Legendary folk-rocker to play at Million Dollar Bash

Folk-rock legend Richard Thompson has spoken about returning to play at the Isle of Wight for the first time in more than half-a-century, after he helped launch the very first IW Festival in 1968.

Thompson, who played that inaugural Island event as the lead guitarist in Fairport Convention, is proud that he helped lay the foundations for the then embryonic rock festival movement. The iconic first three IW Festivals, from 1968 to 1970, paved the way for Glastonbury and countless others that followed in their wake.

Now Thompson is to perform at the Million Dollar Bash, a one-day event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 ‘Bob Dylan’ IW Festival, at the County Showground, on Saturday, August 31.

Thompson said of the 1968 event near Godshill: “Hard to believe it’s more than 50 years since the first IoW festival, It was cold, ran hours behind schedule and was nowhere near as glamorous as the following year (1969), but the music was stellar, and we were proud to be a part of it!”

Thompson turned 70 in April and reckons age does not have to dry the creative juices. He said: “You should not slow down creatively, but you can lose energy and focus. Experience is a wonderful thing and can compensate for that first flush of youth. If you love music, you want to play as long as you can, so you try to stay fit and mobile, and keep the important bits – fingers, voice – in working order.”

Thompson added: “My career has been mostly pleasure all the way. The 60s were so intense, and we were young and managed to cram a huge amount into just a few years, that the period from 1967-71 seems like a special time to me.”