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George Ezra pays tribute to Bob Dylan’s Isle of Wight gig 50 years on

Isle of Wight Festival 2019 (Isle of Wight Festival/PA)
Isle of Wight Festival 2019 (Isle of Wight Festival/PA)

George Ezra paid tribute to Bob Dylan as he closed the second day of the Isle of Wight Festival 50 years after the US artist himself took to the stage.

During its 1960s heyday, the festival hosted the likes of Dylan, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, who gave his last UK performance on the island off the England’s south coast.

Shotgun singer Ezra paid tribute to that era with a rendition of Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright to the delight of the crowd.

The theme for this year’s event is Summer of ’69: Peace and Love, as it marks 50 years since Dylan headlined in 1969, singing to an audience estimated to number 200,000 people.

Saturday’s action included Astley, Bastille and KT Tunstall, and Bastille invited Astley on stage to join them in a rousing rendition of the band’s 2013 hit Pompeii.

Astley described being invited to play at the festival as “amazing” and his set included his 1987 classic Never Gonna Give You Up and covers of ACDC’s Back in Black and Calvin Harris and Rag’n’Bone Man’s Giant.

“Going back to the original Isle of Wight, it went down in history as being one of those festivals that was legendary,” Astley told the Press Association.

“If you weren’t there. you weren’t there. It was a happening thing and it’s a nice box to tick for me.”

Event organiser John Giddings said he had asked many of those performing to play a Bob Dylan song, but Astley said he chose not to because he didn’t feel he could “represent it” because “it’s Bob Dylan”.

“It’s bonkers because I never thought someone like myself would ever get to play the Isle of Wight,” added Astley.

“I’ve done lots of gigs but I have now started to be asked to do festivals.

“Festivals are a lot more eclectic than they used to be, but I do feel like uncle Rick sometimes when I play them.”

Despite rainy conditions on Saturday afternoon on the island, festival-goers said they would “drink through” the weather and fortunately the sun came out for them in the evening.

Sunday’s line-upwill include Madness, Jess Glynne and former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft, before concluding with headliners Biffy Clyro, whose set festival organiser Giddings said people will be able to “see from the moon”.

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