MUSICIANS and fans flocked to the Island for the Million Dollar Bash — celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 IW Festival of Music. 

The day, welcoming more than 1,500 people, was a resounding success — so much so, organisers have immediately confirmed plans to honour the next iconic festival — a homage to the 1970 IW Festival, which featured guitar wizard, Jimi Hendrix. 

The 2020 anniversary event will take place over the weekend of September 5 and 6.

All Wight Now chairman, Jonathan Bacon, said: “We’re delighted and want to thank all the fans who turned out, as well as the great musicians who made the day memorable. 

“Now the work begins on celebrating the 1970 festival.

“We’re also proud to have made the Million Dollar Bash the world’s first dementia-friendly rock festival.”

A highlight came as the evening drew to a close, when Dylancentric’s Ashley Hutchings recited a previously unpublished Bob Dylan poem, Echo of the North Country, written more than 50 years ago — confirmation his famous 1963 song, Girl From the North Country, was inspired by teenage sweetheart, Echo Helstrom.

Dylancentric’s ensuing set even included a cameo from 1969 festival veteran, Julie Felix, with the crowded joining her in a heartfelt rendition of Blowin’ In The Wind.

They had been preceded by Richard Thompson — in blistering form during his acoustic set, which included Valerie and Vincent Black Lightning.

The Ale Marys and Banter played early sets, followed by Edward 2 and ITV’s The Voice 2019 star, Deana Walmsley.

Blair Dunlop Trio showcased tracks from his Notes From an Island album and an interlude full of wit, wisdom and humour,provided by Liverpool poets, Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Andy Roberts.

The mood of the evening ramped up when Robyn Hitchcock took to the stage — two hours of aural fireworks — before Thompson brought the day full circle back to folk-rock.

Kossoff: The Band Played On, fired like a Bunsen burner, followed by a mixed set of older classics and new material from Wishbone Ash.

It was left to Fairport Convention legends, Thompson and Hutchings, to cap off the evening, capitalising on the sizzling mood and evoking the spirit of Dylan.



IN 1969, the Isle of Wight pulled off a publicity coup of global proportions when counter-culture phenomenon Bob Dylan snubbed his local festival at Woodstock and instead played on the


The unashamedly retrospective Million Dollar Bash celebrated that event just a few miles from the original site, including some original acts and a surprising number of the original audience.

As things livened up it was hard not to feel the spirit of 1969 rushing back.

People had dressed for the occasion — and not just with fancy dress.

One lady was whirling happily through the crowd, barefoot in an outfit she surely must have worn to the earlier event.

As the glorious red sunset filled the Isle of Wight sky, Wishbone Ash took to the main stage and started out with some prog classic tracks that turned back the years.

An authentic, rich and dazzling musical experience.

Surprisingly few people were holding up phones — perhaps they were all too old to know how. Or old enough to know not to!

Founder member of Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, played a full set before finally, festival co-organiser, Ashley Hutchings, took to the stage himself with his own band, Dylancentric, who played a selection of Dylan songs.

An appropriate way to bring down the curtain.

There are already plans to next year commemorate the third — and largest — of the original Isle of Wight Festivals ....... yes, the one with Jimi.

It's going to be a festival to look out for.