For 51 weeks a year, the Isle of Wight is an idyllic holiday destination. Rolling landscapes, beautiful beaches, white cliffs; it’s the perfect escape from the humdrum of mainland Britain without straying too far from home. You can count sheep, read a book or take a walk, all just a short ferry ride from the ugly metropolis that is Southampton. But that sounds boring, right? That is, until one weekend in June, when it becomes overridden with stinking, coming-of-age drunk teenagers (and some pretty ‘out there’ adults) for the island’s biggest event of the year – the Isle of Wight Festival. Now you’re interested.
As the first big event in the festival calendar, Isle of Wight is the only way to kick off your summer of live music, especially as it’s within touching distance of Southampton. It’s a festival with different angles for all to enjoy. Despite the utterly unglamorous way I previously described it, Isle of Wight is just as enjoyable for those looking for a quieter, more music driven experience. Taking place of the picturesque River Medina and hopefully accompanied by blissful June weather (fest organiser John Giddings reckons the festival’s only had four days of rain in its entire history), Isle of Wight can be whatever you choose to make it. And to think that once a year the 180 acre site sees 60,000 festival-goers unite in the name of great music is pretty amazing.
Taking place this year from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th June (perfect distraction from inevitable post-election blues, if you ask me), Isle of Wight Festival welcomes a stellar line-up appealing to a variety of ages. Each night has two headliners, one that’s an experienced veteran of the industry and also a more emerging talent. Friday welcomes the brilliant David Guetta – once voted Billboard’s number one DJ of all time – as its headliner, accompanied by the American hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. Saturday sees indie rockers old and new come together, as American-Canadians Arcade Fire headline alongside Welsh rockets Catfish & the Bottlemen. To end the show in style on Sunday are indie pop rock band Bastille and the legendary Rod Stewart, who are even hinted to be teaming up for a duet on the night (😲). All are acts you won’t want to miss!
Of course, they are joined by a plethora of star studded talent across the weekend, including emerging talent of 2017 Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, the Kaiser Chiefs, the Kooks, George Ezra, the Vamps, Scouting for Girls and even the Swedish Queen of Pop Zara Larsson. The party also keeps going with late night DJ sets from Jonas Blue, Clean Bandit and Example.
Isle of Wight Festival 2017 takes place from 8th–11th June. Tickets are still available at £175 for a student via isleofwightfestival.com. Also, check out an interview with the festival’s organiser, legendary band manager John Giddings, from our sister radio station Surge Radio.