Anniversary festival to recreate iconic 1970 IW Festival stage at Afton

Experience 1970 is to recreate the iconic 1970 Isle of Wight Festival stage for the three-day 50th anniversary event in September.

This summer sees the golden anniversary of ‘The Last Great Event’ when a staggering crowd estimated at up to 600,000 swamped the Island to see a blistering five-day festival starring Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, The Who, Free, The Moody Blues and many more.

Now organisers Chris Hewitt and Andy Sharrocks have released an artist’s impression of the state-of-the-art 21st Century recreation of the festival stage that hosted that glittering array of talent back in the day.

It will boast the same twin-gable features of the original, designed by co-promoter Bill Foulk and built by Ron ‘Turner’ Smith, an IoW engineer and politician, who died aged 95 on Boxing Day.

Chris Hewitt said: “We are determined to pay a full tribute to the 1970 IW Festival and that begins by honouring the stage designed by Bill Foulk and created and built by the legendary Ron ‘Turner’ Smith. I know Ron was held in the highest regard by all the Foulk brothers who promoted the 1970 event and this is our own way of tipping our hats.

“We intend to reproduce the famous signwriting and even the parabolic reflectors, those dishes on top of the PA stacks at the sides of the stage, will be there. It will be very evocative of the 1970 set-up.”

The stage will also host an array of the orginal 1970 festival PA sound gear, owned by Chris, and it will be in use for 2020’s Experience 1970 bands and artists….just as it was used by the likes of Hendrix and Co at the original event.

1970 co-promoter Ray Foulk recently said of the 1970 stage: “He (Ron Smith) worked against the clock translating the site plan and stage design into tangible reality.”

The Experience 1970 bill is taking shape and tickets are about to go on sale soon. Already 1970 IW Festival original acts have been lined up including Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle and Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs. Two further MAJOR 1970 acts are due to be announced imminently.

Already top bands have been signed to recreate the 1970 sets of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Rory Gallagher, Free, ELP, Jethro Tull and Supertramp.