A look at the line-up for the festival's 50th anniversary.
They say life begins at fifty, and with 2018 being the Isle of Wight Festival's 50th anniversary, we have high hopes for this year's event. It's always a blast, but this year the line-up needs to be particularly special and, thankfully, that's one thing the festival has already delivered on.
Isle of Wight Festival 2018
The beauty of this festival (apart from it being on the Isle of Wight) is how family friendly it is. The atmosphere is always so relaxed, and where else are you going to listen to some great DJs while staring at a statue in a field of a bloke with a bow and arrow? No, not Robin Hood, it's 'The Strongbow Yard'; a buzzing little place that adds to the whole experience much like another favourite, Kashmir Café.
Continue reading: Isle Of Wight Festival 2018 Preview
Australian indie-pop band Sheppard may not be on your radar yet, but they're about to be. The six-piece outfit released debut album 'Bombs Away' in their home country a year ago. Hit single 'Geronimo' went on to 5x Platinum sales in Australia, knocking Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' off the top of the charts in the process. The song has already clocked up over 3 million Spotify plays here in the UK. Now, as the band roll out 'Bombs Away' to a European audience, they're hitting the festival circuit. Contactmusic caught up with singers George and Amy Sheppard following their recent afternoon performance in the Big Top at the Isle of Wight Festival.
Contactmusic: Congratulations on the last year, it's been quite a rollercoaster for you. For those readers who may not know much about the band how would you describe Sheppard? In a word I'd say versatile.
Amy Sheppard: I'd say eclectic, energetic.
CM: The album came out in Australia a year ago, you've then been preparing for it to be released internationally. What have the highs and lows of the last twelve months been?
George Sheppard: The fact that the record has been out of sync. We started in Australia and because it did what it did over there, it's branched out into the rest of the world. We've got to do the whole cycle over again. Most bands would have everything in sync, you sign to a record label and release material worldwide. We've had to do three or four whole sets of promo, which was a bit of a drag, but the fact that we have done that and that the record is worldwide at the moment is bigger than what we dreamed was possible with this whole band. We started as a university assignment. Amy wanted to be a musician from an early age, but we really didn't expect anything huge to happen. That it has, is a dream come true.
Continue reading: Sheppard - Interview
It's perhaps fitting that my prevailing memory of this year's Isle of Wight Festival will be guitars. This was after all the 45th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance on the Island, something that was being widely celebrated by festival organiser John Giddings and his team across the site. Fender, for example, brought some specially designed guitars to the party for artists including You Me At 6 to play, and there was also a world record attempt for the most number of people in one place to be wearing a mask, the face in question was naturally Hendrix himself. Despite that backdrop, it was some of the guitarists who played across the weekend that demonstrated the power of the instrument and reinforced that guitar based rock isn't on its last legs as some have speculated over the past few years.
The festival got into full swing with a Stones-esque swagger on Friday afternoon when The Struts took to the Main Stage. Their enthusiasm signalled a continuation of their set from the previous year's festival, indeed they are an ideal opening act when you want to energise a crowd. Their appearance at Download the following day, will no doubt have had a similar effect. There seemed to be a Rolling Stones theme to many of the acts getting the festival underway. Over in the Big Top The Ruen Brothers covered 'Miss You' during their rousing set that was well received.
The first moment that sent a shiver down my spine this year was the Counting Crows though. The guitar line to 'Round Here' sent a wave of excitement across the main arena. It was a strong opening statement in a nine song set that featured the likes of 'Mr Jones', 'Miami', and 'Rain King' into which singer Adam Duritz dropped some Elbow lyrics as a nod of the hat to Guy Garvey. If Counting Crows' guitars weren't haunting enough, it was actually The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach whose riffs were the most powerful and elemental of the day. The dirty Blues grit of Auerbach's playing was like a roll of thunder that saw the heavens open to drench the crowd in torrential rain. While much of the set was dedicated to material culled from 'El Camino' and 'Brothers', rather than recent record 'Turn Blue', the band's graduation to a headlining slot was well deserved and warranted. The final song of the set 'Little Black Submarines', which builds from a delicate solo performance to a dramatic climax, utilised every trick in the book for The Black Keys' expanded touring band. If Patrick Carney's drums and Auerbach's guitars are the perfect union on record, it seems their live shows rightly now have the power to command top billing with the inclusion of bassist Richard Swift and keyboardist John Clement Wood.
Continue reading: Isle Of Wight Festival - 2015 Live Review
The IoW organisers attempted to break the world record for most masks worn simultaneously at one place to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's set.
Amid the fun of four massive headliners over three nights – The Black Keys and The Prodigy sharing the slot on Friday, Blur on Saturday and Fleetwood Mac on Sunday – the IoW chiefs had been encouraging the 50,000 festival-goers to buy cut-out Jimi Hendrix masks in order raise money for its nominated charity WellChild.
IoW made the world record attempt to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's 1970 set
We preview some of the top acts on the bill this year.
Summer festival season kicks into high gear this weekend with the first big event of the calendar taking place on the south coast. Tens of thousands of people will be heading to Seaclose Park on the Isle of Wight for a bill, which is top heavy on heritage acts that bring with them a sense of nostalgia. While recent years have welcomed the likes of Jay-Z, Calvin Harris and Kings Of Leon to headline, this time round it seems big names with an even bigger back catalogue are being used as the main attraction.
However, many of the headline acts seem to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts. For example, Blur, whose new album 'The Magic Whip', their first since 2003, has won critical acclaim. The former Britpop poster boys will take to the Main Stage on Saturday night in the knowledge that this is one of the first times that UK crowds will get to see this new material given the live treatment. You can expect a set heavy on those new songs, but peppered with all the classic singles, certainly a formula for a memorable festival appearance. It's a similar story for The Prodigy who'll headline the Main Stage on Friday after The Black Keys. Both acts have played the festival in recent years and here they're repeating the joint top billing that was given to Biffy Clyro and Calvin Harris last year. As with Blur, The Prodigy's new album, 'The Day Is My Enemy', has revived interest in the band following an extended period out of the spotlight. Elsewhere, Fleetwood Mac will bring proceedings to a close on Sunday, bolstered by the return of Christine McVie to the band, a set covering Rumours era gems like 'Don't Stop' and 'Songbird' is a strong possibility.
If there's something to take away from this year's Isle of Wight Festival, it's probably sunburn. Unlike the mud bath of two years ago, 2014 will be remembered for serving up one of the hottest weekends I can remember for a festival, along with some crowd-pleasing performances. While not every act managed to capture their moment in the sun, all the major names delivered in spades.
But it wasn't just the music that made the weekend for many; a real sense of celebration seemed to erupt across the site. Partly fuelled by anticipation over the World Cup and partly because of the good weather, thousands of smiling faces could be seen everywhere. Sunflowers seemed to be an essential festival accessory and many opted for as few clothes as possible with t-shirts looking like they'd gone out of fashion altogether. I've even had to make a note in my diary that it's international flip-flop day on June 20th, just one of the many things I learnt around Seaclose Park this year.
The highlight of Friday afternoon should have really been local boy Tom Odell on the main stage. But his piano led ballads took some time to win the crowd over despite his number 1 album 'Long Way Down'. By the time he'd finished though, the reaction showed that he'd justified his place on the main stage billing.
Continue reading: Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Review
Heading to the Isle of Wright Festival? Here's our handy guide to the weekend.
The annual Isle of Wight Festival kicks off tomorrow (June 12th), beginning a British summertime so filled with awesome music events you might even forget about that whole football thing that’s also happening. This year the festival boasts an impressive line up featuring acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kings Of Leon and Fall Out Boy. So if you’re one of the lucky ones packing your bag to head off to Seaclose park, or if you’ll just be following the action from the comfort of your own home, here’s our handy guide to enjoying the Isle of Wight Festival 2014.
The festival season kicks off June 12th on the Isle of Wight, where Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform
Continue reading: Your Guide To The Isle Of Wight Festival 2014
With just hours until thousands of people flock to Portsmouth and Southampton for their annual ferry trip to the Isle of Wight Festival, it's time to look ahead to the first big event in the summer festival calendar.
Twelve years since the festival was resurrected, organiser John Giddings has steered Isle of Wight from strength to strength. With around 60,000 punters travelling to the Island, it's not just Seaclose Park that's transformed for the weekend, there's a real community spirit that's evident as buses wind their way towards the festival site. Past years have seen a surprise appearance from Kanye West for Jay-Z's headline set, rock royalty like Jagger, McCartney and Neil Young take to the main stage, and bands such as the Foo Fighters casually chatting to fans on the car ferry. This year looks like it will live up to the festival's reputation without a repeat of 2012's well-publicised mud bath. Although there's perhaps not many surprises on the line-up, there's still plenty to look forward to.
The top twelve to watch from June 12:
Boy George: If you're arriving early, the former Culture Club front man is headlining the Thursday night festivities. But far from a nostalgia act, George is touring his first album of original material in 18 years. He's embraced DJ culture and is likely to put on an impressive show whether he's behind the turntable or the microphone.
Continue reading: Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Preview
Getting to the Isle of Wight festival involves a fair bit of transport, you're not on any of it for long, but come the end of it, you feel like only a plane is needed to complete the collection. So after tubes, trains, ferry's and busses had been boarded, Contact music finally arrived at Isle of Wight Festival HQ in desperate need of a drink. Oh and a tent pitch. I couldn't possibly say which task was tended to first, but safe to say, it didn't involve an instruction manual.
Continue reading: Isle of Wight Festival, 2010 Live Review