10 reasons why we love the Isle of Wight Festival
1. It’s a mini-holiday and festival all rolled into one.
Catching the ferry over to the island is all part of experiencing the Isle of Wight Festival. Standing on deck, with lots of other like-minded festival-goers, you can’t fail to get excited and feel like you are getting away from it all. You relax, you smile and you leave all your troubles behind on the mainland.
2. It’s a festival for everyone.
The Isle of Wight crowd is as varied and inclusive as they come. From seasoned festival fans to newbies, from young groups to families and couples. Rest assured, you will not feel out of place here.
3. The festival site is big, but not too big.
The Isle of Wight Festival, with its daily capacity of 90,000, is unquestionably on the large side. However, compared to other large festivals, the site is really accessible. You can wander from stage to stage in minutes, rather than hours (as is the case with some other large festivals), meaning that you miss out on less and, if you’re anything like me, you feel less stressed about rushing about trying to get your money’s worth. It also adds to the festival atmosphere; you feel part of the festival crowd as you are all sharing the same space and the same party!
4. The Isle of Wight festival has an intoxicating atmosphere
Each festival we’ve reviewed has had its own, unique personality. If the Isle of Wight Festival were a person, it would be a chatty, excited, smiley type who wanted you to join in all the fun. If this is what being an islander for the weekend does to you, then we should all ditch our suburban dwellings and head for the catamaran more often. Everyone wants to stop and chat. Whether it’s the bar staff or the group you’ve found yourself next to in the crowd, everyone is in that jubilant mood which usually only surfaces when we have snow and for some reason we become the friendliest nation in the world. The Isle of Wight Festival brings out the best in people. It’s a fact.
5. The sound quality is great
Artists keep coming back to the Isle of Wight Festival because of the superior sound quality. Mark Nicholas from Feeder has performed at the festival several times and lauds the festival’s superior acoustics. It’s also clear from being in the crowd; the main stage area is a vast expanse, allowing for tightly packed bouncing at the front, to spaced out blankets and chairs at the back, with no loss in sound quality.
6. The festival site is well maintained
Festivals don’t often come clean (excuse the pun) about toilets and mud at festivals, but it’s something which affects us all when we share a festival site with thousands of other people for the weekend. Thankfully, the Isle of Wight Festival copes with both situations pretty well. There are porta-loos in abundance, so queuing rarely exceeds 5 minutes, even during really busy periods. More often than not, you can go straight in. They are not just the hole-in-the ground loos we have experienced at another big festival (naming no names!) and they are kept clean. All in all, completely bearable, even if you’re not used to that sort of thing.
When it has rained – but bear in mind that this has only happened on 4 days out of the 75 that the festival has taken place – the site copes well as it is relatively flat and walkways are laid out.
7. It has a fantastic kids’ area.
In 2015, the Isle of Wight Festival deservedly won the award for “Best Family Festival”. The Kids’ Zone is in a separate field, with some level of security at the entrance. It’s a cosy little get-away for you and your little ones with rides, workshops, craft tents and a stage with a variety of performances throughout the day. There are also big bell tents if you need to escape the sun and chill out with your family.
8. The Isle of Wight Festival is up there with the world’s most historic music festivals
Known as the Woodstock of Europe, the Isle of Wight Festival has a strong heritage. With music festivals exploding in the US in the late 60s, the UK decided to follow suit and the first Isle of Wight Festival in 1968 was attended by over 10,000. 1969 saw Bob Dylan headlining and from then on, the Isle of Wight was firmly on the festival map. However, with an act of parliament banning any open air festival of more than 5,000 people from taking place on the Isle of Wight again, without a special licence from the council, Europe was to forego this festival for more than 30 years. The legendary John Giddings managed to persuade the council to agree to a revival in 2002, and from then on, the festival and its line ups have gone from strength to strength.
9. It has world-class line ups
More on those line ups. Not many festivals can boast these line ups but still manage to retain a non-commercial feel - Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Who, Foo Fighters, Muse, Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, The Strokes, The Police, Biffy Clyro, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Faithless, Stereophonics, The Killers, Iggy Pop, Queen & Adam Lambert, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Arcade Fire, David Guetta, Run DMC, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Kaiser Chiefs, Bastille, George Ezra, Clean Bandit, and Amy Winehouse.....to name but a few!
10. Everyone keeps going back for more
When you go to the Isle of Wight Festival and, inevitably, get chatting to other festival-goers, you discover that many were hooked after their first experience of the festival. It’s not surprising to us (four visits and counting). The Isle of Wight Festival has something very special and we’re sure that you’ll be hooked too.