The Isle of Wight Festival kicked off the 2014 summer season of live music with a posturing, strutting cocktail which catered for everyone who entered Seaclose Park during the course of the four days. Dom Kureen and photographer Sophie Robinson were present to check it out.
Following last year’s disappointing ticket sales and mixed feedback, Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings knew that he had to flip a Royal Flush this time around in order to mend the reputation of a previously highly regarded event.
In 2014 Giddings and his fellow organisers got it right, providing a fully warranted spotlight for a burgeoning crop of local talent that is the most exciting in decades, whilst cramming the main stage headline slots and under card with an eclectic menu that surely had something to satiate even the airiest hipster.
The “Platform One” and “Kashmir Cafe” stages in particular promoted the cream of Isle of Wight talent, allowing groups from the area pleasingly extensive exposure.
Fresh from their Bestival competition success, Ba.Dow hit the P1 stage three times over the course of the weekend, their catchy guitar riffs accompanied by Beth Ditto-esque vocal interpretations that resonated courtesy of lead singer/drummer Jodie Amos and ensured that they once again confirmed their status as one of the five most promising bands on the island.
Signals excelled in their final set of the weekend inside the Kashmir Cafe, despite front-woman Ellie Price suffering from a bout of laryngitis.
The four-piece, who have only recently returned from a successful UK tour, had the packed venue leaping around incessantly with a memorable rendition of the uber uplifting “Square Wheels” with bass guitarist Alex Vanblaere in his element within the crammed venue, upping his usual ferocity to compensate for Price’s enforced throaty reticence.
Ska practitioners The Ohmz engaged spectators with their customary high-tempo unpredictability and their place upon the “Life’s a Beach” stage was undoubtedly one of the booking masterstrokes of the entire festival.
Pleasurade disappointingly opted to call it a day, announcing they were set to go their separate ways following a conclusive gig at the festival. It brought the curtain down on a four year stint that had gradually gained the talented quintet a decent following in local circles.
Their adieu wasn’t all sunshine and lounge chairs, with Adam Gaterell’s guitar refusing to play ball for the band’s send-off, fortunately he had a replacement in tow!
Others who stood out from the local acts were Duveaux who were booked to play a mammoth six times, yet still managed to attract hefty crowds until the end and Floella Grace, whose emotional recital left a lasting impression upon everyone who was there to enjoy it – she’s one to watch in the next couple of years.
On a broader level, Platform One and those who come from its conveyor belt have evolved massively during the past few years.
Where in the College’s infancy the output was diluted by a host of wannabe Nirvana tributes, there’s no doubt that the contemporary artists all have the potential and originality to thrive on grander stages.
This was the first Isle of Wight Festival that truly showcased the magnitude of local talent on offer, for that John Giddings and his motley crew should be commended.
Check back for part two, where Dom will be looking at the ‘big names’ who performed at the 2014 Isle of Wight Festival!