It’s a boy, Mrs. Walker. The Who
The circus is in town Here comes the blind commissioner They’ve got him in a trance One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker The other is in his pants And the riot squad they’re restless They need somewhere to go As Lady and I look out tonight From Desolation Row … Bob Dylan (1961)
I watched her steeped in her own silence As she shuffled down the line With an arm around her unborn baby And her strength in slow decline She stood alone in natural beauty She seemed alone in every way Would the baby come tomorrow? Would her child be born today? (…) And I wondered where she’d go to As I often do today Have we crossed a path at some point? Have we passed along the way? And if I returned to Afton Would I see her on the hill? Hand in hand with all her children Would I recognize her still? Andy Billings
It is structured to lay a gossamer touch across the whole song from the arresting opening statement and the haunting glockenspiel to the use of a Leslie speaker cabinet for the guitar. The speaker baffle rotates, creating a Doppler effect of rising and falling waves of sound. Jimi plays the song almost like a pianist with the thumb fretting the bass notes like the pianist’s left hand, while the fingers of the fretting hand correspond to the right. The song fades on a magical solo after only two minutes and twenty-five seconds. Even live, ‘Little Wing’ was hardly any longer – he said what he wanted to say and stopped. Harry Shapiro
It was still not a big deal at the time, even if there was 600,000 people there, there were other stories going on. I was in my element, seeing all the bands whose records I had – The Who, Free, the Doors – it was an incredible assignment – sleeping under the stage, having a fantastic time and getting paid for it. It was like a massive graduation party before we all have to go off and become adults – the last big fling for us kids of the 60s. There were a lot of students, ready to go to work – this was the last big party before we took life seriously. As a press photographer you are looking for one image to tell the story of the day. It was a case of going out searching for pictures – hippies at the dole queue, naked hippies in Freshwater bay, undercover cops on Ryde Pier. At the time we had our fingers crossed she was going to give birth – she said she was ready at any moment and that would have been a better story – ‘love child born at festival’. I would like her to look exactly as she did then – she could be a silver-haired granny with grandchildren. It would be fascinating to see what she has developed into – at the time she was stunning, a real Marianne Faithful lookalike who turned heads at that festival. Maybe she has seen the picture and doesn’t want to remember that time, maybe something happened to the child, maybe she wants to forget it – who knows?, that all adds to the mystery. Bob Aylott
We put this festival on, you bastards, with a lot of love! We worked for one year for you pigs! And you wanna break our walls down and you wanna destroy it? Well you go to hell! Rikki Farr (organisateur)
By the end of the festival the press representatives became almost desperate for material and they seemed a little disappointed that the patrons had been so well behaved. Sir Douglas Osmond (Chief Constable, Hampshire Constabulary, Stevenson Report, 1971)
Bob Aylott’s iconic picture of this pregnant woman taken at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970, came to represent a festival legacy has now spanned decades. Embodying the free spirit, free love atmosphere in a stylish mini dress surrounded by the madness of the festival, for many this encompasses everything that’s great about the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Yet 40 years on who she is is still a mystery….. This year the Isle of Wight Festival is celebrating 40 years since this picture was taken and is looking to answer the question; who was THE pregnant woman brave enough to travel all the way to the Isle of Wight for a once in a life time experience including seeing Jimi Hendrix at one of his last performances, before starting her family? If you were at the festival in 1970 (or even if you weren’t) and have any information about who the unknown lady was then we want to hear from you! Did you camp next to her? See her in the crowd? Were you even at the festival with her? Any information you have to help us find her and uncover the story behind this fascinating picture 40 years on would be gratefully received. Isle of Wight festival
Plus de 600 000 personnes, les Who, le génial Hendrix (pour la dernière fois), les Doors (un an avant le Père Lachaise), Chicago, Procol Harum, les Moody Blues, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Pentangle, Family, Free, Ten years after …
Attention: une naissance peut en cacher une autre !
Au lendemain de la naissance ô combien médiatisée du probable futur 43e souverain de l’histoire britannique …
Mais aussi, à la mystérieuse – et téméraire pour ceux qui se souviennent, sans compter la drogue, de la mer de boue et de détritus qu’était vite devenu malgré la plage à côté le festival (surnommé d’ailleurs avec raison « Desolation row« ) ? – jeune fille enceinte jusqu’aux yeux au milieu d’une mer de tentes qu’un photographe avait choisie – à défaut de l’enfant de l’amour qui tardait à venir – comme icone (hippie à souhait avec sa minijupe et ses cheveux longs et libres) des fameux « six jours qui avaient », disait-on un an après le célébrissime festival de Woodstock, « bercé ou ébranlé le monde » ?
Comme d’ailleurs, même si le festival a repris depuis le 40e anniversaire la tradition (avec même une chanson) de la photo de la jeune fille enceinte au milieu des tentes, à son enfant – et peut-être garçon ? – aujourd’hui âgé de 43 ans ?
By Dominic Blake
BBC Radio Solent reporter
2 June 2010
Forty years ago this summer, a young press photographer was on his « dream assignment » – working at the third Isle of Wight Festival.
Bob Aylott was 21 and relishing snapping bands like the Doors, the Who, as well as some of the 600,000 fans.
Among them was a heavily pregnant ‘hippy’ girl, whose image has since become iconic of the festival, but her identity has remained unknown.
Now Bob would dearly like to put a name to girl in the photograph.
A life in photography
These days Bob can be found back in his home town of Fareham working out of his studio in West Street, where his white walls are hung with images from a remarkable career.
Alongside the photos of rock stars and Isle of Wight festival revellers are some of the famous people he has known, and photographed during more than four decades as a press photographer in Britain and the US.
They include Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra and George Best. During a spell in the US, Bob won a World Press Award for photographs of serial killer Charles Manson.
Bob was sent to the Isle of Wight Festival by his editors at the Daily Sketch newspaper. Over half a million people had also crossed the Solent for the event at Afton Down on the Isle of Wight.
But he recollects his bosses were not particularly interested in the giant rock festival. He explained: « It was still not a big deal at the time, even if there was 600,000 people there, there were other stories going on. »
He continued: « I was in my element, seeing all the bands whose records I had – The Who, Free, the Doors – it was an incredible assignment – sleeping under the stage, having a fantastic time and getting paid for it. »
As a photographer at a festival, in the days before every arm had a mobile phone camera attached to it, Bob was central in documenting the event which he remembers being a real farewell to the 1960s.
He explained: « It was like a massive graduation party before we all have to go off and become adults – the last big fling for us kids of the 60s. There were a lot of students, ready to go to work – this was the last big party before we took life seriously.
« As a press photographer you are looking for one image to tell the story of the day. It was a case of going out searching for pictures – hippies at the dole queue, naked hippies in freshwater bay, undercover cops on Ryde Pier. »
The image which has been associated with the Isle of Wight Festival ever since was one of a heavily pregnant girl among the tents.
« At the time we had our fingers crossed she was going to give birth – she said she was ready at any moment and that would have been a better story – ‘love child born at festival’. »
Although the photograph was filed to London, it was never published and the negatives were stored. Somehow the caption details with the girl’s name and details got lost.
When Bob came to use it in an exhibition in 1972, the girl’s name was unknown, but that did not stop the image becoming iconic with posters printed and seen all over the world.
Four decades on, Bob is no closer to discovering the identity of the mother-to-be. But has often wondered what happened to her and the ‘bump’ – who would now be approaching their 40th birthday.
He said: « I would like her to look exactly as she did then – she could be a silver-haired granny with grandchildren. It would be fascinating to see what she has developed into – at the time she was stunning, a real Marianne Faithful lookalike who turned heads at that festival.
« Maybe she has seen the picture and doesn’t want to remember that time, maybe something happened to the child, maybe she wants to forget it – who knows?, that all adds to the mystery. »
If you know the identity of the mystery girl at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More of Bob’s Isle of Wight Festival Pictures can be seen in Six Days that Rocked the World published in 2009, as well as at a new exhibition – Six Days That Rocked The World, Celebrating the 40th Annivesary of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival at West Bury Manor Museum, Fareham – from 5 June -28 August 2010.
This pregnant hippie in a sea of tents is destined to become the face of the 1970 Isle of Wight Pop Festival. But who is she? The girl with no name standing in the middle of Desolation Row at the 1970 Festival features in a new book and on a poster celebrating the 40th anniversary of the iconic festival in 2010.
Island Pulse exclusive news update 3rd July 2010: The search continues to find the pregnant hippie girl. Andy Billups bass player for the Hamsters, today releases ‘Afton Belle’ a single from his first solo album Afton Down. The song was inspired by Bob Aylotts’ iconic image of the unknown pregnant girl and the single can be purchased from Framers in Ryde. Read more click here: Also see Bob Aylott’s IW Festival Exclusive Pictures as: Pregnant Pause At Festival 40 Years On.. click here: and It’s A Boy for our Isle of Wight Festival Belle 2010.
‘Isle of Wight Festival 1970, Six Days That Rocked the World’ the festival attracted more than 500,000 fans and starred Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Joan Baez.
Island Pulse met up with former Fleet Street photographer Bob Aylott (pictured) who took the photograph, and along with the help of six other award winning press photographers wrote and published the book.
’The photograph was never published at the time. Now it is one of the iconic images of the world’s greatest rock festival. It would be fantastic to find her and discover what happened to the child. The book and a poster print of the image will be sold around the world’.
The book ‘Isle of Wight Festival 1970, Six Days That Rocked the World’ is in limited edition and published by The Press Photographers Gallery. Last weekend Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival witnessed a unique launch of the book and copies are now available to purchase online, more details here:
Congratulations it’s a boy for our Isle of Wight Festival Belle 2010. Regular readers of Island Pulse will remember as part of this years Isle of Wight Festival coverage our man on the inside ex fleet street photographer Bob Aylott managed yet another scoop and recreated his iconic image of a ‘Mystery Girl? from the 1970 IW Festival.
As we reported earlier, all set to give birth to her first baby, Laura Wolfe (pictured) was excited to be part of the 1970 festival anniversary celebrations and more than happy to be a model mum in helping Bob Aylott recreate his iconic image (see below) 40 years on.
The baby was almost in the Pink and could have experienced an unusual introduction to the world.
The couple, Laura and Danny, who live in Lake, were not expecting their baby to be born at the festival, so when first-time mum Laura started to experience pains during Pink’s performance it caused some concern for dad to be Danny.
Thankfully Laura held out to enjoy Sunday headline act Paul McCartney before taking a trip to the welfare tent, then deciding a visit to hospital might be in order.
Because the couple and bump had built up a rapport with photographer Bob Aylott, Danny joked: “it was touch and go whether to phone Bob or the ambulance.”
The pains turned out to be a false alarm, possibly Braxton Hick’s contractions which are something first time mums often experience, but as a precaution Laura spent the rest of that night in St Mary’s Hospital.
However this launched Laura, Danny and bump on a roller coaster of visits back and forth to the hospital during the week. This happily resulted in Laura giving birth to a healthy baby boy, Louie Michael, at 11.22am the following Saturday 19th June.
Although these are belated congratulations, as we all know, life for a new mum is a hectic, we managed to pop in and capture Laura with baby Louie and hope she likes the result.
The Search For the ‘Mystery 1970 Festival Girl’ Continues…
While every newsroom across the world focused on the Isle of Wight festival acts 2010, inside reporter Bob Aylott got sidetracked to bring his very own festival exclusive. When Laura discovered that Bob was the photographer of the ‘Mystery 1970 Festival Girl’, that she and her partner had read about, she was more than happy to let him, photographically, record this two fold anniversary event.
Island Pulse revealed the exclusive news: search continues to find the pregnant hippie girl. Inspired by Bob Aylotts’ iconic image of the unknown pregnant girl at the 1970 festival, Andy Billups bass player for the Hamsters, released ‘Afton Belle’ a single from his first solo album Afton Down. Read more click here: also see Bob Aylott’s IW Festival Exclusive Pictures 2010 click here: