IT WILL feature a familiar stage, an array of classic cars and music to pay homage to the glory days of the early Isle of Wight Festivals — Experience 1970 is taking shape.

Organisers are planning to recreate the iconic 1970 stage for the three-day 50th anniversary event in September, which takes place at the original East Afton site.

This summer sees the golden anniversary of ‘The Last Great Event’ when a staggering crowd of up to 600,000 swamped the Island to see a five-day festival starring Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, The Who, Free, The Moody Blues and more.

The new stage will boast the same twin-gable features of the original, designed by co-promoter Bill Foulk and built by Ron ‘Turner’ Smith.

Chris Hewitt, one of the organisers, said: “We are determined to pay a full tribute to the 1970 IW Festival and that begins by honouring the stage.

"I know Ron was held in the highest regard by all the Foulk brothers who promoted the 1970 event and this is our own way of tipping our hats.

“We intend to reproduce the famous signwriting and even the parabolic reflectors, those dishes on top of the PA stacks at the sides of the stage, will be there. It will be very evocative of the 1970 set-up.”

The stage will also host an array of the original 1970 festival PA sound gear, owned by Chris, and it will be in use for Experience 1970 bands and artists, just as it was at the original event.

Today (Tuesday), organisers announced John Lodge, from the Moody Blues, will close the Saturday night. 

Lodge is a Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee who was there in 1970, and is returning for Experience 1970 to play all the classic Moodies hits.

Chris is looking to recruit a gospel choir to perform on stage.

He said: "We have a fabulous singer, Sharleena Ray, to pay homage to the set performed by Melanie on the Island 50 years ago.

"She included in her set the wonderful song Lay Down which was recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers. We'd love to have an Island gospel choir join her on stage for that song."

Anyone who can help, should email

Legendary rock presenter Bob Harris will compere the final day of the event.

Whispering Bob will take to the mic to guide festival-goers through the main stage proceedings.

For many, Harris provided the soundtrack to a rock generation. He joined BBC Radio 1 in 1970 at the same time as the IW Festival of Music was seared into history as the biggest rock event ever staged in the UK.

He presented Sounds of the Seventies and seamlessly moved into TV in 1972 as the Old Grey Whistle Test’s main presenter for the decade.

Arthur Brown, from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and a mainstay of the inaugural 1968 IW Festival, is confirmed along with rising harmony trio Fire In Her Eyes, specialists in psychedelic rock.

Original 1970 IW Festival acts have been lined up including Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle and Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs.

Bands have also been signed to recreate the sound of The Who, Rory Gallagher, Free, ELP, Jethro Tull and Supertramp as well as Hendrix and The Doors.

The audience is being encouraged to wear 1970s fashions, from flared jeans to bell-bottoms.

There will also be a collection of period vehicles to further conjure up the feel of the original event.

Chris said: "We would like owners of classic cars to bring their motors with them. We particularly want to see pre-1972 classics to get the feel just right.

"Anyone bringing a pre-1972 car or campervan will get free parking and a £10 discount on our weekend ticket price."

Experience 1970 is on Friday, September 4 to Sunday, September 6.

Tickets are now on general release, at £180 plus a £15 booking fee, at or

Ticket holders will benefit from free admission to Dimbola Museum at Freshwater over the festival weekend.