Advantages Pretty good variety of music, Fun-fair to keep you entertained, Easy to smuggle alcohol into arena
Disadvantages Only one stage meant no other music during acts you didn't enjoy, Campsite was too far from arena
Note: This review relates to the 2003 Isle of Wight festival.--Lineup--
---Saturday 14th June---
Cooper Temple Clause
The Nautical Theme
But there were a few things that held my interest. Firstly, the Isle of Wight festival has a reputation. Back in the days of the original Isle of Wight festivals (1968-1970) hugely popular artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan performed, and the final festival even incited groups of anarchists to tear down fences around the festival site to gain free entry. Secondly it was a festival taking place on the Island I lived on. Despite a line-up that wasn’t altogether my cup of tea, I wanted the festival to succeed, and help in assuring the festival became a regular event again. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I figured it would be good fun. Unlike a gig where you won’t generally go unless you’re a fan of the artist playing or you like the genre of music, a festival is different in that it attracts all sorts of people, and the focus isn’t necessarily the music.
Before I start I feel I should say that the line-up for the Isle of Wight Rock Festival 2003 did not have me hugely excited. In fact, if I didn’t live on the Island at the time I probably wouldn’t have given the festival a second look. My favoured area of music at the time was the punk rock genre, and everything related to it, from hardcore to ska. So as you can imagine, there was no-one playing that immediately grabbed my attention, save for Iggy Pop.
This was backed up on arrival at the festival, with the sight of people hauling crates of beer into the campsite, and a ferris wheel & bumper cars in the main ‘arena’ area. The campsite, perhaps predictably, consisted of a large field, by the time I arrived already close to full of tents, with a few outlets selling food and drink, and a bunch of toilets that were inevitably out of paper…But while music may not always be the main focus, it is a very large part of the festival, providing its major source of entertainment. Unfortunately, by the time camp had been set up and entrance to the arena gained on Saturday, I’d already missed the opening few acts, The Nautical Theme, Psychid and Balasco (none of which I’d heard of…) but was in time to catch The Burn, a band some presumably drunk bloke had been yelling about near the entrance queue. Next up were The Thrills, who I quite enjoyed, except for their use of a harmonica grating on me and then Cooper Temple Clause, who were a highlight for me, playing an energetic and varied set. John Squire weren’t bad either, although I felt they relied too heavily on guitar solos to carry their songs, and after a while the formula began to feel a bit stale and repetitive. Iggy Pop had a lot of support from the crowd, and was certainly the most energetic act of the day, if not the whole weekend.
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