Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Come on and Feel the Noise; the Isle of Wight Is an Established Mecca for Music with a Host of Giddy Festivals Coming Up This Summer, Claims Katie Wright

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Come on and Feel the Noise; the Isle of Wight Is an Established Mecca for Music with a Host of Giddy Festivals Coming Up This Summer, Claims Katie Wright

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Wright

It all started with a swimming pool, or rather the lack of one. In 1968, local residents organised the Isle of Wight Festival of Music to raise funds to build the first municipal swimming baths on the island, when the council refused to stump up the cash.

The 15,000-person event -- only the second ever music festival in the UK -- actually made a loss but it birthed a live music behemoth and the following year the audience increased ten fold.

Attracting rock royalty such as The Doors, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, it became an event to rival Woodstock, culminating in a stampede and riots in 1970. And when Parliament passed the Isle of Wight Act a year later, which prevented unauthorised gatherings of more than 5,000 people without a licence, the island's place in rock history was sealed.

Now the Isle of Wight is back on the music map with a host of music festivals to look forward to this summer.

"For me the island is all about escapism and that's why festivals work here," says Bestival curator Rob da Bank. "If you measured people's stress levels once they got off the ferries on their way to the island's festivals I'm sure you'd find them reduced. Just that short ferry trip puts festivalgoers in a different space and it creates something a bit special."

Isle of Wight Festival, 12-15 June Testament to the pulling power of this forefather of festivals, Isle of Wight 2014 boasts the Red Hot Chili Peppers' only UK gig this year, with Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris and Kings of Leon also taking headline slots. The event will take place at Seaclose Park, a recreation ground near Newport. "You have to get on a boat to get to there, so the festival is like going on a mini holiday," says organiser John Giddings. "And combined with an incredible music heritage, it's a great experience all round."

Weekend tickets PS190. Visit isleofwightfestival.com Bestival, 4-7 September Attracting an alternative crowd of funloving fancy dress-wearing festival goers, Rob da Bank's boutique Bestival thrives on an intimate and quirky atmosphere. Kids are welcome, with an under-18 club offering street dance, rap and music lessons. …

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