The 1969 Isle of Wight Festival of Music was not the first large outdoor event with tents to take place on the island – every two years for ten years there had been an Island Industries Fair, held in 1969 at Ryde Airport. Both the standfitter/tent man for the IIF (Capt Bill Lewis) and the electrical contractor (Ken Blake) went on to do the same jobs for the Dylan fest.
I’ve been unable to find a single reference on the web for these shows, and am indebted to Chris Dorley-Brown, grandson of the IIF’s organiser, for sending me scans from the 1969 programme. The ‘Pop Festival’ is mentioned in a Red Funnel ad (see thumbnails); so is Captain Lewis, as I recall the oldest man in the UK to hold a pilot’s licence at the time. Bill Lewis brought (allegedly) the biggest marquee in the UK to the festival, which served as a disco and sleeping tent till hundreds scrambled onto it for a free view and it collapsed (see article about the site, below).
I have some home movies of Mountbatten at the IIF, taken on the same reel of Super 8 which shows Joe Cocker, the Who, Marsha Hunt and Free. Personally I found the latter names a lot more interesting.
One other boon of the IIF programme is that we now have a photo of the ill-fated Mark Woodnutt MP, first on the web!
If anyone else has any mementos of 1969, please let me know!