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Isle of Wight

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 13th February 2014 11:51

12 - 15 June

From humble beginnings in 1968, the Isle of Wight festival has gone on to be an institution on the UK festival scene.  Legendary acts such as Jimi Hendrix have graced the stage here; his performance went down in history in 1970 as it was one of his last major performances before his untimely death later in August of that year.  This goes some way to explaining why it has such an iconic reputation, as other legendary acts such The Doors and The Who have also performed on this island.  As well as combining much heralded artists, the event offers a platform for the hottest up and coming acts that get to play to a 55,000 strong, stylish and free spirited crowd which has its roots in the “flower power” era when hundreds of thousands of music fans came from all over the world to enjoy the chilled out vibe in the fields of the Isle of Wight. 

The fact that the weekend takes place on an island makes for a harmonious ambience that somehow manages to absorb the beautiful surroundings to create a warm feel which is the perfect festival environment.  Today, hoards of people pack into ferries and coaches and flock from the mainland for up to five days to recreate the communal living, free love of days past and see some of the best live music around. 

Line up

This is sure to be another vintage year for the festival, with the announcement that Red Hot Chilli Peppers will be headlining the Saturday alongside the Grammy-nominated quartet will, Kings of Leon who perform an exclusive set to close the weekend after their sixth studio album Mechanical Bull reached number one in the UK Official Albums Chart last September – the perfect band to draw festival to a close.

The return of Red Hot Chilli Peppers as festival headliners has created much excitement because not only is this their first festival appearance since 2007, this will be their only show in the UK and Ireland in 2014 and they will be drawing on material from their extensive 10-album back repertoire to make this a truly unique and special event this summer.  Joining them will be Biffy Clyro who will headline the Friday while Rudimental, Calvin Harris and The 1975 are also on the bill among others who will be flooding the main stage, Big Top stage and the Garden Stage.

Travel

Southampton is the gateway to the Isle of Wight Festival and is easy to reach by car, train, coach and plane from anywhere in the UK.  You can catch a flight to Southampton or alternatively go via London, which is only an hour from the coastal city.  Many tour operators and companies operate a passenger vehicle ferry service from Southampton to East Cowes (the closest ferry terminal to the campsite) on the Island and also a passenger only Red Jet Hi-Speed service to West Cowes.   

Ferry

Companies such as Red Funnel can offer the largest vehicle ferries to the Isle of Wight so taking a vehicle packed with all your camping gear will not be a problem.  The service operates between Southampton and East Cowes, from where it is a short 10 minute drive to the festival campsite.  The crossing takes just under an hour so you’ve got plenty of opportunity to have a pre festival beer and a bite to eat.

Buses

So once you’ve crossed the water, festival shuttle buses are readily available and operate between both ferry terminals and the bus terminus at the festival.  Shuttle bus tickets can be used from either East or West Cowes on Thu, Fri & Sat, returning on Sun or Mon.

River Shuttle

In 2014, there is also a brand new River Shuttle Service which operates from the Grid Iron at East Cowes (near the Vehicle Ferry terminal) to Island Harbour (850 yards from the campsite entrance).  It is also by the far the coolest way to arrive at the party!

Things to do

The Isle of Wight, much like the festival has a diverse range of optiosn when it comes to things to do, they can either be for those searching for tranquillity or adrenalin pumping action for the more energetic!

Cycling

Over half of the Isle of Wight is designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and there are nearly 30 miles of 'Heritage Coast' -an accolade only applied to coastlines of the highest quality in England and Wales.  This offers a perfect environment for the keen cyclist and a fantastic venue for a cycling holiday.

Jimi Hendrix Statue

A bronze statue of Jimi Hendrix found at Dimbola Lodge that was put in place after Hendrix played the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and died shortly after.  A certain hidden treasure on the island, it is the perfect to chance to go on a pilgrimage and remember one of music’s greatest artists.

Animal Park

Animal lovers of the world, unite – there are a whole host of animal parks and zoos on the Isle of Wight.  From exotic animals to Butterfly World, there is something for everyone here.  Oh and don’t forget the Donkey Sanctuary!

Visit www.isleofwightfestival.com for tickets

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