Festival gets off to a soggy start after chaos for travellers

THEY'RE OFF Kevin Tyson, 23, and Graeme Reid, 27, and inset  Indie Swain, 17. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (122095)
THEY'RE OFF Kevin Tyson, 23, and Graeme Reid, 27, and inset Indie Swain, 17. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (122095)

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MUD, rain and endless queues were suddenly forgotten when Primal Scream took to the stage on the first night of this year’s Isle of Wight festival.

The psychedelic Brit-rockers brought the sunshine spirit to Seaclose Park last night – even if the real sunshine was nowhere to be seen. Indeed, high winds closed the Big Top stage for 40 minutes last night before The Stranglers and Primal Scream took the stage.

THEY'RE OFF  Indie Swain, 17. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (122095)

THEY'RE OFF Indie Swain, 17. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (122095)

Thousands of revellers crossed the Solent on Wightlink ferries and Hovercraft only to be confronted by five-hour delays and fields that had been transformed into huge swamps.

About 600 festival-goers were temporarily kept on ferries in the Solent because of gridlock on the island, which had been caused by difficulties in boggy car parks.

Wightlink Ferries had to suspend some services and bring in contingency plans of diverting waiting cars to Southsea Common to clear the backlog.

Hovertravel, however, said they had transported thousands of people –and had not had any delays.

But it didn’t take long for the whatever-the-weather festival spirit to kick in.

Sam Bailey, 21, of Kipling Road, Portsmouth, said the big draw for her and her friends was the atmosphere.

She said: ‘It’s more about the spirit of the event than the line-up.

‘I’m a little worried about the rain but at the end of the day you’ve just got to get on with it.

‘I know it’s going to be great. I’m especially looking forward to Madness, DJ Fresh and Jessie J.’

Her friend Dave Curtis, 24, Bonchurch Avenue, Milton, added: ‘I have my wellies, but I’m not really looking forward to all the mud. The bands I’m looking forward to the most are Feeder and Example.’

Over the entire four-day festival up to 70,000 people are expected to enjoy US rock legends Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Pearl Jam.

And tonight Manchester’s Elbow are set to banish the clouds with huge sing-alongs and rousing anthems.

But with a set full of hip-shaking choices from their classic album Screamadelica, the first night’s headliners more than set the stage for a weekend of happy, soggy festival fun.