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Michael’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 17 Jun 2009

Location: Isle of Wight Festival, England

MapThe first weekend in June the Titans had a football match down in Brighton. I hadn’t intended to play, but being so short on players, I agreed. It was a disappointing loss to Sussex, but Charlie had come down to watch the game and we headed back for the rest of the weekend in Bristol. Originally we had planned to stay in Brighton or Southampton, but couldn’t get anything cheap so decided to head back to Bristol instead.

Last Thursday was the day before my birthday and I left work early and got a lift to Southampton to head for the Isle of Wight Festival. As per typical, the Red Jet was running poorly, with one ferry broken, and two sold off, there was only one left! So I eventually get across to the Isle, and across to the festival itself, and then track down the old IOW work crew and see where they are camped. Alas, despite giving a truck load of tents to them, they hadn’t set the tents up, and there was nowhere nearby to set up the 5 tents I had, or the 4 more tents that were coming with Spencer and his mates.

I waited around until about 10pm and they finally opened a new camping area. Thankfully Spen and his mates from London were only 10 minutes away, and we secured a massive area. I managed to get my tent and Minnsy’s tent up in about 10 minutes. Then I worked on Andrea and her friends three tents as well... the joys of being the first one there is that you get all the tents to erect! By the time we had all the tents up, our little community consisted of 9 tents and a reasonable sized area in the middle for drink and BBQ! Great set-up. And thankfully, or mercifully, we managed to get out to the Thursday night festivities around 1130 pm.

The Thursday night was a pretty light effort, as the bars were shutting early and we didn’t get out till late. On the Friday morning, we got up and headed into town for supplies, both food and drink, as well as some camp site requirements – camp chairs, BBQ’s, and a solar powered light! Before that though, we headed filled up with a nice breakfast to get ready for a few days of partying. AS it was my birthday, there was a directive that there should dress-ups for the day, and the theme was the most outrageous outfit you could get for £15. Thankfully there was an Oxfam clothing tent at the festival, and that provided just the items I needed – a childs unicorn one piece, that I used as a top, and Santa pants, that I cut down to shorts! Safe to say it was an absolute hit. Spen was dressed up as a construction worker, complete with short shorts, hard hat, moustache and fluro vest, while Minnsy was sporting a kilt with matching sash. Andrea, who’s birthday it also was, and her girls were all dressed as pirates.

The Friday line up was great – Sneaky Sounds System, Iglu & Hartley, The Ting Tings, Pendulum, Basement Jaxx and The Prodigy. Pendulum was insane, no other way to put it. The outfit enabled me to get through the tight crowds, everyone either stepping aside to look, or scared away perhaps! It was hot as hell right up the front, and I loved the Pendulum set. After the set I stayed up there for a while and caught the start of BJ, but it was too hot and crowded, and I ended up watching The Prodigy from further back, but with more room. Despite having been drinking for most of my birthday, the Prodigy set is still fresh in my memory. At the end of the music on the main stage, we all headed off to the Hip Shaker Lounge for a couple more drinks and some late 60’s music.

With the line-up for the festival not peaking my interest as much, it was more a matter of getting out and enjoying the festival. The highlight of the rest of the fest had to be the performance from Calvin Harris. As the rain set in for all of 10 minutes on the Saturday afternoon, the smarter people headed to the Big Top tent and Calvin Harris thrived in there with some great pop/disco. The other highlights were Stereophonics who were alright on the Saturday night and Neil Young on the Sunday. But Saturday nights action in the Strongbow tent and then lat tent out near the camp grounds were probably the most interesting parts of the latter weekend stages. The Sunday also saw us head to the yacht club cafe and take a dip in the Newport River to cool/clean off! All in all though it was a cracking birthday weekend, and the Monday trip back to Bristol was a ball-breaker, and work yesterday wasn’t much better!