Friday, 17 June 2011

Isle of Wight Festival 2011

My face is sunburnt, my legs are weary, my nails are dirty, I have some suspicious looking bruises, all my possessions are damp, yes – I have just been to the Isle of Wight Festival.

All worth it of course.

The festival du jour due to Kate Moss’s ubercool presence this year for her festival hen do, I didn’t really know what to expect after being told by a friend it was “a chavvy Glastonbury” (as it turned out, a pretty accurate description). But chavvy Glasto or not, I loved it. As a Glasto lover I had to keep holding back the entire weekend from the immortal phrase “But at Glastonbury…” as the two are very similar, but IoW is smaller, more humble, dare I say – less pretentious? (…OK more chavvy).

Friday we unexpectedly stumbled on Laura Steel in the Big Top, a pleasant surprise and a great way to kick off festivities with her quirky dress, powerful stage presence and belting voice set against catchy rock beats. We Are Scientists put on a typically animated show on the Main Stage, their ad-lib dry commentary adding to the overall performance. The Courteeners were a personal favourite, the audience were just getting warmed up and their classic “Not Nineteen Forever” went down a storm. We held back in the crowd to watch Kaiser Chiefs as I’m not a huge fan, but the indie britpoppers can always be relied upon for a quality set. Kings of Leon, headlining the Main Stage, were a triumph. Although for many hardcore fans the southern US rockers have lost their sheen with their latest arena-tour type album, the brothers (and a cousin) can still belt out a TUNE. The spectacular firework display over the stage during the last song was the icing on the soul-filled cake.

Kings of Leon

Saturday saw an old-school vibe with an amazing Pulp and Iggy and the Stooges (who pulled Dave Grohl of the Foo’s on stage to dance), as well as the brilliant Seasick Steve. Foo Fighter’s headlined and the rockers pulled out all the stops to put on another mind-blowing show. The Vaccines in the Big Top were also amazing, with a surprise HUGE turnout despite the unusually hot weather.

Foo Fighters

The Vecks, a band who won a competition to play on the Main Stage on Saturday, are definitely a name to remember, with their indie catchy tunes and the lead singer’s grainy voice. Stornoway, Hurts and Lissie all played impressive sets.

The torrential rain on Sunday lead to a dismal turnout for Soul Circus on the Garden Stage (I think there were around six of us watching) the band were great, but I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for them. Twenty Twenty, on the other hand, had the advantage of playing in the under-cover Big Top but were ABISMAL. The Busted-style side-parted self-conscious young upstarts had an annoyingly large crowd despite their terrible pop disasters. Springbok Nude Girls, the unusually named South African rock/metal band, seemed surprised but appreciative of the huge crowd and provided a welcome relief from the previous pop rubbish, as did Various Cruelties.

Two Door Cinema Club were great, but my feet were beginning to lose feeling, there was about 50% rain water in my cider, and Pj had the onset of hyperthermia…so it was a little difficult to enjoy.

After heading back to the tent to change and put on so many layers I resembled Joey in the episode when he puts all Chandler’s clothes on (I could hardly even lift my arm to drink) we were ready for Beady Eye. The hype beforehand with backstage filming on the big screens of Liam flattening down his mod-hair revved up the crowd, but I think the festival curators decision to put them on as the second last act was a little off, I have the album but don’t know all the songs, and it seemed like the audience thought the same. A good performance however from a surprisingly polite Gallagher. Kasabian put on a stellar performance ending the festival on a high, all be it a muddy, sodden one.

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