Isle of Wight Festival Recap

Written By:

Aidan Williamson

15th June 2009
At 15:24 GMT

4 comment(s)

In a world where Pixies receive equal billing to Razorlight, where the nights are capped off by either mental dance-rock, sensitive welsh rock or Neil Young, anything could happen.

A revamped acoustic stage gave the island itself a chance to show off its musical talent: an opportunity seized upon by over 50 different artists as well as a few surprise guest appearance to ensure that there was more people on the audience side of the stage than there were on the performer side of the stage.

No English festival is complete without a half-hour stunt display by famed formation-aeroplane performers the Red Arrows. You keep waiting for them to smash into each other and become engulfed in a fiery furnace and plummet to the ground, but alas, they never do.

Speaking of Fiery Furnaces, they weren't performing this weekend! Neil Young was though, and it seems that few people were willing to witness his greatest hits set which saw the likes of ‘Heart Of Gold’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down By The River’ performed to a eager, but reduced audience. The Canadian's fifteen minute encore also saw him perform a cover of The Beatles' classic "Day In The Life", which saw the man achieve the unique feat of breaking every single string on his guitar. Good times.

Pixies were willing to pay host to the man though, since their earlier set saw them reprise the man's hit song 'Winterlong' as well as the usual suspects from their live set (Monkey, Debaser, Your Man).

Proving that Wales needs better celebrities, the press were agog with the news that retired singer Charlotte Church and her rugby playing husband (the British media do love pop-stars married to sports stars) were present within the 50,000 strong population of the festival. Interestingly, the Isle of Wight only has a resident population of 140,000. Should the locals be unwilling to put up with a 33% rise in population, they might want to consider petitioning for performances from Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins next year.

Also representing Wales were the Stereophonics. Their set consisted of songs such as 'Dakota', 'Mr. Writer', 'Just Looking', and 'The Bartender and the Thief'. Also on the list was brand new song 'Innocent' which was precursored with the statement by front-man Kelly Jones that they'd only played the track live once before this day. Those lucky people.

Pendulum continued in their quest to play every single music festival in the world ever, notching up another one.

Meanwhile, in the Big Top stage, one could not claim that the line-up wasn't varied. Featuring Bananarama, McFly, Mercury Rev, Killing Joke, The Charlatans, Black Lips, The Maccabees and Alesha Dixon (formerly of Misteeq) the war between pop and rock was on.

McFly clearly cherished the opportunity to play to a crowd not entirely comprising 12-year-olds and their parents, with the freely flowing alcohol clearly inciting grown men to sing-along to the likes of 'Five Colours in Her Hair'. Alesha Dixon managed to out-glam the Ting Tings - a feat helped by the fact that she doesn't look and sound like a horse - with her army adonic male backing dancers and frequent shout-outs to the "ladies in the house". She also dug out some old Misteeq favourites (yes, favourites: plural) including 'Scandalous' and 'One Night Stand'.

For the rock rebuff, The Horrors played the vast majority of their brand new album Primary Colours to a crowd too sizeable to actually fit inside the tent itself. Many conversations will end this week with the phrase, "I didn't see them per se, but I heard them. Does that count?"

You can checkout live photos of the event over at the Isle of Wight County Press website. Use for following links for: Thursday/Friday, Saturday, and finally Sunday.

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