Festival season has come around once again and many savvy festival goers headed to polling stations to vote on the 8th June before beginning their weekend at the first major UK festival of the year on the Isle of Wight.
Indie-rock band Misfires made an appearance in the ‘Jack Rocks with This Feeling’ stage, putting on an energetic set. After the rainy weather ensured that there was enough of that signature British-festival mud to go around, Razorlight kicked off the weekend with a brilliant headline set in the Big Top. The band delivered an uplifting show, performing their much-loved hits such as ‘In The Morning’, ’Wire to Wire’ and ‘Before I Fall to Pieces’. A sense of nostalgia seemed to hit the crowd which set the cheerful atmosphere of the weekend.
As well as bringing us the gladly received sunny weather, Friday brought us the likes of the wonderful Rory Graham, a.k.a. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man took the main stage after making his way over to the Island via Wightlink ferry, and popping over to the local Sainsbury’s for a quick shop. The down-to-earth singer boasted soulful vocals, vocals which have such a quality to them that they sounded just like his records. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man certainly revealed his raw talent and performed his hit tracks ‘Wolves’ and ‘Human’, along with other songs from his recently released album, which was extremely enjoyable to watch.
Next up were the one and only Kaiser Chiefs, returning to the main stage after performing at the festival back in 2011. Frontman Ricky Wilson got the crowd going with his infectious stage presence, ensuring that no one was left standing still whilst listening to the popular and catchy hits ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict a Riot’. The band also did a ‘secret’ intimate set at the Old Mount Cider Kiwi Tent, much to the surprise and excitement of lucky revellers who happened to be at the right tent at the right time.
The highlight of Friday night was, without a doubt, the dazzling set by French DJ, David Guetta. The set boasted pounding and intense, vibrating beats and an impressive array of lights and flares, leaving a sea of buzzing festival goers. David Guetta performed a range of his distinguished hits such as ‘Hey Mama’, ‘When Love Takes Over’ and ‘Titanium’, as well as throwing in some mash ups from artists such as The Weeknd and Ed Sheeran. Of course, what would a DJ set be without the screams of “let me see your hands up”, making certain that no one was left standing still. David Guetta also debuted his new song ‘2U’ ft. Justin Bieber. The set suddenly seemed even more exceptional when David Guetta reminded us that Isle of Wight is his first festival of the summer and his only appearance in the UK this year.
Day three of the four-day festival brought even more sun, much to our relief. Loveable, indie-rock band The Kooks performed on the Saturday evening bringing us a warm and light-hearted stage presence. The set was thoroughly pleasing, and The Kooks’ performance of their most familiar hits ‘Naïve’, ‘Seaside’ and ‘She Moves in her Own Way’ was met by cheers of delight.
Catfish and the Bottlemen were next to perform on the main stage. The band have the ability to capture the very essence of British music festivals, and they certainly did not disappoint at this one. Van McCann and co. boasted a first-rate performance and sung most of their best known tracks. As always, the band was a great pleasure to see live and the set seemed to fly by.
This year, Isle of Wight festival teamed up with Stand Up to Cancer as their official charity partner, part of this consisting of the crowd ‘lighting up the night’ on the Saturday evening before Arcade Fire’s headline set.
The Electro Love tent was also a massive hit this year, allowing festival goers to party on with classic 80s hits when everything else was closing up and coming to an end for the day.
Scouting For Girls made an appearance on the main stage on Sunday afternoon, putting on a lively set consisting of their cheery tracks which continued to radiate a carefree and positive attitude around the festival.
Next up were The Vamps who were extremely enjoyable to watch due to their light-hearted and can’t-help-but-love-them presence.
A personal highlight of mine was seeing George Ezra, who was every bit as good as I’d anticipated. George possesses a distinctive voice which, similarly to Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, had the quality to sound every bit as good as it does on record. George performed with a loveable and laid back demeanour and it was easy to tell how delighted he was to be performing for us. He belted out some of his best-loved hits from his first album, Wanted on Voyage, as well as some great new material.
Closely followed by George Ezra was indie-pop band Bastille, and frontman Dan Smith excited his audience by strolling around in the crowd, much to our delight.
As the night drew to a close there was one more act that I was waiting eagerly to see – Sir Rod Stewart. At 9pm the showman took the stage with the energy and enthusiasm of a performer half his age. Much to the delight of the crowd, Rod Stewart sang many of his greatest hits including ‘Maggie May’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk about It’ and ‘You Wear It Well’. An array of backing singers joined the music legend on stage, allowing him to change into another of his fabulous outfits for the third or fourth time throughout the set.
Rod Stewart boasted his signature raspy vocals and gave off an irresistible charm and stage presence. He furthermore spoke about some touching subjects and provided the older generation with a trip down memory lane with videos of himself when he was a teenager. It was Rod Stewart’s five-year-old son who helped to win the crowd over with his adorable dance moves which rivalled his dad’s.
The music icon closed the festival with a tender and moving rendition of ‘Sailing’ which got everyone swaying their hands in the air.
Following this brilliant and unmissable set was the firework display which indicates the end of another memorable and thoroughly entertaining Isle of Wight festival – let the festival blues commence.
Words by Sarah Turner