Bestival's decision to pack up its fancy dress box and move to Dorset is bad news for the Isle of Wight. There's no point sugarcoating it. A few residents will enjoy the quiet, but most people saw the benefits of a world class festival at Robin Hill.
It's bad news economically but it's a big loss culturally too. Organisers seemed to make a real effort to include local artists and organisations onstage. For an unknown local artist, even an 11am slot in front of a few hungover revellers was a coup.
I wish Bestival all the best, I really do, but I still believe the Isle of Wight offers more quirky festivals per square mile than anywhere outside of London.
There are still two massive festivals, of course.
Let's not forget that over the last 15 years the Isle of Wight Festival has attracted Sir Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, REM, The Strokes...you get the idea. In 2017, Rod Stewart and Arcade Fire will be added to the list.
In recent years the Isle of Wight Festival has also become a much more rounded festival with curiosities and sideshows sprawling into the adjacent fields rather than just a couple of stages to gawp at.
And then there's Cowes Week, the world's largest yachting regatta of its kind with 8500 sailors who race around the Solent. It also attracts 90,000 other visitors - most of whom know nothing about sailing but happily turn up their collars and enjoy the Pimms and parties.
Bubbling under are a dozen smaller festivals on the Isle of Wight which are gradually growing in reputation and popularity. I'm not sure any of them will ever grow as big as Bestival's peak but several have the potential to grow and they have a charming vibe which it's hard to maintain once you reach a certain size.
There are several specialist music festivals, including Rhythmtree, which was originally a celebration of the didgeredoo, presumably until someone realised that it was perhaps a little too niche. There's another one for jazz fans, a folk and blues festival, a 1980s retro weekend and one themed around VW campervans.
A festival with perhaps the biggest potential to grow is VFringe, which takes the free-for-all spirit of the Edinburgh Festival and thrusts it into the pretty Victorian seaside resort of Ventnor. I'm especially fond of it because it was started by a group of local youngsters during a recent cultural renaissance in the town, rather than by an events company with a money making agenda.
There's a literary festival, a festival celebrating the Isle of Wight's love of garlic, a walking festival, a vintage sailing festival and (inexplicably) a Scottish themed festival.
The Isle of Wight is also home to the UK's oldest carnival (in Ryde) which was once visited by Queen Victoria. I like to imagine she sat on the back of a tractor surrounded by lightbulbs waving unenthusiastically at the crowds, although history is a little sketchy on the facts.
So, farewell Bestival, enjoy your mainland life, I hope the glitterball will fit on the ferry.
I'd like to apologise unreservedly for any distress caused by my appalling predictions for Isle of Wight Festival 2017.
Today's announcement of Run DMC and DJ David Guetta as Friday headliners was nowhere on my radar...and nor was Arcade Fire (Saturday)...or Rod Stewart (Sunday). Hmmm.
In 2014 and 2015 I did OK and predicted a couple of headliners. In 2016 I did pretty badly and in 2017 I was about as accurate as those pollsters who confidently predicted Vote Remain and Hillary Clinton would be victorious.
So, let's just assume that for 2018 my usual techniques of listening to interviews and looking at tour dates won't work.
I'm going to try three new techniques instead, right here, right now and give my predictions for 2018.
Prediction technique 1: The CD grab
OK, first up is a simple technique you can try at home if you are over the age of 23 and still own physical copies of music. As you might imagine, it involves grabbing three CDs with your eyes closed.
Take care not to knock over your wobbly CD stand with your vision impaired thrusting motion. Also be wary of dust.
Right, I can exclusively reveal that the headliners for Isle of Wight Festival 2018 will be:
As you can see, this technique is a good'n with Nat King Cole fitting nicely into the 'heritage' slot filled in recent years by The Who and Neil Young. Smashing Pumpkins would fit nicely, seeing as Pearl Jam headlined not so long ago. Not quite sure how BRMB would go down, but at least they are still performing.
There's a slight issue that Nat King Cole has been dead since 1965, but Queen managed to headline successfully in 2016.
Prediction technique 2: The keyboard whack
The second technique is fairly self explanatory - a good old fashioned whack to the keyboard on Spotify.
The first whack produced "sdagrSG", but we'll exclude that one. From the whacks which somehow actually produced an artist, I can confidently predict the headliners at Isle of Wight Festival 2018 will be:
Well how about that? Saturday's headliner seems like a solid prediction which would fit in nicely. Friday's headliner might not be a household name but it fits nicely with the opening night having a dance vibe. Sunday's headliner - er, well, something to attract a new audience perhaps?
Prediction technique 3: The up and coming names
My final technique may actually have some chance of being right - picking three names at random from the BBC's sound of 2017 longlist.
So, the headliners in 2018 will be:
You may mock me now, but I'll be the one laughing when everyone is singing along to Stefflon Don on Saturday night in June 2018. You just wait...
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog
Tales of Isle of Wight days out, attractions and ferry discounts from a Wightophile
Where to stay
Some of the links on this site are 'affiliate links' meaning we may receive commission from accommodation providers at no cost to the buyer. We are also an Amazon Associate and earn from qualifying products.
However, we maintain full editorial control and only recommend based on merit rather than whether they offer commission.
© COPYRIGHT 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.