Isle of Wight Festival rock project is on a roll

Acclaimed Kent-based artist Guy Portelli is behind the project

A Wightlink-supported project to create a mural marking the 50th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Festival is progressing well.

Acclaimed Kent-based artist Guy Portelli is behind the project which will celebrate the Island’s rock and roll heritage with a mural containing handprints of 200 artists associated with the Festival.

The ferry company provides free travel for Mr Portelli whose project sees him making regular trips to the Island – particularly during ‘festival season.’

Artists to provide handprints so far include Arthur Brown, Frankie Miller, Carl Palmer, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer Julie Felix, Mick Fleetwood, and Roger Chapman. Guy remains in contact with numerous other artists to secure their involvement

The handprints will radiate out from the four IW Festival locations – Wootton, Godshill, Afton and Seaclose. As a thank you to Wightlink, Guy will also incorporate a ferry into the design.

Guy says: “The summer has been busy with visits to musicians who have performed at the festival. We have collected 28 hand prints from 1968 alone, only the Move are not represented out of all the bands that performed and I believe we are close to getting the three members all of whom are still touring.”

Another coup saw Guy securing the prints of the three surviving members of Jefferson Airplane who headlined at the 1968 festival bringing the event to an international audience. Jack Casady the base player and Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitar and vocals, both gave video clips while singer Grace Slick sent a handprint.

Guy says: “Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull kindly gave up his time to meet up before going back out on tour and he talked about the 1970 concert and the rush to get on stage before Jimi Hendrix as the show was running behind schedule.”

Wightlink Chief Executive Officer Keith Greenfield says: “This is a fascinating project that not only highlights what has become an internationally renowned event, it also brings to life the contributions of all the artists that have made it so. We are thrilled to be supporting such an inspirational project.”