the sun always shines on the Isle of Wight (well, most of the time)
The Isle of Wight Festival is something I have always been aware of, because when you come from 'the Island' (as we locals call it), you grow up learning about the history of the original three festivals, which ran in 1968, 1969 and 1970. "This is where I sat to watch Jimi Hendrix", your friend's mum might say while you're on a country walk over Afton Down. Jimi played, along with The Who and The Doors, at the 1970 festival, which had a bigger attendance than Woodstock. It was one of his last performances before he died. Personally, I hear festival stories from my dad, whose band actually very nearly played at the original festival in 1968. Whether or not he ended up strumming his guitar is irrelevant (and a very long story): he was there, and that's pretty cool.
Dad still plays gigs in Island pubs now aged 72, and is living proof that the Isle of Wight has an amazing local music heritage. And this is one of the reasons I think the Isle of Wight Festival is up there with the best of them. There is music in the Island's very being. Some of the biggest bands in the world flock to this little stretch of land, because they know that one of the most amazing music festivals EVER happened here back in 1970. And since the festival was resurrected in 2002, that feeling of being part of something special holds true, for both audience and performer alike…
Here are ten other reasons the Isle of Wight Festival is totally brilliant.
1. It's on an Island!
The first point is also the most obvious: the Isle of Wight is only accessible by boat. There is no bridge. There is no tunnel. It's too far to swim. So even though you're just going to a music festival for the weekend, you feel like you're properly going on holiday, leaving your troubles behind as you cross the Solent.
2. The weather is amazing
The Isle of Wight actually has a micro-climate, and is known as the sunniest place in Britain (do try our local tomatoes while you're there, they're delicious). Sometimes you can even see it raining on the mainland when you're basking in hot sunshine on the Island. Cue smug face.
3. The line-up
The Isle of Wight Festival has an absolutely stellar line-up this summer. There's something for everyone, from festival regulars The Who, Stereophonics and Faithless (they've all played at least once before, so must love the Island as much as I do), to acts like Jess Gynne and even Busted.
4. It's easy to get to
Did you know how easy it is to get to the Isle of Wight from London? You can travel by train from Waterloo to Portsmouth or Southampton in an hour and a half, and the passenger ferry is just another 20 minutes. If you fancy the coolest mode of transport in the world, hop on the Hovercraft at Southsea (a bus ride from Portsmouth) instead of the ferry.
5. The Island history
Don't feel like you have to stay in the festival site - there's so much history to explore on the Island. Carisbrooke Castle - where King Charles 1 was imprisoned - is a stone's throw from Newport (the town that the festival is held in), and you can easily get a bus to Osbourne House, Queen Victoria's Island residence.
6. You're by the beach!
Fed up of festival showers? Why not head to the beach for a swim instead? Newport is in the middle of the Island but you'll find wide, sandy beaches in Sandown, Lake, Shanklin and Ryde, which are all a short journey away on the bus. Plus nothing looks as cool at a festival as salty beach hair…
7. There's more than just music
Although music is the main focus, you'll find lots more on offer. Check out Cirque de Quirk for body painting, dressing up and colouring therapy, or grab a coffee at the Tim Peaks Diner, brainchild of Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess.
8. Spot some celebs
The festival is a favourite of celebrities including Kate Moss. In fact, celebrities LOVE the Island, festival or not (remember when Benedict Cumberbatch got married on the Isle of Wight last year?).
9. There's loads of new local talent...
Remember I said that the Island is great for music? There's even a whole stage dedicated to local talent - Platform One is the Island's music college and there's enough good stuff to do a line-up for the whole weekend. How cool?
10. Get punky
To celebrate the 40th anniversary since the birth of punk (well it's next year, but they were too excited and couldn't wait), you'll find fitting legendary artists on the bill including Iggy Pop, Buzzcocks and The Damned. Get those safety pins at the ready...
TheielJ, Alice Olivia, Myth City, Only1Noah, Toby Randall and Hannah Trigwel
Tickets start at £195 for adults and are still available to buy at ticketmaster.co.uk
For more information check out isleofwightfestival.com