THIS year’s Isle of Wight Festival has been a tale of two very different weekends.
But then there was the wind and the rain, the 40,000-strong crowds huddling under anorak hoods, while some of the biggest names in music from decades past belted out their most popular hits.
Less busy than in previous years, probably due to the knock-on effect of last year’s horrific weather conditions, there were still plenty of people who risked it and bought a ticket.
Crowds almost ran from main stage to big top to dance tent to try and keep up with the bands playing: Jaguar Skills collided with Happy Mondays; Stone Roses clashed with Example; Bon Jovi had an early headlining slot on the Main Stage last night so the crowds could get to Blondie in the big top. And what a finish it was. Bon Jovi played a high-octane three-hour set, rocking the crowd for the whole time despite the absence of Richie Sambora, as hit followed hit followed hit.
It was a fantastic complement to Saturday’s headliner, the Killers, who definitely lit up the festival with Mr Brightside as a first song and didn’t look back throughout their entire set.
But the second festival that took place at Seaclose Park this weekend wasn’t to be found on the main stage in front of the adulation afforded to Las Vegas’ finest.
It was worth taking a trip to the far-flung nooks and crannies of the park to enjoy the finer moments of a festival which has been largely looked after by the weather gods.
Long-running Pompey retro night Hipshaker was the must-visit starting point for an eclectic array of entertainment every night.
And then came a little fun from 50s-loving trio the Three Belles to get the chaps’ temperatures rising on a surprisingly balmy Saturday afternoon, a vast contrast to the rain of Friday night and yesterday morning.
T-shirts on sale throughout the festival made reference to mud, rain, and the delays and travel problems which beset festival-goers last year.
And then there was one which simply questioned why Bon Jovi, 80s hair rockers, were chosen to close the main stage yesterday?
The decision was a simple one, said organiser John Giddings, who was also looking forward to Kodaline’s act earlier in the afternoon.
He said: ‘Bon Jovi are everyone’s guilty pleasure. My daughter’s 28 and she loves them. They’ve got more hits than I’ve had hot dinners.
‘There’s no better job than running a festival with all the groups you love performing on it. Kodaline are ones to look out for, but it’s good to see the weekend going well and people enjoying themselves.’