The man who got the festivals banned

Wooden head! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!Let’s hear it for Martin “Mark” Woodnutt, Tory MP for the IOW from 1959-74, fan of Enoch Powell, member of the far-right Monday Club, hanging enthusiast, and the man whose Isle of Wight County Council Act put an end to the first festivals and paved the way for further anti-festival legislation affecting the whole of the UK.

Sadly Mark got his hands a little dirty lining his pockets in the development of Bembridge Harbour and was summarily dumped by the island electors in 1974, dying before the end of the year.

By 2002, when festivals no longer had anything to do with undermining capitalism – quite the opposite – the IOW County Council voted to continue the tradition of large campsites, expensive refreshments and loud music. But you can bet there are still a few retired colonels and admirals hankering for the days when their champion smote the hippie menace.

nb the picture of Woodnutt above is merely an impression; mysteriously, no photos of the legendary MP exist in cyberspace.

Stop Press: till now!



  1. MW · August 20, 2010

    It’s amazing how people can have every fact in one article completely incorrect! Returning to studies might do you some good.
    There were 4 other partners involved in the harbour that were never mentioned which included a Duke, prominent lawyer and the other two were men of integrity who wanted progress for a mud filled Bembridge harbour.
    As for festival, the bill was formed in such a way to protect the inhabitants of the Island and structured to be better organized way so 500,000 people didn’t desecrate and sink the island.. The festival still lives on!! Under well organized personnel and festival goers enjoy themselves.

  2. jonblake12 · September 1, 2010

    Er – but you haven’t refuted one fact in this article! The inhabitants of the IOW did not need protection from the 150,000 who went to the 1969 festival, the problems in 1970 were the direct result of local politicians forcing the festival to be held on a totally unsuitable site, and Woodnutt’s act DID stop the festivals!
    So exactly what have I got wrong?

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