Festival Review: Isle of Wight 2017

There’s something truly enchanting about the eclectic mix of people, from all walks of life, who flock to Isle of Wight festival each year. This can only be a consequence of its respective line up which provides us with the mash up of the classic, the quirky and the just plain odd.

After the lengthy trip to the Isle of Wight from Leeds, which included an eight hour long Megabus, I was pretty displeased to be setting the tent up in the pouring rain. Luckily, this poor weather on the Thursday was short-lived and the rest of the weekend was granted with glorious sunshine.

Although the acts on Thursday were pretty sparse, the tent Kashmir Café provided a great source of entertainment. Fulfilling the bracket of the quirky, Isle of Wight locals Plastic Mermaids headlined with an intriguing set that combined Foals-esque sounds with haunting operatic vocals. This is definitely a band to watch out for in the next couple of years and particularly on the festival circuit. Razorlight also played a reasonably watchable set at the Big Top stage yet I couldn’t help feeling the mentality of the crowd was principally a desire to hear ‘America’ before everyone began clearing out to find something slightly less beige.

As Friday came and we were all graced with the sunshine, we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore what Isle of Wight had to offer. The Old Mout Cider area provided us with the delight of ‘Disco Yoga’. This included the incorporation of funk and yoga positions which was not only a great hangover cure, but an extremely fun afternoon activity. Songs included the likes of Carl Douglas’ ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ and Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive’: there’s simply nothing to dislike especially when it’s followed by an ice cold Old Mout!

Rag’n’Bone Man played the Main Stage on Friday night and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his set. His voice seemed to permeate through the crowd, as he played each of his catchy chart toppers. Next, Kaiser Chiefs provided us with a blast from the past as they transported us back to early 2000s. There wasn’t a single person in the crowd who wasn’t giving it their best moves during the all the classic hits. After this, I headed to Big Top stage where they were hosting ‘ladies’ night’ and Alison Moyet was currently performing. Her vocals were astounding, faultless and ultimately symbolic of pure musical class. Also proving that the oldies really are the best, Pretenders followed where Chrissie Hynde and the band rocked out in true style. Despite turning 65 this year, Hynde’s vocals have withstood the test of time as she belted out their greatest hits from ‘Stand By You’ to ‘Brass in Pocket’. It was a genuine pleasure to observe.

At the Cirque De La Quirk Stage, Dub Pistols, Krafty Kuts and Miles Metric brought the night to a close with some wildly infectious incorporation of dub, reggae and hip hop. The performances were brought to new highs with the stage itself providing a strange combination of circus acts and drag. This atmosphere of tropical exotica demonstrated Isle of Wight’s innovative experimentation with the late night slots.


Opening on Saturday morning was Isle of Wight locals Nakamarra. An up-and-coming act which have been granted a deserved slot on the Main Stage emanated positive energy and good vibes throughout their set. This five piece band with a female frontrunner can only be described what I’d imagine to be the product a Fleetwood Mac and Bombay Bicycle Club lovechild; a futuristic blend of rock, synth and indie.

Arcade Fire headlined Main Stage Saturday night and inevitably stole the show. Their performance represented everything that Isle of Wight seemed to embody. The crowd was a spectacular mix of generations and styles all coming together in an eruption of funk, irresistible rhythms and unforgettable sounds.

Overall, Isle of Wight offers a unique festival experience which seems to welcome every demographic as a consequence of its wide-ranging day and night events, intriguing aesthetics and extensive line-up.


Ellie Montgomery

(Photos courtesy of Isle of Wight gallery, photographer unknown: http://isleofwightfestival.com/gallery/isle-of-wight-festival-2017-friday-highlights.aspx?year=2017)