The big one: Isle of Wight Festival

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Daniel Fahey09 June 2008

What is it?

Housing greats like Dylan, Hendrix and, erm, Kubb in the past, the Isle Of Wight Festival is only topped by Glastonbury in terms of festival history. Like a rural taxi driver, the three-day festival unashamedly mixes dad rock and pop, but instead of being locked into a stifling car with one station blaring out, organisers have added a second stage this year. So if you don't like what's on the main stage you can always go and watch the Sugababes.

When and where?

Held at Seaclose Park, Newport in the centre of the Isle of Wight (the small diamond shaped island at the foot of Britain) from 13-15 June. It means you'll need to get a boat across the Solent, unless you're minted enough to fly into Bembridge Airport.

Five To Watch

The Sex Pistols (Main Stage, Saturday) – The seminal punk band are less Anarchy In The UK and more Elderly In The UK, but they sound tighter than they did 30 years ago.

The Zutons (Main Stage, Saturday) – Their latest track may sound like Dire Straits making an unwelcome comeback, but with Mark Ronson ripping off 'Valerie' a new audience has opened their ears to the horn-tastic Liverpudlians.

The Enemy (Main Stage, Saturday) – Coventry's latest bigmouths will do their best impression of the Liam Gallagher covering The Jam.

Ida Maria (Big Top, Saturday) – The Norwegian chanteuse's fiery attitude and stage presence makes her indie-pop both lovable and fashionable in one Scandinavian swoop.

Hipshaker Classic Label Hour - Trojan Records (Hipshaker Lounge, Friday) – The festival is notoriously hot, so DJs spinning tracks from the infamous label may just give you a taste of the reggae isle.

One To Miss

The Hoosiers (Main Stage, Friday) – False falsetto pop thinly disguised behind bright colours and guitars with a stage persona that's so nice that it will grate on event the most avid Radio 2 listener.

Playing a rare festival date
N*E*R*D
(Main Stage, Friday) – The hip-hop funk rockers have skipped over the pond for their first UK festival in four years. Cue dirty dancing to 'Lapdance'.

Inside tip

The Bees Soundsystem (Hipshaker Lounge, Friday) – With tastes as varied as their own eclectic sound, the local lads will spin anything that's not only guaranteed to make you dance, but tunes that will slip down nicely with a cocktail or two.

Be at the Isle of Wight if you like…

Boats, warm weather, band reunions and the feeling you’re on holiday for three days.

Avoid if…

You're looking for the next big thing. The festival is about classic bands, inoffensive pop and sing-a-long acts to have graced the charts. Leave the mute-electro fuzz acts for the mainland.

Festival tactics

Beer, band, beer, band. Use the breaks between acts to queue up at the token stands and if there is a band you're not too keen on go and check out the Hipshaker Lounge especially during their Classic Label Hour where DJs will be digging the Trojan, Motown and Two Tone crates.

Fashionstas or folky?

Neither. Instead you'll find men in combat shorts, pastel t-shirts and bucket hats with suncream scraped on their cheeks as if they're keeping wicket for the England cricket team. Women are likely to fare better with a few Kate Moss wannabees kicking about in flowery wellies next their mums grooving from the hips.

Alcohol of choice

Beer - but not in a can. Instead you can expect a pint slopping over the sides of a cardboard cup that you've queued up for twice: once for a token, once for your beer. But a few too many later and your red face will be smiling as you sing: "Elvis ain't dead," like you really believe it.

Take your mum score

8/10. With The Police, The Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop on the line-up she's more likely to know more word than you do. On top of that there's Kate Nash, Kaiser Chiefs and other inoffensive housewife favourites to for her to enjoy and with just one real stage see can set up a chair and picnic matt and do some knitting in between.

Can I still get tickets?

No. The festival sold out before we even reached 2008.

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