The Last Great Event

The 1970 Festival was a record-breaking event. It spanned five days and nights with an audience widely reported to have reached 600,000. For the first time, Ray Foulk delves into contemporary reports, revealing the arguments that raged at both local and national level. His inside story concludes with the parliamentary battle to stop the Island event and the attempt to ban all open air festivals nationwide.

“If you were one of the half a million music fans who made their way like raggle-taggle gypsies to the Isle of Wight 1970 then you will absolutely love this backstage look at a great moment in rock history.”

Ray Connolly,  Daily Mail

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The Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 famously tempted Bob Dylan out of retreat, becoming at once launchpad and gold standard for all rock festivals. The question was how to follow it? Remarkably, in 1970 the Isle of Wight would host one of the greatest music gatherings of all time. The dazzling constellation of stars included Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, the Who, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, the Doors, Leonard Cohen, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and the Moody Blues. This was Europe’s Woodstock – and all on a small island off England’s south coast. Many remember the Isle of Wight Festival of 1970 as a magical, life-changing experience, the ultimate sixties trip of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and a yearning for a better world. Yet for others the question remains: Did the festival help precipitate the end of the dream of an alternative society? Or did it merely reflect changes already taking place? This most controversial of festivals was aptly promoted by the organisers themselves as “The Last Great Event”.

Additional information

Dimensions 23.5 × 16.5 cm



4 June 2016

7 reviews for The Last Great Event

  1. James Campbell

    “If asked before I read The Last Great Event, I would have said – with the same certainity that I would claim to have heard Free at Glastonbury the year before – that Hendrix’s piece de resistance was “The Star-Spangled Banner”. After all, I was there. Ray Foulk was even more there. he says it was “God Save the Queen”

    James Campbell, Times Literary Supplement

  2. Ray Connolly

    “If you were one of the half a million music fans who made their way like raggle-taggle gypsies to the Isle of Wight 1970, you will absolutely love this backstage look at a great moment in rock history”

    Ray Connolly, Daily Mail

  3. Sid Griffin

    “Ray Foulk and his brothers, Ronnie and Bill – it is incredible what they did – it is incredible”

    Sid Griffin, BBC Radio 6

  4. Ray Foulk

    “Our reputation had been made. The great advantage we had in 1970 was that Dylan’s manager, Bert Block, became our North America booking agent, so we must have done something right.”

    Ray Foulk, Interview in the Oxfordshire Guardian

  5. Malcolm Dome

    “This is a crazy tale. A sort you’d be hard-pushed to believe in an era when music festivals are so homogenised.”

    Malcolm Dome, Classic Rock Magazine

  6. Drew Athans

    “A time capsule of a fantastic, unique, and magical moment in time, as told by one of the men who was there in the middle of it all and who helped make it happen. It’s a detailed, fascinating, truthful, and revealing historical look at the last of the original Isle of Wight Festivals”

    Drew Athans, The Rock and Roll Chemist

  7. Donal Gallaher

    “A most enjoyable and well crafted book. Having attended and participated in the Isle of Wight Festival, with my brother’s band Taste (as a road-manger), it was so pleasing to read the account of the whole event and wished I had met up with Ray before completing the Taste documentary from the gig.”

    Donal Gallagher

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