'AFTON DOWN' is the product of a ten year project that began in 2001... a twelve track album, comprising three melodic instrumentals and nine well crafted songs that straddle a number of genres from New Age to Modern Folk to Country Rock and beyond. The album was originally conceived as a purely instrumental project, but when my mother died, I wrote the song 'Dinner With The Angels', and soon realised that more songs would be necessary to create a balanced album of material. The songs are unashamedly a personal journey, but I defy most listeners to not relate in some way to some of the lyrics... a bold statement I agree... you decide! The album's track order flows smoothly through the different genres, and the album's title, inspired by circumstances that took place in early 2001, is best explained by the following sleeve notes that appear in the album booklet... At the tender age of seventeen, having been brought up in a 'one horse' Lincolnshire market town, my parents forbade me from even thinking about journeying down to the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England to attend the now legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Pop Festival (such as it was promoted) that hosted a galaxy of stars of the era, including what was to be the last performance on British soil of the godlike Jimi Hendrix, before his untimely demise just days later. Now hailed as 'the last great event', the festival attracted in excess of 600,000 fans, and the islanders didn't know what had hit them! Afton Farm, at the far west end of the island, had only been secured as an appropriate site just one month previous to the event that was to encompass the August Bank Holiday weekend. Although the site had been heavily fenced off, restrictions imposed by the County Council to the layout of the arena meant that anyone who cared to climb the adjacent hill overlooking the site could simply watch the festival for free! Of the 600,000 attendees, over 100,000 controversially 'enjoyed' the event from the hillside that is Afton Down. In early January 2001, my new wife and I decided to take a short break on the island, having been drawn to the place on numerous occasions over the years. However, visiting the island in winter was to be a unique experience, not least trying to find a hotel with any signs of life in the thick early evening fog! The following morning, a bitterly cold wind had dispatched the fog as angry grey clouds rolled across the sky. Having never bothered looking for the site of the iconic festival on previous visits, I decided to make amends, and consulted the map. As we drove through the hamlet that is East Afton, there before us rolled the barren sprawl that was the festival site, with the monster hillside of Afton Down standing guard to the south... I felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The inclement January morning didn't lend itself to comfortable picture taking, but as I went to look through the viewfinder, a car suddenly pulled up nearby, out of which spilled a long haired guy, clutching an old guitar, and looking like he'd just woken up under a hedge, having realised the festival was over and everyone had gone home. He stared across to the hill, then turned to me and asked "This is it yeah... this is the place?" With a sense of immense satisfaction, I nodded, and he posed with the guitar while his partner leaned into the biting wind to take photographs. With this album nothing more than a pipedream at the time, I decided then and there that it would carry the title Afton Down. It was a magical moment... you had to be there! Years later, I met award winning photographer Bob Aylott whilst promoting his book Isle of Wight Festival 1970 - Six Days That Rocked The World, a fascinating account in words and images of his experiences at the festival as a young Fleet Street press photographer. I was captivated by one of his images in particular, that of a heavily pregnant pretty young girl, who coincidentally, has been the subject of an international quest to establish her name and whereabouts today, but despite the efforts of the worldwide media over the years, her identity remains a complete mystery. Bob's iconic image inspired me to write Afton Belle, written from his perspective and his meeting with her on the hill... and possibly my favourite song on the album. The accompanying twelve page booklet includes the above notes, lyrics to all songs, photos of participating artists, and archive photographs taken by Bob Aylott at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.