Several hundred anxious festival goers heading to the Isle of Wight are being held on boats in the Solent on Thursday evening amid traffic gridlock on the island.

Mud caused by heavy rain led to parking and access problems at Seaclose Park, Newport, and prompted ferries to suspend their services because of the traffic backlog.

isle of wight

Blaise Franklin (right) and Nathan Mursall wallow in the mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival

Three boats with about 600 people on board were being held in the Solent as ferry operator Wightlink waits for the traffic to clear to enable it to discharge passengers at Fishbourne.

A Wightlink spokeswoman said tonight: "We have about a couple of hundred people on each boat. They are fine, and there are crew and food on board.

isle of wight

Festival goers were greeted with a mud-bath as they arrived this morning

"We can't do anything else with them until we can get into port to unload. At the moment we are in the lap of the Gods with the Isle of Wight Festival.

"As soon as the berth is free they will be able to unload, but we just don't know when that will be. It has nothing to do with us, and it's not a problem caused by us."

isle of wight

Cars wait to board the Red Funnel ferry in sunny Southampton before heading to the Isle of Wight

Meanwhile, indie rockers The Charlatans have played an exclusive gig on a tiny fort in the middle of the sea as a warm-up for the festival.

Tim Burgess and Mark Collins played a 30-minute acoustic set on Spitbank Fort in the Solent off Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The Charlatans will go on to perform at The Isle of Wight Festival which is being headlined by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

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  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud and water at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival

    Blaise Franklin (left) and Nathan Mursall wallow in the mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival.

  • Isle of Wight Festival - Day 2

    NEWPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22: A festival goer braves the mud on day 2 of The Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images)

  • Isle of Wight Festival - Day 2

    NEWPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud on day 2 of The Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images)

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty

  • NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 22: Festival goers brave the mud at the Isle Of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012 in Newport, Isle of Wight. Picture by Getty