CHRIS Hewitt should right now be standing in the legendary Isle of Wight Festival field at East Afton Farm putting the final preparations in place for Experience 1970, the three-day celebration to honour the 50th anniversary of the ‘Last Great Event’.

The pandemic forced a postponement until next year.

Instead Chris, who picked up promoting duties for the event from the All Wight Now group, is instead launching a new book on the sound of rock festivals, with the Island very much to the fore.

His book is called The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems – Including WEM at the Isle of Wight.

It's a must-read for anyone with an interest in the Island’s original three festivals – especially 1969 and 70 – because it reveals just how those rudimentary gatherings got their voice.

How it was possible to amplify the sounds from some distant stage across a field packed with the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of inquisitive fans, straining to hear their heroes perform.

Hewitt has made the sound of rock his business. CH Vintage Audio, his company, has acquired much of the original 1969-70 IW Festival PA sound gear created by Charlie Watkins’ company, Watkins Electric Music.

For the last two years, Chris has exhibited this historic WEM gear — used by Hendrix, The Who, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen on the Island, and at the All Wight Now 50th anniversary events.

WEM PA gear became the must-have solution for all the top British bands of the day, including Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who.

Hewitt’s book reveals a young David Bowie finished writing Space Oddity at Watkins’ London office, Pink Floyd were ardent fans of the equipment and Pete Townshend and The Who’s famed Tommy rock opera live shows also showcased what WEM had to offer.

The 1970 IW Festival represented the high-water mark for WEM, although Gilmour and Floyd went on to utilise the company’s sound gear at the much-vaunted Live at Pompeii performance, filmed in 1971, as documented in the book.

The equipment remained popular but as the 1970s ticked by, newer developments in Britain and the USA meant WEM’s domination was over.

The book is available to purchase at £29 plus £4 postage within the UK, by calling 07970 219701 or emailing