Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival 1969

2019 marks the golden anniversary of the mass musical gatherings that saw the hippie generation at their 1969 zenith. Two events stand out, staged with days of each other that magical August: in the United States, there was Woodstock, and in the UK the Isle of Wight Festival of Music. Woodstock drew 400,000 fans and a quality bill that was a ‘Who’s Who’ of contemporary talent – all bar Bob Dylan – whom the organisers hoped to lure on the doorstep of his home.

Instead, Dylan opted to headline at the Isle of Wight, in front of close to 200,000 adoring fans.

In ‘Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival 1969’ Bill Bradshaw, in association with Ray Foulk, celebrates the events of that summer 50 years on…and remembers how the Isle of Wight, off England’s southern coast, staged the huge coup of pulling off what was then the nation’s biggest festival.

It features almost 200 pages packed with first-hand accounts of the “Dylan” festival from organisers, performers and the fans who flocked to the event, bringing alive that gilded summer and exploring how it influenced both Dylan and the rock festival movement for generations to come.

It includes many photographs published for the first time, and a revealing foreword from Julie Felix.

‘There were people as far as the eye could see, it was surrealistic to just look out and not be able to see where the crowd ended. Dylan was waiting to go on outside his caravan and we talked for a long time. I consider that one of the little islands of memory I will always cherish.’Julie Felix, 1969 IoW Festival co-star.

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A one-day rock festival on the Isle of Wight to mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1969 IoW ‘Dylan’ Festival of Music.

A one-day rock festival on the Isle of Wight to mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1969 IoW ‘Dylan’ Festival of Music.

TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE to honour the music and spirit of the iconic 1969 Isle of Wight Festival of Music and the historic appearance of Bob Dylan.

It aims to attract a cross-generation audience, including those who attended the 1969 event as well as all those who have since been influenced by – and love – the music and culture of that era.

The musical performances at the Million Dollar Bash are being curated by Ashley Hutchings MBE, regarded by Dylan himself as “the single most important figure in English folk rock.” Hutchings is hailed as the father of genre in Europe and he was a founder member of both Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

Apart from Dylan, the 1969 festival featured top transatlantic names such as The Band, Tom Paxton, The Who, Free, Julie Felix, The Moody Blues and Pentangle. Performers on the Bash bill either appeared on the Isle of Wight roster in 1969 or have close links to the music and ethos of the era. They include Julie Felix, Richard Thompson, Wishbone Ash, Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle, Kossoff: The Band Plays on and Dick Taylor & Phil May of The Pretty Things with JC & Angelina. At the top of the bill will be Hutchings’ specially-assembled Dylancentric, an all-star band put together to honour Dylan’s Island set.

The event will be staged at the County Showground, near Cowes, in two performance areas: a big-top Gothic tent with a capacity for 3,000 fans and a smaller acoustic tent.

A third tent will feature historic exhibits and imagery from the historic 1969 Festival. This will include the original WEM speakers and other sound equipment used in the event 50 years ago, Festival imagery, ephemera and memorabilia from the original Isle of Wight Festivals.

As well as the musical performances scheduled spoken word and poetry will also feature at the event.

Million Dollar Bash is hosted by All Wight Now. With a core of music enthusiasts, AWN has been established to stage celebrations of the 1969 and (in 2020) the 1970 Isle of Wight Festivals.

Plans for the 2019 Event follow on from the successful staging of All Wight Now 2018, which took place at Tapnell Farm in September 2018.

The AWM group is also working on plans for an international Festival Visitors Centre to be located on the Isle of Wight


Dimensions 22.8 × 19.8 cm





June 2019


Bill Bradshaw


Medina Publishing


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