VIDEO: Joni Mitchell’s Legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Performance Is Focus of New Documentary

Murray Lerner-directed concert doc “Both Sides Now” debuts in September

July 19, 2018

The Canadian folk legend who cautioned against paving over paradise for the sake of extra parking has a new concert documentary coming out.

A trailer has been released for “Both Sides Now,” a film about Joni Mitchell’s performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival. Directed by the late, Oscar-winning documentarian Murray Lerner (“Mao to Mozart,” “Festival”), the film features her entire festival performance cut with vintage footage from the concert grounds. It also contains a modern interview with Joni in which she describes how all the choas unfolded.

As rock historians may remember, that fateful Isle of Wight festival boasted a lineup that included not just Joni but also Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Joan Baez, the Moody Blues, Miles Davis, Procol Harum, Supertramp, and the Doors, among many, many others. It was attended by an estimated 600,000 concertgoers and is widely considered the largest concert of its era. However, the festival was not without its share of problems. Many of the attendees were reportedly unruly, literally storming the gates, rebelling against concert organizers, and disrupting a great many sets, Joni’s included.

“There was this sense that the artists have all sold out. It was a ‘hate the performer’ festival,” a modern-day Joni explains in the trailer (above). “I said, ‘Have some respect.’ And they did. They were quiet.”

In addition to winning multiple Grammys and selling countless albums, Joni also famously inspired Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and 2016 Stern Show guest Graham Nash to write one of his most famous tracks. See the rock legend tell Howard how she inspired “Our House” and check out his acoustic, in-studio rendition of the song (below).

“Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970” debuts Sept. 14 on Blu-Ray and Digital Video.

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