Roundup, Isle of Wight Festival 2012 (more pics coming)

This is an assortment of snaps from my camera over the weekend. For the proper stuff, visit or Tim Cheesman Photography

Apologies for the hicklety-picklety assortment here, still getting used to posting lots of images 😐

The crowds were phenomenal, I never get bored with seeing so many people enjoying themselves this much although it never really translates to images.

The bus was pretty funny, I took this at around 5am on Monday morning. What a mess we were… I’d have hated to see the state of that later in the day.

Brucey Boy – The Boss.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band

The Vaccines

Ryde Pier

Bus Ryde… more mud

Lana Del Rey – ain’t she gorgeous?

Main arena

Walking to the pier head in the morning

Sky’s hot air balloon

The Virgin Marys

Sunny Swamp

Swamp again

Main arena

Coffee and burger houses

The Swamp
The Wheel

Suggs – Madness

Tom Petty

Walk back from Esplanade

…………….Back to reality, Of course I’m grateful for the cleanliness enliness but looking forward to Reading already!Image







Unofficial (Rejected but better) Isle of Wight festival 2012 review

Isle of Wight Festival 2012

In an exhausted muddy mess there are tears as revellers leave what has been, against all odds, a festival of successive thrills and shattered limits of expectation. Hitting the headlines on Thursday in the early hours of the afternoon due to unprecedented rainfalls, the chaos forced some to abandon tents and in some cases the island due to fully booked B&Bs to seek sanctity, but for those who were fortunate enough to escape the worst of the weather’s wrath there was plenty of compensation.

Part of the (mis) fortune has been down to method of travel, each with pros and cons but an essential consideration. Vehicles bring the added comfort of dry storage and unlimited luggage, however the fare to cross the waters from mainland is around threefold that of train fare plus ferry (£58 next-day booking from London). Despite sinking in the mud, organisers ensured 4x4s and tow trucks were on hand to get everyone out safely when leaving the site. For railway passengers, stations at Fishbourne and Portsmouth are intrinsically linked to the ferry ports and should cause no problems for wheel chair users. The crossing can be booked separately on arrival if preferred and fares remains stable over the weekend on the Wightlink, Redfunnel and Hovercraft. There are also a number of ports on the Isle, mostly the staff and locals are keen to ensure you are guided in the right direction but the choices can sound over-whelming. Essentially, from Ryde Pier Head there is one long pier that you may walk down, get a taxi or a train. No option should leave you more than a few pounds out of pocket and at the bottom of the pier the bus stand is unmissable. £5 will get you to the main camping gates with payment made on the bus. It is advisable to withdraw cash if required before the crossing as banks in Ryde are situated at the top of a daunting hill.

With a diverse line-up this is genuinely a ‘something for everyone’ event and many people found themselves surprised and new favourites they picked up along the way – Springsteen fans have fallen for Labyrinth, children have skanked to Madness and Oasis fans have seen The Darkness in a whole new light. As festivals increasingly bring generations together one woman said “I didn’t think I could do the whole festival thing like my sons, but It’s been brilliant! Apparently changing my underwear means I’ve not done it properly though…” For the inquisitive you are bound to find new bands to love, The Virgin Marys and Band Of Skulls having been particularly notable for capturing hoards of new fans this weekend. Even the mud has brought people together as support all round has been needed for everyone to make it through unscathed.

Isle of Wight is a notably eco-friendly festival with cup collectors trailing the fields regularly and an energy point where the user has to put in what they use by cycling to power the supplies. Be wary of dropping litter, this could easily lead to a telling off by other conscientious festival goers and you risk being made to retrieve such deposits. Incentives from Carling also include QR scanning to win a shower – this may not seem so worthwhile on the first day but one winner on Sunday was overjoyed and pretty smug with her window of luxury. Vodafone customers are also well catered for as they have their own stand, although queues for this are lengthy, and phone charging points.

Preparation needn’t be over the top – apart from the inevitable over-priced convenience stores there is a garage within 10 minutes walking and a range of venues awaiting festival troops including Pizza Hut, KFC, Weatherspoon (no surprises there), a £5 per head carvery and a community hut that will assist with charging, internet and other modern day essentials. All venues are prepared with hoovers and areas you can take your wellies off. Sunday roast at Weatherspoon is a military operation which is dished out at lightning speed. They also allow you to re-charge using their power sockets but they are in high demand. It is worth bearing in mind that Pizza Hut run buffet lunches – they beat the cold burgers sold at Burger Co. and other stands in the main arena. Light packing, as with all festivals is important, as is a rucksack as wheelie bags and mud don’t mix particularly well, especially when navigating through swampland. Yes, the pictures were bang on.

Within the arena itself the stalls are fairly standard with clothes, merchandise, a convenience store and food stalls. Alcohol is bought by a ticket system in which credit cards are accepted. This has it’s drawbacks, particularly if you loose a ticket or don’t drink as much as intended however when bands clash and a drink is high on the agenda the ability to directly swap a token for a beer with no queues is a saving grace.

Of most use is the Isle of Wight app, this pops up with all manners of relevant information such as spontaneous events, weather warnings, changes to schedules and easy access to the line-up. This is particularly useful during clashes, this year has seen Professor Green/Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen/Ash The Virgin Marys/Vaccines and undoubtedly many others. Good preparation is essential to get the best of the three stages as they are situated in separate fields and working through the crowds can take time.

Ferry companies have been humorously unsympathetic, separating revellers from residents, covering the seats with plastic and in some instances power hosing passengers before board – this, apparently was an unexpected bonus.

From the care of the organisers, transport companies and formidable performances from just about every band, Isle of Wight 2012 has triumphed through it’s worst year ever – bring on 2013.


Sunday and home from Isle of Wight Festival

Going to keep this a bit shorter than intended as WordPress just deleted the entire post once and it’s been a rather long day, starting yesterday…

Yesterday was spent running between fields to catch as much of everything as I could. Band of Skulls, I was told was a ‘must see’. They were fantastic, but I know so little about them I opted against reviewing. Attempting to trek to my tent, a certain beat escaped the Big Top tent and like bacon sarnies in the morning I was drawn in, circling and hoping that The Virgin Marys would be lousey I found myself at the front of the crowd clapping, dancing and grinning ear to ear. I felt like Anthony Wilson discovering the Sex Pistols in 24 hour party people. Only I’m not a producer, wealthy or willing to sign a contract in blood. Again, I wished I could get a review in as these guys are going to storm the scene however due to lack of knowledge there was barely the time if I was to catch the Vaccines.

Darting straight back to the vaccines, not remotely concerned that my wellies were blistering up my feet with running around I was in for a big surprise. Boardmasters last year was good, but for me not brilliant. This year they delivered.

The Vaccines

The Gallaghers don’t really do it for me so I skipped that to get on with writing whilst I could be rigged up to the mains. Backstage was a famous presenter who I still can’t find on Google filming and doing photo-shoots. By the sounds of it Matt Cardle also took bit of a shot at one of the production team (in a good way) but knowing neither I don’t have the details or follow up story! Sky’s money seemed to be invested in a hot air balloon that I didn’t get to see take off but have pics for you later and also a giant Peacock. ?!

I met Laura Williams also working for VF this year although her main job is with 24/7 South West covering fests, she had the unenviable challenge of digging out backstage gossip and news worthy stories. I on the other hand was free to go watch Bruce Springsteen – Wow wow wow, didn’t quite expect to enjoy it so much!

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band

I did get a cheeky scoot over to Ash and not seeing their whole set was by far the biggest disappointment of the weekend. Still, having the fireworks go off on one of the very rare occasions I was in the VIP pen was incredible, not sure what could have beat that. I was also made up that I had been so certain something big was going to happen, I’d even saved the thought in text notes to myself! I’m sure people thought I was crazy texting throughout the show but there was so much to get down.

The darkness was my pressure-free rock out at the end and I am genuinely really excited about the release of their new album. They filled the whole of the middle field both inside and out the tent. Slip-sliding home I was really grateful to The Virgin Marys for being so damn good, I would never have made it to my tent and back on time to enjoy the show.

Choosing to kip for a few hours I set my alarm for 3.30. Listening to a couple of blokes argue right above my head and later a tractor driving by I was still awake when the alarm sounded. The photographer also wanted to sleep another hour and so 4.30 was time to face the music.

Packing up was comical and I was pretty much alone, other than the three security guards watching me with some amusement. One eventually suggested I sack off the tent but being Scorpio, that wasn’t going to happen. I resolved to ram the entire thing into my main bag, filling it with mud in the process. I would never have made it out of the campsite on my own, after a struggle through the first hundred meters I was relieved to be offered help by the photographer who, concerned by my absence, had come to find me.

Quick plug for the photographer, Tim Cheeseman who has some wicked snaps that can’t go on VF for sizing issues blah blah… if you wanna see some of the best wait until he’s recovered and got onto the uploading, it will be worth it!

Within 15 minutes the two of us were at an empty bus station ready go go our separate (although geographically the same) ways. I was headed to Ryde to catch my ferry and en-route met a fantastic woman who had just had her first ever festival experience. Driven by her 16 yr old son who routinely heads to Reading she had been dubious but had a fantastic time. We differed in opinion regarding music, but she was very current in her tastes and will have a lot to talk about when she gets home!

Ok, so a few complications on the way home including using the wrong template for the final review. Personally I prefer it to the one that I ended up re-writing hours later so I will post it here next. I’m still running on coffee and have a house to unpack still as well as get ready for work bright and early tomorrow, so I’m gonna leave you with tent soup and protective clothing on ferry seats and get some camera snaps to you tomorrow.

Oh, and here’s the official review:
Official IOW overal review for VF



Isle of Wight Sat to Sunday – I think?

Surprisingly relaxed today. The sun is shining, great bands lined up and although I probably stink to high heaven I imagine everyone else does too. I have been particularly well organised and am pretty satisfied I’m as clean as I was ever going to be, partly thanks to back stage facilities, Pizza Hut and Weatherspoon!

So, Bands yesterday again, absolutely awesome. I did less yo-yo’ing and a little more ‘taking it all in’. At the request of the editor there are fewer but longer reviews to compromise on the technical issues such as distance and minimal power – 5% battery is pretty healthy the way things are right now. Gotta say, iPad and blue tooth keyboard is by far the most practical method I’ve ever used for a fest. With demands increasing around timing and quantity each year for the website I realised I could never have delivered in this way 6 years ago. New to music journalism and feeling like an imposter in the press tents I turned up for my first fest (Hard Rock, Hyde Park) armed with a notepad and paper. It was more than enough. I can’t begin to imagine how that could possibly work now with the live feeds, the instant reviews and with the added quantity the additional pressure to get all the facts right. On the bright side the knowledge accumulated in sheer panic to meet deadlines never leaves and comes in handy and the least expected times.

Apparently festival fever and the fears of getting trapped on camp exist pretty much in the confines of the event. People close to me are satisfied that my phone is working, that constitutes for ‘all is well’ nowdays, never mind the howing winds, driving rain and the growing going on outside my tent during the night. Said growling transpired to be man snoring in a rather peculiar fashion… in a teeny one man tent right next to mine. At 3am I woke up frozen through and donned every item of clothing I had the energy to dig out. I don’t consider myself particularly hardcore, however as several of my friends have already scarpered and I opened the tent to a wide open space once crammed with tents and a maze of ropeage I can’t be too much of a softie.

Anyhow, last night I didn’t review Biffy Clyro due to time pressures and a need for a break, but I did see them and would recommend highly. I will tell you for the music, showmanship and professionalism, women in my company last night would put it in a rather different way. Essentially there’s something for everyone there… What a relief it was though, to find someone I knew! after a couple of texts I concluded they would be too far away for me to locate. Turning to ask a question from a rather tall bloke I’d barely opened my mouth when I heard “ANJAAAAA” right down my ear – it was the same colleague from work I’d been texting and the text still hadn’t reached her, one and only co-incidence of fest but a great one.

After arranging to re-group for Pearl Jam the crowds had multiplied and there was no chance of finding them. Then the dreaded rain… then, by some grace of god I got the most welcome text from the photographer saying we had access to theVIP tent and could sit on the big comfy sofas and watch on the screen! Sounds like an offer that couldn’t be refused, right? I got to the tent, it was FABULOUS. The best food I’ve seen all weekend, a bar that you don’t need tokens for, screens everywhere and luxurious red carpet that you can wear wellies on… and cake! Did I mention the food? Still, desperate to watch the band in the flesh I still perched half in the rain looking out – it was worth it, Eddie (You can call me Ed) Vedder gave a big old wave our way and I was more or less the only one there! *Melt* Obviously I was too stunned to wave back so I just stood grinning along with a small handful of others.

Today I got the Pearl Jam review off in good time but somehow it failed to make it to the destination. In Weatherspoons I scrambled to find an unused socket and eventually hi-jacked one from a lovely couple who rightly obeserved “they’re like gold dust”. This is a Weatherspoons like no other – they have a big area for you to take of your boots, a military operation to get roast dinners out and constantly checked and cleaned loos which made for a great wash space. I am guilty of sparking a tooth-brushing trend, but I’m not one to miss an opportunity in conditions such as these.

Most amusing of the day was a trip to the coffee stand. I will get a picture out ASAP. I was knee deep in mud asking for a Latte – one of two people there when I was asked to queue on the other side – a further two inches deep in swamp. Seriously! I did as I was told and was thankful for the height of my now breaking wellies.

Ok, some review links then I’m gonna leave to get to the loos, obviously early morning beer doesn’t sit well or my body has re-adjusted to thinking toilets are always close by. How very wrong.

Pearl Jam

Jessie JMadness

And the great news is that Virtual festivals tweeted my review to Jessie J directly – maaan I love Jessie J!




Poor quality pics of Pearl Jam from VIP arena taken in ipad – better ones coming soon. Oh and me with the wrong camera on… D’oh.