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When Jimi Hendrix rocked the Isle of Wight Festival
Jimi Hendrix
The Isle of Wight Festival was Jimi Hendrix's last major performance

"Hendrix came up the steps, he asked me how many people were there, and what it was like. I said there's over 500,000, they've all come to see you."

Chris Weston who was working as an electrician, recalls meeting Jimi Hendrix backstage at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival.

"He was nervous - he said to someone 'How does God Saves the Queen go?'"

The performance was Jimi Hendrix's last UK show before his sudden death in London on September 18, 1970.

Rock music history

The 500,000 strong crowd had waited for an hour and a half for the Sunday headliner who took to the stage just before midnight.

He said, 'what's it like out there,' I said there's over half a million people here just to see you."
Chris Weston, 1970 festival electrician

"Looking back he wasn't stressed, he wasn't spaced out, or didn't appear to be, he was really nervous," recalls Chris Weston, who still lives on the Isle of Wight.

"I can remember DJ Jeff Dexter saying to him 'how do you want me to introduce you?' and he said, 'the wild blue angel,'

Chris worked for over three weeks at the festival, one of three electricians on the main stage.

Seeing Hendrix was to be the festival highlight for Chris who was a huge fan of the guitarist.

He said: "It was the reason I packed my job as a television engineer in, only to see Hendrix, no-one else, and he was awful!"

"He was really unrehearsed - it must have been one of the worst performances he ever did, unfortunately it was his last one."

Towards the end of Jimi's set trouble started as elements in the crowd sbegain breaking up shops around the arena.

Chris remembers:"Then someone threw a flare up on the roof of the stage, so there was a fire on the stage."

Iconic memories

Isle of Wight Festival 1970
Chris Weston. Hendrix played to a 500,000 strong crowd

As well as his electrical tool-kit, Chris also went to the festival armed with his camera and captured many iconic shots of the festival's build-up and performances.

The 2010 August bank holiday marks the 40th anniversary since the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival when Hendrix performed.

Running for five days, it was the island's third successive festival and the biggest music event seen in the UK.

Organised by three island brothers, Ray, Ron and Bill Foulk, it ran between Wednesday 26 - Sunday 30 August, 1970.

In 2002, after a 32 year break, the festival made a comeback with Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant playing 'Hey Joe' in tribute to Hendrix.

The anniversary will be marked on Saturday 28 August with a Jimi Hendrix Memorial Walk and tribute concert from Are You Experienced? Sunday 30 August, Beggars Tooth, an evening of music inspired by Hawkwind & Hendrix 01983 756814 for more information.




SEE ALSO
A look around Jimi Hendrix's London pad
25 Aug 10 |  Entertainment & Arts
In pictures: Isle of Wight Festival 2010
15 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture
Island rocks to festival line-up
14 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture
In pictures: Isle of Wight Festival 1969
16 Jun 10 |  Hampshire & Isle of Wight
The Beatles and the IoW Festival
15 Jun 10 |  Arts & Culture

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