Thoughts On The Isle of Wight Festival!

Lets Talk Real Life 5

Hello bloggers! Some of you may have noticed my lack of internet presence for the past week or so, and some of you may have had far more interesting things to do and therefore not noticed at all. Either way this absence occurred because a friend and I decided to go on a mini adventure!

Way back in April, we both applied for voluntary work at the Isle of Wight Festival on a work for your ticket basis. As poor students we couldn’t exactly afford a ticket, so this was a great way of still getting the festival experience without the cost and with the bonus of something extra to pad out our CVs. We were both offered positions as back bar staff and then thought little more about it. But before we knew it summer arrived and we found ourselves packing our bags and taking the ferry over to the island. My friend had family with a house over there so we borrowed it for the duration of our stay. I know, I know, you’re supposed to camp at festivals, but if there’s a warm comfy bed up for grabs I’m taking it!

There were about seven different bars at the Festival, each with their own unique theme. We were stationed at the Cabaret Club bar which was tons of fun because we got some of the more eccentric acts on Tentwhile we were working like the Burlesque and Drag Queens so it had a great atmosphere. We also had the swankiest tent as well if I do say so myself! ———->
We were given mostly night shifts which was great because it meant we could spend all day at the festival and then work in the evenings when most of the acts had finished. Our shift lasted until 3am, which worked perfectly for a night owl like me!

Since neither of us had any previous bar experience we were both a bit terrified at first. We weren’t exactly given training either, someone came round and told us how to pour a pint and that was about it, the rest we had to work out for ourselves! Luckily, we were working with some really nice people who did have more of a clue, so they were there to help us out when we needed it. The mood of the bar would fluctuate. At certain times we would be completely empty and entertain ourselves by bobbing along to whatever act or DJ was on, making up silly dance moves and shuffling from one side of the bar to the other for lack of other things to do. Then the next minute we could be swamped taking order after order, queuing for the pumps and desperately dashing about to get what we needed. Soon we were pouring drinks, making mixers, cocktails and shots like pro’s! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, the adrenaline and buzz that accompanied the work was really rewarding. I went from knowing almost nothing about making drinks to knowing how to make nearly every drink going within a space of three days. I always enjoy learning new skills like that and discovering how things work.

The festival itself was brilliant too. Every day was humid and sunny, festival goers’ trademark wellies were soon left forgotten. We spent each day seeing amazing bands bobbing along and singing our hearts out, drinking in the sun and relaxing on warm grass watching the world go by. We even had a night rocking out at the silent disco (where music is provided though individual headphones so when you take them off there is no music at all, just crazy people singing to different songs) it was hilarious and a whole new level of fun. You could choose from dance music, rock or even the cheesy pop numbers from your childhood.
Everyone was so positive and happy to be there, it had an amazing vibe. Four days of bliss and great music guys, and not an essay in sight. It was awesome, and I now feel thoroughly de-stressed. 🙂

We rocked out to Lawson, The Vamps, Fall Out Boy and Kings of Leon, and swayed along to Tom Odell, John Newman and Nina Nesbitt. My two highlights though, had to be The Pretty Reckless and Passenger.

SDC15438edited  SDC15569edited(Nina Nesbitt and Fall Out Boy, click on images to enlarge.)

I had wanted to see The Pretty Reckless for such a long time but had had a turbulent time trying to achieve it. I was supposed to go and see them with a friend last summer but the show was cancelled about a month before it was to take place, then I had the opportunity to see them in March but was unable to go so I could hardly believe my luck when I found out they would be playing! They’re a heavy rock band so they sounded three times as awesome live. We managed to get a spot right near the front and I jumped around like a crazy person and sung along with every song. They were every bit as brilliant as I hoped they would be thrashing out the songs from their new album, with just enough time to reminisce with an old fan favourite Make Me Wanna Die.


The Pretty Reckless

The snippet of the performance they showed on TV (titled wrongly).

was a wonderful, unexpected surprise. I was only aware of his popular hit Let Her Go and had little knowledge of his other songs but I was so impressed. He had a brilliant voice that could waver from soft to strong and he came on solo with only an acoustic guitar and no back up. At times you could have heard a pin drop, everyone was so entranced. He really worked the crowd, chatting to us as if we were old friends and making us laugh. His profound lyrics even had me feeling a bit emotional. It’s safe to say I will be investigating his albums further, and it’s possible he could be a new musical obsession for me!


After the festival was over we stayed for an additional couple of days to slob out around the house recuperating and to do a bit of sightseeing as well. We investigated the cute seaside towns Yarmouth and Cowes and visited the Needles. We finished our final day with a round of crazy golf, party animals that we are, before getting back on the ferry and heading for home. It was all pretty awesome, except for the nasty stinkin’ cold I came down with on the way home which I have yet to shake!

Have you ever been to a festival? If not, who would be your dream act that you would most like to see? I’m always on the lookout for music recommendations!

Image Sources:
My own, please do not reuse.

38 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Isle of Wight Festival!

  1. I’ve never been to a festival myself but I like the idea of going to one. Of course, I’d ignore 95% of the acts and spend the entire time in the dance tent jigging myself stupid to rave tunes, but there you go.

    I know of someone else who did this volunteering lark for festivals, though she was from Sweden and did it for a few months for several festivals here in the UK.

    I’ve never actually heard of any of these acts you’ve mentioned I’m afraid – were The Prodigy there by any chance…?

    That is one swish tent, I bet you were the envy of the place.

    • I think a lot of people do that actually, there were plenty of tents that just played music or had a DJ at different times of day, ours included. So you don’t necessarily even have to see any live acts at all because there is always something else going on. Haha, I could totally see you rocking out!

      Ohh wow, that sounds like an amazing opportunity, hard work too though. I enjoyed the experience so much by I was wrecked by the end of it. I can’t imagine doing it for that length of time, although I’m sure you’d see some awesome bands.

      Funnily enough, I hadn’t heard of a lot of the people there this year either, but when you’re in that kind of atmosphere it doesn’t really matter if you know who the act is or not because you just get into it. 🙂 Nearly everyone we saw were great! The Prodigy weren’t there this time, I know, SHOCKER. Calvin Harris was though, so I guess that makes up for it?

  2. Fall Out Boy! Ah! I have never seen them live, even though they are one of my favorites since high school. The last concert I went to was the Backstreet Boys last year. And it was amazing! However, my favorite to see in concert has to be Ben Folds – he is just so wonderful to his audience.

    • The friend I went with was a big Fall Out Boy fan too, they were really energetic live. I hope you get to go and see them one day! It’s so awesome that you saw the Backstreet Boys, they’re probably the only ‘boy bad’ I actually like, so cheeky and fun.
      Making a note of Ben Folds, I will look him up. 🙂

    • I must admit I wasn’t sure I would get on with working in a bar but I really enjoyed it! It’s awesome that you worked in a bar all though college, that sounds like fun.

      Thank you. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a cool gig and sounds like you had a blast! I’ve never been to a music festival, but my wife and I did win a raffle to see Paul McCartney perform in Liverpool a few years ago at Anfield stadium. My wife is a big Beatles fan, and about half-way through, it suddenly got very emotional for her.

    • I sure did. 🙂 I was a festival newbie too, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
      Wow, you won Paul McCartney in a raffle? Now THAT is impressive! He’s the big leagues too, I bet that gig was amazing.
      It’s always great when an artist evokes an emotional reaction, it shows they’re doing an amazing job. I’m so glad your wife got the opportunity to see them. 🙂

      • For a while I wasn’t sure I’d actually WON. The email I got from the organisers was a little hokey and looked like a scam. Even stranger, we got back to the hotel and the BBC were playing it on TV. That was surreal!

      • I’m not surprised! I’m always weary with stuff like that, there are so many scams around these days so you can’t be too careful.

        Haha, that’s so funny! When I came back I did a similar thing, I rewatched all the highlights on TV with my own added running commentary. 😛

  4. That’s great! Bartending is one of those skills that ensures you’ll always be able to find a job.

    Sounds like I great festival. gonna have to check out a few of the acts you named.

  5. Wow! That is amazing! How awesome are festivals? I just love the vibe. I haven’t been able to afford to go to one for years, but I’ve been to a fair few concerts in the past few months. I just love the feeling of belonging. And I get this sense of wonder listening to live music. One of the absolute best feelings in the world 😀

    • Thank you, Bec! This was my first festival so it was all new to me, but it was everything I hoped it would be. I wouldn’t have been able to afford this one if not for the volunteering, they’re so expensive! Glad you’re making up for it with lots of individual concerts instead. 🙂
      I completely agree with you, live music is one of the best things in the world.

      • They are ridiculously expensive, which really sucks. I want to try and get to Sound Wave (I think like Reading/Leeds in the UK) in February but I can never seem to afford the tickets! I’ll just have to see if I can save up a little cash for 2015!
        Live music…there just isn’t anything quite like it 🙂

    • Taylor forever!!! Thank you, I’m so happy I got to see her too. But yeah, it really sucked that we couldn’t see her together. 😦 We would have gone even more mental!

  6. So that’s where you disappeared to you lucky girl :). I am so jealous that you got to see Fallout Boy and Passenger. They are both awesome, and I love the dude’s voice from Passenger because it’s so unique. Sometimes lately I just feel like all groups are sounding the same, but not him. I don’t know much about The Pretty Reckless, but her voice is fantastic. I went to an outdoor festival in 2012, and it was a blast seeing so many bands for one price and enjoy a hot, sunny day at the same time. The highlight of that day for me was Three Days Grace. Their set was awesome!!! I’m so glad you had such a fabulous time book buddy. Now get back to reading LOL!!

    • It was indeed. 🙂 You like them, too? Awesome, I hope you get to see them one day as well! Passenger really was amazing, I would be up for splashing out for a concert ticket to see just him now, he impressed me that much. You’re right his voice is unusual, at first I was worried it would get a bit repetitive if you listened to his whole album, but I don’t think that would be the case now. I agree, a lot of music sounds similar and boring to me lately too, so I’ve found myself searching out less well known people. Have you ever heard Phildel’s music? She’s so unique and unusual, she may be worth checking out even if she’s not your normal style of music.
      That festival sounds like so much fun, I can imagine how awesome Three Days Grace could be you lucky thing!

      Hahha thank you. Ohh yes definitely, I missed my reading while I was away! I only read about two chapters because I was kept so busy (in a good way) but I’ve been racing though A Clash of Kings since I got back, and I’m now over half way though. 🙂

  7. Sounds like an awesome time! Ugh Fall Out Boy would be such a great show! One of the few of my top names that I have not seen yet. Thankfully they reunited so I still have a chance 🙂 I wish I could just run off for a weekend for something like this! In the US basically everything is too far away unless it is in your own state or you happen to live on a border- and even then sometimes its pushing it haha.

    –Katie at Paperback Planes

    • Thanks, Katie, it was! I hope you get to see Fall Out Boy one day, I always think music involving any kind of rock – soft or heavy, sounds so much better live.

      Ohh no that’s such a shame, I hadn’t thought about that before. I always feel so jealous of all the amazing acts that go to America and don’t bother to come here, but with the US being so massive as you say, it could still mean that a lot of people living there miss out. That almost seems more cruel, a case of so near yet so far.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  8. WOW. Action packed to say the least! It’s safe to say that I’m jealous. After all my years on this planet I’ve never been to a festival! It’s something that I’ve always kept meaning to do but I’ve never plucked up the courage to try. There’s so many festivals out there and I need to find one that suits me I think.

    Working behind a bar would terrify me too, so I’m well impressed that you got the hang of it! Honestly, it sounds like you had an amazing time. Fabulous music, learning new skills, late nights, a proper bed and exploring with a friend all sounds perfect 😉

    At least you came away with a nice souvenir in the form of a cold! Bet you’re relieved that you can get back to your beloved Game of Thrones books. Any other exciting plans for the summer? I’m living vicariously through you!

    • You should definitely go to a festival at some point, I think you would really enjoy it. It’s always scary trying something you’ve never done before but it can also be good for us to go out of our comfort zones every once in a while. 🙂 If you go with a good friend I’m sure everything would work out fine. Up until this year I was saying exactly the same thing as you!

      It was pretty terrifying when we first turned up because we had no idea what we were doing, but it all turned out okay in the end. 🙂

      Haha ohh yes and what a lovely cold it is! You know, you read my mind. I didn’t get to read anything while I was away because there was so much to do and see. I went into a bit of reading withdrawal.
      No other exciting summer plans thus far, unless you count coming up with a dissertation idea. SUCH FUN. 😉

  9. YES! I knew you’d love festivalling! It’s such a buzz isn’t it. I had no idea you were working there! That’s such a great idea. Free ticket + festival attendance for a few hours work = WINNING.

    I’m so impressed that you were working behind a festival bar though as your first bar job! I’ve seen what festival bars can be like. Manic! So the fact that you were thrown in at the deep end and still managed to survive says a lot! Nice one Becks!

    Hope you’ve been bitten by the festival bug now! You won’t be able to stay away from them. Next stop, Latitude! x

    • You were right! It’s a huge buzz. Yepp we worked, that’s one of the main reasons we stayed in the house because we knew that we’d really need our sleep. It was totally worth the hard work to see all those bands, I think it was an amazing deal!

      Hehee, thank you. 😀 They do get manic, especially as the night goes on. Sometimes I still can’t believe I did it, bar work was totally out of my comfort zone but it all worked out so well!

      I just might have. 😉

  10. Awww, reminds me of the years of my working holidays. Sounds like you had such a great time, and that cold was totally worth it! 😀 And you got to see Fall Out Boy!!!

    Ps. where are pics of you bartending? I want to see you do a Tom Cruise… 😀

    • Hehee, I did have a great time thank you, it was so much fun! Yes, the Fall Out Boy did make an appearance. 🙂

      Aha, sorry to disappoint but I didn’t take any so no Tom Cruise I’m afraid! Maybe next time. 😉

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