MPX421991 Hyde Park Pop Festival, July 1970 (b/w photo); London, UK; (add.info.: headlined by Pink Floyd;); © Mirrorpix; .

Summer of Love: Festival Season

Festivals have become a staple during the summer months, with over a thousand taking place in the UK alone. Now mega-festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella attract millions of visitors every year, but there was a time when they were more low-key affairs, fuelled by the hippy movement of the sixties, promoting peace and love, and representing the emerging alternative music scene. Clothes were not mandatory, people danced wildly and smoked freely. Take a look at a selection of vintage festival photography to relive those halcyon days…

CAUTION! May contain some nudity…

Getting to the festival

When going to a festival the first hurdle is transportation there. Hitching, training, busing, walking, people will do anything they can to make it to the big event…

1754828 Young Americans boarding the train at Waterloo station in London to go to the Bob Dylan concert on the Isle of Wight, August 29, 1969 ; (add.info.: On august 29, 1969, young american are going to take the train at Waterloo station in London to go to BobDylan concert on the Isle of Wight); Tallandier; in copyright. PLEASE NOTE: This image is protected by artist's copyright which needs to be cleared by you. If you require assistance in clearing permission we will be pleased to help you. In addition, we work with the owner of the image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you.
From Left-Right: Young Americans boarding the train at Waterloo station in London to go to the Bob Dylan concert on the Isle of Wight, August 29, 1969 / Tallandier / Bridgeman Images; Fans Hitch-Hike to the Isle of Wight Festival, August 1970 (b/w photo) / Petersfield, West Sussex, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

But travelling by car may have its drawbacks…

4062600 People, Hippies, Woodstock 1970 Directed By Michael Wadleigh; (add.info.: .); © Warner Bros. Pictures; Diltz; out of copyright. PLEASE NOTE: Bridgeman Images works with the owner of this image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you.
People, Hippies Woodstock 1970 directed by Michael Wadleigh / Diltz / Bridgeman Images

Accommodation

In the days before luxury yurts, accommodation at music festivals was pretty rudimentary. A bit of plastic covering would do…

Knebworth Festival 1974 / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images
Knebworth Festival 1974 / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images

A tiny tent if you’re lucky…

Knebworth Festival 1974; Festival goers arriving for the First Knebworth Festival - the Bucolic Frolic); Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images
Knebworth Festival 1974; Festival goers arriving for the First Knebworth Festival – the Bucolic Frolic); Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images

Bathroom facilities were even more makeshift…

Natural Showers at Compton beach's waterfalls on the Isle of Wight during the music festival, 26th-20th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images
Natural Showers at Compton beach’s waterfalls on the Isle of Wight during the music festival, 26th-20th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images

Festival Fashion

Hippy chic has come back in to fashion time and time again, but this is where it all started…

Hyde Park Pop Festival, July 1970 (b/w photo) / London, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images
Hyde Park Pop Festival, July 1970 (b/w photo) / London, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

 

festival-fashion-montage-2
Left-right: Young Hippies at the Isle of Wight Festival, 27th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Photo © AGIP / Bridgeman Images; A group of hippies in Hyde Park, London, on July 17, 1967

Bubbles were THE fashion accessory…

festival-bubbles-montage
Left-Right: Young Hippies Blow Soap Bubbles at the Isle of Wight Festival, 27th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Photo © AGIP / Bridgeman Images; A hippy girl blowing bubbles at a pop concert, 1969 (b/w photo) / Hyde Park, London, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

 

And body paint was a great alternative to clothes in the hot weather…

Hippy couple with their chests painted, at the Isle of Wight Festival, 27th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Isle of Wight, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images
Hippy couple with their chests painted, at the Isle of Wight Festival, 27th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Isle of Wight, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

The Audience 

Thousands of fans gather to worship at the stage on which their favourite musicians perform.

Crowd at the Bob Dylan concert at the Isle of Wight, 1st September 1969 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images
Crowd at the Bob Dylan concert at the Isle of Wight, 1st September 1969 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images

sometimes getting so excited they turn upside down…

Knebworth Festival 1974 / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images
Knebworth Festival 1974 / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images

or remove all their clothes…

 Crowd at the First Knebworth Festival - the Bucolic Frolic / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images
Crowd at the First Knebworth Festival – the Bucolic Frolic / Photo © Bill Smith / Bridgeman Images

 

Before the modern obsession with health & safety, people would go to great lengths to get the best view

festival-crowd-getting-view-montage
Left-right: Woodstock, 1970 / Diltz / Bridgeman Images; Orange music festival, spectators overhang an amphitheatre, waiting for a concert. France, 1975. / Bridgeman Images

Incognito celebrities joined the crowds (tactfully ignored by those around)

festival-audience-celebrities
Left-right: Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim listening to Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival, 31st August 1968 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images; John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1st September 1969 (b/w photo) / Bridgeman Images

 

The Musicians

The reason why everyone is there – the stars of their day perform to large crowds outdoors, come rain or sun… Dylan, Hendrix, Led Zepellin and many others performed iconic shows.

Left-right: Isle of Wight Festival: Bob Dylan, September 1st, 1969.); Protest Folk Singer Joan Baez performing in 1965 / Bridgeman Images
Left-right: Isle of Wight Festival: Bob Dylan, September 1st, 1969.); Protest Folk Singer Joan Baez performing in 1965 / Bridgeman Images

 

Ian Paice - portrait of the English drummer performing with Gary Moore at the 1977 Reading Festival. Member of rock band Deep Purple. Photo © Odile Nöel / Bridgeman Images
Ian Paice – portrait of the English drummer performing with Gary Moore at the 1977 Reading Festival. Member of rock band Deep Purple. Photo © Odile Nöel / Bridgeman Images

 

Phil Lynott - portrait of the Irish bassist performing with his band 'Thin Lizzy' at the 1977 Reading Festival. Photo © Odile Nöel / Bridgeman Images
Phil Lynott – portrait of the Irish bassist performing with his band ‘Thin Lizzy’ at the 1977 Reading Festival. Photo © Odile Nöel / Bridgeman Images

 

With some help from the audience…

 

woodstock-musicians-montage
HIPPIE MOVEMENT, 1969 Festival attendees play with other musicians at the Woodstock festival. / Photo © Richard Busch / Granger / Bridgeman Images

 

Gurus

There has always been a strong spiritual aspect to festivals which carries on to this day. A festival in the sixties was not complete without a visit from a guru.

HIPPIE MOVEMENT, 1969 An Indian guru and his followers at the Woodstock festival. / Photo © Richard Busch / Granger / Bridgeman Images
HIPPIE MOVEMENT, 1969 An Indian guru and his followers at the Woodstock festival. / Photo © Richard Busch / Granger / Bridgeman Images

 

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can be adverse, especially in the UK, but this never stopped people from attempting to have fun.

Two hooded individuals walk through the mud and rain, at a music festival ; PYMCA / UIG / Bridgeman Images
Two hooded individuals walk through the mud and rain, at Glastonbury music festival; PYMCA / UIG / Bridgeman Images

 

The Aftermath

 

Medical tent at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival, 30th August 1970; Isle of Wight, UK; © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images
Medical tent at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival, 30th August 1970; Isle of Wight, UK; © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

 

MPX422084 General scene at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival, 30th August 1970 (b/w photo); Isle of Wight, UK; © Mirrorpix; .
General scene at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival, 30th August 1970 (b/w photo) / Isle of Wight, UK / © Mirrorpix / Bridgeman Images

and finally…

The Long March home

 

Hippies on their way home from the Isle of Wight Festival, 31st August 1970 / Bridgeman Images
Hippies on their way home from the Isle of Wight Festival, 31st August 1970 / Bridgeman Images

 

Find out more:

View festival photography

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