If I can take one thing from this weekend it is that the Isle of Wight is bloody hard to get to.
However, the arduous journey through Middle England and the subsequent precarious water crossing was completely and utterly worth it. Isle of Wight Festival has been a staple British musical gathering since the 60s and the spirit of freedom and hedonism is still very much present.
Arriving on Saturday the festivities were in full swing. Armed with the clothes on my back I set forth to dissect all the weird and wonderful corners of the site, from the football bar in the press area to a pop up smokehouse next to the executive toilet block.
I had mainly come for three acts; The Kooks, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Arcade Fire. The indie yelps of Luke Pritchard followed by the guttural ruminations of Van McCann fully reinstated my faith in British guitar music whilst our friends across the pond delivered a rapturous set but one so boring in its conception and execution that by 11pm I was quietly snortling in my leaking tent.
In a somewhat groggy haze I spilt into Sunday, wolfing down a £18 burrito at 9:30am. A definite lapse of character on my part. Today was the day for new music and boy did they turn out. I happened upon the garage rock squalls of a relatively new band, The Americas, in the Jack Daniels x This Feeling Tent. It was as if the love child of Japanther and Bass Drum of Death had descended from the wilds of Mississippi and had been let loose to wreck untold carnage. A tough act to follow but followed it was by an equally abrasive outfit Gutxi Bibang, whose charismatic frontman commanded an almost demonic presence imbued with the spirit of someone like Chuck Berry or Marvin Sapp.
Begrudgingly I chanced upon The Amazons at The Big Top. After quite performance in the charts were only to eager to crow about their recent success and then wave their hair around semi rhythmically. Still they delivered a concise and honed set definitely indebted to indie rockers of old but with a refreshing twist rarely seen in guitar bands now.
Awash with new music and armed with memories for a life time I set back to the relative normality of East London, warm San Miguel in hand, fully prepared for an equally jubilant outing in 365 days time.
Photos by Phoebe Fox
Words by Aaron Powell