Marking the beginning of the UK’s festival calendar, The Isle of Wight Festival will soon be here, so get ready for fantastic music, a fun atmosphere and a lot of people.
The Isle of Wight will soon be swarming with fans of popular and legendary music in performances that will not be forgotten. Featuring on two different stages, a number of artists will be performing in their own unique styles to audiences numbering thousands.
The line up in the past has featured phenomenal names such as Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Kasabian and Tom Jones. 2017 sees a host of new and familiar faces taking to the stage, including Rod Stewart, Run DMC, Clean Bandit and George Ezra.
But this incredible spectacle was not always seen as the wonderful show that it now is.
Starting from humble beginnings in the late 1960s, the festival was not imagined to grow to such a size, but within a matter of years it became what was described by its creator as ‘a monster’, as it fell while it rose.
The Foulk brothers, working under the name of Fiery Creations, arranged the first Isle of Wight festival in the village of Godshill. The festival premiered only for one day with headline performances by Jefferson Airplane alongside Fairport Convention and T-Rex. The numbers in attendance reached approximately ten thousand and while it was seen as almost primitive, it made for a fun and successful first attempt.
Following the previous year’s success, Fiery Creations secured Bob Dylan as a headline act, a move which set wheels in motion for one of the most successful festivals of the era. Alongside acts from Joe Cocker and The Who, it was received well by approximately 150,000 people across two days in Wootton and spurred Fiery Creations to take the festival one step further.
Fiery Creations signed up Jimi Hendrix to headline the festival, the result being that top performers such as The Doors, Supertramp and Procol Harum began clamouring to become a part of the event. A staggeringly good result, one might think but for a number of unfortunate circumstances, the first being the location – Afton Down set the stage at the base of a hill where anyone and everyone could view the performance. This formed the problem of ensuring that visitors were paying for their entrance and unfortunately many of them weren’t. The age of free spirits clashed with the business elements and caused stirrings across the festival. Not only this, but because the acts performing were so popular at the time, the numbers who had flocked to watch them sing far outweighed any expectations and left organisers scrabbling for control. The event, while extraordinarily successful in some respects, failed in a number of others and the government ensured that the experience was never repeated – though in truth, Fiery Creations may never have organised another festival again. As Ron Foulks remarked: “This is the last festival. Enough is enough. It began as a beautiful dream but it has got out of control and become a monster’.
John Giddings stepped up to the plate on a request from Islanders wanting to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and decided he would do an alternative revival of the Isle of Wight Festival. It was a financial failure on all counts, but after repeated attempts over several years it gained the reputation it was looking for and the revenue it deserves.
The Isle of Wight Festival is still going strong, with top headline acts and strong side acts to support the event. The performers are looking for good audiences, the audiences are looking for a good time and the Island provides a great location for both.
The 2017 Isle of Wight Festival runs from 8th-11th June. Visit isleofwightfestival.com for full information.
Update 25th May – The Isle of Wight Festival has today launched its app where you can find all the stage times and running orders so you will not miss out on the bands you love! Make sure to download as it is the only place you can find out the times other than a programme purchased at the event. Download it here.