Isle of Wight Festival promoter hails spine-tingling 50th anniversary event
The promoter of the Isle of Wight Festival has said the “iconic event” still sends “shivers up his spine” 50 years since its first incarnation.
Tens of thousands of revellers have crossed the Solent to attend the Isle of Wight Festival which is celebrating the 50th anniversary since it was first held in 1968.
Headliners taking to the stage during the weekend will be Kasabian, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher and The Killers with other highlights including Travis, Van Morrison, Blossoms, James Bay and The Script.
Promoter John Giddings said: “The Isle of Wight is an iconic brand, it was the Woodstock of Europe. It’s more sophisticated now, the loos are better.
“The whole thing is upgraded. We now spend £1 million on security and police purely to keep people safe.”
“After all this time people still want to come, if you book the right bands, create the right event, it’s phenomenal, makes me feel proud.
“When you see 50,000 people in a field going wild to Liam Gallagher it sends a shiver up your spine.”
Mr Giddings predicted that Depeche Mode would be the “dark horse” of the event and added: “They are a stadium act in Europe and they really know how to perform and they have more hits than you remember.”
He continued: “There’s lots for everyone, we book music from the past, present and future, it’s a combination.”
To mark the “golden jubilee”, the crowds are being encouraged to wear gold on Saturday.
Revellers arriving on Thursday faced long queues to get on to the festival site as security checks delayed people getting in.
Organisers posted on Twitter: “We sincerely apologise for the delays in entering the festival today, this is due to extra security measures on the gates.”
Kasabian, who formed in Leicester in 1997, said ahead of their Friday night headline slot: “We’re hugely honoured to play at the Isle of Wight Festival. It’s kind of a big deal Jimi Hendrix played in the 70s, 50 years on and we’re playing it. That’s pretty phenomenal.”
Police have pledged to prevent the use of illegal drugs on site following the death of two people at the recent Mutiny festival in Portsmouth.
The first festival on the island was held in 1968 and went on to feature performances from legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and The Who before the event was cancelled following an invasion of 500,000 hippies in 1970.
This led to an act of parliament banning open-air gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the island without a special licence from the council.
Music agent Mr Giddings revived the event in 2002 and it has gone on to feature some of the world’s top artists including David Bowie, Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Coldplay and Fleetwood Mac.