This weekend I'll be returning to the Isle of Wight to watch bands, drink some pints of Carling and regularly pray that it doesn't rain. Last year was my first Isle of Wight music festival, which I deemed a success thanks to brilliant performances from Pulp, Hurts and the beginning of Mat Horne and I's obsession with bands being 'ELECTRO', which is probably the least-funniest joke ever made, but one that kept us going for hours as we asked if bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and Snow Patrol were in fact, electro? "I love electro. Electro is my favourite so if this band is electro, that must be my favourite type of band because I love electro."
2012's edition looks to be a different affair. To start, I'm not entirely sure I actually like any of the headliners - which is a first for me at a festival, as there is usually one band I really want to see. Yeah, alright, Tom Petty and his band are playing their first UK festival show since the Stone Age, and of course Brucey is the all-American hero, but Pearl Jam? I'd rather scoop my own eardrums out with spoons. I really can't be arsed with feel-good American crap this weekend. I want sorrow or I want beats. I want my hands in the air or my head in my hands. So if you're like me, and disillusioned by this year's offering of headline acts, try my alternative:
To start with, the best things about festivals is that you can start drinking responsibly as early as you choose, so head to the Carling Refresh Rooms. Let that humming buzz that comes from a big area you can vaguely see if you squint be something you can mistake for the devil whispering in your ear to go and try to have the chance to win a free shower, which means you can potentially have a shower beer at a festival, which is one of the coolest experiences on Earth.
Music-wise, I can honestly say there is only band that matters on the main stage at this year's Isle of Wight festival and that my friends is a band called Madness. Suggs and co live are beyond brilliant, just don't get too comfortable... one, because you need to skank your socks off to them and two, because Jessie J follows, which will cause you tinnitius and other terrible aural problems you will be cursing yourself forever for.
Instead, open your mind and check out the Big Top Stage. For a start... when I first saw the line-up I thought the headline act were Girl's Aloud performing an exclusive DJ set... Just imagine. Turns out it was Groove Armada, who are suitably brilliant, if not camper (I see you baby shakin' that ass, anyone?). The ever-exciting Kelis and her kick-ass DJ Nikki Beatnik also join the bill, alongside the dreary Lana Del Ray (worth watching for a potential car crash) and if you're buzzing a little too hard come 1am on Friday or Saturday night, go watch Mat Horne "go off" on the decks.
You're probably asking why I'm even bothering going to a festival when I'm showing so much contempt towards the acts performing, but I have a rule at a festival where there is always one act per day that I want to see, and on Saturday evening you'll definitely find me watching Professor Green and his brilliant entourage on-stage cooking up a storm. I may check out Stooshe, but to be honest I'll probably forget they're playing. As for the main event, I'll be secretly wishing I was watching Magnetic Man.
Sunday's line-up is a complete pile of crap, and if it's raining anywhere near as hard as it was last year, I'll be back in London by lunchtime. How on earth The FUCKING Darkness are headlining a stage at a festival shows that the Devil is still at large, and if you can sit through a set from Ash just hoping to hear 'Shining Light' then you are probably needing to visit hospital once you're back on dry land to check whether you've gone senile or not. On the plus side, the cheeky and charismatic Spector make an appearance on The Big Stop stage for the final day, who will make you laugh harder than hearing Matt Cardle has been dropped from his recod label, but all for the right reasons (front-man Fred is quite the between-song-speaker).
Finally, if you are really clever, you'll skip all the 'mainstream tosh' (not my words but probably those of someone who writes for NME) and check out some brilliant little indie bands. Best Coast on The Garden Stage on Friday night will be nothing short of superb, whilst everyone's favourite Scouser Miles Kane will warm the stage up for the loveliest man in music, Tim Burgess and his band of Charlatans as they're 'Tellin' Stories'. Don't bother going to that stage on Sunday, unless you are loaded with eggs and rotten tomatoes and fancy attacking every single act performing with them.
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