The Isle of Wight Festival has always carried a reputation for big line-ups. Since its revival in the early 00’s, artists such as David Bowie, Muse, The Stone Roses, Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, The Prodigy and The Rolling Stones have graced the stages on the small little island off the southern English coast – big names who carry such weight in an ever-growing industry. As always, this year they’ve gone big and brought in some top names who have garnered so much success in recent years to lead the billings.
The BT Big Top Stage
The BT Big Top stage opens on the Thursday, one day before the main stage, with headliner Boy George, singer of the massively popular Culture Club and a genuinely classic and iconic pop artist who just last year released a new album titled This Is What I Do. It would definitely be worth your time to check him out if you’re at the festival early.
Friday sees the likes of old school singer-songwriter Alison Moyet and wacky symphonic rock band The Polyphonic Spree performing before dance sensation Katy B, an artist who hit great heights with club anthem ‘Lights On’, and has since gone on to chart with singles such as ‘Crying For No Reason’ and ‘5 AM’, and top the charts album with her latest release Little Red. An incredibly odd mix to have back to back on the same stage stage, but all interesting acts nonetheless that will undoubtedly draw some interest.
Saturday boasts some gargantuan names coming from the dance scene at the moment, with Duke Dumont, Clean Bandit (who BurnFM recently interviewed) and Gorgon City all playing back to back. All have their own massive tracks that have charted well, and each carry their own unique style that is instantly noticeable. Clean Bandit’s wonderful collaboration with Jessie Glyne on the track ‘Rather Be’ spent an extended run in the top 10 after it’s release, and still remains in the charts now. The same can be said about Gorgon City’s single ‘Ready For Your Love’. Now is the time of new new era of dance music and it is a truly mouthwatering line-up to have – one that would easily be just as popular on a main stage – and being preceded by acts such as Cyril Hahn, Cher Lloyd and The Vamps provides the main stage with some serious competition for their Saturday.
It’ll be hard to compete with the previous day, but Sunday sees the BT Big Top stage headlined by the massive and influential Travis, a band that has seemingly been around for ages but whose songs such as ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’ and ‘Turn’ are timeless. Signing off the festival on this stage are The Horrors, Peace and Swim Deep, a trio of beautifully catchy indie bands well worth a visit.
The main stage opens its doors on the Friday with a big night lined up. Young BRIT award winning singer-songwriter Tom Odell is set to perform before dance band Rudimental, known for tracks such as ‘Feel The Love’, ‘Waiting All Night’ and ‘Free’. Their collaborations with artists such as Emeli Sandé, John Newman and Alex Clare bring a new dimension to their works, and it will be interesting to see how these tracks from their chart-topping album Home translate to such a large festival performance fresh from a big US tour. The icing on the Friday cake is the two huge acts following them. Big name DJ Calvin Harris will be making an appearance, a man who has had so much success with his solo work as well as with other artists too, producing for the likes of Rihanna and Example. His style is one that encompasses the very feel of British dance music, and having been at his very peak for a long time now, looks set to put on a memorable show. Following are Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, another act that has been knocking around the scene for a long time now, but have only fairly recently truly hit the big time. Having performed recently at many big festivals such as Sonisphere and Radio 1’s Big Weekend, they are set to take top billing at Isle of Wight, and with the success of the albums Only Revolutions and Opposites are fully fitting of their place. The stage will also have performances from the likes of Starsailor and Lawson.
Saturday sees the likes of some fairly funky bands performing. Soulful singer of the single ‘Love Me Again’ John Newman will be performing, and we will also see The 1975, a band who recently have torn up trees with the release of their debut self-titled single. They have captured the hearts of a significant amount of the public and are currently one of the hottest bands on the circuit, owing to the catchiness of songs such as ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’; expect them to have a large following (read a review of their gig at the Royal Albert Hall here!). Making a special (heh) appearance are the wonderful ska band The Specials, who are playing very high up the billing on their latest reunion. They will certainly bring the party atmosphere, with tunes such as ‘Monkey Man’, ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘Too Much Too Young’ – songs that everyone will recognise – and are most definitely worth checking out. The funk that they are sure to bring will perfectly set up Saturday’s headliners: Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band recently performed alongside Bruno Mars at the Superbowl and are currently working on a new album, what is set to be their 11th album. It is hard to believe it has been so long since classic albums such as Blood Sex Sugar Magik and By The Way came out, but it is indicative of the quality of their songs that they can stand the test of time. The prospect of hearing songs such as ‘Can’t Stop’, ‘Dani California’ and ‘Give It Away’ performed at the Isle of Wight festival is mouth-watering, and big things will be expected of their performance. Also appearing earlier on are Rival Sons, Nina Nesbitt, The Pretty Reckless (whose new album we recently reviewed) and The Waterboys.
Rocking the scene on the Sunday, the festival’s main stage have soulful indie singer Passenger, who recently shot to fame with the single ‘Let Her Go’, and international rock superstars Fall Out Boy, who earlier in the year toured the UK with fellow festival performers The Pretty Reckless and could easily be headlining the festival themselves with their wealth of material and huge fanbase. Their 2013 release Save Rock and Roll brought them to the attention of the pop and charts contingent with catchy songs such as ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark’ and ‘The Phoenix’, but they have plenty more classics to pull out of the bag. An eagerly anticipated performance from alt rock band Suede is also on the bill, after their reformation in 2010 and the subsequently large shows that they’ve played since. Their own 90’s pop and rock blend will certainly be a nice shake-up to Sunday’s line-up, before American rock sensations Kings of Leon wrap up the festival. A band who started off slow before really hitting it big in the UK charts with songs like ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’, KoL have had the eyes of the British public gazed over them for some years now, and are fitting festival headliners after dazzling performances headlining at Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds. Other acts on the stage include Ella Eyre and The Move.
Whilst this years line-up lacks some of the flashback headliners it has thrown up in recent years, it is incredibly strong and incredibly exciting. There are flashes of all styles of music there, with an excellent showing of current class artists mixed in with some true nostalgia acts. If you’re not going, you should strongly consider it!
Words by Ryan James Barley