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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.
Bill Bradshaw is an award-winning Fleet Street journalist, editor and broadcaster who began his career in the provincial press in the 1970s. He cut his teeth as a music critic and columnist interviewing stars such as Marc Bolan, Cliff Richard, David Essex, Billy Fury and Sonja Kristina before moving into sports journalism. He has lived on the Isle of Wight for the last four years and helped organise the inaugural ‘All Wight Now’ event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first IoW Festival in 1968.