Live: Isle of Wight Festival 2009

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Daniel Fahey, Ben Rust | 14 June 2009


Simple Minds
unleash 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' and the biggest sing-a-long of the weekend quickly follows. "Hey, hey, hey, hey!"

“Come on! Let’s be seeing ya,” we’re here Jim we’re here…

With more hips than the NHS spare limbs department, Simple Minds Jim Kerr is dad rock dancing all over the stage and we didn’t think he’d survive jumping off the platform within the first ten minutes.

Kicking back in the Hipshaker Tent. The covers band ask if there are any prostitutes in the crowd tonight – seems like there are quite a few, both male and female…

A very smart looking an clean shavern Charlie from The Rumble Strips is putting his voice through its paces during a set that spans both of their albums. ‘Helicopter’, ‘Girls And Boys In Love’ are crowd pleasers, but it is criminally unattended. Can people really be watching the Pigeon Detectives?

The Pains At Being Pure At Heart
have more syllables in their name than people watching them. They’re a great live choice though – shame everyone’s out enjoying the sunshine.

The Script
are singing about suicide – who knew pop could be so dark and sound so, well, inoffensive. Everyone seems to be loving it though – they’re polished performers – but VF just doesn’t get the appeal.

A couple are snogging the faces off of one another – either that or they’re sunburn burn victims – they stick together.


There’s a long haired man in a Feeder T-Shirt going mental for Goldie Lookin’ Chain. We’re talking proper stomping like he’s at a crusty’s party in Goa circa 1994. If he’s not on something then VF fears for his mortal soul. 

Goldie Lookin’ Chain
play ‘Chav School’, there’s much talk of “getting your finger in." Hilarity doesn’t ensue. 

Goldie Lookin’ Chain
bound on stage dressed like the bunch of the kids you would’ve avoided at school. They’re cheered on by a massive crowd out enjoying the sun - who knew a bunch of track-suited Welsh one-joke artists could produce so much devotion?

Judy Collins
signs off her relaxed set with a ditty to the Isle of Wight. The mainly horizontal crowd cheer in appreciation, she’s lovely is old Judy.

Judy Collins
let’s slip that Obama had sent her a message on Twitter.  That’s some seriously impressive name-dropping.

Judy Collins
sings a haunting version of ‘Amazing Grace’. VF gets a shiver down the spine, that could just be the Strongbow though.

We catch up with three of Goldie Lookin’ Chain: Maggot, the little one and the beardy one. Beardy is looking dapper in a full on Tennis outfit from Primark, other high street shops are also available of course. The little one claims that GLC are “one of top 3 festival bands, after Peter Frampton," before revealing their plan for the set, “Get sloshy, jump up and down and try not to be sick." VF shudders at the thought.

The VF team are up, just. Water and baby-wipes are passed around as we get ready for another day on the Island.

VF notices a tent that looks amazingly like a fish with a hard-on - we laugh ourselves to sleep.

Meet a man with the biggest beard any of us have ever seen.  One of the team helpfully tells him that his “beard is too big for his face.” We chat and I end up hugging him as we leave, I think about nuzzaling my head in his beard but decide against it.

VF is cutting some serious rugs in the Hipshaker Tent.  That’s until ‘I Will Survive’ comes on, turning the whole place into a Mad Max style hen party.

VF go en-masse on the “Wild Mouse” ride.  We laugh ourselves silly in a quest to tame the rodent. 

We bump into Alex from The Vanity Van, we thank her for an excellent haircut and try and drag her towards the “Wild Mouse” ride, she’s not having any of it.  Keep an eye out for The Vanity Van at festivals over the summer, an amazing place to get pampered, run by some sound as hell people. If you want to pull this summer get involved. 


Ending with a bang an energetic version of 'Dakota' leaves fans giddy, or that might be the beer. Everyone's off to the Strongbow Rooms for a boogie - good times!

Time for some new material on the main stage as Kelly Jones and Co play 'Innocent'.

The Phonics are ticking all the boxes: 'Mr Writer', 'Bartender And The Thief' and 'Handbags And Gladrags' all produce mass sing-alongs. All together now...

have drawn a much larger but much more sedate audience for their headline set, but they don't seem anywhere as inspiring or energetic as The Prodigy last night.

from Starsailor is on the Bandstand playing an acoustic set. John Giddings said he can play any song ever written and VF isn’t sure if that’s a statement of intent from the songwriter or a drunken boast. But it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to get him off the stage tonight. Watch out for the Corrs covers.

The opening bars of ‘I’m Not Alone’ by Calvin Harris lets IOW fans “woop woop” like reserved disco-goers in the 80’s, it’s a nice touch.

People are scaling the poles of the Big Top, which next year should be twice the size.

It takes around four rotations of the hook and beat from Calvin Harris for the crowd to latch on to ‘Acceptable For The 80’s’, but once people have get it the place kicks off.

Calvin Harris
gets the biggest crowd in the Big Top so far – is there anyone left watching Razorlight?

Oh no, the forecasted rain is here – VF head for the Hipshaker tent and even manages to get a seat!

Fighter Jets circle in unison over the site to whoops and cheers from the crowd. So bosses can pay out for them, but a bus is £5 each way – sort it out!

Is Paolo Nutini really drunk? Seriously, he’s all over the shop.

The View
have been wearing the ‘Same Jeans’ for four days now. We’ve only managed two, but we have spilt cider on ours…

We hear that Charlotte Church is playing a set at the Acoustic Stage. We don’t care or have any desire to watch.

The Zombies
prove that age can’t buy you fashion sense – is that a blue two piece suit? Erm, yup. No matter though as they run through their hits (and – yawn – accompanying stories). ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Heartred’ gets an airing along with ‘Time Of The Season’ which features on a recent cider ad. Raise those glasses!

Walking through the Strawberry Fields we bump into a mass of Wonder Women, it’s a frightening sight considering 100% of them have penises.

In the Strongbow Rooms there’s a group of mid-40’s heavily tattooed men with eyes like piss holes in the snow.  Overhear a loud conversation about getting “bang on it again”, feel an overwhelming urge to buy them a pipe and slippers and telling them to give it a rest.

More neon clad groups start converging, it’s like a being on the set of a nu rave Fame set.

1.25 pm
A collective shrug of the shoulders greets the end of one of the Corrs sisters’ set.

One of the Corrs sisters is here – Sharon Corr - playing all Corrs songs and a couple of Corr-lite songs she’s penned herself.  Start to miss the weird brother that used to hang around in the background.

Walking back from Newport we spy a group of men dressed as nuns, each one more ugly than the last.  If Satan made a copy of Sister Act they’d be the cast.

Every toilet in Newport is full; there are queues of desperate looking men everywhere you turn.

We rock up and get free toast and coffee from The Church On The Roundabout.  A man wearing a T-Shirt bearing the legend “God Is Awesome” tries to get us to sign up, we polity decline.  They do have a bouncy castle though.

Step over a man sleeping in the middle of the main path into the site, he seems to be breathing but not much else.  Thank our lucky stars it isn’t us.

The smell of breakfast cooking is overwhelming us, people in the family campsite really have this festival lark sorted. We decided to walk into the nearest town with rumbling stomachs and dreams of the perfect fry up.

We’re all up and fresh as can be after a baby wipe down, we reflect on how good The Prodigy were last night. How the hell can blokes that age cane it like that? Have a quick panic attack about getting old before brushing our teeth.

As we’re going to bed a trio of 16 year olds come bouncing past like Tigger in their sleeping bags.  Much wrestling and bundling ensured.  We get them to race, Darth Vader came in last, a poor show from the man in black.



During what is probably the greatest encore of modern times – which includes ‘Diesel Power’ and ‘Warrior’s Dance’, The Prodigy pull together a set that ends with ‘Outta Space’ – this intergalactic performance has outshone anything of the last three years – class!


“I ain’t come to fuck around anymore,”
Maxim Reality tells the crowd, “where’s the poison?” The Prodigy become the best band at the festival within five minutes of taking to the stage…


The most energetic act of the afternoon - Basement Jaxx - complete their set with a frenetic ‘Red Alert’ and dancefloor classic ‘Bingo Bango’.

‘Where’s Your Head At’ – enough said. The people dancing are dressed as gorillas. It’s enough to make you go ape shit…

The first dubstep track of the weekend, possibly of all time on the island, Rusko featuring Caspa ‘Cockney Thug’ becomes a pivotal point of the Jaxx’s set.


“Your sex is on fire!” Kings Of Leon’s STI extravaganza becomes an indie sing-a-long. Condom warnings are few and far between.


Did someone say party? If so they must have told Basement Jaxx who seem relentless in their goal to get nearly 40,000 fans giddy. Early opener ‘Good Luck’ is huge, but a dance remix of Flash Dance is a real crowd pleaser.

inally, after about a year of touring, Pendulum finally drop ‘Tarantula’ in their set and the place explodes. By far the best set of the day, the Aussie drum n bass outfit tear up the main stage with tracks like ‘Slam’ and ‘Propane Nightmares’. Basement Jaxx and The Prodigy have a tough act to follow.

‘That’s Not My Name’ brings on a stampede of neon coloured youngsters towards the main stage. If for any reason you’re after a pair of neon tights on the Isle of Wight, maybe to cut a rug at local nightclub The Balcony, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

First song of The Ting Tings set brings on a massive outbreak of mum pissed at a wedding dancing from an elderly group of women wearing straw boaters to our right. They look like they should know better, but somehow don’t.

A man watching Eddie Redder seems to be wearing a romper suit made out of old curtain samples. He’s either drunk or has balls the size of space hoppers, maybe both.

Eddie Redder
dedicates ‘Dandelion’ to Susan Boyle. Somewhere a badly dressed Scottish woman’s ears burn.

Spot a lonely 118 118 man, he’s eating chips off of the top of a bin. He looks like he might have eaten the other bloke before starting on the chips.

I&G sign off thanking “pimp G’s and hot chicks,” as I said, classy.

Lead Singer, Iglu or Hartley (who cares?), asks a random crowd member to “throw their dick in the air,” thank god it was inflatable – it’s set the tone for the rest of the set.


“She just showed us her boobs,”
another classic from the white trousered tit -   classy band, classy lady.

Iglu And Hartley
come out on the main stage, the lead singer must have been slung shot into his white jeans. If I was any closer I could tell you if he’s wearing pants or not.

We chat  the Noisettes backstage and they tell us to “expect the unexpected,” from their set later. “You’ve got one chance to change people’s mind about you,” they said, “just 40 minutes to blow everyone away.” Let’s hope they do.

Sneaky Sound System
are the first act on the stage today, making things even more hotter than they already are. Best reach for the sun cream.


The gates are well and truly open, the sun (after a lot of cloud) finally has his hat on and 50,000 fans are ready for the festival to begin. A number of booze casualties are leading the charge for Booze Britain, with a special meantion to the bloke dressed as a banana passed out next to the bins.

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