Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
“I think the great gathering of youth in America and the Isle of Wight might have just been a pop concert to some people but they were a lot more than that. They were youth getting together and forming a ‘new church’, as it were, and saying, We Believe in God, we believe in hope and truth, and here we are, 200,000 of us – all together in peace.”John Lennon
In 1969, the world was rocked by the announcement that Bob Dylan would come out of retirement to perform at a tiny, unknown UK event: the Isle of Wight Festival.After a three year withdrawal from live performances following a motorcycle injury, the ‘voice of a generation’ was back.
What followed was the event of a lifetime; over 150,000 Dylan fans flocked to the island, blocking roads, overloading ferries and starting the greatest party the Isle of Wight had ever seen.
Celebrities including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Keith Richards, George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Jane Fonda and cricket star Bob Willis joined the massive crowds.
For the first time, festival founder Ray Foulk tells the behind-the-scenes story of how three young brothers stole the world’s biggest music star from the infamous Woodstock Festival (placed in Dylan’s backyard to coax the legend to come out and play), and launched one of the UK’s biggest music events.
Through a collection of the author’s personal memoirs, as well as never-before-seen photographs and surprising backstage anecdotes about rock’s biggest legends, Stealing Dylan from Woodstock recreates the pivotal summer of ’69 when festival culture began.
Ray Foulk was born in Derbyshire in 1945. After leaving school at 16, he went on with his brother to found the Isle of Wight Festival at the age of 23. Following the festival’s incredible popularity, Ray went on to become a successful music promoter, opening Wembley Stadium as a music venue for the first time, and staging major concerts around London.
Later on, Ray became interested in social planning after being head-hunted by the developing city of Milton Keynes and was responsible for introducing the ideas of revolutionary architect Buckminster Fuller- an interest that led Ray to read architecture at Cambridge University. He now lives and works in Oxford.
Caroline Foulk, Ray’s daughter, was born on the Isle of Wight in 1966. Passionate about the festivals that shaped her childhood, Caroline aided her father with research for the book. A former teacher and an established researcher and writer, Caroline lives in Oxford with her husband and three children.