Preview: Isle of Wight Festival 2016

England’s oldest festival is approaching fast. Soon we will dive headfirst into 2016’s UK festival marathon, and of course opening with one of the best. Isle of Wight Festival, this year, boasts another jaw-dropping lineup. Organisers always pull the strings hard to come up with a lineup that cant be beaten, and 2016 will be no exception.

Isle of Wight’s Main Stage will see some incredible bands this June. Classic British rock band The Who will grace the stage Saturday night after their headline performance at Glastonbury last summer. Also joining them are Welsh favourites Stereophonics, who are sure to bring their unique style to the island. Electronic music trio Faithless, famous for their 1995 hit ‘Insomnia’ will headline from their reunion last year after a four year split. Lastly, legends Queen will close the festival alongside their new American singer Adam Lambert.

Dylan Roberts |

Isle of Wight is known for its heritage, history, and legendary bookings. As if the site is a hallowed ground, some of the most famous bands and artists in history have been honoured to play the festival; Jimmi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Blur, Coldplay, to name but a few. Now it’s the turn of Welsh rock band Stereophonics. The group is now set to headline the festival again, and it seems an appropriate time after the release of the four-piece’s ninth studio album ‘Keep the Village Alive’ in September last year.

Isle of Wight’s second headliner is English electronic music trio Faithless. The group reformed in 2015 after a four year absence from the industry. Known for their hits ‘Insomnia’ and ‘God Is A DJ’, the group are sure to bring their 20 years of experience and talents to Isle of Wight’s Main Stage. The group’s show is expected to be one of epic proportions, and one of the UK’s best festival bookings on 2016. This is one not to be missed.

After the closing headline slot at Glastonbury last year, The Who are back in the public limelight. The classic English rock band are set to headline Isle of Wight this year, with their huge back catalogue of hits. An act not to be missed this year!

Another band with an archive of big hitters; the legends that helped make Queen great in the 70s and 80s, Brian May and Roger Taylor, are back alongside their Freddie Mercury replacement singer Adam Lambert. The British pop-rock band have not lost an inch of talent, and you can expect this to be a singalong frenzy when Queen close this year’s festival. 

Liz Murray Photography |

The festival recently announced a number of new acts for the prestigious Big Top stage. Joining the festival’s vast array of artists are Australian indie-pop trio Germein Sisters, multi-instrumentalist Simon Townshend, atmospheric rock group Bang Bang Romeo, cover band The Lounge Kittens, well-known rockers The Carnabys, punk group The Novatones, and BBC Radio 2’s Kerri Watt.

The talented Germein Sisters, made up of Georgia, Ella and Clara, have combined their individual skills into a family trio. The group have toured Australia, New Zealand, China and Germany, as well as making a stop in London. Their irresistible charm and flawless harmonies have been compared to the likes of The Corrs, Haim and Coldplay, and will make an excellent edition to the Isle of Wight’s Big Top.

Hailing from a family of incredible musicians, and regarded as rock band The Who’s ‘secret weapon’ when he was part of their live band on their 2012/2013 Quadrophenia and More Tour, Simon Townshend has released eight critically acclaimed solo albums and one with the band Casbah Club. These were all released through his own US record label Stir Music. Simon will be taking to the Big Top stage performing tracks from his upcoming albums ‘Denial’ and ‘Looking Out Looking In’.

Labeled as “a harder edged Fleetwood Mac”, the band Bang Bang Romeo will be bringing their dark, atmospheric style of rock to the Big Top stage. Their sound draws on influences from the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Mamas and Papas and The Doors, and their recent single ‘Johannesburg’ landed on the Radio X playlist. This should make for a great performance at the festival.

The Lounge Kittens shot to fame in 2014 with their internet video of their cover of ‘Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit, which went viral. From Sean Paul to Slipknot, the band’s covers have been wowing fans in the UK and in Europe, having just returned from touring with the bad boys of heavy metal Steel Panther. Their tuneful and cheeky style, and their diversity of cover tracks will certainly give a sparkle to the Big Top stage!

They started out playing Rolling Stones and Kings of Leon covers in pubs, but more recently, The Carnabys have been on a world tour supported by numerous big names. They’ve opened for the likes of Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Kings of Leon and Lenny Kravitz, and their raw, powerful high-octane rock action is sure to bring a burst of energy to the island.

South Coast four piece The Novatones are an indie-punk band fuelled on a love/hate relationship with all things British. Since forming in 2012, their loyal fan-base grows bigger with each passing season and with a debut album set for this summer, it’s only due to grow.

Last, but not least, is Kerri Watt; born and raised in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, she was a music fan from an early age, singing and playing piano at school. The path has only been upwards since then with her most successful single to date ‘Long Way Home’, which won huge support from BBC Radio 2, climbing onto the station’s A-list. Watt will take to the Big Top for her Isle of Wight debut.

Liz Murray Photography |

Following the success of 2015’s Cirque de la Quirk stage takeover, the Isle of Wight Festival has announced that it will return this year, but this time for the entirety of the weekend. Isle of Wighters will get the chance to step into a worry-free, nonsensical world. Expect live body painting and a dance off, incorporating something for all ages.

Cirque de la Quirk was launched in London, March 2015 by Molly McQueen and Jack Freeman. With their shared passion for the creative arts and pure determination to showcase un-seen talent, they decided to create a truly unique cabaret party. They bedazzle audiences with stunning circus performances, extraordinary musical artists and soul-enriching silliness to provide an experience to tickle all your senses!

Punters will also be able to experience the ‘Backstage Creation Tent’, aimed to relax by hunkering down on bean bags and pillow pits, or getting involved with colouring therapy, creative workshops and face painting. Head to the Wonky Races Tent to spice up the weekend with silly, challenging and competitive games, before heading to the pièce de résistance: The Main Stage! Compered by Cirque’s very own Jackie Jibbles and Madame Molly, Cirque de la Quirk will have musical treats to get everyone bouncing and dancing for the whole weekend. Expect to see Electric Swing Circus, Dub Pistols, Benny Page, Far Too Loud and Freear (Slamboree DJ set) to name but a few of the great artists lined up to grace the Cirque over the weekend. All alongside circus performers from the wonderful people at Forgotten Circus. There’ll be enough to make the most statuesque of tail feathers wiggle with verve and vigour!

Plus, to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and Queen + Adam Lambert’s headlining slot on the Sunday, Cirque de la Quirk will be hosting a special tongue-in-cheek, very English (and slightly rowdy) tea party! Think bunting, chaps and moustaches with a dollop of electro swing beats provided by the Cirque’s lovable favourites, Miles Metric and the Rumpsteppers! A whole host of fun for everyone.

Check out Cirque de la Quirk at The Isle of Wight Festival 2015:

To top everything off, Isle of Wight Festival has announced the return of its local charity initiative, after it successfully launched last year. Local charities and causes on the island are invited to apply for tickets to this year’s festival to use in their fundraising activities via a ballot system which is open on the official website

20 pairs of tickets worth £10,000 are available; with organisations able to apply up with a brief explanation of what they intend to do with the tickets for the benefit of their charity. This local initiative continues the support the festival has given over its 15 years to not only charities, but also schools, sports teams and musicians on the island. Last year’s debut initiative saw 20 local charities each receive a pair of tickets for various fundraising activities including raffles, online auctions and competitions.

This news follows the announcement of the Isle of Wight Festival’s national charity partnership with Stand Up To Cancer, which launched with a Dragon Boat Race at Island Harbour on Thursday 21st April. Over the last decade, the Isle of Wight Festival has ‘given back’ to the island community through the work with local charities including the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Daisy Chains, the Beaulieu Respite Centre, Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, Quay Arts, Dimbola Lodge and Pink on Wight Breast Cancer campaign. For the last three years, St Catherine’s School has been a lead charity cause for the festival, with money raised via the media accreditation box office donated towards new equipment – over £2.5k has been raised to date for this residential school for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. Isle of Wight Festival organiser John Giddings is also a patron of Platform One, the island’s music college, who every year run a competition for local acts to win the chance to play the festival’s Main Stage. Local scout group Wight Rovers will be returning to the festival campsite this year to salvage unwanted tents left by the crowds at the end of the weekend.

Festival tickets have also been donated to several national charities over the years to help raise much-needed funds, including Cancer Research UK, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, British Red Cross, Breast Cancer UK, the Ellen MacArthur Trust, Tickets for Troops, the Anthony Nolan Trust and Make A Wish.

SQ_O2_2014_08 Credit Christie Goodwin

A full range of ticket, travel and camping/accommodation options are available for The Isle of Wight Festival from Full weekend camping tickets cost £195. Boutique Camping includes a number of different luxuries. A full list is available online. There is also a variety of travel options including ferry, speed boats, river crossing, Big Green Coach Company and National Rail that can all be viewed on the festival’s website.

Tobi Stidolph

Press Manager & inSYNC Writer


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