In a year where Isle of Wight looked back to one of its
maiden years to the ‘69 Summer of Love, 2019 brought the summer of mud.
Wet and windy – the spirit of one of The UK’s best festivals
was nowhere near ruined.
An opening night cameo from Wet Wet Wet dispelled any worry
of rain rain rain across the weekend, with the crowd clubbing together under
the Big Top and boogying to old favourites such as Love Is All Around and Sweet
Alternative stages such as Kashmir Cafe were neat little
hangouts, providing a home of warmth and good times. Ska outfit Ska’d For Life
got the party going with their delicious take on old tunes from the likes of
The Specials, The Selecter and Toots & The Maytals.
Friday at this year’s Isle of Wight was a guitar-loving music
fan’s dream. Sets from DMA’s, Gerry Cinnamon (who returned after having his
crowd stolen by the England football team at the big screens during last year’s
World Cup), James and The Courteeners all delivered sets that make those sat at
home wish they’d bought a ticket.
Friends on shoulders, pints held aloft and an infectious
energy spreading through the massive crowd. All a beautifully British cocktail.
Lily Allen came along amongst this guitar-heavy Main Stage set
up and whipped the crowd into a
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds also landed on the island
that day, with a set to rival that of younger brother Liam’s performance at
last year’s sun-kissed festival. New track ‘Black Star Dancing’ was pitched
perfectly among a set brimming with a set list that only a figurehead of
British music could weave. The ‘Ballad of the Mighty I’, ‘Holy Mountain’, ‘In
The Heat of The Moment’ and ‘AKA…What A Life’ were all on show, without
forgetting old timers such as ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Half The World Away’. These
songs and Noel himself feel part of the fabric that makes this country. Ending
the set with a cover of ‘All You Need Is Love’ was a fitting testament to this.
Saturday came with yet more rain but as ever, more great
acts to get beer soaked teeth into. Sundara Karma, usually an electrifying love
outfit, delivered a set that seemed to suffer from the trip over the water from
the mainland, it felt tired and sluggish in places yet was revived by the likes
of Flame and She Said.
One man who cannot be convicted of missing a dash of energy
is one Miles Kane. The Liverpudlian played to a packed Big Top, dresses
immaculately in a skinny suit and red and black leopard print shirt.
‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, ‘Give Up’ and ‘Coup De Grace’
were all played at a ferocious level. Kane commanded the stage and manipulated
the crowd to react to his every demand. Ending on ‘Come Closer’, he left many
thinking it was the set of the weekend.
Later under the shelter of the Big Top, Friendly Fires
played with similar energy and fittingly tropical pop vibes. Perhaps the
elements outside the Big Top meant any act playing in there were playing to a
crowd already far happier than those outside.
Over on the Main Stage, George Ezra – now a staple of
British pop – wowed the impressive crowd with an endless array of number 1
perfect pop packages. ‘Budapest’, ‘Shotgun’ and ‘Paradise’ feel like songs that
will be here to stay for a long time as Ezra etches out a headliner identity.
Ending a set with fireworks zipping from the top of the
stage, all was in place for Fatboy Slim to take the festival by storm.
The DJ of ages played an unstoppable performance.
Mind-bending graphics engulfed the big screens and eyes of the crowd, as it
moved and bopped to the mantra “eat sleep rave repeat” which rang out
Norman Cook is a man built to energise a crowd and inject
that feeling of escapism. Here, the Isle of Wight felt like an island adrift in
The final day of Isle of Wight Festival 2019, with little surprise,
was welcomed with yet more rain. This didn’t stop local rocker and pop-punk
maestro Lauran Hibberd performing a brilliantly tight set, early over at the
Big Top. Her witty writing was the perfect replacement for a Bloody Mary, needed
to make the crowd go again for one more push.
Madness were a
highlight over on Main Stage, with ‘It Must Be Love’ and ‘My Girl’ sending the
masses into a universal sway.
Feet reminded everyone why they are hotly tipped for big
things with an incredible set at Big Top, before Bristol boys IDLES nearly sent
the canvas roof flying with a typically all-conquering, blistering performance
Biffy Clyro’s headline slot was a case of “right moment,
right time” as the Scottish rockers blasted their way to the festival’s end.
The emotion in the crowd was tangible. This is what festivals do and what Isle of
Wight Festival masters…making punters
want to stay on forever.
Isle of Wight is a festival with a unique all-loving atmosphere. It consumes you, replenishes your soul and makes you believe in the spirit of humanity and music. Why else would you stand wet in field?