IOW69 forty years on – the site

69 site

Though there is a wealth of material on the web about the 2nd Isle of Wight Festival of Music, I’ve been unable to find anything pinpointing the actual site where it took place. Checking the overhead shot from Pathe News, however, it’s clear that it happened in the area shown right, at the top of Palmers Rd, Wootton Bridge.

Several things have changed since. The bungalow which stood backstage behind the helicopter landing pad (H, see larger pic below) has been demolished and replaced by new buildings which stand roughly where the press enclosure had been. That makes sense since apparently the land owned by the bungalow residents extended to that area.

The bungalow and its residents can clearly be seen in home movies I have of the Who landing by helicopter, which I hope to upload shortly.

I stayed in the caravan which can be just seen in the far left corner of the backstage area. Dylan also waited for his performance in a caravan, to the left of the stage, though this can’t clearly be seen.

The disco and sleeping tent just outside the far end of the arena was alleged to be the biggest marquee in the UK. People without tickets got onto the top of this to watch the show. I remember seeing their numbers grow, then suddenly the tent collapsing.

You can see long queues for the very inadequate portaloos. There were also tents with chemical toilets. After the show several of these toilets were kicked over and we had to leave our fluorescents hanging there.

The temporary shops are just out of shot. They were at the far end of the disco tent, down to the right. The former Warners holiday camp was the other side of the wood behind the backstage area, while Little Canada holiday camp was just past the top edge of the picture.

Gates 1 and 2 into the arena can be seen near the two ends of the disco tent; Gate 3 was presumably under the R of ‘British Pathe’. Some trees have changed: the copse at the bottom of the Pathe picture, according to OS maps, was on the site of an old gravel pit, and its ghost can just about be made out on the modern aerial photo beneath Lower Woodside Rd. There appears to be a new copse in the arena area, abutting what would have been the festival fence on the west.

The site map (below) is not entirely in proportion, and the site was quite a bit more than 150 yards to the bay.

The final map below shows where Dylan stayed on the island, at Foreland Farm, Bembridge. From what I can gather this is now a housing estate between Howgate Road and the sea.

iow from air

Wootton Bridge long

site map

Wootton Bridge, R

Wootton Bridge, Ryde,

foreland farm bembridge - Google Maps


  1. Dave Stevens · October 19, 2009

    I could drive you to Bob’s field John. However, without an ordnance survey map it would be difficult to explain. I think you go down Church Lane/Road
    Have been there several times ………. last time in January I took Rolando { afton }.

    Dave { cheesefootball1 }

  2. Brendan Marlow · October 29, 2010

    Great article you have produced Mr Blake. love the photos of Aldene. On a side note I would be extremely grateful if you could post up the home footage of The Who arriving by helicopter as the bungalow owners are my grandparents and i’m sure they’d get a kick out of seeing it.

  3. jonblake12 · November 1, 2010

    At the moment I’ve only got the Who on Super 8 film – though the museum at Dimbola, IOW have a version on DVD. I’ll make a point of getting the film up as soon as I have time. Fascinating to make contact with a relative of those bungalow owners – one of the news articles mentions them confronting an unwanted guest.

  4. jonblake12 · February 19, 2011

    Thanks David – if there’s anything you can tell us which may be of interest, please feel free to post it here.

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