I'm never sure if Sunday at the Isle of Wight Festival should be called day 3 or day 4, since a fair few people arrived on Thursday and saw Status Quo making the most of three chords. Whichever day it was, Sunday saw another day of pleasantness at Seaclose Park with weather which couldn't quite make its mind up but wasn't bad enough to ruin the day.
Although festivals sell tickets largely based on the lineup, organisers of the Isle of Wight festival do deserve some credit for making the whole experience a lot more civilised than some competing events I've been to. Admittedly I didn't camp (mother's house is walking distance and she needed someone to water the tomatoes whilst she went to a wedding) but the whole site was still pretty immaculate even by Sunday afternoon. I've been to some festivals where you are wading through plastic cups and discarded chips by the final day. Many years ago, we found the Leeds Festival arena was barely distinguishable from a landfill site.
The main reason for the cleanliness at the Isle of Wight festival seems to be a simple system which rewards the return of empty cups. Lazy drinkers can happily drop their empties on the floor rather than searching for a bin amongst a crowd whilst enthusiastic children can make a small profit from spending the weekend as freelance litterpickers. I couldn't decide if I was impressed or disapproving of a few enterprising youngsters who were fishing empties out of bins and then returning them to a different bin to collect their reward. It felt similar to sticking your hand in to one of those shallow wishing wells and removing a fistful of change. Anyway, it's a small price to pay for a tidy field.
There's also a wholesome vibe created by the decision to offer free Festival entry to young children. I'm not quite ready to bring my little one to a festival but plenty of parents seem willing to give it a go, encouraged by the kids' area and a much less boozy atmosphere than I associate with some festivals. I quietly suspect that having their kids in tow makes a lot of festival-goers behave more like normal human beings rather than lads on a stag do in Prague.
Music wise, Mike + The Mechanics provided an unexpected highlight on Sunday. It is odd how bands you weren't all that bothered about seeing can be exactly the right sort of thing on the day.
Out and about there appeared to be an above average number of scantily clad women on stilts accompanied by dancers dressed as monkeys (the average number of such things being zero, of course).
So today we returned to work - slightly sunburnt, very tired and ever so determined to make it to the Festival again next year.
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