A weekend of pure celebration
Tom Petty - Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 2012

Friday

It’s the Friday morning of The Isle of Wight Festival and despite the warnings, Clash are braving the journey to one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. Even though conditions are muddy, the media has really over hyped the weather situation. However, the ground is in such poor condition in the arena that it won’t open until 4pm, two hours later than scheduled.

The crowd rushes to main stage as Feeder kick off the promising weekend. There’s a wide variety of people here; old and young have come together from all over the world to be on this small island and this weekend’s line up is just as mixed as the audience.

The one to watch on the Garden stage this evening is the brilliant ‘Dry the River’. We caught up with Pete before the performance, who said it’s the band’s first time at the festival and they’re looking forward to taking to the stage. “A lot of people expect us to be quite a folky band but live we’re a lot louder and more energetic.” Pete isn’t kidding either; the boys give a high energy performance, as they play their melodic tunes.

The evening is finished off by the very dapper looking Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The band gave a brilliant performance as the crowd sing along loudly. Tracks include the amazing ‘Learning to Fly’ and ‘Refugee’ which really gets people on their feet.

Saturday

The sun is still shining and the younger audience are gathered around the main stage for Labrinth’s performance. “I have high hopes for the Isle of Wight; all my friends like Jessie and Tiny are here so it should be good.” he says before walking out onto the stage. Labrinth really gets the crowd dancing, he even creates a large mosh pit for ‘Earthquake’!

Madness are next to take to the stage, playing classic hits which both the older and younger members of the audience are enjoying. Now it’s the turn of Jessie J, who walks onto the stage with confidence as she sings her big hits to the audience.

With the sun beating down, both audience and artist are happy to be part of the weekend. “I’m so happy to be here,” says Wretch 32 “I’ve even brought my willies.” He points to the floor and to our surprise is the only artist we’ve seen wearing a pair. Even if there a lot cleaner than any audience’s members.

Tonight, the main stage will be headlined by the one and only Pearl Jam and in typical grunge fashion they’ve brought the rain with them. However, weather is the last of the worry of these fans. Despite the down pours, they’re still outside dancing to hits such as ‘Jeremy’, ‘Alive’ and finished with the almighty ‘Yellow Ledbetter.’

Sunday

It is important to remember the new acts as well as fan favourites and as we walk past the Garden stage this morning, EnglanE grabs our attention. With a beautiful voice, she’s definitely one artist to go and check out.

It’s early afternoon and Band of Skulls take to the stage, sounding a lot like The Kills, their indie tunes chill the audience out in preparation for tonight’s final headliner. The Vaccines follow on nicely, singing brilliant hits such as ‘Wetsuit’.

Now it’s the turn of Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, despite feeling ill he and his band give a brilliant performance, even when a burning flare is thrown onto the stage. Mixing new hits with some old Oasis tracks, the band play a fantastic set.

Meanwhile, in the Big Top, Pulled Apart by Horses are smashing it. “We’re really happy to play here,” they tell us, “although we’re slightly worried about the football clashing with the second half of our set!”

After the Governor, comes the turn of The Boss. This is the big performance of the weekend, the one that most have been waiting for and as Bruce Springsteen takes to the stage everyone already knows he won’t disappoint. With the E Street Band playing loudly behind, the singer runs back and forth, punching the air and giving one of the highest energy performances that this weekend has seen.

As the sky begins to darken and Springsteen begins to play classic hits, it’s already clear that the weekend has ended on a high. As the crowd screams for an encore, the band breaks into a cover of ‘Twist and Shout’, giving it their all. Spirits are high as fireworks shoot into the sky, marking the end of this fantastic weekend. There is no worry about the packing away or the traffic jams of tomorrow, just pure celebration.

Words by Sophie Sparham
Photo by Stephen Fourie
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