50 years to the day since Bob Dylan graced the impressive stage at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival of Music, the celebratory Million Dollar Bash’s artists will strut their stuff on a replica structure.
The Million Dollar Bash is a 1-day festival on Saturday 31st August at the County Showground, near Cowes, honouring the anniversary of Dylan’s legendary event.
Back then, one of the promoters, Bill Foulk, used the skills he had acquired at the London College of Art to construct a stage based firmly on classical Greek architecture. The Palladian-style stage had more than a whiff of the Parthenon about it and Bill’s brother and co-promoter Ray Foulk recalls:
“Bill made a trip to Pinewood Studios to rent props to adorn the ‘Grecian’ pediment stage.”
Now the Island group behind the Bash, All Wight Now, is aiming to recreate Bill Foulk’s 1969 stage.
All Wight Now chairman Jonathan Bacon said:
“The 1969 festival had a special stage with classical Greek influences and its influence carried over to the 1979 IoW Festival. We wanted to pay tribute to that stage – as well, of course, as all the great music on offer.”
The job of recreating the look of the stage that provided the platform for Dylan and top 1969 acts such as the The Who, The Band, The Moody Blues, Family, Julie Felix and Free has been passed to Ellie Moore, the site decodration manager for Isle of Wight Pride 2018. She says:
“We very much want to create something of a replica of the stage that was unveiled for the 2nd Isle of Wight Festival of Music. It was Greek themed and Pathenon-esque. It will have those Palladian influences and adornments and similar colour themes of white, blue and yellow.
“And just like the 1969 festival, we will be leaving it up until the eleventh hour to finish the thing! I hope the audience at the Bash approves and if there are any old hippies who saw the original, back in the day, I am sure they will recognise the inspiration behind the 2019 version.”
The Million Dollar Bash stage will certainly look familiar to several performers who are returning having featured alongside Dylan on the 1969 bill. Coming back are Julie Felix, Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle, plus Dick Taylor and Phil May from The Pretty Things and Andy Roberts, who played with The Liverpool Scene.
At the top of the Bash bill is special guest Richard Thompson and Dylancentric, put together especially for the event by Thompson’s former Fairport Convention bandmate Ashley Hutchings, plus rockers Wishbone Ash, celebrating their own 50th anniversary this year.
Tickets are available from www.allwightnow.com (£44 for adults – under 18s half price) or discounted hard-copy tickets (£40) are available for Islanders from Dimbola Galleries and Museum, Freshwater, or from That 60’s Place, Cowes High Street.