Ray Foulk: stealing dylan

The co-promoter of the iconic 1968-69-70 IoW Festivals is staging an Island exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 ‘Dylan’ event...anyone with a ticket to the Million Dollar Bash gets FREE admission!!

The Island stage awaits: Ray Foulk, far left, with brother Ronnie, Bob Dylan with wife Sara, and Bob’s manager Bert Block.

The Island stage awaits: Ray Foulk, far left, with brother Ronnie, Bob Dylan with wife Sara, and Bob’s manager Bert Block.

Special BASH offer: free admission at this Dylan exhibition…

IT IS difficult to imagine today how significant a coup had been achieved by the young Foulk brothers, Ronnie, Ray and Bill in the summer of ’69 when they persuaded Bob Dylan to play the Isle of Wight Festival of Music. Ray Foulk details that coup in a new exhibition, Stealing Dylan, at the Dimbola Galleries and Museum in Freshwater Bay on the Island’s west coast. It runs from Saturday, August 24 for two months.

Dylan had reached mythical status, following a motorcycle accident in 1966, and had not appeared in a pre-announced concert since. During his absence Dylan was variously described as a prophet, the Messiah, and ‘the leader of the sixties generation’.

How Bob Dylan chose the Isle of Wight in 1969 over the rival Stateside Woodstock Festival is a fascinating story. His (estranged) manager, Albert Grossman, was in league with the organisers of Woodstock, to which he had pledged his top artists: Richie Havens, The Band and Janis Joplin. Only Bob Dylan eluded the festival which had been sited at his home town of Woodstock. The strategy, aimed at persuading the reclusive star into coming out to play, succeeded only in fuelling Dylan’s resentment. Meanwhile, Grossman’s partner, Bert Block, who was still on cordial terms with Bob, was in negotiation with Ray Foulk about the Isle of Wight event. With this event scheduled for just a fortnight after Woodstock, Bob Dylan (according to his journalist friend, Al Aronowitz) ‘decided to go and play his own Woodstock’.

When Dylan finally did appear in a new incarnation to fans from all parts of the world, the giant IoW arena crowd received him enthusiastically but with some mixed reactions. The Isle of Wight Festival was lauded as a triumph and the benchmark in festival promotion. It would be Dylan’s only pre-announced concert in a seven year period.

The exhibition preview will be on Friday 23rd August 6-8pm. Bash ticket holders will be admitted FREE on proof of Bash ticket.