As the years have rolled past, more and more Islanders and have been getting involved with the Isle of Wight Festival. Island food and drink producers and retailers have made an appearance and loads of talented Island musicians have been getting in on the act.
For starters the Main Stage on Saturday is always opened by the winner of Medina High School’s ‘Battle of the Bands’, and this year that honour falls to Vecks, a four-piece band who will take to the stage on Saturday lunchtime to open the festivities.
Then you have almost non-stop Island musicians and DJs at the Kashmir Café opposite the Acoustic Stage in the Arboretum. Housed in a beautiful authentic Indian tent, the Kashmir Café is fast becoming a Festival favourite, offering a chilled out sanctuary from festival madness and a chance to sit-down, relax, and enjoy the best in original music from the Isle of Wight and a few from ‘overseas’. They also serve Real Ales from Isle of Wight’s award-winning Yates’ Brewery.
Acts at the Kashmir Café on Thursday are The Sketches, DJ and The Blunts, The Ohmz, and the Guy Page Trio. On Friday there are appearances from Rachel’s Reason, The Shutes, Weatherkings and Jake Morley. Goodbye Stereo, Lucid, Dance Preachers and Paul Arnfield are added to the line up on Saturday along with Medina High School. And on Sunday Holly Kirby, JC and Angelina, Cephalodidge, Keri Highland, Gweido and The Scores put in appearances, although many acts are on more than once over the weekend. A full line up is on the official Festival website.
Platform One College of Music have been involved in the Isle of Wight Festival since its rebirth in 2002 and opportunities for young musicians at the festival have evolved each year thanks to the commitment of John Giddings, who is one of the patrons of the Island’s prestigious music college.
Playing host to the Thursday night programming on the Garden Stage, headlined by Island band The Operators, Platform One will present Paper Romance, Stu Collins, Meet the Public, Vanzani, In Motion, Skyline Sines and Running from Lions.
The Hipshaker Lounge and The Zebra Bar and Champagne Garden are also run by Island-based businesses and Island acts and DJs pop up here too. Live sets at the Hipshaker this year come from The Almighty Chancers, the Janice Graham Band, Ska’d For Life, the Lucy Morris Band, The Validators and Jessie and the Orbits, as well tribute bands Bootleg Blondie, The Smyths and The Tiddly Kinks. And, if you fancy trying your hand at Salsa dancing there’s also Islander Matt Kellet’s Sensational Salsa Sessions.
Resident Hipshaker DJ’s Dave Clark and Simon Licourinos, will be joined by guest DJ’s including Dom Cater, DJ Boogalou, Omar, Bionic, Kev Jay, Andy Strickland, Modernworld, Secondhand Dan, Ted at the Controls, Soul-a-go-go, SNF, Chaos, Miss Chelle, Andy Fawcett, Junior Kickstart, The Duchess, Skarandall, Shake Some Action, Simon Ball and many others.
The Zebra Bar and Champagne Garden is in “an exclusive corner of Strawberry Fields” and offers chilled Champagne and cocktails in their “uber cool garden”.
For something a little less intoxicating you might like to try chilling out at the Solace tent opposite the Helter Skelter. Run by the Island’s young Christians, Solace offer free (yes free!) teas, coffees and cakes that are baked by parishioners from around the Island. You are under no obligation to talk about God, Jesus or any other religious issues although if you do want to there will be someone there to hear you.
Write a wish or prayer on a scrap of material to be added to the ‘tree’ and there are cushions and low tables to lounge around, and draw upon if you’re feeling artistic. Live music is often on offer from whoever is around at the time – the emphasis at Solace is definitely on laid back and very welcoming.
And don’t forget that the Kids Zone is also run by Islanders along with most of the activities, which this year includes the Rainbow Stage that will feature performances from The Science Musuem, with two shows ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Feel the Force’, the Noisy Oyster Theatre Company, with their legendary show ‘Dangerous Dave’, The Travelling Theatre, magician Roly Botha, story-teller Sue Bailey and the kids themselves – in the popular Kids Talent Show and Kid’s Catwalk.
In the Dressing-Up Tent and Face-Painting Marquee kids can get prepared for the show or just mess about and try everything on, and in the Make-Up Parlour funky kids can be glammed up for festival fun with hair- braids, bindi’s, tattoos and nail paint.
In the Arts and Craft Marquee kids can make anything from robots to musical instruments, flags and crowns. The Carnival Centre crew will be making headdresses and flags, local sculptor Dave Badman will be sand-casting and kids can create Potato Puppets, Dream-Catchers and Straw Animals.
The Science Musuem will be running hands–on ‘Table Top Experiments’ twice a day, The Ryde Extreme Performers will be helping kids to develop new talents in the Circus Skills Workshops and Island 2000 will be back with their mega mural paper doodle. There will be people-powered Swingboats and Chairoplanes, local entertainers Ignite, who will be running sessions of organised fun and games, Lego play sessions, the Cardboard Castle, bubbles, stilts and the Wishing Line Fairies to help all your dreams come true! Children must be accompanied by an adult.