A major weekend rock festival will celebrate and honour the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival of Music – when Jimi Hendrix and an all-star bill attracted an astonishing crowd estimated at up to 600,000 to the Island.
The Island-based All Wight Now group has already staged anniversary events to mark the golden anniversaries of the first Isle of Wight Festivals in 1968 and 1969 but ‘Experience 1970’ is the most ambitious event yet.
The 2-day event on 5th & 6th September 2020 will be held on the iconic East Afton Farm site near Freshwater, where Hendrix, The Doors, Joan Baez, The Who and many other huge acts of the era performed in ‘The Last Great Event’ across 5 days over the 1970 August bank holiday.
But the return to the original 1970 site at the foot of Afton Down – little changed from the area that greeted performers and fans half a century ago – will really capture the imagination of present-day musicians and festival-goers.
Peter Harrigan of All Wight Now, who was the press and publicity director for the original festival, says:
“This is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to an era-defining event on its legendary home ground. To secure the East Afton site from the landowners at Tapnell Farm is fantastic and we appreciate their help in making this possible.
“Our return to East Afton next year with Experience 1970 will prove compelling to both festival goers and performers and we are sure they will respond positively. We aim to put on a great show with a fine bill to mark this special occasion”.
The 1970 event captured world-wide attention and was the final major appearance by Hendrix before his sudden death, at just 27, in London just 2 weeks later. Because of the hostile reaction to the festival by the Isle of Wight political establishment at the time, an act of Parliament was passed which blocked any further major festival on the Island for more than 3 decades.
It is hoped Experience 1970 will recreate the look of the original festival stage and will utilise the original 1970 event PA sound gear now owned by CH Vintage Audio.
The All Wight Now group will again partner with music dementia charity Playlist for Life. The partnership helped make the 2019 celebration of the 1969 IoW festival the world’s first Dementia Friendly rock festival.
Ticket and act information will be announced in due course.