Five Things We Learnt at Isle of Wight Festival (review)

The major UK festival had arguably the most eye catching line up of all the big guns this year, so here's the five key things we took away from it.

Rob Dixon

Last updated: 19th Jun 2015

Image: Isle of Wight Festival

Luck is an important component of any festival

Can't really say this was a new discovery this weekend, but there's fewer depressing sights than hordes of people streaming back to their tents as the heavens open. Plenty braved The Prodigy in ponchos, but Friday evening at dusk saw the skies get darker for grim reasons, with torrential rain having an apocalyptic effect on the ground and the atmosphere. 

It wasn't just Friday's weather that dogged the festival. Jess Glynne pulled out due to needing vocal chord surgery, an affliction which also underscored Blur's ultimately triumphant performance on the Saturday night, as Damon Albarn repeatedly told us about his problems with his voice during a sluggish start to their show.

Eventually the britpop survivors pulled a pretty special set out of the bag, their slow burning effort featuring a glorious Phil Daniels cameo for 'Parklife' (above). As they cavorted through their immense back catalogue it underlined their status as one of the domineering British bands since the eighties - can anyone from their era other than Radiohead compete with their strength in depth?

Nostalgia is a Winner

45 years ago Jimi Hendrix famously played his last UK date at the festival's previous incarnation, and a successful record attempt saw thousands pull on masks of the electric guitar god in his honour.

 

Liz Murray Photography | lizmurrayphotography.com

Posted by Official Isle of Wight Festival on Sunday, 14 June 2015

 

That spirit and feeling was present across the festival all weekend, which is a pretty bad choice if you're looking for post midnight tomfoolery but a great angle for all ages music without risks. This is as safe a bet as you'll get festival wise which may put a handful off, but this touch showed them playing to their strengths and was rapturously received.

Pharrell Williams needs to ditch 'Blurred Lines'

The pint sized R&B lothario has done remarkably well to steer clear of most of the controversy behind Robin Thicke's daytime radio rape championing manifesto, so he really should just eradicate it completely from a set when its presence sits at ill ease with his combination of the sachaarine with his hip hop background.  

It's even more jarring when you sit it side by side with the heartfelt touch of performing the equally ubiquitous 'Happy' with a visibly moved 12 year child with cerebral palsy. 

Williams also needs to build on his show too, with his Nile Rodgers fashioned cavort through his litany of production credits in need of some killer guests to add more impetus to a set which showed so much promise at Wireless 2014.

High profile masters like Snoop, JT and Jay-Z are surely too much of a stretch, but the presence of lower level figures like Noreaga and Mystikal could turn this into a limelight stealing - the former's 'Nothin' (above) needs the rapper, not a band, behind it to make sense live.

Silliness is a festival necessity

As great as all the music is at a festival, sometimes you just want to let your hair down and behave like a complete idiot. This was in full effect at Isle of Wight, with Bulmers alongside OurKidBrother and Bearded Kitten.

 

Paint Fight at Official Isle of Wight Festival in our Bulmers Cider Garden!

Posted by OurKidBrother on Sunday, 14 June 2015

 

The madness they collectively brought to Bulmer's Live Colourful arena this weekend involved them pushing a series of games which culminated in a huge paint fight (catch a snippet above) and DJs playing a smorgasbord of party hits either side of the silliness; we heard Michael Jackson's 'Man in the Mirror' fall out of Toto's 'Africa' for one grin inducing segue.

We also watched a space hopper race soundtracked by the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme tune and the brilliant refashioning of every song played with the word "Wang" by the hilarious compères, as contestants attempted to hurtle wellies stuffed with powder paint through a hoop. So silly, yet so much fun.

Fleetwood Mac have delivered the UK festival moment of 2015

Aaah, luck. Ensnaring the rock monolith for their first ever festival performance was the big news of the year so far. All that looked set to backfire though, as in true Mac soap opera style their performance teetered on cancellation, first by rescheduling their Birmingham date with assurances they'd make both their Manchester date and the IOW before eventually cancelling the former.

Doubt hung about them turning up, despite a statement to the contrary (following of course a promise that became a false dawn), but as the sun slowly started to set on Sunday night all that wilted away in a truly stunning performance, allowing the festival to close out in staggering style.

The band member turned down the usual lengthy speeches that underpin their performances (Mick Fleetwood's traditional closing goodbye aside), as a set that started with the glory of 'The Chain' never let up, particularly brilliant with the returning Christine McVie contributing 'Little Lies', 'You Make Loving Fun' and 'Everywhere' as though she'd never been away from the others.

The rest were near perfect too, Stevie Nicks on the money from the start (as opposed to her croaky beginning when we saw them in 2013) with her beguiling takes on 'Landslide' and 'Gold Dust Woman' belying her 67 years. Lyndsey Buckingham occasionally veered into embarrassing granddad territory, but don't you wish your relatives could pull off the unrelenting musicianship present on his solo showcase of 'Big Love'? 

It may only be June but it'll be tough to find a performance that captures people's hearts in such wondrous fashion this summer than what these topsy turvy legends offered to the thousands here, particularly the barnstorming ending; 'Go Your Own Way' followed by a riotous 'Don't Stop Now' with all five totems of the bands glory era behind it for the first time.

Every other band playing at a UK festival best have got the memo; the bar has been set. 

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The Isle of Wight festival has attracted such world beating acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones...

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Isle of Wight Festival

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20th Jun-23rd Jun

11:00am til 11:00pm

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The Isle of Wight festival has attracted such world beating acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones...

Isle of Wight Festival
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Isle of Wight Festival

Seaclose Park, Newport

20th Jun-23rd Jun

11:00am til 11:00pm

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

The Isle of Wight festival has attracted such world beating acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones...

Isle of Wight Festival
×

Isle of Wight Festival

Seaclose Park, Newport

20th Jun-23rd Jun

11:00am til 11:00pm

No age restrictions

For ticket prices, please click here (Additional fees may apply)

The Isle of Wight festival has attracted such world beating acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones...