Organising a festival must come with some intense stresses. You can spend a whole year getting every single detail sorted...and then the weather forecast comes out.
Thankfully, the Isle of Wight Festival 2022 has started with some pretty strong sunshine showing once again that the Island is a good choice for outdoor events. As I keep saying, the Isle of Wight gets 500 hours a year more sunshine than London so your odds are pretty good.
The risk this year is that we’ll see a lot of red faces. My Isle of Wight Festival app was pinging on Thursday morning to tell me to bring water. (Incidentally, I always think it’s remarkable that anyone who needs this advice has managed to make it to an age where they are old enough to go to a festival).
We don’t camp at the Isle of Wight Festival, so I’ve never actually made it to the Thursday night of music. Adding an extra day started back in 2008 when the festival was growing and it works well as a way of spreading out when people arrive.
Over the years, they’ve had some decent acts headlining on Thursday including The Human League (2009), Boy George (2011) ,Primal Scream (2012), Razorlight (2017) and Wet Wet Wet/Heather Small (2019).
One of my biggest festival regrets is missing out in 2018 when The Wombats headlined Thursday night. Their album from around that time – Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life - is one of my favourites from the last 10 years.
Anyway, back to 2022 and The Happy Mondays headlined on Thursday night. They had been due to play the Thursday night in 2020 but Covid got in the way. Heather Small also returned, three years after her last Isle of Wight Festival appearance.
There was also a nice bit of scheduling from the Isle of Wight Festival organisers who decided to book the Rick Parfitt Jnr Band for Thursday night. Rick Parfitt Senior headlined the Thursday night at the 2016 Isle of Wight Festival with Status Quo, a few months before he died.
As is traditional, Friday at the Isle of Wight Festival is more like two-thirds of a day rather than a full day of music. I like to think that this was a request from the headteachers of the Isle of Wight who were seeing half empty classrooms on a Friday in June.
Plan A for Friday night was that Lionel Richie would headline. He was originally booked for 2020 and then 2021 and then 2022 before announcing he was going to ‘hold off' his European tour due to the risk of Covid. In the unlikely event that Lionel Richie is browsing niche blogs and has found this one, I would like to wish him well and hope that one day he will be able to make it to the Isle of Wight. I can recommend some lovely hotels, or campsites if he prefers something more rustic.
I would like to have been at the planning meeting when Lionel Richie phoned John Giddings to explain that he couldn’t make it (yes, I know it was more likely to be his manager, but that’s a less interesting image). John Giddings must have considered replacements become concluding that the only thing that that might come close to Dancing On The Ceiling was nine bright red RAF planes flying in formation and spraying smoke out their rear ends.
Prior to the headline slot, Madness and Nile Rodgers and Chic both took to the main stage. Both are excellent choices for a summertime festival with a sufficient number of hits that even my mother would be able to dance awkwardly and say “oooh, I know this one”. It was the second time Nile Rodgers and Chic had played (the other time was 2018, when Kasabian, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher and The Killers headlined). For Madness, it was their third appearance at Seaclose Park, after 2012 and 2019.
Without Lionel Richie it fell to Lewis Capaldi to step up to headline as the weather finally began to cool, with a set which included ‘Someone You Loved’ and ‘Before You Go’.
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