The Isle of Wight Festival's Main Stage. Taken by Callum Baker.

Review: Isle of Wight Festival 2017

Over the past three years, Isle of Wight has quickly become my favourite music festival of the year. There’s something about the happy atmosphere, the friendly people, the delicious food and of course the vast range of musical performances that make it an unmissable event for me.

This year we saw headline sets from David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire, and Rod Stewart – a line-up that lived up to the festival’s famously eclectic reputation of mixing legendary artists with the hottest new acts. Other artists who appeared across the weekend included Rag’N’Bone Man, The Pretenders, Alison Moyet, Lucy Spraggan, Nothing But Thieves, Zara Larsson, Texas, Bastille and The Vamps.

Ahead of the headline acts, the man of the moment, the 2017 BRITs Critics’ Choice Award-winner Rag’n’Bone Man performed hits from his #1 debut album ‘Human’ including ‘Skin’ and ‘Lay My Body Down.’

On Friday night the first of the co-headliners to take to the stage were Run DMC. They treated the enthusiastic crowd to hits including ‘It’s Tricky,’ ‘It’s Like That’ and ‘Walk This Way.’ DMC’s frontman Rev Run generously treated one fan to take home his iconic fedora hat. The trio also paid a moving tribute to original member Jam Master Jay, whose son DJ Jam Master J’Son is also a member.

Guetta’s stage show included 774 lights, 6 confetti blowers – showering the crowd with over 3 million pieces of confetti into the air, 15 miles of streamers and 300 sticks of pyro.

Closing out the evening came David Guetta who took to the stage after sunset for an incredible light show. To the delight of the crowd, he debuted his collaboration ‘2U’ with new Justin Bieber. The performance was a memorable one, Guetta’s spectacular stage show included and an amazing 774 lights, 6 confetti blowers – showering the crowd with over 3 million pieces of confetti into the air, 15 miles of streamers and 300 sticks of pyro.

On Saturday the traces of the rain from earlier in the week had all but gone and the festival enjoyed another day bathed in glorious sunshine. Celebrity guests on the day included Colin Firth, who came to watch his son Luca perform, Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch, supporting Abbey’s younger brother’s band Judas. Leona Lewis was also spotted among revellers, singing along at Zara Larsson’s set.

Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Kooks, warmed up for their arena tours later this year. Luke Pritchard of The Kooks drew a loud cheer when he shared his dismay of the recent election result.

On Saturday the traces of the rain from earlier in the week had all but gone and the festival enjoyed another day bathed in glorious sunshine.

The festival partnered again with Stand Up To Cancer as their official charity partner for the second year in a row, selling glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces throughout the weekend to raise money for game-changing cancer research. Festival-goers were invited to head to the main stage on Saturday night ahead of Arcade Fire’s headline performance to light up the night, join forces and Stand Up To Cancer. A magical and humbling moment amidst the reckless fun of the weekend.

Arcade Fire’s headline set came fresh off the back of the announcement of their new album ‘Everything Now’. The Canadian band delivered one of the first ever performances of their new material, speaking passionately throughout the set on the importance of togetherness and not being scared. These guys are truly one of the finest live performers in the music industry!

The final day saw a ‘Best of British’ line-up of acts including Bastille, Clean Bandit, George Ezra, The Vamps and The Amazons. There was even a surprise performance from Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman and Sky arts presenter, Ricky Wilson who fooled fans as a ‘timid singer, Ricky from Leeds’ at the festival’s ‘Rockeoke’ event on Sunday afternoon.

Watching legendary rock-god, Rod Stewart, on Sunday night was the overall highlight of this year’s festival for me. Playing all the hits such as ‘Maggie May’, ‘Sailing’, and ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’, and featuring not one, not two, but three outfit changes, I was completely blown away by his performance.

While Rod was joined on stage by a number of glamorous backing singers and musicians, the rocker made sure that he was the main focus of attention of the night. Starting the set in a gold blazer and leopard print trainers, he later changing into a silver suit and number of sparkling shirts, ensuring that his appearance was equally as glittering as his performance. 

As an indie-girl at heart, my favourite performances of the weekend without a doubt included The Kooks and Kaiser Chiefs. After meeting a group of like-minded women in the crowds, we quickly became best friends for the evening, singing along together to the likes of ‘I Predict a Riot’, ‘Never Miss a Beat’, ‘Junk of the Heart’ and ‘Seaside’. Another big moment for me was seeing Catfish and the Bottlemen again. After seeing them live for the first time in Bournemouth last November, I knew I was in for a treat and I was not disappointed.

All the music aside, the Isle of Wight Festival is about so much more than the music. Once you’re through the festival gates, there’s something different around every corner. This year we spent many an afternoon in the Strongbow Yard, sipping ice cold pints of cider whilst basking in the warm sun, listening to a DJ set, and watching the world go by. After experiencing all the food, drink and music we could squeeze in, we ended our nights at the Jack Rocks stage, dancing to our favourite pop-punk tunes with a Jack Daniels Honey and Lemonade in hand.

Over the weekend, the festival saw over 45,000 goers flock to Seaclose Park and see in the festival season in style, proving once again that the Isle of Wight Festival is one of the biggest and brightest jewels in the British Festival calendar.


  1. Ian Robinson

    16 June

    I agree with most of what you said. But just had to add my Fave performance of the weekend. The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde was brilliant It was our first ever festival. We hope to be back next year

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