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The halcyon days of the Isle of Wight festival—that ran from 1968 until 1970—were a spectacle of bare bums, beehives and huge crowds, at least according to David Hurn. The Magnum photographer documented the iconic festival in 1969 and 1970 and although the line-ups included such acts Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, The Doors and Joni Mitchell, it was the crowds of people, rather than the pop stars, that drew his lens. Hurn documented spectators’ wild dancing and even wilder fashion sense.
The scenes on show in this magazine capture not just the essence of festival life but also the colossal scale of the event and the sense of history in the making. The promise of an abundance of peaceful people in one place first led Hurn to cover the event. In 1969, 150,000 people turned up, while in 1970, more than half a million swamped the island.