Isle Of Wight 2015: VIVA’s Highlights

Lucy Harding | 24th June 2015

Isle of wight

A weekend that boasted one of the most impressive lineups of the year, experienced the most dramatic weather changes and was held in ‘will they won’t they’ anticipation by Fleetwood Mac, The Isle of Wight Festival is sadly over again for another year. Celebrating its fourteenth consecutive year since it’s hiatus in 1970, the 11th-15th June saw thousands of fans voyage to Seaclose Park for the legendary weekend of music. Commemorating the 45th anniversary of that Jimi Hendrix performance of 1970 which saw 600,000 fans flock to the festival, the organisers certainly managed to secure some of the most iconic performers of recent decades to top the bill and pay tribute to the legendary musician.

80s punk-rock icon Billy Idol kick-started the weekend with an outstanding performance in the festival’s Big Top on Thursday evening. Playing to a packed out tent, hits such as ‘Dancing With Myself’ and ‘Rebel Yell’ entertained festival goers who crowded outside the tent to catch a listen.

Friday saw the weekend get into full swing, despite the heavens opening in a torrential downpour that seemed never-ending, The Black Keys stormed the stage in a hit filled performance. Wowing the excited, if not a little damp, audience the American blues duo refused to be dampened by the weather as they lit up the main stage with hits such as ‘Lonely Boy’ and ‘Fever.’ The beauty of the Isle Of Wight is perhaps the amazing diversity of its line up which saw The Black Keys followed by one of the most celebrated dance acts in musical history, The Prodigy. A distinct change in atmosphere from the bluesy sounds of The Black Keys, the stark change in sound made the dance giants set all the more fierce.

Another wise decision by the organisers was the positioning of another huge dance act conveniently after The Prodigy’s Friday night headline slot, in the form of London based electronic music duo, Groove Armada. Happily back under the shelter of the Big Top, Groove Armada continued the party into the early hours of Saturday with an electric DJ set which saw several renditions of their anthem ‘Superstylin’, which seemed to ignite a greater audience reaction every time.

A much dryer Saturday saw another jam-packed day of iconic acts playing at the main stage. First up, one of the best performances of the weekend was provided by Kool and The Gang, whose contagious energy and distinctive funk made it impossible not to dance to hits such as ‘Get Down On It’ and ‘Ladies Night.’ Going off in another musical direction once again, it was time for Manchester indie icons James to take to the stage. In a set which opened with festival anthem ‘Sit Down’ and closed with ‘Laid’, the set also featured an emotive performance of ‘Moving On.’


Saturday evening meant it was time for Britpop heroes, Blur to take to the main stage to showcase their chart topping new album ‘The Magic Whip.’ After twelve years of anticipation, all feelings of uncertainty surrounding the band were forgotten after their opening track ‘Go Out’ kicked off a magnificent set. With the swagger we’ve grown to expect from Damon and the boys, they proudly showed off the incredible new album alongside classic favourites including ‘Parklife’, ‘Tender’, ‘Song 2’ and ending with the atmospheric ‘The Universal’ which fans belted out long after the set was over.


Following their epic Heaton Park performance just the week before, Manchester favourites The Courteeners warmed up the crowds on the final day of the festival with hits including ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ and ended on ‘What Took You So Long?’ before Scottish songwriter Paolo Nutini took to the main stage. The incredible performance by the ‘Candy’ singer left the whole island with goose bumps as the sun set over the main stage and Paolo wowed with his soulful voice. Another spectacular performance that put Manchester firmly on the weekend’s musical map was the appearance of VIVA favourites White Boy. Igniting the Jack Daniel’s Jack Rocks With This Feeling Tent with their indie rock sound, the festival provided the perfect backdrop to showcase their upcoming album ‘Glitoris.’


As the sun set over the Isle Of Wight a sense of relief washed over the crowd as the legendary Fleetwood Mac stepped on to the main stage to a roaring reaction from the audience. Lifting the underlying feelings of anxiety caused by the band’s two previously cancelled performances in Birmingham and Manchester, the band, rejoined by Christine McVie after 16 years, kicked off their set with the iconic ‘The Chain.’ Laying to rest speculation of any rifts in the band, Stevie Knicks warmly welcomed an unbelievably glamorous 71-year-old Christine to the stage in the heart-felt statement ‘welcome back Mrs Christine McVie,’ which demonstrated the camaraderie and genuine excitement the quintet seemed to have to be performing together again. Continuing with hit after hit, the two-hour performance featured the beautifully melancholic ‘Landslide’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, (in which Lindsay Buckingham gave quite possibly one of the most amazing guitar performances ever) and the magical ‘Gypsy’, which was dedicated to Hendrix, who Stevie Knicks confessed was the inspiration behind the song. Ending on the classic ‘Don’t Stop’ with a spectacular firework display, Fleetwood Mac closed the main stage with arguably the most significant performance of not only this festival season but of many to come.


In what would seem like a huge task after such a historical moment over at the main stage, The Charlatans took to the Big Top to close the festival and they did not disappoint. With an impeccable performance of’ ‘Sproston Green’ topping off what was a magnificent weekend of music, The Charlatans closed the festival beautifully and left us excited for their hometown performance at Castlefield Bowl in July.

A magical weekend of live music and goose-bump inducing performances, Isle of Wight 2015 most certainly did not disappoint. Hailed as one of the best years the festival has seen, the weekend will be hard to top, but we’re excited to see Glastonbury try this weekend!

Early Bird tickets are now available for Isle Of Wight Festival 2016 from £125.