Summer Jam at Watkins Glen during it's run. It actually had run 3 festival dates from 1968 to 1970. Estimated attendance of over 600,000 would invade this small island on the southern shore of Great Britain to see Jimi Hendrix in all his glory. Can you imagine the scene? If you were there I'd love to talk to you.
This turns out not to be as peaceful and full of love as the Woodstock gathering, hence the locals ban future concerts. After a thirty two year gap, Robert Plant kick starts the revived Isle of Wight Festival, at Seaclose Park on a green field site with the river Medina running lazily past. With his lions mane of hair and legend intact, Plant revives 'Hey Joe' as a tribute to Jimi, and 'Going to California' as a nod to Led Zeppelin, and his band mix psychedelia and world music to create something new, a bewitching backdrop to Robert's banshee wail.*
This was the line-up: (Courtesy of Brian Hinton & isleofwightfestival.com *)
Wednesday 26th: Judas Jump, Kathy Smith, Rosalie Sorrels, David Bromberg, Redbone, Kris Kristofferson, Mighty Baby.
Thursday 27th: Gary Farr, Supertramp, Andy Roberts Everyone, Howl, Black Widow, Groundhogs, Terry Reid, Gilberto Gil.
Friday 28th: Fairfield Parlour, Arrival, Lighthouse, Taste, Tony Joe White, Chicago, Family, Procol Harum, The Voices of East Harlem, Cactus.
Saturday 29th: John Sebastian, Shawn Phillips, Lighthouse, Joni Mitchell, Tiny Tim, Miles Davis, Ten Years After, Emerson Lake and Palmer, The Doors, The Who, Melanie, Sly and the Family Stone. Mungo Jerry were there but decided not to play.Tiny Tim with Islanders Cas Caswell bass & Jack Richards drums.
Sunday 30th: Good News, Kris Kristofferson, Ralph McTell, Heaven, Free, Donovan, Pentangle, Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Richie Havens, Hawkwind
I don't know where I've been that I hadn't looked into this "hippie fest" sooner. Must of been too much of the "Everclear" punch in my system or something. Anyways, I've gathered some videos from the performance. Like many documentaries made of these iconic festivals, many great but lesser known groups wind up on the editing room floor. It is my goal to search out anything on groups like Mighty Baby, Black Widow, Lighthouse and Cactus.
Please enjoy and have a great "4th of July" weekend.
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