Isle Of Wight Festival 2010: Rated!

Seaclose Park, Newport - 11-13 June


Photographer:Mark Holloway

United Kingdom United Kingdom | 15 June 2010

Overall – 8/10
Perched in a picturesque corner of the Isle of Wight, approximately in the middle of nowhere, the Isle of Wight Festival draws together an eclectic mix of old and new, mainstream and leftfield.

With arguably the best three headline spots of the entire 2010 festival season, this year’s three-dayer included show stopping performances from Jay-Z and Paul McCartney, as well as a scorching return for rock favourites The Strokes.

Spread over the main stage and The Big Top tent, other acts included Blondie, Vampire Weekend, Ocean Colour Scene, Florence and The Machine, Biffy Clyro and Orbital.

No expense was spared at the UK festival season opener, with Pink providing a theatrical extravaganza and McCartney closing the party with an impressive fireworks display.

In essence the Isle of Wight Festival is one big party, with something for all, and more surprises than a lorry load of Kinder Eggs.

Getting There and Back – 4/10

Being on an island access to the festival is inevitably restrictive, and while getting to Southampton or Portsmouth to board the ferry is straight forward, things get a little complicated from there on in.

Either book a spot on one of the many vehicle carrying ferries (rather expensive), or just arrive and hop on the high-speed passenger service (around £15 return). Upon landing on the island you will need to get a bus to the festival itself. At £5 for a single fare this is a bit of a joke and can take a very long time.

The festival site is fairly easy to navigate, although poorly set out and don’t hope to ask for directions upon arrival as most of the security staff have been bussed in from Wales and have little clue of where anything is.

Atmosphere – 7/10

With traditionally eclectic line-ups the crowd is a mixed bag. On the whole you’re likely to see good-natured banter between the embattled folding-chair brigade and the hapless, cider-fuelled festival virgins. A real family vibe makes for a great weekend of fun, and the presence of lots of little ones only adds to the atmosphere. Rather sensibly most parents retire with their kids to the family camping area long before each evening’s finale – cue many a rowdy headline set.

Music – 8/10

An undeniably brilliant top-end line-up, fronted by potentially some of the best performances we’ll see this year, meant Isle of Wight 2010 was one to remember.

Jay-Z and The Strokes were energetic and commanding, and Sir Paul McCartney provided a fittingly grand sing-a-long finale. Other key performances by Florence and The Machine, Pink, Spandau Ballet and Orbital made for a great weekend of live music.


Jay-Z – 9/10

The CEO of rap gave 110 per cent. With an almost faultless performance, and supported by Kanye West and Mr. Hudson, the Jigga man rioted through his greatest hits clearly loving every minute. Only missing out on top marks due to a stubborn belief that there’s always room for improvement.

The Strokes – 9/10

The leather-clad kings of cool gave a raw and frenzied performance to reaffirm their position as one of the industry’s must-have headline acts. With none of their newly recorded material ready for the stage their set was a nostalgic homage to the sludgy garage rock of yesteryear.

Florence and The Machine – 8/10

Her performance will certainly have put her in contention for a headline spot next year and with considered covers and a belting vocal performance it’s no wonder Florence had Beyonce and Kanye West boogying away backstage.

Spandau Ballet – 7/10

A surprisingly fresh and relevant performance left the crowd wanting more. Lots of sing-a-long classics and general good vibes as well as awesome bass slapping from ex-Eastender Martin Kemp.

Pink – 8/10

With possibly one of the most underappreciated voices in pop Pink’s showmanship was spot on. Not only did she hit every enviable note with clear precision but she also jumped from a 50ft crane, flew across the crowd in a harness and run over the heads of the audience in a giant inflatable ball.


Noah and the Whale – 4/10

With a big band, Noah and the Whale’s flat performance was a huge surprise in the Big Top. Lacklustre verses leading into drawn out choral digression left the crowd twiddling their thumbs.
N-Dubz – 3/10

While many in the crowd were completely taken back by this painful display, Dappy and co did not produce the goods. Forgetting the words halfway through one of your big hits really isn’t a good idea Dappy.

The Saturdays – 3/10

Slightly redeemed by their choice of skimpy outfit, the poor man’s Girls Aloud were dogged by bad sound and tired voices.

Melanie – 4/10

More at home during her second set on the smaller acoustic stage, Melanie seemed almost completely ignored by the excitable main stage crowd.

Doves – 5/10

An unfortunately bland run through of mediocre hits failed to hold the attentions of those eagerly awaiting later acts.

By Gareth Vipers.


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