MANY of us have seen the iconic black and white press photographs from the Isle of Wight Music Festival 1970.

But now Isle of Wight authors Alan and Tom Stroud have put together a book of more than 120 stunning candid, mostly colour shots taken by five amateur photographers during the iconic music festival.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see more...

Called Isle of Wight 1970: A View From The Crowd, this beautiful book tells of how the festival came to be and is peppered with insights from festival organisers Ray, Ronnie and Bill Foulk, as well as quotes from the many naysayers who complained to the County Press.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Many festival-goers went down to nearby Compton Bay to wash in the waterfall or swim. Photo courtesy of Alan and Tom Stroud.

There are also comments to national newspapers by then MP, Mark Woodnutt, who was outraged by hippies fornicating on the beach.

In August 1970, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the Island to attend what was then, and still is today, the largest crowd gathered at a music festival in the UK.

It was a remarkable moment in popular culture, with the hippie movement, the love generation and international rock superstars, all gathered together for a long weekend of music under the sun at Afton.

They came from far and wide — indeed press officer Peter Harrigan told television news crews that people had written from Asia and there were heavy ticket sales in Australia and charter flights from America.

Peter said: “I should think one in six, one in seven people at the festival will be from overseas.”

At its peak, the crowd swelled to several hundred thousand and the County Press noted that “estimates of the attendance varied from 150,000 to 400,000.”

On the Sunday festival, MC Rikki Farr famously told the crowd that up to 600,000 people had come to the event — a figure organiser Ray Foulk describes as “absurd.”

We have all heard the stories of how thousands of people climbed up onto Afton Down to listen to the music for free because the site was a natural amphitheatre, as well as tales of people streaming down onto the beach at Compton to go swimming naked — but this incredible collection of photos shows the carefree joy of those who went to the festival.

Isle of Wight County Press: Pictures from Alan and Tom Stroud's book - Isle of Wight 1970: The View From The Crowd.

Looking down from Desolation Hill on Afton Down, high above the festival. Photo courtesy of Alan and Tom Stroud.

It captures the event very much as those who attended the festival would have seen it — from the commune of campfires, abandoned car parts and metal sheeting referred to as Desolation Row, to the rolling inclines of Devastation Hill.

And while press photos were monochrome because newspapers had not progressed to colour in that era, the images in this book capture the colourful clothes.

Among the amateur photographers whose work appear in this book is Harry Matthews, who was Alan Stroud’s late father-in-law.

Harry took photos on both the Sunday of the festival and a week after the event when the clean-up operations were underway.

Eric Moth, of Cowes, took shots on the hillside, but also made his way to the beach at Compton where hundreds of naked festival goers were frolicking in the surf.

The third photographer is unknown, his or her treasure trove of colour slides having only come to light recently in a box that had lain forgotten in a cupboard for 40 years.

This photographer captured scenes on site, as well as colourful shots of festival goers on Ryde Esplanade, en-route to Afton.

Then there is the work of Ken Box, who was a popular art teacher at Carisbrooke Grammar School in the 1960s and 70s, who took around 200 photos on site during the 1970 festival.

The last few images in the book were taken by Alan Stroud, who was just 19 at the time.

In 2020, Alan and Tom Stroud published Rocking The Isle Of Wight, intended to complement Ray Foulk’s definitive personal accounts of the festivals, from a purely local and intentionally detailed perspective.

The book is now out of print and is already a collector’s item, but some of the photos used within it appear here, but in large format for the first time. After the publication of the Strouds’ first book a further cache of photos were discovered and they appear in this new book for the first time anywhere.

  • Isle of Wight 1970: A View From The Crowd is available online at: and from selected Isle of Wight shops, priced at £15.95.