Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Festival revellers bask in sun

Boy George performing in the Big Top Stage at the Isle of Wight Festival
Boy George performing in the Big Top Stage at the Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight festival has got under way - the first of the major summer music events - on what forecasters said was the hottest day of the year.

Biffy Clyro, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Kings of Leon are headlining this year's island festival, now in its 13th year, which coincides with the start of the football World Cup.

London-based Lawson were the first act to play the main stage, followed by Starsailor, as 50,000 festival-goers basked in 23C heat.

Mercury Music prize nominees Rudimental proved a popular warm up before headliners Biffy Clyro, who produced a crowd pleasing pyrotechnic show.

DJ superstar Calvin Harris then brought the first day to an end with a spectacular set late into the night.

Festival promoter John Giddings said: "What can I say? Look at the weather. It feels incredible to have the hottest day of the year yesterday and today it's been even hotter. We've been blessed. I must have done a deal with the devil.

"You spend all year round planning but when you see it come to fruition, you get obsessed by the layout and how things will work and integrate but to see it all happen and people enjoying themselves, it's the best thing ever."

Mr Giddings said he expected up to 50,000 festival goers to pass through the gates each day with an extra 10,000 tickets sold for the Red Hot Chilli on Saturday night.

"New this year, there are over 20 stages with 200 bands. I just love the audience enjoying themselves. I derive great pleasure from people getting off on what I've planned six months before.

"You book acts in advance and pray they take off in the period in between. Last year we had Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg and Bastille and look where they are today.

"This year we've got Tom Odell, the 1975. The stars of the future. And then you have established acts too, so it's a combination of past, present and future."

Revealing his list of possible future headliners, he added: "Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Blur, Oasis - there's lots on my list still to come."

TV screens have been set up so festival goers can watch the World Cup matches with England due to take on Italy during Saturday's headline act by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Other bands still to play this weekend, which runs until Sunday at Seaclose Park, Newport, include The 1975, Suede, The Specials and the Waterboys with Kings of Leon set to close the festival on Sunday.

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