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Articles from Frendz ,Oct 2nd 1970. No 4.
The staff of Frendz got together with the people from Oz, Ink and IT and published a twice daily news sheet on paper supplied by Fiery. But Freek press was hardly a mouth piece for the festival promoters and the paper became an important means of communicating information around the festival. Copies were passed from hand to hand and there was a continual movement night and day through the Friends tent as people came in to give news , deny allegations , issue statements and plead for aid. Freek showed that rumours about a VD scare , picked up and splashed about in the straight press, to be false and news of police activities, including spy warnings , was circulated. In the chaos that eventuated from invasion of the arena and the press enclosure on Saturday, The Freak Press kept up reports on the facility situation and kept tabs on the changing attitudes of Fiery and the police.
The beach was the warmest place in the festival with thousands of people sitting naked in the sun and swimming in the shallow bay. Ritual activities included groups splashing the water in unison and shouting "Out Demon's Out " , chanting F-U -C -K and singing "Give Peace a Chance. "A momentary freak out occurred when an RAF rescue helicopter dropped a smoke bomb that some thought might be tear gas. But it was a marker for the classic rescue of a boy who had fallen down the cliff.
( John H is in the photo on the right- He sent us this about his time on the beach )
The days were hot and sticky. The nights cold. We went for an afternoon visit to see if it would be possible to go 'skinny dipping' one evening. Would it be quiet enough, could we get away with it ? We really needed a wash ! The sight we found made our rather naive plans rather pointless. So we stripped off and joined in with the rest and spent the afternoons there. Discovered that it is not actually possible to get washed in salt water. We had come prepared with soap. A little way along the beach was a trickle of fresh water falling down from the top of the cliff above. A small group had congregated and were rinsing off the days and the sea water. Someone must have taken a photo which ended up on the cover of the 'Friends' magazine. My sister had seen the original, but I never had until I found it on your website. Thats me on the left, looking down. My sister is on the right. I dont know what you think she is doing, but if you look closely, that's soap in her hand.
As a part of the usual festival arrangements "Release" had a trip tent for anyone with a bad trip and aid and advice for the lost and unhappy. They attended court each day with legal advice and when the bust fund was launched, helped friends collect the money to get people out of jail and help to pay fines. Bad trips were few and the pleasant weather and lack of bad trip scares kept the drug casualties down. St John's manned the medical tent , treating 12000 people , with no serious casualties. Simon Community provided an all night service to help the overflow from other organisations and published a daily news sheet with welfare information . Civil Aid arrived on Friday assuming a disaster awaiting them. They immediately set about trying to improve the toilet situation , which held up well, if unpleasantly , throughout the festival. But their energy produced most appreciable results when they distributed free soup to all those whose money had run out .Church organisations gave money to people who had genuinely lost it or had no way of getting home . The Police offered to lend money to any one who could phone their parents and arrange for them to deposit money at their nearest police station .
MONEY( there is no way that I can ascertain whether the figures quoted in this article are correct or not. If anyone has correct profit-loss figures incurred by Fiery Creations then please let me know.The fact that it took 20 odd years before the film was released gives an indication that Fiery probably made a loss on the festival overall and were not in a position to exploit the potential market for the film as happened at Woodstock. However, figures for the audio release are not factored into this Friends article either
"You people, you fucking listen. Listen good. You people have come to this country and we have to charge you three pounds to get in here . If you don't like it don't fucking well come , because there are a lot of good people out there. You bastards we work for a year for a festival of love , you wanna destroy it. So you just go to hell you pigs." Ricki Farr Thursday night
The anarchists demanded the festival for free and Fiery , in the person of Ricki Farr announced from the stage on Friday night that they all they wanted to do was break even and they would declare the festival free once 170,000 people had paid. In fact the festival did become free on Sunday morning after the walls had been breached and Fiery staff couldn't handle the crowd of well over 200,000 who wanted to cram into the arena. White Panthers and others contemplating organising free festivals ( and they should have learnt something from Phun City ) , would do well to access the figures published by Fiery and their claims of expenditure on the festival. Obviously the biggest rip off is the 250,000 pounds in fees to the performers most top line acts were paid around 10.000 pounds for a one to two hour performance with additional payments to come from any film or records made. The hassles over money created havoc backstage and ensured the concerts were slow and unprogrammed. As Jean Jaques Label has pointed out., these super rock stars are not heroes of the revolution, they are its enemies.
Fiery could have cut some of these costs by programming fewer stars and ,making the concerts shorter , but it seems that a spectacular film was demanded and this could only have come from an over saturated all star cast. A few days before the event Fiery released their pre festival estimated expenditure.
Artists fees ? 250.,000Total audience required at 3 pounds a ticket to break even was 140,000. The film and recording profits are extra. The there is income not included in the above estimate . Site concession fees,( 500 pounds per stall), catering concession, programme concession ( e.g.; 600 pounds from the Evening Standard. ) Fiery announced over the PA on Saturday that there were 600,000 people at the festival. On Friday Ricki Farr announced that if 170,000 people paid , Fiery would break even. On Saturday night there were over 200,000 people in the arena , including the liberated VIP and press enclosures .
Site construction , fencing , power generators, water supply , drainage , etc. 100,000
Staff wages 40,000
Office and administration 30,000
Additional expenses which Fiery
claim are not theirs include the cost of making the film, hiring eight film
crews , thousands of feet of film and sound tape and hiring all of the equipment
etc. These are presumably paid for by Woodside Broadcasting
which seems to be another Fiery company with Murray
Learner in charge. Film recording and publishing concessions were handled
by Press Lines, a company owned by island resident
and former ITV camera man Charles Everest, who
seems to have acted as a managerial capacity for Fiery.
In the pre festival estimate there is no mention of the the vast advertising
campaign Fiery organised months before the event
. Nor were the legal expenses or other losses incurred in moving site after
prolonged legal action accounted for. There is also a large amount supposed
to have been paid to island charities to calm the opposition. In all it seems
most likely that 500,000 would have had to have
been spent to get the event on. But it also seems likely that this sum would
have been recovered from ticket sales and other income , over and above future
profits from ownership of film , TV and recording rights.
The insistence by pop groups of cash payments has obviously weakened
Fiery's ready cash position, but any claims that they are broke suggest
further promotional bullshit that Fiery have dished out over the past two years.
Isle of Wight 1970 festival menu
updated March 2019
The Underground press- NB: opinions expressed in these articles do not represent our opinions of the organisers or any other people involved in the running of the festival, it is possible that they may be innaccurate in some details or facts.
Reports from the "Straight "press
updated March 2019
The White Panthers
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1968 Isle of Wight festival 1969 Isle of Wight festival
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