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The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. 26th - 30th August 1970. 


 Site photographs. Pt 28   

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This new batch of photos © Virgil Anderson !

In 1970 I was a 21 year old kid from California spending the first of three consecutive summers traveling around Europe. I was hitchhiking to the festival from Germany by myself. On the night ferry from Cali to Dover I met an Englishman returning to London who said he had a son who was planing to attend the festival and maybe I would like to join him. Sounded like a good idea to me so I got a free ride to London and spent a few days with this English family before a total of four of us headed down to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to the Isle Of Wight. The ferry ticket was a ticket to the small town on the Isle named Ryde. It was there and then that I found out what the Beatles song "A Ticket To Ryde" was about. We arrived at the festival site on the afternoon of Wednesday the 26th and got a camp set up in the camping area.

We just kind of wasted the day away on Thursday. That night one of my companions and I decided to spend the night as close to the front gate as possibly so we could be among the first in line when the gates opened for the big name groups the next morning. That was a big mistake, we didn’t get a bit of sleep because there was so much commotion going on. At one point some idiot lit fire to a van that was not far away and it looked like we were all going to have to evacuate the area.
We did get a pretty good spot fairly close to the stage the next morning, we spent the day listening to the bands. Left after Chicago finished their set and got a good nights sleep in the tent.

The next day, Sat. I spent exploring the area including a hike to the top of the hill overlooking the arena. That night was the most memorable for me. We were in the arena about 2/3 the way back from the stage, just socializing and getting stoned, not really listening to the music. Then a band came on stage that seemed to just grab your attention from the first note. It was Ten Years After, they just seemed to have the whole place rockin. My eyes and ears were glued to the stage for the entire performance. The final song was Sweet Little Sixteen, which ended up as the last cut on the Watt album which was released later that year. Then came The Who. They put on a great show but I still think Ten Years After had the crowd going better. Went and got my sleeping bag from the camp site and crashed in the arena listening to the great music.

The next morning I decided to beat the crowd and leave one day early. This would mean missing Jimmy Hendrix but after seeing the video of his performance I don’t think I missed much. The festival did two things to me, first it made me an avid fan of Alvin Lee and Ten Years After and although I enjoyed the entire experience, to this day I don’t care much for large crowds.

Virgil Anderson
Berthoud Colorado, U.S.A.

Chicago

Lighthouse

Virgil's companions

 

 

 

 

 


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  • 1969 Isle of Wight festival
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