Original site plan for IOW 69

Next up out of the archive is an absolute collectors’ item: the original site plan for the 2nd Isle of Wight Festival marked up by the electrician, Ken Blake. “Mr H Garood” was the original contractor who backed out of the job but was the contractor for the 1970 festival.

The ‘tents and cubicles’ area marked behind the stage was where Dylan had his caravan/dressing room. My sister had a nap in there. Apparently it wasn’t that impressive.

The ‘Cs’ below that was the electrical compound where gear was stored and which afforded (with the help of a ladder) a good sideways view of Dylan as he performed.

iow site plan for electrics

More from the archive

Below are more thumbnails of press cuttings about IOW 69. The media were clearly uncertain how to deal with the new phenomenon of pop festivals – the Mirror was generally looking for knocking copy, while the rest had a prurient interest in the goings-on. Included is an obituary of anti-festival villain Mark Woodnutt. Never trust a Tory!

disastercowes weekperchlost wendfencefireshuntmagic wholefrolic wholeshockerexoduswoodypop city 2

Loads more material coming

The clearout of my late dad’s house has turned up much more material: a treasure trove of memorabilia from IOW 69, including a contractors’ plan of the festival and a huge array of press cuttings including pictures I’ve never seen anywhere. I’ll post these as soon as I have time: the project’s been sidelined for a bit longer than planned due to my house move.

Pop festival electrician Ken Blake dies on 40th anniversary

k2The huge task of providing power and light to the 1969 Isle of Wight festival was taken on by Ken Blake, my dad, who got the gig having previously been electrician to the Island Industries Fair and Ryde Town Hall Show. Ken, a classical music fan, always credited the festival with changing his fortunes from continual struggle to relative prosperity, and it was appropriate that he died last weekend, at 88, on the 40th anniversary of the event.

Providing electricity to the 69 festival was an exhaustive job, right down to the last night of the event, which Ken spent patrolling the perimeter fences trying to save his cable and fluorescents from disappearing into the many bonfires which were lit by freezing (or maybe disappointed) punters.

Ken was supported by a small team of electricians, who (in keeping with the festival) had a friendly comraderie and were always treated as equals. Thanks to the fact that Ken wisely insisted on being paid before the event, they were also.

Woodside Bay did open Ken’s eyes to some of the new music that was around. He later became a big ELP fan (Keith Emerson played Friday night with the Nice) and was proud of his unique cine footage, including the Who arriving by helicopter, which has now gone to the festival museum at Dimbola Lodge and was featured in the movie about the Who’s managers, Lambert Stamp.

Just before he died I was able to show Ken some shots of the festival site as it is today, and I shall post these shortly.