Isle of Wight Festival, 12th-14th June 2009  » Music  »
4.0
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Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight
  • The programme cost a whopping £10 this year
  • I won't say too much about the line-up as that information is readily available, and whether you are impressed depends entirely on your music tastes
  • At first I was quite annoyed about this - I don't like having to chose which band I go to see when they clash, and part of the appeal of festivals is that you can just pick a spot - and chill-out all day long in the sun, rather than rush back and forward across the site to see different bands

    • by endymion78
      TRUSTWORTHY

      all reviews
      This was my fourth year at the festival and yet again I had a really great time.

      I’m not a prolific festival goer, but have been to a few others - namely V Festival - and find they can be quite commercial, over-crowded and raucous. People go to get very drunk, and be insulting to other people, sometimes even the bands. But IOW is much more about the music, and much more of a family event - yes there are increasing groups of men or women on stag/hen dos or other excuses to get drunk - but far less than at other events and the atmosphere here is a lot more relaxed. Something about getting on a ferry to get there puts people in more of a holiday frame of mind.

      It’s still commercial though, obviously. The programme cost a whopping £10 this year. But there was a cool timetable-come-tag to hang around your neck.

      There are a huge number of rides, varying from your standard fairground waltzer, to the big wheel (£4 and excellent views over the site) and bungee ride (£20, and probably good if extremely fleeting views over the site) There’s plenty of stalls selling clothing


      and accessories and a huge number of food outlets. Food was really good this year - along with the standard Bacon Rolls, Pizza, Jacket Potatoes, and excellent Hog Roast, there are more vegan/vegetarian places where you can get healthier options like a Humous and Salad filled pitta (around £4.80). There is also an excellent stall that does smoothies, coffees, nice teas and lots of cakes. Yummy chocolate fudge, passionfruit cake, brownies, and muffins. Dribbling just thinking about them again.

      I won’t say too much about the line-up as that information is readily available, and whether you are impressed depends entirely on your music tastes. Something that was new for me this year was the second stage. At first I was quite annoyed about this - I don’t like having to chose which band I go to see when they clash, and part of the appeal of festivals is that you can just pick a spot - and chill-out all day long in the sun, rather than rush back and forward across the site to see different bands. Here it was not too bad. There was some overlap with the timings - and I had to miss some bands ...


      • I would otherwise have loved to see - but they also cleverly timed it so that you could still go see atleast half of the act on the other stage between bands. (And on the minor stage ‘Bigtop’ they also showed the main stage on the large screens) There was also a Guitar Heroes stage, where occasional special / surprise guests would appear to perform. No-one seemed to know about this. And indeed sometimes know who it was they were suddenly listening to. I walked past and happened to catch entirely by chance Midge Ure (Ultravox) and James Walsh (Starsailor) so was pretty excited about that.

        The sound set-up varied between bands, and probably with the weather conditions - occassionally we would get a wash of percussion and guitar carried on the wind more and the vocals drowned out slightly. But it was generally good, and nice and loud.

        Infact that was the only thing that was slightly odd this time. The sheer noise, everywhere you go. The fairground rides all playing different music tracks, announcers that were incredibly loud, the two stages, and the Guitar Hero stages were all competing to explode our ear drums. At the Bigtop

        this was not amusing - but annoying - as it really did distract from the main acts on stage (I remember trying to watch Ladyhawke but occasionally being unable to hear her for announcer on the Bungee ride trying to sell his particular blend of thrill-and-terror; and the bass from the Guitar Hero stage did not complement the acoustic songs being performed on stage at the time)

        They tried some new high security tags this year - which you could not remove once strapped on, and were scanned every day on entry. But I’m not sure how this worked / what the point was, since the barcode was just a sticker that soon started to come off from getting wet or general wear and tear. Some of the security measures and crowd control left a lot to be desired at times - particularly at the entrance/exit to toilets, and gate areas between the main stage area and second stage - these got complete blocked on numerous occassions with sheer volume of people trying to get through and then using the wrong side and generally creating chaos. But on the whole it was fine.

        I can’t wait to go again next year!




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