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The Last Great Event - cover

The Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 famously ‘stole Bob Dylan from Woodstock’ and was the starting point and benchmark for all rock and pop festivals in the UK.

What followed in 1970 was one of the world’s greatest music gatherings of all time, attracting musicians and fans from across the whole musical spectrum. The list of performers is a Who’s Who of the then music élite, who are now legends: Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, the Who, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Joni Mitchell, Procul Harum, the Doors, Leonard Cohen, the Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer – the list goes on. This was Britain’s ‘Woodstock’ and all on a tiny island off the south coast. It would also be Hendrix’s last major performance – 17 days later he was dead.

Many remember this festival as a magical, life-changing experience, encapsulating the sixties trip of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and a political yearning for a better world. But for others, a question looms large over the history: did this final festival help precipitate the end of the dream of an alternative society, or did it reflect the changes already taking effect?

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