PURPLE HAZE OVER LARGE AS LIFE HENDRIX TRIBUTEBy Gavin Foster
ALMOST 36 years since his death shortly after playing the great Afton Down Festival of 1970, guitar hero Jimi Hendrix has returned to the scene of his last major live appearance.
A life-size statue of Hendrix has been erected in specially designed grounds at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater, former home of an altogether more genteel cultural pioneer, Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
Dimbola trustee John Giddings, who is also promoter of the Nokia IW Festival, came up with the idea of honouring Hendrix.
And although those who run Dimbola swiftly embraced the idea, other Freshwater residents say the statue is inappropriate.
Freshwater Residents' Association has written to Dimbola raising concerns and members were recently involved in a heated exchange with Dimbola's president, Ron Smith, at the charity's annual meeting.
Dimbola chairman Dr Brian Hinton denied juxtaposing Hendrix — who died after a drink and drugs overdose — and Cameron was incongruous.
He said both artists had similarities. Both were from ethnic backgrounds and both pushed the boundaries of their chosen instruments — Hendrix through his guitar and Cameron with her camera.
He said it was also entirely appropriate that the 1970 IW Festival — the largest event of its type yet staged in this country — should be marked in Freshwater.
He said: "I am really angry at the reaction of one or two people, loudmouths who contribute nothing to the Island.
"Where was their concern for the site when it was about to be demolished to make way for flats?
"I have heard plans for a full opening ceremony were shelved because John Giddings, being the nice man he is, didn't want to offend anyone. I think that is a terrible shame."
The bronze model of Hendrix in 1970 Afton pose was created by Putney-based sculptor John Swindells. It is set in a garden designed and created by Lee Daniel of Ryde-based LD Transformations.
02 June 2006