Ray Foulk with Caroline Foulk: The Last Great Event

Compelling story of the legendary Isle of Wight festival.

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This is a crazy tale. The sort you’d be hard-pushed to believe in an era when music festivals are so homogenised. But in 1970, against all the odds, the Isle of Wight became a rock Mecca for virtually a week, playing host to some of the biggest music names on the planet (not least Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix).

Ray Foulk, one of the promoters, recalls how this happened with an attention to detail that’s fascinating. He openly recounts how he and his brothers battled against local council opposition and the bank’s indifference, as well as massaging the egos not merely of the artists, but also of their managers.

Yet, while a backdrop to the festival’s build up is the foundation of this second volume (the first, Stealing Dylan From Woodstock, concerned itself with 1969’s event), what matters is the music and the fans. Here Foulk comes into his own, lovingly portraying both the humour and the nastiness of those who appeared, plus the bonkers antics of the 600,000-strong crowd.