The revived Isle Of Wight Festival was back for another year, kicking off festival season in style with big name headliners and a diverse range of acts.
Rudimental stormed onto the main stage on Friday with a massively high energy set giving a real sense of excitement to a previously laid back crowd. Their hit songs of “Not Giving In”, “Waiting All Night” and an extended version of “Feel the Love” sparked the crowd and weekend into life, with thundering trumpets and precise vocals. A very good live performance.
The main stage saw a truly explosive set from these shirtless rockers from Scotland. With a huge amount of pyrotechnics and high tempo guitar riffs it’s not hard to see why Biffy topped the poll for the weekend’s favourite artist. Highlights included “Who’s Got A Match”, the change in pace for the quieter “God and Satan” and the finale of “Many Of Horror” ending in a large confetti cannon. A fantastic show from the sweaty Scotsmen. Mon the biff!
Co-headliner Calvin Harris, gave a shift in genre from the rockers before him, but still went down a treat to the Isle of Wight crowd. With a seemingly endless list of hits, Calvin drew on the younger cohorts of the crowd with chart topping beats between clever bass heavy remixes. One highlight was his genius remix of “When You Were Young” which got the entire audience singing along whilst mesmerised by a hypnotic light show. A great way to finish up the first day.
Other noteworthy performances include Katy B’s late night performance, Chloe Howl and Anna Calvi.
With a very broad array of music on offer on Saturday there was a few difficult decisions to make. While the big top saw the pop hits of Cher Lloyd and Dappy(!?) early in the day turning into a more dance orientated evening with Cyril Hahn, Duke Dumont, Clean Bandit and Gorgon City.
Clashing with some big names in the big top was Nina Nesbit on the main stage, but this did not seem to stop her from drawing a good sized crowd for her position in the day. She led with clean vocals and attempted to show case her musical abilities playing the keyboard, guitar and drums at points in her set. Despite this, her set lacked any real atmosphere and felt like a bit of a tame performance. This could have been down to the strong midday heat but either way it prevented Nina from being anything to write home about.
Later on the main stage were the 1975. There were clearly little if any true 1975 fans at the festival leading most of the crowd waiting for singles “Chocolate” and “Sex”, which were the only songs to get any reaction. Their songs lacked variety, with the lead singer’s whiney vocals not hitting the spot and quickly becoming irritating. Not a good live show.
The Specials brought something different to the main stage, uniting generations in skanking to this chilled performance. Highlights included “Monkey Man” and their final song of “A Message To You Rudy”. The specials spread their old school vibes and left wing political messages; loved by the audience and so in keeping with the festival environment. A fantastic booking from John Giddings.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Saturday night headliners were possibly the most eagerly awaited band of the weekend and even managed to draw most of the crowd away from England’s sorry world cup performance. The Chili’s made it abundantly clear why the band are so successful with a set list of their greatest hits. Their relaxed on stage presence showed how stage nerves are a distant memory for these seasoned rockers and. This combined with fantastic vocals and rhythmic bass lines to create a truly unforgettable experience as they rattled through so many massive hits spanning decades. Highlights included “Scar Tissue”, “By The Way” and “Snow” amongst many many more. Another great ending to the day’s music.
Other noteworthy mentions include John Newman and The Waterboys
Nottingham’s own Amber Run attracted a disproportionally large crowd for their timing and position at the festival and soon made clear why. A refined and passionate performance was indicative of a band with far more experience and successful than Amber Run. Catchy vocals and well-crafted lyrics made this a performance to remember and would not be surprised to see them climbing up the bill in many festivals in the future. Highlights included “Little Ghost” and “Spark”.
Ella Eyre tried hard but failed to truly invigorate the crowd. However where she failed Passenger, who followed her, certainly succeeded. With nothing but his voice, guitar and bags of personality he produced one of the performances of the weekend, getting a sun battered audience to fully participate and engage with his set of songs and stories. Another fantastic set with highlights of “I Hate”, “27” and “Scare Away The Dark”. This set was followed by an enthralling display from the Red Arrows which was truly entertaining.
Kings Of Leon
Kings of Leon wrapped up the festival in their usual laid back, nonchalant style. One of the coolest bands around gave a performance to remember. From the slows of “On Call” to the fast pace of “Temple” this set had everything. KOL rounded off the festival in style with “Sex On Fire” sparking the biggest crowd reaction of the weekend from festival goers wishing the music didn’t have to come to an end.
Other notable mentions from the Sunday were Travis peace Swim Deep and Suede.
The weekend was then rounded off with a fireworks display to the sound of the Beatles, “All You Need is Love”, which encapsulated the essence of the IOW festival perfectly.
Overall IOW was a well-rounded festival, with something for everyone in a wide range of genres. Despite this it did not sacrifice the main emphasis on rock, which I’m sure would have pleased the early performing greats of the festival such as Hendrix and The Who.
The crowd at IOW were much more relaxed than the likes of the angry Reading Festival mob, and not quite as focused on appearances as arty Bestival goers. Instead it was a relaxed place where people wanted to enjoy themselves and the music. This coupled with brilliant weather and a host of smaller stages to create a great festival.
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