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The Isle of Wight Festival 2008

Full Report by Mrs Ed.



We arrived at the festival site early Friday evening with the sun shining and festival goers all looking forward to a weekend of music. Entry this year was far better than last year, helped by having wristbands sent rather than tickets, and also opening the site a few hours earlier.

We got there just as the Wombats were finishing their set, and we worked our way through the throng of people to see The Hoosiers and they didn’t disappoint. They came bounding on stage holding up huge letters of their band name and their stage layout was a quirky mix of props which kind of sums up The Hoosiers – they were quirky and fun. Belting out such hits as Goodbye Mr A, Worried about Ray and Cops and Robbers, they pleased and entertained the crowd.

Next up was K T Tunstall, looking like a real rock chick, so we were expecting big things. On the whole it was a good set, she sang all her hits, but we were left feeling slightly disappointed partly due to her doing a few acoustic numbers instead of leaving them raw and rocky, particularly Black Horse & The Cherry Tree. K T also does like to talk – a bit too much, in my opinion! Whilst it’s good to interact with the crowd I think she needs to tone it down a tad.

After KTs set we decided to move back a bit, as N.E.R.D. were next on stage and we thought perhaps the crowd could be a bit rowdy. Wasn’t really sure what to expect from N.E.R.D. but did think they were going to be more “dancey” than they actually were. They came bouncing on stage with bags of energy, lots of swearing, launching into their own brand of hip hop music. Whilst not our cup of tea, they certainly got the whole crowd going. I did actually know their last song, She Wants to Move although The Ed was looking rather blank!!

Headlining the Friday night was those lads from Leeds, The Kaiser Chiefs. They sang all their hits including Every Day I Love you Less & Less, I Predict a Riot, Angry Mob etc., with a few new ones thrown in, and Ricky Wilson’s energy and enthusiasm knows no bounds. Running around the stage, climbing the lighting rig and running right around to the ITV2 area he really put everything into his performance. They came back for an encore of Angry Mob finishing off with Oh My God which got the whole crowd singing in unison.

So first night over with, we headed home for a good night’s sleep in preparation for the following day. To be honest, on the Saturday night there weren’t many acts we were particularly interested in so we went quite late, arriving there at 8.00pm. We decided to try out the Big Top which is a new addition to this year’s festival. Have to say, was rather impressed – it was kitted out with a bar on one side and hanging disco ball on the ceiling with what looked like various papier mache models dotted around the ceiling too. We were there in time to see Ida Maria, a Norwegian rocky/punky girl with lots of attitude. Unfortunately, the sound quality was slightly distorted for her set, but as she was only on for half an hour, and we were really there to see The Sugababes, it didn’t matter too much!!

At the end of her set, the Big Top started to fill up quite a lot – and kept on filling up and up! It seemed as though everyone wanted to see The Sugababes, and not Ian Brown who was on the main stage. The crowd were buoyant and there was a good atmosphere in there, everyone singing along to the DJ set that was on beforehand. Everyone got excited as smoke filled the stage, the music started and the girly pop trio appeared through the smoke. Looking ultra glam in body con dresses and high heels they launched into Hole in the Head and everyone in that Big Top was singing and dancing along. They belted out hit after hit, with no fillers, and really did put their all into it. Their backing band was brilliant as was their three, also sickenly glam, dancers! Three quarters of the way through their set, they popped off for a costume change and the backing band started playing the guitar riff to Frankie’s Two Tribes. I turned round and looked at The Ed, who gave a thumbs up – he’s a bit of a Frankie fan! The Sugababes came back on stage in tight sparkly dresses and Two Tribes turned into Push the Button. They finished with About you Now which got everyone bouncing. Have to say, we were mega impressed with them and thought they were fantastic and judging by the thousands of people that had gathered outside the Big Top, I’d say they were a big (surprise) hit.

We made our way through the field towards the main stage although we’d decided to stay well back for The Sex Pistols! As we were walking we could hear that they’d come on stage to the sound of Vera Lynn’s There’ll Always be an England and John Lydon’s dulcet tones saying “Good evening the Isle of Wight. We are the Sex Pistols and shall be doing songs from the book of Sod’s Law. Sing Along or ******* Die!!” They then launched into a rather strange and subdued version of Pretty Vacant, sounding rather like an oompah band!! At this point we were thinking, shall we just keep on walking right out of the site but it then became apparent that those little tinkers were having us on! The guitar riff started proper and went into the version we all know and love. We quite enjoyed their set, although quite a lot of people left during it. We felt the band played very well and John Lydon (he apparently hates being called Johnny Rotten these days!) still has a certain amount of attitude. Having said that, he did come across as being a lot more tame than he used to be and was at times more amusing than shocking. They did an encore of God Save the Queen and Anarchy in the UK but apparently did come back for an impromptu version of Hawkwind’s Silver Machine, but we’d left by then.

So onto Sunday – I was hoping to get there in time to see The Delays, although The Ed turned his nose up at this, but to be honest they were on too early. So we arrived in time to see Starsailor, an Isle of Wight Festival fave, being introduced by Mr Festival himself, John Giddings. They came on about 5 mins early and finished slightly earlier, the reason for which became apparent later. They played a brilliant set, singing all their hits with a few new ones and James Walsh’s unique voice belted them out with his usual passion. Finishing up with Good Souls, merging into U2s The Streets Have no Name, James announced that he was now off to have a baby – hence the slightly early departure!

Next up was James and as we only knew one of their hits, Sit Down, we didn’t really know what to expect. But we were rather impressed. Lead singer Tim has a very powerful voice and his passion and enthusiasm is apparent in his rather extreme dancing! The band themselves were also very good, the man on brass wearing a red dress for some unknown reason! They finished up with a song where they had about 20 members of the crowd on stage with them, dancing. James were certainly a popular choice amongst the festival goers.

We decided to gradually move a bit closer for the Kooks set, who were up next. The crowd were getting quite excitable and there was a lot of pushing and shoving from people. The Kooks are another fave amongst festival goers, and they had the crowd all signing along to their hits. I felt they lost the crowd though half way through their set as a mass plastic bottle throwing extravaganza ensued, trying to knock off a guy sitting on someone’s shoulders – apparently from Niton (see News section). Although it seemed to be done in good fun, apparently some people did get hurt and we also got soaked a few times as some of the bottles weren’t empty!! Anyhoo, the Kooks managed to get our attention back and left festival goers in a buoyant mood, ready for the headliners – The Police.

Not being a Police fan myself – I’ve always found Sting’s voice rather annoying and whiney! – I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it although The Ed was. BUT – I have to say, they were really rather good. With no gimmicks or gadgets, they arrived on stage to rapturous applause and started playing Message in a Bottle. Everyone was singing along to all the hits – I had Police’s biggest fan ever standing next to me who knew EVERY single word to EVERY song and was just beside himself with excitement at seeing his heroes!!

Sting’s voice has mellowed somewhat with age, and is not quite so whiney, and he was looking extremely good. They did two encores and proved to the crowd that they’ve still got what it takes.

We left just as the firework display started which everybody stopped to look at and what a fantastic display it was. A perfect end to a perfect weekend.


Nice Work Mrs. Ed - The Ed.