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Isle of Wight Festival - History

The Isle of Wight festival was well known back in the 1960's and 70's.

The first festival on the Isle of Wight was in 1968 when it saw bands such as smile, Harsh Reality, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Plastic Penny, The Cherokee's and John Peel. Tickets were charged at £1.25. The pop festival was 24 hours long and the audience was of 10,000 people, between each group there was approximately half hour break because of technical difficulties. The atmosphere was at first apprehensive and quiet as people were unsure as to what expect but as they settled in the atmosphere became electric.

The second festival was in 1969, this time the festival lasted three days with a line up to remember: Mighty baby, Gypsy, Blonde on Blonde, Pretty things, Joe cocker, Bob Dylan and the band and also The Who (who are still currently a band).

Bob Dylan signed up for the Isle of Wight festival after one of the organisers went over to America to get him on board, With Bob Dylan came George Harrison and they practised together to prepare for the festival. Whilst Bob Dylan was on the island he had many visitors at his hotel/ farmhouse in Bembridge, Ringo Starr and his wife visited as did John Lennon with Yoko.

When the rumour got out that Bob Dylan was going to be at the festival 5,000 extra people requested tickets, the festival saw 150,000 people that year and ran very smoothly and with no trouble.

The 1970 festival was a five day event seeing bands such as: Judas Jump, David Bromberg, Supertramp, Groundhogs, Chicago, Family, Tiny Tim, The Who, Melanie, Heaven, Free, Donavon and Jimi Hendrix, This year the festival was at a different site covering three hundred acres of land, the tickets this year cost £3 and 200,000 people were expected, at the festival disposable sleeping bags that had been tested under arctic conditions were sold and camping was free, but with this festival brought disruption to the island as the people seemed to have a couldn't care less attitude, litter was everywhere. This was the last of the festivals on the island, until 2002, 34 years after the very first pop festival, this year brought a difference in music ranging from rock and roll, hip hop and pop appealing to a wider audience, original bands that played at the Isle of Wight festival in 1968, 1969 and 1970 were coming back now Arthur Brown had a two hour acoustic slot in 2002. Ash did an amazing job with the crowds getting everyone into the spirit of the festival, The Bee's played, Starsailor headlined one day and heavy rock band Hundred Reasons headlined another day. The Charlatans finished the evening off with a bang and fireworks lit the island up for the finale. This festival was named the peoples event, everyone was encouraged to join in, this event lasted two weeks with lots going on throughout the island Dave Pearce was in Ryde, tributes to Jimi Hendrix were held at various places around the island, Ryde theatre hosted some alternative music linked to the festival. Every town on the island was involved.

In 2003 the festival was onwards and upwards, two more weeks of festival magic with lots of different types of music ranging from blues, folk, global, rock, jazz and pop etc. The idea that the Isle of Wight festival is here to stay was finally sinking in and there was a buzz throughout the crowds. The bands in 2003 included Bryan Adams, The Darkness, Iggy Pop and The Thrills. The weather was perfect for the festival and everyone was admiring the island, Bryan Adams excited the crowd by pulling someone up on stage to join him. 50,000 people came to the island to experience the festival life and music and it was a great success.

2004 brought very impressive bands, Stereophonics, The Who, David Bowie, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol, Super Furry Animals, Groove Armada and many more, 35,000 people travelled to see these bands and no-one was disappointed, the atmosphere was amazing and everyone got into the spirit of things, Euro 2004 England v France was shown on a big screen, this only helped the excitement of the people, David Bowie performed very well and pleased fans, no sooner had he finished fireworks were set off around the site bringing a fantastic end to a wonderful weekend.

2005 another great year at the Isle of Wight festival with the likes of Travis, Roxy music, Supergrass, Razorlight, Faithless, Feeder Magic Numbers and R.E.M who close the show with classics from their album, this event is clearly here to stay and everyone appreciates this.

Finally 2006 which had the best music of the time with: The Prodigy, Placebo, Goldfrapp, Morning Runner, The Rakes, Primal Scream, Dirty Pretty Things, Foo Fighters, Editors, The Kooks, The Proclaimers, Suzanne Vega, Richard Ashcroft, Maximo Park and Coldplay who pleased everybody there, Their set was light hearted and they joked with the crowd, the whole time they were on everyone sang along to the music and danced, the atmosphere was relaxed and chilled.

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