1. The idea for the festival came from a local engineer Ron Smith in 1968 to help raise funds for Freshwater Swimming Pool
2. The festival was first held in a cold stubble field in Godshill in 1968
3. The original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers (Ron and Ray Foulk) under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited and their younger brother Bill Foulk
4. Tickets cost just £1.25 for the first festival on the island in 1968, in 1970 the adult ticket price was £3 (about £40 in today’s money)
5. Bob Dylan’s set list at the 1969 event included She Belongs To MeMr Tambourine ManLay Lady LayLike A Rolling StoneAll Along The Watchtowerand Blowing In The Wind.
6. The 1970 festival at Afton included rock legends Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Joan Baez, Jethro Tull, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell
7. The 1970 IW Festival was Jimi Hendrix last UK performance, he died less than a month later
8. A movie was made of the 1970 festival called Message to Love, released first on video in 1995 and then on DVD
9. 600,000 people were estimated to have attended the 1970 festival (that’s more than Glastonbury and Live Aid put together). Parliament passed the “Isle Of Wight Act” in 1971 preventing gathering of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special license.
10. There was not a Festival between 1970 and 2002 when the Festival was revived. Since then it has gone from strength to strength.

11. The Festival was revived at Seaclose Park in 2002, billed as Rock Island, with the Charlatans headlining and around 8,000 people gathered
12. Since the 2002 the Festival has featured a local talent stage where bands and local students have taken to the stage
13. In 2003 a small funfair and craft village were added to the Festival site
14. The stage for the 2003 festival was shipped in from Stageco in Belgium
15. In 2003 Bryan Adams bought an audience member – Lindsay from Scarborough – on stage to sing the part of Mel C in When You’re Gone
16. Super Furry Animals Singer Gruff Rhys performed on stage in a red cape and matching Power Rangers helmet
17. The Who played at the 1970 festival and members of the band returned to play in 2004 and closed their set with Magic Bus just like at Afton 34 years before
18. David Bowie closed his 2004 set on stage with Ziggy Stardust before fireworks lit up the sky
19. The 2005 festival featuring Faithless, Razorloight, Travis, Roxy Music, R.E.M, Snow Patrol and more sold out months in advance
20. On 6 November 2007, the Isle of Wight Festival was named ‘Best Major Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards

21. In 2015 the Isle of Wight Festival was attended by 80,000 people but in 1970 Jimmy Hendrix played to 600,000 people over 5 days
22. In 2015 44,000 pints of larger and cider were consumed over the weekend, inevitably there were a few sore heads in the morning
23. In 2015 the IW Festival dedicated its stage to Jimi Hendrix naming it the Electric Church which is how Hendrix referred to his music
24. In 2015 thousands of fans donned masks of music legend Jimi Hendrix to mark the 45th anniversary of his performance at the IW Festival
25. In 2017 Rod Stewart closed the Isle of Wight Festival with his anthem Sailing
26. 2018 is the IW Festival’s Golden Jubilee celebrating fifty years since the first festival
27. The IW Festival has been crowned Family Festival of the Year two years in a row
28. Pharrell Williams was joined on stage by 12-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Dylan Bleach for his anthem Happy
29. Rock Royalty Fleetwood Mac started their headline set 20 minutes late in 2015 but wowed festival goers with hits like The Chain, You Make Loving Fun, Dreams and Little Lies before closing with Go Your Own Way and Don’t Stop
30. The Platform One College of Music stage saw nearly 40 young local bands take over the stage in 2015

31. 2012 was the wettest Isle of Wight Festival with over 50,000 festival goers partying despite the mud and rain
32. According to stats, around 35,000 pints are poured in an hour at the IW Festival – that’s a lot of toilet trips!
33. The Big Top, IW Festival’s second stage, was introduced in 2008
34. ITV2 first covered the Isle of Wight Festival in 2008 featuring headliners The Kaiser Chiefs, Sex Pistols and the Police
35. The first year that the festival started on a Thursday was 2007, the year that Snow Patrol, the Muse and the Rolling Stones were headlining
36. In 2007 The Red Arrows treating festival goers to their aerobatic display on the Saturday afternoon delighting the crowds
37. In 2007 two festival goers paid for a plane to go up and circle around the festival site with marriage proposals – we hope they both said yes!
38. The Rolling Stones brought Amy Winehouse on stage for a duet on Aint too proud to beg and Paulo Nutini for a duet on Love In Vain
39. Opening act for the 2007 festival Koopa nearly missed out on their festival debut when they had to convince security guards they were genuine artists
40. Historically, sales of Mountbatten Hospice sunflowers at the festival have generated in the region of £15,000 for the charity – don’t forget to get yours this year!

Isle of Wight Festival stage night

41. Isle of Wight Band The Alberts have penned a new song The Festival Song in homage to the Isle of Wight Festival in its 50th year
42. To mark 50 years, Isle of Wight Festival organisers will give one lucky Golden God/Goddess an exclusive backstage experience – get planning your gold outfit now!
43. In 2008 a 2.5kw free standing wind turbine adjacent to the main arena provided a percentage of the energy needed to power the backstage area as part of the Festival’s eco commitment
44. It was estimated that at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2011, one in six festival campers left their tents behind, along with other camping equipment such as gazebos
45. Island Scout groups in one year alone salvaged more than 1,200 items discarded on the festival site: 200 tents, 500 sleeping bags, 100 folding chairs, 150 roll mats, 40 inflatable mattresses, air pumps, pillows and a kettle and a frisbee leaving 40 cubic metres less landfill behind.
46. In 2011 the Isle of Wight Festival won a Greener Festival Award and was just one of five UK festivals to attain an outstanding rating.
47. The Isle of Wight Festival App was downloaded 11,000 in its first day of the 2016 event with over 17,000 or roughly a quarter of users downloading it over the weekend event
48. Keeping you safe – security and policing at the IW Festival event is reported to have cost around £1m alone and around 5,000 people are employed to help lay on the event
49. Original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor performed at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2016 for their only UK show of the year alongside American vocalist Adam Lambert
50. Since the Isle of Wight Festival relaunched in 2002, it has featured headline acts from some of the world’s biggest stars including David Bowie, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Blur, Fleetwood Mac and the Foo Fighters.


Wightlink Blogger

...written by Wightlink

Let the Wightlink bloggers take you on a journey of discovery around the Isle of Wight. From attractions and places to visit, to events, festivals and accommodation, let us inspire your next trip by giving you the inside track to the Island.

Read more of Wightlink's posts here...

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