We arrived on the Isle of Wight fearing the worst, news of the chaos, mud and traffic nightmares had bombarded us from every side. When we finally arrived at the festival we began to see what all the fuss was about, every path was ankle deep in mud for miles. After a mild disagreement with a gust of wind, we managed to put up our tent successfully then, with some well earned food and a drink in us, we headed down to explore the main festival grounds. On our way we saw the wreckage that the mud had caused already; tents had been abandoned, covered in mud and the festival area itself wasn't looking any better. But drawn to the sound of Noah and the Whale we caught the last two songs of their set, and that put us right back in the mood for a great weekend. Fridays highlights for us were surprisingly Elbow; the four piece band from Manchester who drew us in with the beautiful sweeping melodies from their latest album 'Build a rocket boys', and old time rockers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who were just great fun to watch.
Saturday started off slow, Signals a new band from Southampton played the main stage in the morning to an enthusiastic audience, and as the afternoon rolled in excitement began to grow for performances from Jessie J and Tinie Tempah. Then a complete crowd switch before Biffy Clyro pulled out an amazing set, which not only sounded great but was visually stunning too and after Pearl Jam, we headed down to the very crammed venue Hipshakers to end the night as it always should, with a bit of funk.
We didn’t think it was possible but, the last day brought with it even more mud, nevertheless we set out to explore the smaller venues on site such as Kashmir Café where we found a ukulele orchestra, performing renditions of Amy Winehouse songs and Life's a Beach where a limbo competition was taking place. We caught Switchfoot play a solid set in the Big Top and then waded to the Main Stage to catch Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds finish their set with some old school Oasis songs. Someone didn’t seem to enjoy that as much we did though, because they tried to throw a flare and Noel's head, thankfully it missed. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band closed the night with an outstanding three hour long set, which we did not expect to enjoy as much as we did. His fourteen piece band engaged the crowd like no one else had and left everyone wanting more as they performed their version of, 'Twist and Shout' and fireworks marked the end of yet another successful Isle of Wight Festival.
Overall the weekend had a good atmosphere, some great acts and a few quirky venues. The mud and the transport issues were unfortunate and more could have been done to resolve the issues quicker but it didn’t stop anyone at the festival from enjoying themselves. We thought that the main venues were great, but the smaller venues were too few and lacked a little bit of imagination. If you're looking to discover new bands in quirky venues with a handmade feel, you might leave the island a little let down, but if you're looking to go to a festival with established headliners, and main stream acts, with a relatively chilled out atmosphere then your bound to have a great time at Isle of Wight Festival, but don't forget to bring your wellies…just in case.