IW Festival-45th anniversary since Jimi Hendrix rocked Wight in 1970

The Isle Of Wight Festival 2015 opens its gates to the public soon and festival bosses announced last week that this year’s festival will be a celebration of the 45th anniversary since Jimi Hendrix made his last ever UK performance at the festival in 1970.

To commence the celebrations, the festival confirm that they will christen the main stage ‘The Electric Church’ in honour of his now legendary performance on the island 45 years ago.Hendrix referred to his music as ‘Electric Church’, believing music was his religion; a principle also shared by the festival.

The inimitable spirit and attitude of Jimi Hendrix and his music has influenced and inspired The Isle of Wight Festival since the event was re-launched in 2002 by music promoter John Giddings, who was in the crowd for Jimi Hendrix’s set at the 1970 festival.

John Giddings said: “Jimi’s contribution to both the island and the festival has been immense.  By naming our main stage ‘The Electric Church’ we hope to build on his legacy at the festival as well as paying tribute to his unique contribution to music which will always be remembered by the festival and the artists we have on our stage.”

In 2006 Giddings commissioned the creation and installation of a near life-sized statue of Hendrix on the island, for a more permanent reminder of his cultural significance on the Isle of Wight. This statue is in the garden of Dimbola Museum and Galleries at Freshwater.

Those attending this year’s festival are encouraged to take part in the celebrations on site by dressing up as Jimi Hendrix or coming up with their own ways of marking the occasion.

This is the first official announcement from the festival regarding the special anniversary and a number of exciting plans are to be revealed in the coming days.

This year’s festival starts on the 11th June and will be headlined by Blur,Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys and The Prodigy.

The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 vs The Isle of Wight Festival 2015

Line up:

1970 – Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, The Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer

2015 – Fleetwood Mac, Blur, The Prodigy, The Black Keys, Pharrell Williams, Paolo Nutini, Jessie Ware, James Bay


1970: 600,000 (estimate)

2015: 65,000

Then and Now:

1970 – A documentary film called ‘Message in Love’ was released nearly 30 years later in 1997, featuring live performances from the 1970 festival. Various live albums and films from The Who to Hendrix to Leonard Cohen were also released in subsequent years.

2015 – Highlights of this year’s festival can be watched on Sky Arts the following weekend, presented by Danny Wallace and Edith Bowman.

1970 – The festival took place on Afton Down near the village of Freshwater home of the Jimi statue.

2015 – The festival now takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Seaclose Park on the outskirts of Newport

1970 – Jethro Tull performed on the Sunday, second on the bill to The Moody Blues and Hendrix

2015 – Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson will perform on the Sunday afternoon, in between Suzanne Vega and Imelda May.