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1971 – the present day

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Festival (taking place from 21 to 24 June 2018) we’re looking back at this iconic festival’s history with a series of blogs and galleries.

After the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival and all its issues, convincing local politicians that outdoor festivals were a good thing was never going to be easy.

That was until 2002 and ironically it was the Isle of Wight Council that was to re-animate the concept of an Isle of Wight Festival. With 1970 now a generation into history, a two-week programme of artistic events, culminating a music festival at Seaclose Park, was orchestrated as part of the Island’s celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Isle of Wight Festival 2017 festival goers backpacks

Rock Island was held on June 3, headlined by The Charlatans and Robert Plant with Starsailor, Ash, The Coral and local band The Bees also on the bill. The event was licenced for 22,00 but the actual attendance was not even half that, in fact not dissimilar to 1968 when it all began.

Nevertheless, the concept of a safe and well-run festival was re-established and in light of Rock Island the council, looking both to develop the event and to relieve itself of financial risk, sought an organisation to take the event forward.

Step forward John Giddings whose expertise within the music industry had been instrumental in assembling Rock Island and its line-up.

A deal was struck between John’s Solo Music Agency and the Island of Wight Council and the glorious result is the Isle of Wight Festival as we know it today.

Isle of Wight Festival 2013 - I love Wight sign

Under the expert hand of Solo, the event has attracted some of the biggest names in the business. The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who, Neil Young, The Police, David Bowie, REM, The Foo Fighters, Coldplay…the list goes on and on.

The festival has also provided a springboard for up-and-coming performers and local Island bands. It has too, unquestionably, raised the Island’s cultural profile: it can be no co-incidence that since the revival of the Isle of Wight Festival, numerous other festivals have now entered the circuit.

From the early chaos of Afton, the cultural sparsity of the 80s and 90s, to the reprise and growth of the current event; the Isle of Wight Festival represents a vibrant and vivid streak through the Island’s history. And there are many more chords to play out…

Adam Lambert and Brian May Isle of Wight 2016

It’s not too late to get your Isle of Wight Festival day tickets (weekend tickets have sold out). And with more ferries going on more routes more often*, Wightlink is your link to festival heaven. Book your crossing today.

*See our terms & conditions for more information


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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