The Isle of Wight is considered one of the UK’s most captivating locations and with its rich cultural history it is a destination for music lovers. No visit to the Island is complete without delving into its rock‘n’roll past and present. So, let’s take a look at what’s on offer:
Isle of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight
The first stop is a visit to the legendary Isle of Wight Festival, 12-15th June 2014, as the first major music event of the summer; the award winning Festival is steeped in history.
It all began with a series of Festivals between 1968 and 1970, widely acknowledged as Europe’s equivalent of Woodstock. In 1970 Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez and the Moody Blues among others, played to over 600,000 people. In 1969, Bob Dylan made his first appearance in 3 years, having become a recluse and Hendrix was the climax of a five-day music extravaganza in 1970. Attracting a vast and varied free-spirited audience, together with artists from all over the world. The event marked a turning point in UK music history and played a major part in shaping the music festivals we know today.
In 2002 after a 32-year hiatus the Isle of Wight Festival was reincarnated by John Giddings, who attended the event in 1970 at East Afton Farm. Since its rebirth 13 years ago, the Festival has its own history and has played host some of the biggest acts in the world, who have crossed the Solent to grace the Main Stage. Including the likes of; The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam, Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse, Kings of Leon, Jay-Z, The Strokes, The Who, David Bowie, Coldplay, Muse, The Sex Pistols, The Police, Blondie and many more. Such is its draw, last year The Boomtown Rats reformed after 26 years apart to play the Festival.
John Giddings, Isle of Wight Festival promoter: “We would never have attempted to restart the Festival without having such a strong history, the Isle of Wight was the Woodstock of Europe. I saw Jimi Hendrix there and was proud to be offered the chance to contribute to the Island’s musical heritage. Years on we are now creating our own musical legacy”.
David Thornton, The Chief Executive of Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW): “The Isle of Wight Festival now has a place in the hearts and minds of millions of people, and is one of the most important opportunities we have each year to welcome visitors to the Island. And while we’re keen to highlight the way it’s very much business as usual at the time of the annual Festival – with opportunities for non-Festival goers to also enjoy our many and varied attractions – we do recognise the tremendous positive impact that the Isle of Wight Festival has had on the very fabric of the Island. Perhaps most importantly of all, we’ve now reached a point where we can celebrate its full history and heritage, and tell the tale of two Festivals – the one which grew out of the now famous 1970 event, and the current one which is THE definitive music festival in the UK.”
For a chance to see where the original and the modern Festival meet check out some of the top attractions the Island has to offer.
Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Terrace Lane Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, PO40 9QE
The original and the new Festival continue to play a huge part in the diverse cultural heritage of the Island and for music fans this presence is evident throughout. Music lovers who want to be transported back in time can visit hidden gem Dimbola Museum and Galleries, where there is permanent photographic and memorabilia exhibition from the 1970 Festival.
The exhibition features never seen before photographs from the original Festival, the colour slides were taken by local man Kenneth Box and were only discovered last year. This is a true time capsule depicting the atmospheric sights and surroundings – hippies camping in the woods, young people of the time dressed in outlandish costumes and face paint, all reveling in the late summer sun.
Taking visitors through the Isle of Wight Festival history right up to present day, this is a unique chance to see where it all started. Rare posters, programmes, press cuttings, tickets, and memorabilia of the original event are on show. Julia Margaret Cameron, the famous Victorian portrait photographer, lived at Dimbola from 1860 until 1875, where she photographed the cream of Victorian Society. A charitable trust was set up in her name to ensure its preservation and today, it also features the music and crowds of the iconic Festival, giving a glimpse of Festival life in the 70s.
The Museum features images from the reincarnated Festival, which includes artists who have graced the Main Stage – Iggy Pop, Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters, Paul Weller and Coldplay, amongst others.
Jimi Hendrix Memorial, Dimbola Museum and Galleries
Outside Dimbola there is a small memorial garden with a statue of Jimi Hendrix designed by sculptor John Swindells. This life-size bronze is a lasting memorial to the legendary performance from Hendrix in 1970 and commemorates his last UK show before his untimely death. The statue is set amidst a specially planted meditation area and dressed just as he was in 1970, when he brought his ‘message to love’ to the Island. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your picture taken next to Jimi and his guitar or breathe in the wonderful lavender ‘Purple Haze’ that grows in his garden. The statue was donated to Dimbola by Isle of Wight Festival Promoter John Giddings, in a nod to the history of the iconic Festival.
Dr Brian Hinton MBE, Chairman of the Julia Margaret Trust: “Dimbola is so proud to place lovely art piece outside of the house of a 19th Century pioneer photographer, who would have so loved to photograph and celebrate Jimi. Now the statue is itself a place of pilgrimage with people coming from all over the world to be photographed alongside it.”
Isle of Wight Festival organisers Solo, keep the spirit and tradition of its roots alive by conserving many of its attributes. Artist Dave Roe created the original artwork and the intricate, colourful and iconic designs are ever present today. Although the 60s are over, the modern Festival is renowned for bringing together artists of the past, present and future.
To be there tickets for this year’s Festival are available now from www.isleofwightfestival.com, with headline performances from Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers – their only UK show in 2014, Kings of Leon, plus closing Friday night Calvin Harris.
Red Funnel www.redfunnel.co.uk / 0844 844 2687 is offering weekend camping tickets to the Isle of Wight Festival plus return ferry travel, 12-15 June 2014, for just £220.30pp. This price includes an Isle of Wight Festival ticket with weekend camping at the Festival, valid for arrivals on Thursday 12 June and departures until Monday 16 June. This price also includes return flexible tickets for foot passenger travel on the Vehicle Ferry to East Cowes.
Red Funnel www.redfunnel.co.uk / 0844 844 2687 is offering four nights’ accommodation during the Isle of Wight Festival weekend, plus return ferry crossings from just £232 per person. This price is based on two adults sharing a double room at The Old Church House B&B – located in Newport and close to the festival’s site, just a 10 minute drive away – plus return vehicle ferry crossings. This price is valid for arrivals on Thursday 12 June and departures on Monday 16 June, 2014.
How to get there:
It couldn’t be easier to travel to the Isle of Wight, which is located just 2 and a half hours from London.
Trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour (journey approximately 1.5 hours), then WightLink (www.wightlink.co.uk) catamaran from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde (the catamaran takes approximately 22 minutes).
Trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth & Southsea station, bus to Hovercraft terminal at Southsea and then the Hovercraft (www.wightlink.co.uk) from Southsea to Ryde (the Hovercraft takes approximately 10 minutes).
Trains from London Waterloo to Southampton, then take connecting bus outside the station to the port and the Red Jet (www.redfunnel.co.uk) to Cowes (Red Jet takes approx. 25 minutes).
Bring your car via Portsmouth/Southampton, and come across on the WightLink car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne (near Ryde), or Red Funnel (www.redfunnel.co.uk) Southampton to East Cowes car ferry.
Isle of Wight Festival – Various ticket and travel packages are available, head to www.isleofwightfestival.com for all the details
About the Isle of Wight:
For further information on the Isle of Wight Festival 2014 please contact:
Situated just off England’s South Coast and less than two and a half hours from London, the Isle of Wight is the UK’s “holiday island’ and a top short-break destination any time of year – with everything from great bicycle trails, to dinosaurs. For further information visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
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