Island of Dreams


I’ve just finished reading Stealing Dylan from Woodstock by Ray Foulk, one of the three brothers principally responsible for the three great IOW Festivals, 1968-1970. This book covers the first two, focusing on Dylan while volume two which is imminent I believe, will look at 1970.

I thought it was nicely written, at times quite charming in its naivety – Ray was about the same age as most of us but knew very little about the world of sex, drugs and rock & roll when he embarked on the project. He was a quick learner and has gone on to lead a very interesting life.

If you’re a Birdcage boy or girl you will find the stories of Rikki ‘interesting’ – Ray is throughout pretty generous to Mr Farr who I learned was actually Tommy junior (Thomas Richard Farr). There is also the occasional mention of Mick Baxter – definitely a Birdcage boy who went on to work for Rikki and Fiery Creations (the Foulks) and was spotted recently by my buddy Martin Richman who is a pal of Ray’s – I think they met up at the book launch.

One interesting observation by Ray is that it was a peaceful event that required no police on site. I wonder whether he remains unaware of Dave Hopkins and his mates ‘disguised’ as Notting Hill’s finest hippies?

It’s hardback and published by Medina at £22. Not cheap, but it offers lots of illustrations and if you were there – or if Dylan is your man – I think you’ll enjoy it. I certainly did.

It ends with a lead into volume two through a chapter about Hendrix and his admiration for Dylan, suggesting intriguingly that the album Electric Ladyland carries in the title its particular tribute to Bob (laDYLANd). That’s a new one on me.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

7 thoughts on “Island of Dreams

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Stevland Hardaway Judkins ‘Little Stevie Wonder’..66 today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inS9gAgSENE

  2. oh and birthday day to day………………cheeky cockney chappie Joe Brown an instigator of that thing called rock n roll…75 yrs young

  3. There is a cracking film about one of the IOW festies, you probably know it. I think it is Ricky Farr who makes an announcement about a drugs amnesty and proposes that everyone take their stash to the Police Chief; “He’s gonna get one hell of a stoned”. Ricky’s brother was singer Gary Farr. I was staying with an Aunt in Gosport in the Summer of ’69 (she took me to watch Pompey lose 5-1 at home to Sheffield United on August 16th). I distinctly remember a local TV news story in which an interviewer failed to get any information from Dylan. He kept saying “I don’t understand the question”. Happy days :-]

  4. That film is called “Message to Love” – there’s a book too and an exhibition at Dimbola Lodge near Tennyson Down. The late Gary Farr was a regular visitor to Pompey both singing with the T-Bones and subsequently as a solo singer-songwriter. Ray Foulk identifies him as the only artist who played at all three of the original IOW Festivals.

  5. The Mrs. bought me the book last year and i agree its a very good read , the sequel, ‘ the last great event ‘ is apparently available from June 2nd.
    Re the film , great clip of Free doing ‘alright now’….i think Paul Rodgers could probably still sing it as well even now , not many of that time, still living, who could recreate their youth so well. I’m a big John Sebastian fan , but alas John’s voice went a long time ago, lucky hes stil a great harmonica and guitar player.

  6. I’m with you on that Phil – John Sebastian has made some quite lovely music over many years

  7. Dave, I spent many hours playing in the grounds of Dimbola Lodge with my older brother and his friend Brian Stoner. Not sure who that family was but must have been wealthy as he had all kinds of toys and that was where I saw my first TV set. I am thinking it would have been in 1950/1. I have some pictures around somewhere taken in the grounds.

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