Featured Review: Isle of Wight Festival 2018
With Bestival no longer on the island, the annual festival pilgrimage taken by thousands of people to the Isle of Wight must continue with this iconic British event. The Isle of Wight Festival is one of the oldest in the world, and this year celebrated its 50th anniversary! Since it’s revival in 2002, the festival has hosted some of the world’s biggest and best artists. The event’s blend of rock, pop and indie music has helped it sell out consistently, appealing to old and young music lovers alike. A shift in dates by two weeks saw the festival fall on the weekend of midsummer’s day; a weekend that’s usually held ransom by Glastonbury. Not in 2018, though, with the Somerset event taking its first fallow year since 2012.
This half-century celebration saw another roster of massive names make the trip across the Solent to the festival. Las Vegas rock band The Killers, English electronic trio Depeche Mode, Leicester rock band Kasabian and Brit-pop legend Liam Gallagher completed a bill of headline acts unrivalled by most other European festivals this summer. These musical heavyweights helped make this Isle of Wight that little bit more special. Organisers kept the site to its usual quality, with the festival’s main stage positioned at the end of the site giving everyone a great view from wherever they stood.
Football – With England amidst a World Cup frenzy, festival organisers arranged for BT to return with their ‘Field of Dreams’, like in 2016, to show a number of games from Russia. England happened to be clashing with Panama over the weekend, and thousands of eager fans made their way to the big screen for the 3pm game; a great piece of entertainment before the evening’s music began. Watching England’s biggest ever World Cup win (6-1 in the end) in the hot sun was amazing. The atmosphere that was created made the festival even better, lifting the crowd’s hungover spirits from partying the previous night.
Depeche Mode – Big festivals like Isle of Wight are your chance to see some of the world’s best artists from the bygone era. Such artists at the festival this year were electronic music pioneers Depeche Mode. Formed in 1980, the group’s career has spanned almost four decades, several global tours and fourteen albums. Depeche Mode’s headline set was arguably one of the musical highlights of 2018 as they played through ninety minutes of their impressive back catalogue of infectious dance numbers. ‘Personal Jesus’, ‘Everything Counts’ and ‘Enjoy the Silence’ were particularly well received by the thousands who turned out to see them. Frontman Dave Gahan’s incredible baritone voice translates incredibly to a large stage/arena, Depeche Mode’s tracks echoing vigourously into the audience. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
Soul II Soul – British soul legends Soul II Soul are back doing the rounds on the festival circuit. After the group enjoyed commercial success in the ’90s, Soul II Soul parted ways in 1997 only to reform in 2007 after a ten-year hiatus. The group made it big with their 1989 UK Number 1 ‘Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)’ and ‘Keep On Movin”, which peaked at Number 5. The London band have not lost their touch. The group’s modern twist on soul music comes straight from the heart which helps to deliver an upbeat and feelgood yet very personal set. Soul II Soul were a refreshing change from rock music during the course of the weekend, and certainly bowled us over with one of the best sets at this year’s event.
Isle of Wight Festival; here’s to the next fifty years!