Explore our collection from this incredible event in music history.
When you look around today, music festivals are a pretty common occurrence. Whether it’s Coachella, Austin City Limits or Glastonbury, festivals are everywhere, so it’s hard to imagine a time when there were only a handful. But that certainly was the case as recently as the late 1960s and early 1970’s, when music festivals really began to blow up. Cue the Isle of Wight festival, which became one of the most legendary stages for rock artists in the 60s and beyond.
A Long Time Ago, On An Island Far, Far Away…
It’s been over 50 years since the third Isle of Wight Festival — and the last for more than 30 years. Held between August 26 – 31, 1970 at East Afton Farm, Isle of Wight became one of the most legendary festivals of all time. It is estimated that roughly 600,000 people attended — all on a small island that had a population of less than 100,000. Promoters hadn’t planned for such high attendance; many people showed up without tickets. Owing to the ensuing chaos — which included fans tearing down the fences around the festival grounds — it was eventually declared a free event. Residents on the island were so put off by the pandemonium that another festival wouldn’t be held on the island until 2002.
A Lineup for the Centuries
The festival, however, became known for more than the antics of festival goers. The 1970 Isle of Wight featured incredible performances from seminal artists who, often troubled by poor sound, still managed to deliver iconic memories for attendees.
Sadly, it would prove to be the last performance in the United Kingdom for both Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison (The Doors), both of whom tragically passed away shortly afterwards. Still, their performances are etched in history — as are those from the rest of a diverse lineup that featured Chicago, The Who, Joan Baez, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Ten Years After, and Emerson Lake & Palmer, et al.
Check out items from our Isle of Wight Festival collection, as well as other festivals, here.