Message to Love

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This article is about the film. For the song, see Band of Gypsys.
Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
Paul Rodgers Isle of Wight 1970.JPG
Paul Rodgers of the band Free singing "All Right Now" in front of the crowd
Directed by Murray Lerner
Produced by Murray Lerner
Written by Murray Lerner
Edited by Greg Sheldon (performance sequences)
Stanley Warnow (as Stan Warnow)
Einar Westerlund
Distributed by Castle Music Pictures
Strand Releasing
Release dates
21 February 1997 (USA)
Running time
127 min
Country United States
Language English

Message to Love (directed and produced by Murray Lerner) is a feature documentary film of the Isle of Wight Festival 1970.[1] The film unsparingly, often comically depicts the myriad problems associated with the famously chaotic festival—the main program of which was held on August 26–30, 1970—including gate-crashing, numerous crowd incursions onto the stage, Kris Kristofferson being booed offstage, and head promoter Rikki Farr's rants against the audience, which only intensified as the situation deteriorated: "We put this festival on, you bastards, with a lot of love! We worked for one year for you pigs! And you wanna break our walls down and you wanna destroy it? Well you go to hell!" This and two other brief dialogue extracts from the film were later sampled in the Oasis track "Fuckin' in the Bushes", from the album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.

In addition, several near-riots occurred over the price of tickets, as well as during several of the performances that took place over the weekend, especially Jimi Hendrix's last billed performance in England.[2]

A counterpoint, not included in the film, is provided by Chief Constable, Hampshire Constabulary, Sir Douglas Osmond, who emphasised the peaceful nature of the event in his evidence given to the Stevenson Report, 1971, (submitted to parliament as evidence in favour of future Isle of Festivals) "...By the end of the festival the press representatives became almost desperate for material and they seemed a little disappointed that the patrons had been so well behaved."

Due to financial difficulties, Message to Love wasn't released until 1997, 27 years after the event, after premiering at a San Jose film festival in 1995.[3] A CD of the soundtrack was also issued by Castle Communications/Sony Legacy in 1997.

In recent years, Lerner's copious 16mm concert footage has been repurposed to create a wealth of complete-performance DVD releases by Hendrix (Blue Wild Angel), Miles Davis (Miles Electric - A Different Kind of Blue), The Who (Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970), Jethro Tull (Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970), Emerson, Lake & Palmer (The Birth Of A Band: Isle of Wight 1970), The Moody Blues (Threshold of a Dream: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970), Leonard Cohen (Leonard Cohen Live at The Isle of Wight 1970), and Free (Free Forever DVD).

The film derives its title from a song that Jimi Hendrix performed, and a brief clip is shown during the opening credits.


Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Explicit)
Live album by Various artists
Released 29 October 1996
Recorded 1970
Genre Rock
Length 144:00
Label Sony Records
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [4]

The 2-CD set contains full versions of the songs as featured in the film. The CD release also includes dialogue from the film placed in between some of the tracks.[5]

CD track listing[edit]

Disc one
  1. Free - "All Right Now" - (4:54)
  2. Jethro Tull - "My Sunday Feeling" - (4:24)
  3. Leonard Cohen - "Suzanne" - (4:27)
  4. Jimi Hendrix - "Foxey Lady" - (5:31)
  5. Jimi Hendrix - "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" - (8:56)
  6. Ten Years After - "Can't Keep From Cryin'/Extension On One Chord" - (11:50)
  7. Kris Kristofferson - "Me and Bobby McGee" - (5:44)
  8. Joni Mitchell - "Big Yellow Taxi" - (3:46)
  9. Joni Mitchell - "Woodstock" - (4:04)
  10. Emerson, Lake & Palmer - "Blue Rondo A La Turk/Pictures at an Exhibition/Drum Solo" - (7:35)
  11. The Doors - "When the Music's Over" - (11:46)
Disc two
  1. The Who - "Young Man Blues" - (5:54)
  2. The Who - "Naked Eye" - (6:23)
  3. Tiny Tim - "There'll Always Be An England" - (1:15)
  4. Taste - "Sinner Boy" - (5:11)
  5. Joan Baez - "Let It Be" - (3:53)
  6. The Moody Blues - "Nights In White Satin" - (5:23)
  7. Donovan - "Catch the Wind" - (3:51)
  8. Family - "Weaver's Answer" - (7:22)
  9. John Sebastian - "Red Eye Express" - (3:58)
  10. Miles Davis - "Call It Anything" - (14:56)
  11. Great Awakening - "Amazing Grace" - (3:47)
  12. Bob Dylan - "Desolation Row" - (11:43)


External links[edit]