Isle of Wight Festival

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Isle of Wight Festival
Logo of the 2018 Isle of Wight Festival
GenreRock, Pop
Dates21–24 June 2018
Location(s)Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, England
Years active1968–1970
Isle of Wight Festival Main Stage 2014

The Isle of Wight Festival is a British music festival which takes place annually in Newport on the Isle of Wight, England.[1] It was originally a counterculture event held from 1968 to 1970.[2][3]

The 1970 event was by far the largest of these early festivals and the unexpectedly high attendance levels led, in 1971, to Parliament adding a section to the Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971 preventing overnight open-air gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence from the council. The event was revived in 2002.[4]

Original festival[edit]

The original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers (Ron and Ray Foulk) under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited and their younger brother Bill Foulk. The venues were Ford Farm (near Godshill), Wootton and Afton Down (near Freshwater) respectively.[5] The 1969 event was notable for the appearance of Bob Dylan and the Band. This was Dylan's first paid performance since his motor cycle accident some three years earlier, and was held at a time when many still wondered if he would ever perform again. Followers from across the world trekked to the Isle of Wight for the performance. Estimates of 150,000–250,000 attended. The 1969 festival opened on Friday 29 August—eleven days after the close of Woodstock. Dylan was living in Woodstock, New York, at the time and it was widely believed that he would perform there, after the event had been "put in his own backyard". As it happened, Dylan left for the Isle of Wight on 15 August—the day the Woodstock festival began.

The 1970 event was by far the largest of these early festivals; indeed it was said at the time to be one of the largest human gatherings in the world, with estimates of over 600,000, surpassing the attendance at Woodstock. Included in the line-up of over fifty performers were Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Doors, The Who, Lighthouse, Ten Years After, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Joni Mitchell, The Moody Blues, Melanie, Donovan, Gilberto Gil, Free, Chicago, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, Taste and Tiny Tim. The unexpectedly high attendance levels led, in 1971, to Parliament adding a section to the Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971 preventing overnight open-air gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence from the council.[6]

The 1970 festival was filmed by a film crew under director Murray Lerner, who at that point had just directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Festival of the Newport Folk Festival. The footage passed to Lerner in settlement of legal fees after a dispute with the Foulk brothers in which each side claimed against the other for breach of contract. Lerner distilled material from the festival into the film Message to Love (released on video in the US as Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival: The Movie[7]) released theatrically in 1996 and subsequently on DVD. In addition to this film, Lerner has created full-length films focused on performances by individual artists at the 1970 festival. To date there have been individual films of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Free, Taste, Leonard Cohen, Jethro Tull, The Doors and Joni Mitchell.


The first festival was held at Ford farm, near Godshill, on 31 August and 1 September 1968, and was attended by about 10,000 people.[8] Jefferson Airplane headlined, with Arthur Brown, The Move, Smile, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, Plastic Penny, Fairport Convention, and The Pretty Things also performing.[9]


This took place on 30 and 31 August 1969 at Wootton, with an estimated attendance of 150,000.[8] The line-up included Bob Dylan, The Band, The Nice, The Pretty Things, Marsha Hunt, The Who, Third Ear Band, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Fat Mattress, Joe Cocker. Many celebrities of the day also attended the Festival, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, George Harrison with Pattie Boyd, Ringo Starr with Maureen Starkey, Keith Richards and Jane Fonda.[10]


This event was held between 26 and 30 August 1970 at Afton Down. Attendance has been estimated by the Guinness Book of Records to have been 600,000 or even 700,000, due to an announcement by British Rail at that time concerning the amount of sold ferry tickets, although promoter Ray Foulk has said he believes it to have been only half of that.[8] It was widely reported on, due to its line-up and extremely high attendance. Acts included Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Chicago, The Doors, Lighthouse, The Who (whose set produced a live album), Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Joan Baez, Free, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Donovan, John Sebastian, Terry Reid, Taste, and Shawn Phillips.

Revived festival details[edit]

The event was revived in 2002 at Seaclose Park, a recreation ground on the outskirts of Newport. It has been held annually since that year, progressively extending itself northwards beyond Seaclose Park along the fields of the eastern Medina valley. Many notable artists have performed since its revival including The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Paul McCartney, Muse, Boy George, Stereophonics, Faithless, Donovan, Ray Davies, Robert Plant, Queen + Adam Lambert, David Bowie, Manic Street Preachers, The Who, The High Kings, R.E.M., Travis, Coldplay, The Zombies, The Proclaimers, Bryan Adams, The Police, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Fleetwood Mac, Madness, Paloma Faith and Kings of Leon. It was sponsored by Nokia from 2004 to 2006. The promoters of the event now are Solo Promoters Ltd.


Held 3 June 2002


Held 14–15 June 2003


Held 11–13 June 2004


Held 10–12 June 2005


Held 9–11 June 2006


Held 8–10 June 2007


Held 13–15 June 2008


Held 12–14 June 2009


Held 11–13 June 2010[14]


Held 10–12 June 2011[14]


Held 22–24 June 2012


Held 14–16 June 2013


Held 12–15 June 2014


Held 11–14 June 2015


Held 9–12 June 2016


Held 8–11 June 2017


Held 21–24 June 2018


Held 13–16 June 2019

  • Attendance: 59,000

Main Stage[edit]

Friday Saturday Sunday

Big Top[edit]

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Jess Glynne had been due to perform at the festival on Sunday evening, however she received a lifetime ban from the festival after cancelling her set with only 10 minutes warning. Instead, Richard Ashcroft performed earlier, and Biffy Clyro performed a longer set.[16] The singer confessed that her reason for cancelling was after a heavy night ("It is true that I went out and celebrated the end of the Spice World tour.").[17]


The 2020 event, which had been scheduled for 11–15 June, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headline Acts:

Thursday (Bigtop): Happy Mondays

Friday: Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi

Saturday: Snow Patrol, The Chemical Brothers

Sunday: Duran Duran, Dido, The Libertines




UK Festival Awards

Best Major Festival

Outstanding Contribution to UK Festivals (John Giddings)



ILMC 21 Arthur Awards

Liggers' Favourite Festival



UK Festival Awards

Best Family Festival

Headline Performance of the Year (Fleetwood Mac)[18]

Isle of Wight Visitor Attraction Association Awards

Best Event

Festival Baby Awards

Best Festival



ILMC 28 Arthur Awards

Liggers' Favourite Festival


Family Traveller Awards

Best Family Festival

Live Music Business Awards

Best Festival



ILMC 29 Arthur Awards

Liggers' Favourite Festival



UK Festival Awards

Best Festival Production

Best Major Festival

Line-Up of the Year

Radio Academy Awards

Best Live Coverage for Absolute Radio

Best Speech Programme

Best Radio Newcomer for James Bay

Music Week Awards

Festival of the Year

ILMC 30 Arthur Awards

Liggers' Favourite Festival

Q Awards

Best Festival/Event


Audio Production Awards

Best New Producer (Nick Harris)

Event Production Awards

Music Event of the Year



Event Production Awards

Music Event of the Year

Music Week Awards

Festival of the Year

Broadcast Awards

Best Music Programme

Live Music Business Awards

Best Festival Performance (Biffy Clyro)

Q Awards

Q Best Festival/Event



Pollstar Awards

International Music Festival of the Year

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  2. ^ "History Isle of Wight Festival History | Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries". 1970-09-01. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (24 April 2013). "Richie Havens: Folk singer and songwriter who became a hero of the counter-culture". The Independent. London.
  4. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival History 1968-2013". Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  5. ^ "BBC Hampshire History – Isle of Wight Festival history". BBC. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  6. ^ Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971, c.lxxi, ss.5-6
  7. ^ "Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival". 21 February 1997 – via IMDb.
  8. ^ a b c "2010 audio interview with Ray Foulk". Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  9. ^ Hinton, Brian (1995). Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festivals, 1968-70. Castle Communications. p. 21. ISBN 1-86074-147-9.
  10. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival History - 1968 to today". Isle of Wight Guru. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
  11. ^ "Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2006". Isle of Wight Council. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  12. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival 2007". Isle of Wight Council. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  13. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival 2008". Isle of Wight Council. Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  14. ^ a b [1] Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers to headline UK festival". BBC News. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
  16. ^ Kang, Biba (18 June 2019). "Jess Glynne banned by Isle of Wight festival for failing to turn up". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  17. ^ Castle, Vicky (27 June 2019). "Jess Glynne ticket holders told to wait to claim refunds for Rochester Castle Concerts". Kent Online. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  18. ^ "The UKFA 2015 Winners | UK Festival Awards". Archived from the original on 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2016-04-11.

External links[edit]