About the curator
Although I was not old enough to have properly experienced the Isle of Wight Festivals of old, I guess that for most of my life I’ve felt some kind of spiritual connection to them; not just because I’m from The Isle of Wight, and proud of its musical heritage; more because ever since, as a very young boy, having witnessed with my own eyes the festival site during that bank holiday weekend back in August 1970, it’s been deep in my psyche.
As I grew older, I’d find myself absolutely enthralled by the stories that older cousins and (later, as I began my working life) colleagues used to delight in regaling to me; of their own memories and experiences of those three, now infamous, events that drew The Isle of Wight to the attention of the World back in 1968, 1969 and 1970.
I remember well, coveting the framed copy of the famous “Drummer Boy” poster that hung on the wall in Hard Times restaurant in Shanklin back in the 80s; marvelling at the line-up, and wishing that the poster could be mine. The same went for the framed “King Kong” promo poster that I remember took pride of place behind the bar in Joe Dafloe’s in Ryde. Then in 1990, when Brian Hinton’s excellent chronicle of the festivals “Nights in Wight Satin” was first published, I sped to the book shop, hard earned cash in hand, and proceeded to devour every word, every photo, that was contained within those 72 very fine pages. My interest was truly ignited.
Yet all of those fantastic old photos contained in that book seemed so very distant from my life in 1990; all of those truly beautiful tickets and posters displayed on the pages within (many of which I’d never seen before) seemed like rare jewels; fabled relics lost in the mists of time, that someone like me could never dream of getting my hands on. But a couple of years later that all started to change.
I had moved to the mainland by now, but on one of my regular trips home I stumbled across a small, curious shop in Newport that I’d never seen before (or since). Inside I was browsing the rack of posters that were for sale, when my eyes almost popped out of my head. For there, under a sheet of protective plastic, staring me in the face in vivid pink and yellow, was a copy of the “Drummer Boy” poster that I’d drooled over on so many occasions in Hard Times restaurant. I trembled with excitement. It was £50! I was skint, and already plunged chin-deep into my overdraft. But once the shop keeper had assured me of the poster’s authenticity, I couldn’t hand my money over fast enough! And so my collection of Isle of Wight Festival memorabilia had begun...