June in London. The shops had long started advertising the festival wear, but the cloudy indecisive weather did not remind much of a summer. An email appeared in my inbox bearing the title “Isle of Wight Festival” unexpectedly. To my big surprise, our marketing manager offered all members of the team VIP tickets to one of the most popular music festivals in the UK. A great opportunity to taste the real British summer, I thought to myself.
Similarly two of my friends and colleagues had the urge to try an authentic English summer habit by packing wellies and raincoat. Off to the festival. Thankfully we did not need a tent, since we were lucky enough to be offered a spacious teepee. The day arrived and I could not be more excited and sleepless (last minute me).
The Isle of Wight was 3 hours away according to google maps. An accident in Knightsbridge, a bus driver who wanted to take his legal break, a couple of lost ferries and an unfortunate choice of a water bus instead of the normal landbus contributed essentially to the impressive journey record time of 9 hours from London. Obviously, there was no time to lose. The festival site was very large and it took approximately forty minutes to walk from one side to the other. Bear in mind that walking time would substantially increase if you were tempted by the abundant delicious street food offered at the stalls between the tepee area and the stage. You could find anything from traditional fish and chips and burgers to vegan haloumi based treats.
The festival offered many different stages to choose from. The main stage accommodated the more popular names, such as the Kooks, Arcade Fire, the Vamps and Scouting for girls. Unlike any other concert, that I normally had to become a sardine in order to approach the stage, in this occasion everyone had fun singing, dancing and leaving a viable space between each other. Funny objects would stick out of the crowd, including a pink flamingo, a purple sea lion and a human size head of a doll. Big plastic balls would be bouncing on the crowd and fluorescent shots would be offered for sale.
The vibes were absolutely positive while hundreds of festival goers covered with glitter were singing the lyrics of “Naive”. “I know that she knows that I’m not fond of asking… ” Oh. Pardon me. I got carried away.
Apart from the main stage, we were particularly fascinated by the smaller outdoors stage “Cirque de la Quirk”, where some very interesting drum and bass tunes were played. The uplifting intense music was followed by machines spitting fire over the stage and acrobats performing awesome tricks wearing unconventional pieces of clothes. The whole result was so… quirky. We loved it and kept going back mingling with some festival goers with unique fashion choices, such as a British flag sequin jacket, a roman warrior costume and a viking inspired attire.
On the water bus back to busy London I was thinking that although “British” and “summer” are not two words that I would easily place next to each other, this British summer experience was pretty wicked!