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The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. 26th - 30th August 1970.
This article used to be featured on Peter Daltrey's official webiste, which appears to have vanished, so we are posting it here , as its too good to just vanish into oblivion. If this article is published elsewhere on the web, Contact us and we will just link to it and remove our copy.
NME: A group called I Luv Wight has recorded, `Let the world washin,` which has been adopted as the official Isle of Wight Festival
disc. It is set for 21st August release by Philips. The record will be played non-stop between acts at the event. I Luv Wight hides the identity of one of the groups taking part in the festival.
Record Retailer: The song will be played non-stop during intervals. I Luv Wight`s true identity will be revealed at the festival.
Philips ad text: I Luv Wight/Festival
Song -- A single you`ll want to keep... In a souvenir IOW bag!
Oh, dear, oh, dear... The best laid plans of mice, men and multi- national record companies. Let`s sort this out once and for all.
Once the IOW single was in the can and delivered to Philips -- once `Just Another Day` was released (and ignored by the radio stations) -- once `From home to home` was released to good reviews -- we set about planning for our festival appearance. From the 16th to the 20th of August we rehearsed at a pig farm in Woking. Yes, that is right. In the height of a sultry summer we were in a narrow tin-roofed pig hut strutting our stuff. (All right it was a new building that had yet to see a poor porker.)
We`d discussed our set, arriving at a list of songs that reflected our more pastoral side, as some of the critics liked to call it. We would play more
of our recorded songs, the ones we often left out of college gigs. We realised from the outset that we were likely to be dwarfed by the physical
dimensions of the gig and the stage itself. We would look ridiculous if we went out there in the middle of the day with our heavier material. We all agreed we would be grass- chewing-folk-loving-bucolic-gentle-rockers for the day. But the pre-gig excitement had already permeated the pig hut. This was going to be enormous.
The day after we left Woking,
`Let the world wash in` was released. I Luv Wight? Don`t ask me. Where the idea
came from for this stupid subterfuge
I`ll never know. What was the point? Surely any band asked to write the theme song for Britain`s biggest festival would have capitalized mightily on the beneficial publicity, not skulked behind a twee pseudonym. Weird. Ed and I were even given cover names as the writers on the disc: Newnes and Baker.
Why? `It will be revealed
at the festival who the band is...` So bloody what? Who would be bothered? T`would
have been better to have promoted it as the new Fairfield Parlour single --
and kept `Just Another Day` back for later release, probably on an album as
it was not good enough for a single.
But more of this later. Let`s look at the reviews to get an idea of the critics` view.
NME: The official IOW festival song, which I`m told will be plugged to death at the event. The lyric is descriptive and, as you might expect, there`s a repetitive chorus in which the masses can join. Rippling guitars and tambourine are outstanding in the backing and the beat is intensified by handclaps as the routine nears its climax.
Melody Maker: I can`t really
see the lads and lasses singing along as it proves to be rather a gentle ballad
without much of a hook.
Now why didn`t they get good old Ralph Reeader to come up with something? This is an appalling dirge.
Music Business Weekly: For
reasons best known to themselves they have adopted a pseudonym -- though the
song is published by
Fairfield Parlour`s Our Songs Ltd. A gentle, melodic harmony song, with a strong repetitive chorus -- in keeping with their last single -- and attractive instrumental work. If, through the festival, it gets the exposure they are hoping for, it could well
make the charts.
Now: Echoing the gentleness of Woodstock, but with something more tangible,
it would be nice to hear countless billions on the
island singing the chorus to this. If everyone there buys a copy as a momento of a memorable weekend, this should hold the charts
for the next ten years at least. Not sure who I Luv Wight are, but they seem to be onto a good thing with this folky number with its
repetitive tune and everybody-join-in feel. Admittedly it`s not a very intricate song, but that would defeat the purpose. We`ll see what happens to this after the weekend.
We travelled to the island
on 25th August. Lungfuls of fresh air. The deep blue briney. The quaint old
ferry ploughing its merry way through the surfy spume. The splenetic seagulls
suggesting we might like to go back to where we come from. The green-breasted
island rising like a dream on the horizon.
The holiday-makers oblivious to our ecstasy, hurrying like happy ants to strips of welcoming sand, their children crying and screaming not knowing that they would remember these moments for ever: family holidays at the seaside when the sun never dipped its face behind the fat black cumuli.
Actually, they got on our nerves. They swarmed all over the island in their sight-seeing-twenty-miles-an-hour motors. They clogged the roads and beaches and looked down their red-raw noses at the hairier festival contingent. We, in turn, looked on them as the plebeians. They would never know what it waslike to step out onto a vast stage and be transported to heaven on a tidal wave of sound. They also wouldn`t know what it was like to be scared to death at just the thought of that one-small-step...
We checked into the Claredon
Hotel at Shanklin. It was run by Herbie Snowball, a salty sea dog, Captain Pugwash
sort of a guy. We hit it off
immediately. It would be a lasting friendship. For two days we roamed the island enjoying the sun and the atmosphere; something was in the air itself. The breeze seemed already to carry the sound of distant music and soft applause. And then we were sat watching the news one evening when it was announced that the IRA, in a continuing protest at British troops on the streets of Belfast, had threatened to shoot the first group on stage at the weekend`s Isle of Wight festival. "Dave -- who are the first group on stage on Friday?" Dave draws deep on a simmering ciggie. He is bathed in an eerie silver light from the flickering monochrome TV. "You are," he replies
On the Friday morning we
drove up to a hill that over-looked the festival site. Already people were camped
in their thousands on the
hillside. Free camping, free view of the festival -- albeit from a greatdistance. Perhaps a little sound would reach this far on a favourable
breeze. You could certainly feel the growing excitement even at this remove. All of the benefits, none of the hassle: sweaty crowds of weekend-hippies; officious security; over-priced artery-coating fast food; ear-damaging decibels; `oh,-look-it`s-just-a-hole-in-the-ground lavatories. Down below the huge site was filling with people, the stage to the left, beyond that the crowded official camp sites. We went down.
It all looked different at ground zero. The dusty, rutted roads, the narrow alleys of the market stalls, the heady aroma of head aromas, the tough-guy security, the chaos back stage.
We climbed the stairs and
had a peek out across the wide stage at the spreading tide of the audience.
My god! We hurried back down. The `changing room` was a tent, its shaded interior
aglow with suffused sunlight, welcoming, an oasis where we could live forever
-- we`re never coming out.
Please don`t make us do this! Mum!
We were due to play around 1 o`clock, but obviously this got pushed back for various reasons. We had a 45 minute set carefully planned, timed almost to the second. We emerged from the tent, our throats dry , our brows wet, our legs like the jelly mum used to make for us when we were kids -- Mum, get me outta here! We approached the steps to the stage. Suddenly, from nowhere, a French film crew pounced, gabbling questions and thrusting their all-seeingcameras in our startled faces -- and then Ricky Farr -- over-weight compere -- yelled at us from the high stage; `You`re on! Get up here now. Oh, and by the way -- you`ve only got twenty minutes. Now get on with it!`
We had ten seconds to scythe
the set in two. Up the stairs. Don`t look at the audience -- you`ll die. Plug
in. Up to the microphone, listen for the
music, open mouth -- and sing! We were playing -- we were still alive -- no-one had shot us! The applause wafted to us on a friendly breeze: it was a warm wave, comforting. Next song -- next... It was over. Applause -- a glance up to the distant, tented hill. Must burn this once-in-a-lifetime
image onto my eyes, into my brain. `Thankyou -- we`re Fairfield Parlour.
Goodbye...!` We left the stage, just as we`d come on, unannounced. It was over.
Now -- the very first interval
between acts! `Let the world wash in!` Wait for it! Nothing... Fat Farr played
it later and then famously skimmed it
into the audience like a lethal frisbee with a disparaging remark to send it on its way. It was over. Not quite.
Dave kicked up a bull-in-a-china-shop
sort of fuss. He was furious. What about the agreement? This went on the rest
of the Friday, through the
Saturday and into the Sunday. Bands came and went on stage; I don`t remember a single one, so focused were we on our quest for justice. Dave would not admit defeat. Apoplectic with rage, he finally got the organizers to agree to let us play an acoustic version of the song on the
We were happy -- and terrified -- at the thought. The song would get a good airing in front of the maximum audience. We were led to the foot of the stage on the dusky Sunday evening. The site now looked shabby and worn. As did most of the people milling about front and back stage. The atmosphere, although still very much electric, was more tense, less welcoming. Ed clutched his guitar and crouched down with Dave and I in front of the stage, waiting for the nod. I can`t even recall who played that night, so nervous was I at the prospect of what was just moments away. We waited -- and waited... And, of course, the nod never did come. They were playing with us for their own amusement.
Around midnight Dave led
It was over -- and over...
We went home to Fairfield Parlour.
Isle of Wight 1970 festival menu
updated March 2019
- Press and Program items
- Site Photos (updated Feb 2019 )
- Site map. (new 1-10-02)
- Isle of Wight 1970 homepage
- Official Program (New 9-16-03)
- Personal recollections of the festival-updated with new photos June 2009
- Other attendees recollections part 1 (updated Dec 2011)
- Other attendees recollections part 2 (updated March 2019)
- Information about band performances , personnel. set lists and recordings (updated December 2011)Col Underhill's Photos of the festival-New June 2009
- The Film
- IOW posters, passes and tickets
- 1970 festival page with rare pix.
- The battle to prevent the festival.
- The ArtistThe Pye Recording crew New pix July 2010
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.
- Friends Article ; Richard Nevilles review- A Race Of Bloody Masochists.
- Friends Article ; Anarchists, White Panthers ,Desolation Hill, The Angels
- Friends Article : The Police, Drugs, Food.
- Friends Article : Freek Press, The Beach , Community Aid ,Money.
- Friends Article : The Concerts, the Music.
- Friends Article : Guerilla Medicine , The straight press.
- Friends Article : Hawkwind and PInk Fairies.
- Friends Article : Rupert finds d...s at IOW
- Freek press No 1 - 8 -updated August 2007- new copies and updates
- Fairfield Parlour- Let the World Wash In
Reports from the "Straight "press
updated March 2019
- August 25th 1970
- August 26th 1970
- August 27th 1970
- August 28th 1970
- August 29th 1970
- August 30th 1970
- August 31st 1970
- September 1st 1970
- Memoirs of a Blacklisted Journalist- great backstage IOW 70 account
- Excellent collection of photos of artists and site
- Extensive personal memoirs by Loris Valvona - well worth a read -added Jan 2012
The White Panthers
Other IOW festivals.If you have any info you can contribute to the site, especially regarding the 1968 and 1969 festivals, such as details of recordings. recollections, programmes, tickets, pix or articles don't just sit there , Contact us
1968 Isle of Wight festival 1969 Isle of Wight festival
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