SAN DIEGO — Lost footage of Bob Dylan’s 1969 ‘Isle of Wight’ festival performance has recently been unearthed by a San Diego-based archive company. CBS 8 took a tour of the massive music footage library maintained by Reelin’ in the Years Productions and learned how the rare Dylan footage was discovered.
“This a very archaic machine but there’s a lot of great material that’s still on these tapes,” said David Peck, owner of the company. Peck has dedicated his life’s work to digging out pieces of music history from old tapes and film reels and transferring them over to the digital world where they can be enjoyed by music fans everywhere.
“I love this stuff so much,” said Peck. “I love music and I love being a part of preserving the history for everyone to enjoy.”
Peck has lived in the San Diego area since 1977, and as a young man around the age of 20, he began collecting music footage.
“It was sort of my window to the past, so I’d got bitten hard by this bug to collect,” said Peck.
And his passion turned into a lucrative business. More than 35 years later, ‘Reelin’ in the Years Productions’ has the largest library of music footage in the world with over 30,000 hours archived.
“The idea is to find it, preserve it, catalog it, you know, make it available for filmmakers to make documentaries and awards shows,” said Peck.
The walls in his office are covered with memories and accolades.
“This is the Grammy nomination for ‘American Folk Blues Festival’ DVD,” said Peck, pointing toward his framed nomination on the wall.
Recently he was digging through an old archive for a client of his, WDR, a television station in Germany, when he came across an obscure piece of footage of Bob Dylan in 1969 at the ‘Isle of Wight’ festival in England.
“In 1969 they had sent a film crew to England to capture the festival including a little bit of Bob Dylan’s performances and this film basically sat there for all these years,” said Peck. “No one really realized the significance of it, so when I started going through their archives, I saw it and I screamed.”
The extremely rare footage Dylan had been buried for over 50 years, and David is ecstatic to give it new life.
“For people like me who love this music, appreciate this music and what artists like Bob Dylan gave the world, even 2 minutes of their history is special,” said Peck. “It’s one more piece in the puzzle of their career.”
WATCH RELATED: Rock band Chicago plays San Diego Sports Arena in 1977: