ISLE of Wight Festival devotees, the legacy group All Wight Now, has appealed for the creation of a permanent heritage visitor centre to celebrate the iconic festival.

The group wants a Woodstock-style heritage site to honour the early Isle of Wight festivals of 1968 to 1970, which attracted record crowds and had a huge cultural impact.

The group believes the festival deserves to be paid tribute to in the same way that the famous Woodstock Festival of 1969 has, with the creation of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

The $150 million facility was opened in 2006 on the exact site of the Woodstock Festival in New York state.

Co-promoter of the IW Festival from 1968 to 1970, Ray Foulk, said: “We had three festivals that left a major imprint on the wider festival movement and on cultural life in Britain.

“There was only one Woodstock, and frankly it was a bit of a mess.

“A permanent visitor centre would be a fantastic goal for the Island, and it has my support.”

The new chair of the legacy group, Jonathan Bacon, said: “It is somehow ridiculous that the Island has no permanent centre to do what we set out in our mission statement as a group: to educate, inspire and entertain the widest possible audience and preserve the musical and cultural legacy of the historic 1968, 1969 and 1970 Isle of Wight festivals.”

Another member, Peter Harrigan, was PR director for the festival in 1969 and 1970.

He said: “Those original festivals may have been controversial back in the day, but they are now regarded as cultural jewels.

“A visitor centre and performing arts centre will add a new dimension to the Island, provide a valuable and much needed world-class cultural space and add to the Island’s tourism and cultural infrastructure.”

All Wight Now is hosting the Million Dollar Bash on August 31 at the County Showground.

The festival will mark 50 years to the day since Bob Dylan headlined the star-studded 1969 Isle of Wight Festival, in Wootton.

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