Music In The Mud – Isle Of Wight Festival Round-Up……….

………..These are just random thoughts, photos and links to other blogs and sites about the Isle Of Wight Festival 2012

1. “I Make My Generals Out Of Mud!”……………….

……….So said Napoleon! Well, he’d have found plenty of raw material to work with at the IOW this year. Below are some of our photos. If you want to see more there are several on the great Every Record Tells A Story blog.

2. They’re Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, But By Far The Most Wonderful Thing About Feeder ………..

Here are Feeder, who were first up on the Main Stage on the Friday, playing “Buck Rogers”. Altogether now – “He’s got a brand new car, looks like a Jaguar, it’s got leather seats, it’s got a CD PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

3. If You Want To Get Ahead In Life, Get A Hat……………………

…………The second best hat of the weekend was worn by Springsteen (you can see it over at Every Record Tells a Story!). He got a young woman up to dance during his set and she was wearing one of these woolen pig tail and ear muff inclusive hats – which ended up on him. However, my beautiful partner never does anything without a touch of style and class and, even though I’m just a little biased, I thought she wore the best hat of the weekend! So, here she is in full “bring on the mud and the sunshine” garb for Sunday – with suitably stylish hat accessory of course!!! (Note how the pharmacy has been put in a metal container – festival goers get their priorities right – even if nothing else survives the weather, we can’t survive without somewhere to buy Nurofen or Resolve for the morning after!!!)

4. An Unexpected Little Gem, Stumbled Upon By Accident!

The surprise find of the festival for us was Charley Macaulay. We came across them in the Hipshaker tent – we’d only gone in there for a beer but became intrigued by the number of musicians setting up – we checked the schedule to find the name Charley Macaulay and we decided to stay and have a look – and we were so glad we did. Charley Macaulay has a truly brilliant voice and one of those intriguing mixes of real stage presence mixed with a gentle manner – almost shy! But boy can she sing! She was backed up by an absolutely brilliant 8 piece band, including what we thought was a brilliant rhythm section – the three guys on drums, percussion and bass can really play – but to be fair everyone else in the band was just as talented. Since coming back we’ve checked them out on MySpace and the internet. I thoroughly recommend having a listen if you get the chance. We even bought their CD EP which was getting sold at the gig (by Charley’s mum if I remember correctly!) – and we bought it on the strength of the music and not because we’d had a few scoops (at that point we were still sober!)

If you’d like to check out the music of Charley Macaulay for yourself, there are previews of a number of her tracks on MySpace.

You can also find more info about her and her music at Charley Macaulay’s site, including dates when you might be able to see her and her band live if you are interested. We’ve noticed they are due to play at the Troubador in London on July 18th and if we can make it, we’ll go along.

5. The Boss

I’ve already written about Bruce Springsteen’s set. It was brilliant. He was voted the best act at the festival on NME and I’m not in the least surprised! (I was more surprised to see Elbow 6th in that poll – they were an easy second to me!) We weren’t too far from the front of Springsteen but our iPhone photos aren’t the best as you can see. However there are great pictures of his set on everyrecordtellsastory – well worth a look – including Springsteen dancing in that hat!

6. Napoleon May Well Make His Generals Out Of Mud – But Wellington Comes To The Rescue Every Time!!!

The epic proportions of the mud made this one of those festivals where the wellies aren’t just the fashion accessories of the young and stylish – it was the only way of avoiding contracting something like swamp fever or trenchfoot!!!!! Nevertheless there were huge variations in how we measure up when we are all in wellies – it seems to me it’s a real testimony of the stylish if they can look good in wellies. I’ll spare you any views of my own wellies – suffice to say my £12 specials from Asda aren’t likely to get me on the cover of any magazines sometime soon. And though I am of course again biased, I thought the most stylish wellies of the weekend were my beautiful partners’ Ted Baker wellies!

7.In Spite Of What You All Think You Know About Anatomy, There’s Actually Only One Elbow!!!!

My love and enjoyment of all things Elbow is well documented throughout my blog – and their set at the IOW confirmed that they are as good as I thought they were!

I was surprised in talking to people at the festival and around the island that few have heard of Elbow – I would have expected that years ago when I was watching them in barely filled small places like Scala at Kings Cross in London. However these days, Guy Garvey has a show on Radio 6, their music is used on virtually every sport montage on TV and I’m pretty sure it was also used during some of the image montages on TV about the Royal Jubilee celebrations! But it would seem they still have some way to go in search of world domination! But I don’t care! They have domination over the music in our house!

Their set at IOW was absolutely brilliant. We loved every song, every chat Guy Garvey had with the crowd and every note. Here are our photos of Sir Guy of Garvey and a little sample of how good they were at IOW!

8. And Finally……….The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of The Isle Of Wight Festival

I’ll start with the bad bits so I can finish on the good – because in spite of the odd, not-so-good bits, it was a brilliant weekend!

The Ugly

The smell! The loos at festivals are never exactly palatial and the IOW was no different! You kind of expect the smell to pervade around those areas but at the IOW I think the general swamp conditions meant most of the site stunk pretty badly! But it was survivable thanks to these good people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bad

The hassles as a result of the weather were in some ways beyond the control of the people organising the festival so I don’t think they are at fault for the mud and at least some of the ensuing chaos. However there were other things that weren’t that well organised. The bus shuttle from Newport to the site at Seaclose Park was a walk of around ten minutes – it was a bus ride of 25 minutes because of detours around closed roads! Bloody irritating.

Similarly the chaos of getting the specially laid on buses from the site to other parts of the IOW at night time was pretty horrendous – we heard stories of people waiting till 3 and 4 in the morning! And last niggle, The Garden Stage had a dance music tent directly opposite blaring out heavy bass tracks while we were trying to listen to singer songwriters like Matt Cardle – The Christians actually commented on it during their set and they really did have a point. Needs sorting for next year!

The Good

In spite of the niggles there was so much that was good about this festival. However I’ve written elsewhere about the great music and the terrific atmosphere among those at the festival. So here I’ll finish with a thank you to the lovely people of the Isle Of Wight who made us feel so welcome! From people in the pubs in Shanklin, to people forced to wait in long queues for service buses with all of us for buses that they catch every day, to people in shops, to the lovely waitress at Morgans in Shanklin where we had dinner one night, to the really nice Italian who served us fabulous tea and scones in the Village Teashop in Shanklin, to the taxi drivers, to the people who ran the great Ferndale Hotel in Shanklin where we were lucky enough to get a late cancellation, which led to a lovely bed every night and warm showers followed by a great breakfast every morning!!! Everybody was kind, patient, engaged in conversation with us, talked about the festival, went out of their way to help us and generally accepted with humour and good grace legions of the great unwashed shedding dried mud and smelling not at our best all over their shops and pavements and buses and cafes for three days!!!

The festival was great in its own right but the people we met on the IOW made it a little extra special. We will definitely be back again next year – even if the mud is back too!