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Isle of Wight Festival 1970

Discussion in 'music' started by Nigel, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. Nigel

    Nigel pfm Member

  2. Nigel

    Nigel pfm Member

    Forgot to mention, the article states the entrance fee was the same price as a double album of the day! How times have changed.
  3. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    I was there - unfortunately i can’t remember much about it :rolleyes:
  4. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I was at both the 1969 and 1970 festivals, but like Mike for some reason I have a pretty poor recall. ;)
  5. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    Don't be embarrassed - you must both be about the same age as me, and I can't even remember my car's registration number with certainty.
    mikechadwick likes this.
  6. timH

    timH pfm Member

    I was at the 1968 one. Which went all through the night. I was wearing jeans and a Wrangler cord jacket - I froze my **** off. Fairport Convention brought the dawn in. Jefferson Airplane were the headliners and they had the largest light show we’d ever seen. Half way through their set Grace Slick apologised because they weren’t able to bring their full light show which was four times the size.:)
  7. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    I went to the IOWF 1970 and took my first LSD trip. I was 15 years old. There were so many iconic musicians - from Leonard Cohen, Joni and Sly to Jimi Hendrix - it was hard to keep up. The chances are you would miss a major moment if you fell asleep.

    There were 600,00 people at the gig. Many wanted a free festival and the substantial fence was destroyed. Anarchist and left-wing politicos hollered their propaganda and no doubt Wally turned up. The Festival didn't seem like a proper hippie one, that time had been and gone. It took place eight months after Altamont.

    Richard Williams was writing for Melody Maker at the time. He has a great piece on his blog about the day that John Sebastian, Joni Mitchell, Tiny Tim and Miles Davis played.

    Miles was in his Bitches Brew period and performed for 35 minutes. Richard Williams vividly capures the set:

    "Now it was late afternoon, and into the last rays of the sun slid Miles Davis, a 44-year-old jazz trumpeter who had served his apprenticeship almost a quarter of a century earlier with Charlie Parker and now faced the challenge of captivating 600,000 hippies. He took the stage in a thin red leather jacket over an orange knitted top, with studded blue jeans and silver boots. His sidemen — the saxophonist Gary Bartz, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett on electric keyboards, Dave Holland on bass guitar, Jack DeJohnette on drums and Airto Moreira on percussion — had come as they were.

    "In August 1970 Miles was moving from a freer version of the complex music his quintet played in the second half of the ’60s to a direct engagement with funk. He’d already played to young audiences at the Fillmores in San Francisco and New York, on bills with the Grateful Dead and the Steve Miller Band. But the ties to the earlier music were not yet cut. The rhythm section he brought to the Isle of Wight ensured that however groove-centred the music became, it retained its freedom and complexity.

    "An unbroken set alluded to five compositions from the previous couple of years — “Directions”, “Bitches Brew”, “It’s About that Time”, “Sanctuary” and “Spanish Key” — before finishing with a fragment of his usual fanfare. Shrewdly, he played for barely 35 minutes: enough to intrigue and even beguile the hippies who didn’t know his music, not enough to try their patience.

    "The opening salvo took no prisoners. Miles wanted the music to burn, and he was concentrating hard as he led the way with fierce stabs and insolent runs on his lacquered instrument. The stage was bracketed by Jarrett, on an RMI keyboard that gave him the sounds of an electric piano and an organ, and Corea, who had what looks like a ring modulator on the top of his Hohner instrument and used it to make bleeps and squiggles of sound. Holland brought a jazz musician’s inventiveness to the funk bass lines, which was not what Miles would ultimately want, but there was a passage when he and DeJohnette meshed into a kind of broken second-line rhythm that lifted the music right up. Bartz flighted his brief soprano and alto solos with a keening sound and a striking trajectory, while Airto added the exotic noises of the shaker, the pandeira, the agôgo, and the cuica, a Brazilian friction drum with a distinctive whooping sound.

    "Miles prowled the stage, never far from the action. A quarter of an hour in, midway through “It’s About that Time”, virtually unrecognisable from its treatment on In a Silent Way a year earlier, the music took off. As it seethed and roiled, Miles returned to centre-stage and played two short, quiet phrases that redirected everything. Then he sketched the exposed theme of “Sanctuary” before cueing up the riff of “Spanish Key”.

    "He let the band get on with it for five minutes before raising his horn and lowering it back to the microphone, the signal for the funk to back off and textures to be laid over the simmering pulse behind his exquisite open-horn phrases, some of the them hinting at old Moorish influence. As he returned to the staccato jabs, the rhythm section, which had been simmering quietly, rose up again in response, coming back to the boil.

    "And suddenly the time was up. The music shuddered towards a halt. While the rhythm section wound down, Miles bent down to pick up his silver mute, waved his trumpet once to the crowd, grabbed his shoulder bag and his jacket, and was gone, into the dusk, leaving us to talk about the extraordinary nature of what we’d heard, and what it meant to hear it in the context of a giant rock festival. When they asked him the names of the pieces he’d played, he said, “Call it anything.”"

    Engels, robs, Nigel and 3 others like this.
  8. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    ^^^You have a bloody good memory for someone who was trippin', especially the first time
    Dirkster likes this.
  9. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London


    Big Tabs likes this.
  10. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    My wife (not yet then) and I hitch-hiked there. Don't remember too much (long time ago too) as I was tripping most of the time. Then we hitch-hiked back to London.
    There is an often re-printed picture showing my wife at the Phun City festival, looking very out of it. She must have been, as 2 days later she took me home with her (I was homeless and a street beggar at the time). 50 years now!
    tobermory and Nigel like this.
  11. robs

    robs should know how this works by no

    I love this film. If you want a quick intro to this period of Miles then this is it.
    Few years ago I had a phone cover made with a print from it with an overlay - Miles blowing with the sun in the background.

    jackbarron and mikechadwick like this.
  12. Jonn

    Jonn Tons of Trouble

    I remember getting off the ferry only to discover the festival site was miles away. There were some buses laid on but they stopped nowhere near the site so we had to join a travelling army of stoned and unwashed and walk.

    When we got there it was full so ended up on a hillside overlooking the stage sitting on my sleeping bag. Couldn’t see much and the sound was shite, drifting with the wind. I survived for three days on a bottle of milk, loaf of bread and a tin of peaches opened with a penknife.
    I do remember waking up on Sunday with the sun on my face and the beatific sound of John Sebastian singing what a day for a day dream.
    Lost my mates along the way and it took 2 days to hitchhike home. Happy Days :)
    mikechadwick and Nigel like this.

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