It’s getting easy to tell when it’s Isle of Wight Festival weekend – the giant tour buses suddenly appear on the Solent ferries, cars heading for Newport are rammed full of rucksacks and sleeping bags … and the weather is fantastic.
This was the fifth year of the revived festival with record crowds arriving to see 26 top bands including headliners, Prodigy, The Foo Fighters and Coldplay’s only European festival date of the year.
The festival site has expanded into ‘Strawberry Fields’, another city of bars, DJ tents and stalls. A new innovation this year was the Bandstand – a stage exclusively for local Isle of Wight bands.
Friday’s highlight was undoubtedly Prodigy – Keith Flint and co were on glowing form with a spectacular greatest hits set.
On Saturday, many were faced the dilemma of staying at the festival or leaving to watch the England World Cup match - many music/football fans’ attentions were clearly not on what was happening on stage as they shaded the screens of portable TVs and listened for text alerts.
The result meant there was a relieved, relaxed feel back in the arena for Editors and Primal Scream. The veteran indie rocksters were introduced on stage by Kate Moss - Rocks and Country Girl rounded off their set and cranked things up nicely for a mindblowing performance from Dave Grohl and the Foo Flighters.
Kooks were another Saturday highlight, before they headed to their after show party at a local garlic farm.
|Festi-goers enjoying the sunshine|
Day three was one for the home-grown talent. Isle of Wight bands Skyline Heroes and The Windows opened proceedings on the main stage while Southampton’s Delays brought even more of a sunny feelgood vibe to the early afternoon.
It was also a day of legends – Procul Harum appeared 40 years after Whiter Shade of Pale was originally a hit. Lou Reed and and Richard Ashcroft both went down well with the crowd, as did Coldplay’s Chris Martin’s attempt at Peter Crouch’s robo-dance.
By the time Fix You was accompanied by the finale fireworks, it was the end of another legendary weekend for the Isle of Wight.
The festival was revived in 2002 and has grown into a massive three day event which is now one of the biggest events on the summer festival circuit. In recent years REM, Stereophonics, The Who, Travis, Snowpatrol, Robert Plant, David Bowie and Bryan Adams have all appeared.
The original Isle of Wight Festivals took place from 1968 to 1970 and have assumed legendary status in music history. The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Who Emerson, Lake And Palmer all played on the Island - 500,000 people were thought to have made the journey across the Solent for the 1970 festival.
This May, to commemorate the unique place of the Isle of Wight Festival in music history, a statue of Jimi Hendrix has been unveiled at Dimbola Lodge in Freshwater, looking out towards the 1970 festival site on Afton Down.
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