Isle of Wight Festival organiser issues apology for travel chaos

SORRY Isle of Wight Music Festival organiser John Giddings
SORRY Isle of Wight Music Festival organiser John Giddings

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THE organiser of the Isle of Wight Festival has apologised for the chaos caused by the bad weather.

Festival-goers were left stranded in their cars overnight because of the tailbacks, and ferries to the island were left stuck floating in The Solent as they were unable to disembark their passengers.

The problems have been caused by flooding at the festival’s car parking site, at Seaclose near Newport. Tractors have been working through the night to pull out vehicles stuck in the mud.

Three hundred cars were taken to nearby Newport Football Club’s ground.

Organiser John Giddings said this morning: ‘We are doing everything we can within our power.

‘Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had a heatwave and the fields were ready, but then we had this downpour and this is what has happened.

‘We have opened new fields this morning and we are about to move the last of the cars.’

Responding to accusations that people in cars were ignored as festival staff concentrated on putting down metal tracks for the new parking fields, he said: ‘I’m sorry, I thought we had enough people going up there and looking after people.

‘The atmosphere here, I’m stunned how people have taken it in their stride.

‘The problem is that it’s always been easy to to in to our festival compared to other festivals in previous years, and this year it’s taken four or five hours.

‘I’m really very sorry.

‘To the people still coming, if you are on the mainland, please can you leave your car, that would be a priority, and come as a foot passenger.’

Ferries between Portsmouth and Fishbourne are currently experiencing delays.

However Portsmouth Police City Centre Unit report there are no delays or queues getting into the ferry terminal car park.

News reporter Joe Nimmo, who headed over to the island yesterday, said: ‘We were on one of the buses from the ferry to the site, but it didn’t go anywhere for 45 minutes so we all got off and walked.

‘We must have walked for about four or five miles - we were exhausted by the time we got there and then we had to pitch our tent. It wasn’t the greatest start.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We organised cars onto the Common as a temporary car park and around Clarence Pier.

‘We made sure that the public toilets were kept open 24 hours a day so people didn’t suffer in that respect.

‘We wanted to make sure that people didn’t have quite such a terrible time and we have had some really positive feedback and thanks from the people.

‘We will be doing the same again today in case this happens again tonight.’