The historic Isle of Wight Festival was revived in 2002 after a dormant period of 32 years. Since then, the scope of the festival has progressively expanded and it has swiftly become one of the most anticipated events on the British summer festival calendar.
The Isle of Wight Festival is unique amongst the innumerable British festivals taking place this summer as it offers something that the others can’t. At the end of January, the Isle of Wight Festival organiser, John Giddings announced that alternative rock legends, Red Hot Chili Peppers would be headlining the main stage on the Saturday night and that this would be their only performance in the UK this year. It is also significant that this will be the band’s first UK festival appearance for seven years.
Naturally, it is tempting to assert that it’s worth attending the festival purely for this reason.
However, a quick glance at the line-up will reveal that the festival has a whole lot more to offer. Kings of Leon, The Specials, Suede, The Horrors and Travis are just a few of the big names involved, demonstrating the smorgasbord of sub-genres that 2014’s line-up represents.
Moreover, it is interesting to see the focus placed upon breakthrough acts. Bands who are likely to be showered with accolades by this time next year such as, Swim Deep, Clean Bandit, Amber Run and Deap Vally syncopate the daytime slots, providing festival goers with an abundance of opportunities to be introduced to some exciting new music.
In a recent interview with eFestivals, Giddings revealed the logic behind this agenda and provided an insight into his intuitive radar for scouting upcoming bands for festival slots, ‘The Isle of Wight Festival is primarily a music festival, it’s about music, past, present and future… I think they’re a new wave of people, the last wave I remember was Snow Patrol, Razorlight, Starsailor, that lot’.
This year’s line-up certainly appears more dance orientated as Friday headliners, angular alt-rockers, Biffy Clyro are sandwiched between Rudimental and Calvin Harris. In addition, any dubstep and UK Garage aficionados out there will be happy to see that Katy B will be also be headlining on the Friday night on the Big Top stage.
Evidently, the majority of the bands announced so far appeal to a young, student audience. Nonetheless, Isle of Wight Festival has always engaged a wide demographic of music fans and the 2014 schedule has retained to a certain extent, the festival’s ‘dad-rock’ leanings from previous years.
It is irrefutable that there has to be a space for showcasing musical heritage and inspiring cultural nostalgia at big music festivals and Thursday night’s line-up for the Big Top stage resembles a series of lectures in the history of popular music. It features the likes of From The Jam, the renowned Doors tribute band, The Doors Alive, the Madchester stalwarts, Inspiral Carpets and the hero of the New Romanticism Movement, Boy George. Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon indeed.
Undeniably, atmosphere plays an integral role in the shaping of a memorable festival experience. Most reviews of the previous installments of the IOW Festival corroborate that it hits the median between an ebullient party vibe and a laid back, insouciant atmosphere. Essentially, this means that you can get on with enjoying the music without being distracted by the incessant threat of plastic cups of dubious liquid being launched at you from the back of the crowd by groups of marauding lads.
For those anxious about the prospect of missing England getting inexorably thrashed by Italy in the group stages of the World Cup whilst they’re at the festival, there is no need to panic. The organisers have got it covered. There will be a ‘BT Field of Dreams’ showing all of the World Cup games live throughout the weekend.
Fellow students, there is more good news as you are allowed to take alcohol, (albeit not in glass containers), and food into the campsite. Make sure you’re hungry for some Tesco Value sausage rolls and lukewarm cans of Carling. However, those who possess more fastidious culinary tastes will be pleased to know that there will be a multiplicity of variegated gourmet food stalls dotted around the festival site.
Weekend tickets are currently £190 pounds and this price includes camping, day tickets to the festival are available as an alternative option, priced at £75.
Look out for CUB’s upcoming interview with festival organiser John Gidding’s, who will be giving us his top tracks from the Isle of Wight lineup and more.
All Images: IOW Festival