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Sun shines on island music festival

Published 13/06/2015

James Bay performs at the Isle of Wight Festival
James Bay performs at the Isle of Wight Festival
The crowd watching Kool And The Gang performing

A day of sunshine has dried up the mud as revellers enjoyed the start of the summer festival season with the music of Pharrell Williams and Blur.

More than 50,000 people have travelled across the Solent to enjoy the Isle of Wight Festival which last night had rain-soaked performances by The Black Keys and The Prodigy.

Amongst the chart acts to entertain the crowds during the sunny afternoon were James Bay, who sang his hit Hold Back The River, and Jessie Ware. Kool And The Gang entertained the crowds with hits Jungle Boogie and Ladies Night.

Classic blues and 80s band Fleetwood Mac have pledged that they will close the four-day event tomorrow at Seaclose Park, Newport, having cancelled gigs in Birmingham and Manchester due to illness.

A festival spokesman said: "Following recent cancellations Fleetwood Mac have confirmed they will be restarting their tour at the Isle of Wight Festival on Sunday."

As well as the rock and pop legends at the top of the bill, promoter John Giddings has recruited a number of up-and-coming YouTube artists including DanielJ, Alicia Olivia, Myth City, Only1Noah, Toby Randall and Hannah Trigwell.

The festival is in its 14th year since it relaunched the legendary events of the late 1960s which saw acts such as Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and famously Jimi Hendrix who gave his last UK performance on the island.

Thousands of people wore Hendrix masks this afternoon to create a new world record on the main stage, renamed the Electric Church, to mark the 45th anniversary year of his performance and raise money for the WellChild charity.

Sharon Corr, a judge on the Irish version of The Voice who performed last night and who is preparing to reunite with her siblings Caroline, Andrea and Jim for a new album, described how the festival was a throwback to the classic events.

The singer told Magic Radio: "It's really chilled. That's what I like about it. It's a lovely family atmosphere, very eclectic mix of bands and music.

"You know I love festivals because there's real musicians on stage playing and singing. And that's exactly what music should be about.

"So it's very, very exciting. And it sort of feels really hippyish and I'm sort of mad I missed it in the 60s but still glad I wasn't born so then I'm not so old."

Away from the main stages, the festival site has more than a dozen stages and nightclubs including the Bohemian Woods providing a venue for alternative acts and new for this year a giant water slide.

On the Jack Rocks stage, Sheffield's Bang Bang Romeo drew in the crowds with their theatrical goth hard rock. And the Kashmir tent danced to the soul-blues of the High Rollers.

For those in need of a bit of luxury after the heavy rain, hot tubs and saunas were open at the Bathing Under the Sky area and the glamping options are being led by Tangerine Fields which offers a range of pre-erected and boutique camping.

Pharrell began his show of worldwide hits and covers with Freedom and his set included some of his collaborations including the controversial song with Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines, and Get Lucky with Daft Punk.

During his set he brought some people on to the stage from the audience and one woman stole the show when she began twerking and dancing with the rap megastar to the delight of the crowd.

His guitarists also played tribute to Hendrix with a version of the Star Spangled Banner and Hey Joe. He also brought a group of children on stage for Happy and danced with the youngsters to cheers from the crowd.

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