Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Isle of Wight August 1970 ......... a concert and a lesson in what to remember for Chris and Marisa

Now just for once I am not going to let the facts get in the way of the story which is another way of saying that I would rather keep my imperfect memories of the Isle of Wight Festival in the summer of 1970 pristine. 

The concert with the hill behind, 1970
The alternative would be to allow reality to spoil what I have remembered for 47 years.

It was a weekend and the four of us were all pretty bored.

The prospect of another night in the pub didn’t appeal and so there and then around seven in the evening we took off from London with sleeping bags, a change of underwear and headed south.

We arrived at Portsmouth, waited I guess till morning and then after the crossing joined shed loads of others on their way to the music.

I am not sure any of us knew what to expect, and had not even thought about the entrance fee.

As it turned out there was a hill overlooking the concert area and to my eternal shame we sat there and watched the music for free.

The line-up I am told included Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Chicago, The Doors, Lighthouse, The Who Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Moody Blues, Joan Baez, Free, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Donovan, John Sebastian, Terry Reid, Taste, and Shawn Phillips.

And of these I can remember but a few and if I am very honest only the Doors stand out.

The reasons for such a lapse of memory are unclear, and I fell a sleep listening to the Doors.

Once when I had hair, 1970
That said it was magical, because as dusk gave way to night hundreds of camp fires had been lit across the hill.  I would like to think that as the fires burned the Doors played “Light my fire” but I have no idea.

We left the following day missed Jimi Hendrix but felt relieved that we had avoided the mud and gunge which was the area around the lavatories.

So I have to say I came away with no revelations of spiritual awareness, and not even much of a memory of the music.

In the years afterwards I discovered two colleagues I worked with were also there but again to my shame I never shared the fact that we were there for just one day and one night.

And all of this, because two of my Canadian cousins were impressed at my casual reference to the adventure, which in turn has made me come clean.

Location; the Isle of Wight Concert, 1970

Pictures; at the Festival, 1970, Roland Godefroy,who granted permission to use the image  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 and me in 1970 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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