A project to create a mural marking the 50th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Festival is being supported by Wightlink.
The ferry company is providing free travel to Kent artist Guy Portelli whose work on the mural will see him making regular trips to the Island – particularly during ‘festival season’.
A focal point of the 5x8ft mosaic mural will be handprints from 200 performers who have played at the revived Festival since the inaugural event in Godshill in 1968.
John Giddings, who has masterminded the spectacular since 2002, is supporting the project along with the organisers of the All Wight Now events, the first of which was held this month at Tapnell Farm – scene of the huge 1970 festival – marking the 50th anniversary of the initial 1968 event. Guy was at All Wight Now collecting handprints and support for the project.
Artists providing handprints so far include Arthur Brown, Frankie Miller, Carl Palmer (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer), Julie Felix, Mick Fleetwood, and Roger Chapman. Guy is already in contact with numerous other artists to secure their involvement
The handprints will radiate out from the 4 festival locations – Wootton, Godshill, Afton and Seaclose. As a thank you to Wightlink, Guy will also incorporate a ferry into the design.
Guy hopes the completed mural will be centrepiece of a touring exhibition showcasing the history of the Isle of WightFestival.
“My ultimate hope is that at some point a museum dedicated to the festival might be created on the Island and that this panel will have a permanent home.
“The Festival is of international cultural significance. People have travelled to the Island from all over the world to attend over the years and its positive impact on the Island should be recognised
“I am hoping the mural will be part of that process. It is already creating a lot of interest among past performers and we will be adding some more very big names in the near future.”
Guy is working closely with the Festival archives from Dimbola Lodge and CameronLife Photo Library and is also liaising with a documentary crew with a view to having the project filmed. The project is also a natural progression to his Pop Icon collection that earned the backing of three Dragons from BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says:
“This is a unique and highly creative project highlighting a series of events that are so important to the Island historic and contemporary cultural heritage. We are delighted to be part of it.”
“The Isle of Wight Festival is one of the great festivals of our time, and it could not take place without the Wightlink ferry so, to me, the inclusion of a ferry is intrinsic to the design. I am also including a handprint from Brading Roman Villa to reflect the historical relevance of mosaic on the Island for nearly 2000 years.”