|5 Days of Peace Music and Love
This 1970 article by Mick Farren first appeared in the
10/09/70 issue of International Times, and features a
diary-style reportage of that year's Isle Of Wight
festival, topped and tailed by a more reflective, but
still invective, polemic. It's somewhat dated now, but
Dramatis personae include stage announcer Rikki
Farr, who was one of the promoters trading under the
name of Fiery Creations...
The Isle of Wight Festival, to me, seemed a practical
demonstration of the way the wealth of the
underground is at present distributed: a V.I.P.
enclosure surrounded by fences & protected by
guards: kids walking into the medical tent in a state of
collapse because they hadn't eaten for 2 days:
illustrations of a culture which, although paying
sanctimonious lip service to the concepts of love &
equality, manifests an inequality of rank & money as
brutal as that of Czarist Russia. It is a society where a
man can be paid Â£500 a minute for playing a guitar,
yet protests that people need to be fed are shouted
down: "You're spoiling a groovy scene: shut your
The kids who, in desperation, lead others in an
attempt to pressure the "haves" into giving something
to the "have-nots" are insulted & ridiculed from the
stage and condemned in print. Human ethics are used
like a substitute for cash in the bank while love is
peddled as a commodity more blatantly by Rikki Farr
than by any whore in history.
Woman's Liberationist Germaine Greer stays in the
backstage enclosure & trades small talk with rock
business flunkies and wonders why the kids don't
liberate themselves. Meanwhile, the kids who do are
being slugged with iron bars by those same guards
who protect her privileged enclosure.
In his final hysterical outburst Farr screams "You bastards, you ruined everything. I'll see you in Hell before
you come onto my island again." Could he be saying "You bastard, how is it I can't milk you any more"!!
THURSDAY: Arrived!! Invited beforehand lo play at Canvas City, a large inflatable dome, capacity: 3000
people, a disco light show & food bar. Camped by dome. Large purple disco brought by Tony & John,
who also brought our equipment and, of course, Hawkwind. Meeting with cat who ran dome & both
bands. Admission lowered from 10/- to 5/-. Friday's entry left up for discussion. Money offered to bands,
but bands said: People outside need food - No money - You help? - Yes? - Yes!!
We then obtained 15 priority stage passes as it looked possible that the Fairies would be able to play some
bedtime rock & roll (still not believing that the Wed. & Thurs. concerts were free to people holding weekend
This was, however, blown out owing to: Lack of time AND/OR People (French?) had assaulted a section of
the fence AND/OR it was thought that maybe a Fairies' set could lead to - who knows? So...back to dome!
Hawkwind set up inside. Generator failure. Total blackness in dome. Fans stop running...dome starts
collapsing. Total silence. Broken by Terry on drums (how did he see them?). Applause. Whistles.
Cheers. Freaky! Power finally goes back on. Hawkwind & Fairies play to capacity crowd. Everyone
tripped out & Blotto!!
5am. Outside disco gone to sleep. Dome disco plays cool, whilst migrating birds wing their way through
clear dawn sky, tra-la-la!
FRIDAY: Afternoon super-star jam session: Pink Fairies and Hawkwind: 3 drum kits: 2 bass guitars: 3
guitars: sax & flute: DikMik electronics controller & countless dancers! All happening between entrances to
Meeting with dome man. Wanted to charge 10/- & entice bands with money. Bands say: People hungry,
need shelter, you help? Maybe, but price stays. Pink Fairies score Â£20 to get home & pull out of dome
owing to a strange vibration caressing their frontal lobes. Hawkwind take guy in good faith. He puts up
entry charge without consulting band & serves "hot, filling meal" inside. Hot filling meal? Soup & hot
chocolate! Meanwhile, people outside remain hungry...
'Friends' arrive & start amazing festival bulletin which eventually led Miss Jennifer Ashworth, friend of
percussionist B.R. Hunter, to the police tent to recover 'Sunshine', her pet poopsy-woopsy apple-dumpling
& red-setter puppy.
IT & Family arrived & joined the party. Someone reported seeing a mobile red Avis opium den in the area.
Pink Fairy roadie, C.P. Welch, spiked & sent to Release tent. Hated to leave. Reported nice sounds, jumping
beans & beautiful warm undemanding chicks. ...Good Afternoon Buttons!
SATURDAY: Free concert outside Disco site. Disco continues. P.C. Currie, noted under ground
transportation engineer, in jack boots, leather jacket, flight cap, large spanner in back pocket - hits the dust
dance floor with Â½ gallon of wine. A few other dancers take part in both events (1) dancing (2) drinking.
One dancer leaves the floor, only to return with another bottle. More merriment. Dancers collapse. What a
More live music. Everyone plays everything & each other. Crowd freaks...everyone freaks... V.Prince, an
old salt at the skins, shows his skill in rocking and rolling! The whole thing strongly resembles a horrid,
unstoppable electronic monster. Almost 3 hours! Whew!! The pen shakes with reminiscence.
Then it's time to leave for London as we have to play in the Worthing Carnival Parade & have no return
The music, on the whole, was disappointing... An endless stream of totally uncommitted bands who came
on, played, collected their bread & then split. Fiery Creations followed the usual festival procedure of
booking 2nd-rate American artists in preference to 1st-rate British bands - who the fuck wanted to see
Lighthouse & Cactus! Some of the best music came from outside the arena: jam sessions with the Pink
Fairies, Hawkwind & friends produced fine music, good vibes & most important of all, a sense of audience
participation that was sadly lacking with most of the major acts.