Love Southsea

Review: Isle of Wight Festival 2017

Lulu WhitmoreComment

When I was given the chance to go Isle of Wight Festival 2017, I was ridiculously excited! I’ve always wanted to go, following in my grandma's footsteps — she went in 1970, when the legendary Jimi Hendricks played.

My friends and I packed up our tents, plenty of food (I’ve never eaten so much bread in my life!), and mobile chargers (Instagram stops for no-one), we headed off to the Hovertravel port to catch and early morning craft.

We hopped aboard the festival bus to the Seaclose Park entry gates, where Sherpas were waiting to help us with the huge bags we couldn’t manage ourselves. Thanks, crew!

We set our tents up in a field just 10 minutes away from the festival grounds, and prepped ourselves for the Thursday headliner, Razorlight. Having too much fun to care about the rain, we jumped around in the mud singing along to their hit track America, getting a taster of the exciting times ahead over the coming days.

Sidenote: this was my first camping festival, so I was a lil nervous about the tent, having heard horror stories of other festival-goers falling on them, tearing them, or even... ‘relieving themselves’ on other people’s tents! But after night one, I knew I was safe. The atmosphere was just the right amount of noisy, and everything was totally chill.

Our first full day started early, at sunrise. We spent the morning lounging in the sun, and headed into the grounds at lunchtime, exploring the site, taking loads of pictures, and feeling grateful that the rain has passed and the mud was drying out.

It was sparkle time! We covered ourselves in glitter, headed to the flying swings, ran in between fairground rides and ice cream trucks like lil kids, and then watched watch local country band Ward Thomas and British indie-rockers Kaiser Chiefs perform.

The iconic hip-hop crew Run-DMC were next — a particular favorite of my dad, who insisted I filmed the whole thing! They were incredible, not faltering once in recapturing of a career which spans three decades.

As their set closed, the stage was transformed in readiness for David Guetta, with giant bright screens, confetti cannons, and the kinds of pyrotechnics you could see from space. The French DJ put on an incredible show.

We stopped off at an amazing Mexican food truck for dinner en route back to our tents and then collapsed, exhausted but still buzzing from a momentously fun day.

Day two started even brighter, and we spent an hour sprawled out on the grass, soaking up the sun. Fully recharged, we skipped over to Electro Love, an 80s music tent with giant Rubik’s Cubes which we danced on.

19179678_1425839310830643_154141600_o (1).jpg

We were spoiled for choice on the food front, and narrowing our lunch down to freshly-cooked duck wraps and vegetarian-friendly falafel before wandering to the main stage to watch The Kooks, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Arcade Fire was tough.

Zara Larsson was over in the Big Top tent, having just been flown in by helicopter from the Capital Summertime Ball. Her stage presence was exciting, dancing around and singing her heart out — can’t wait to see her again at Portsmouth Guildhall come October.

Dusk fell, we stole a few hours of sleep, and then day three kicked into gear with an air of anticipation for Bastille and George Ezra: two of my favorite artists ever!

We all snapped up Isle of Wight Festival tees from the merch stalls — being a graphic designer, I was captivated by the psychedelic illustrations on the front and rear.

We made sure to get as close to the stage as early as possible for Scouting for Girls, a childhood throwback of mine, who played from 1:00pm. They were followed by The Vamps (I’ve never heard so many teenage girls screaming at once!) and then The Shires, another of the festival line-up’s country bands, who brought the entire crowd to a slowly-swaying silence with their harmonies.

George Ezra hit the stage shortly after. This 24-year-old English musician rose to fame with singles Budapest and Blame It On Me. He also used those very same singles to ensnare my heart. His set sent shivers down my spine — can’t help but fall in love with his awkward charm and smile, and incredible musical talent, of course!

19125879_1467613216639400_437205436_o (1).jpg

Finally, the big one. Bastille took to the stage on Sunday evening, stirring the crowd up with their latest song Glory before delving into their renowned discography, including the iconic song Pompeii. Dan, the lead singer, leapt off the stage and ran along the barrier, high-fiving the crowd as he went. Touching his hand was something of a cherry on the top of an already perfect weekend.

I’m amazed at how many memories we were able to make over just a few days, but I know I’ll be returning next year, for sure. Isle of Wight Festival is a perfect experience for all ages and music tastes — big thanks to the organizers for throwing the best party in Britain.

Words: Lauren Piper • Editor: Jeeves Williams