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"Straight press "

August 30th 1970.

Entry is free at the easygoing pop festival.
Aug. 30th 1970.

Residents of Desolation Hill at the Isle Of Wight Festival taking an early morning dip yesterday.

    The Isle of Wight pop festival became a free show yesterday as the organisers fought a losing battle to keep control over admissions to the sprawling event . Sections of fence around the arena were broken down and people poured in , though later security men established some control. Outside, those leaving early sold unused tickets at a discount to people who did not realize they would not need them. On East Afton Down behind the site at least 60,000 watched the performances for nothing .The box office closed this afternoon because of " lack of demand a festival official said.

               In spite of these difficulties and the latent tension betweeen security forces and free music militants the general mood of easygoing good will has been sustained. If Fiery Creations , the organizers ,are not entirely happy with the way things have worked out ,most of the people who camc are, and the police once again been slightly surprised by the general good behaviour. The organizers say that `about 400,000 pcople have assembled on and around the site but police say the figure is probably closer to 250,000.

       Mr. Douglas Osmond Chief Constable of Hampshire, who has been on the island since Wednesday said today: "One of the good things has been the absence of violence. There is far less violence here than at a normal league football match." But hc critiized " the lunatic fringe ". He blamed thcm for attacks on a wall and for their attitude towards police. Mr. Osmond said he had gone in casual clothes to sit on the down among the people and listen to the music. " I found it very pleasant " he said.

       Fiery Crcations said this would be the last pop festival they will promole on the island. The event has become too big and they have serious doubts whether they will make a profit this year. An official said they were 70000 down on expected ticket sales although there was still substantial revenue to come from catering stallholders fees and film rights. The organizers say tbey bave spent 500,000 on the festival, roughly half of tbis on entertainers' fees. Joan Baez, top of tbe bill, is said to be getting 12,000 for ber appearance but the organizers are reluctant to give exact figures because tbey say this might lead to jealousy.

              Experts on pop culture have long been saying tbat the large pop festival was a dying phenomenon and that this years Isle of Wight festival would be the last great event. Fiery Creations assertion that the festival is almost unmanageable bears this out .Certainly one of their mistakes was to book too many big names, with thc result that the programmc ran hours late and many of the stars did not appear until the small hours of the morning. Yesterday's programme over ran so much that thc last group on thc programme did not appear until daylight this morning. This has caused considerable resentment among exhausted pop enthusiasts and may account for many of them Ieaving today when rhe programme is again likely to overrun. By afternoon the queue for buses to thc ferry stretched aImost a mile.

       The festival bas highlighted the growth of the pot smoking habit and the difficulties of the police in enforcing the law. Mr. Osmond said it would have been a very difficult problem to enforce the letter of the law and would have required far more than the 500 police on duty. Mr. Osmond said: "Parliament has already said that possesion is not such a serious offence as dealing in drugs , I think we were entitled to take a a rather more tolerant view of this in the emotionally charged at mosphere of the festival and in these special circumstances . The purpose of our operation has been to cut out drugs at the source of supply and in this I think we have been reasonably suceessful." . Mr. O`mond criticised those who take a light view of drugs . He also deplored the initial ten.dency of some of those con-cerned with the feslival to gorify' the use of drugs.. The growth of the "underground press`" is also reflected here by a news agency on the site , which produces duplicated newsheets from time to time, giving up to-the-minute, racy, news of events. Joan Baez said at a press conference at the festival tonight , that she could appreciate the anger of young people who did not want to pay for music. But she said if they wanted a free festival they should create it themselves. " I don't think they understand that we have to bear thc cost of plane tickets, somebody to look after the baby, and all that sort of thing "

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.


International Times.

Reports from the "Straight "press

updated March 2019

External links

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Other IOW festivals.
  • 1968 Isle of Wight festival
  • 1969 Isle of Wight festival
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