These days, there may be more music festivals in a British summer than you can shake a stick at, but the very first one took place in the summer of ’68…and you could only get there by boat. The original Isle of Wight festival was organised by brothers Ray, Ronnie and Bill Foulk as a fundraiser to build Islanders their first public swimming pool. Over 3 short years, legendary names including Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Doors, Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis made this once small holiday island the epitome of cool.
It’s claimed some 600,000 fans attended the 1970 event, but its popularity was also its downfall. It was banned until 2002, when rock promoter John Giddings stepped in.
With its place in music history secured by those early events, the Isle of Wight Festival is on the bucket list of the world’s biggest performers and music fans alike.
BBC cameras had exclusive behind-the scenes access and interviews with artists and fans at this year’s Festival to find out why it holds such as special place in their heart and hears from those who were there at the beginning.
The Isle of Wight Festival at 50 will be shown at 19:30 on BBC One in the South on Friday (24th August) and then afterwards on BBC iPlayer at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer.