'Our best yet': John Giddings on the Isle Of Wight Festival's 50th anniversary edition

'Our best yet': John Giddings on the Isle Of Wight Festival's 50th anniversary edition

Isle Of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings has hailed last weekend's 50th anniversary edition as one of its best yet, as thoughts already turn to next year's event.

The sold-out weekend saw nearly 300 artists and bands perform across eight stages, including performances from Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Chic ft. Nile Rodgers, The Scripts, Rita Ora and Sheryl Crow.

"I think it was possibly our best - not only were the acts brilliant, I can't remember having had better weather - it just got hotter and hotter and hotter," Giddings told Music Week. "We seem to have got the right combination of past, present and future." 

The festival's 50,000 attendees got into the party spirit by donning gold clothing and accessories in celebration of the Golden Jubilee. 

"The fact that it was the 50th anniversary and we got everybody to wear gold on Saturday made it more of an event," said Giddings. "We had an aerial display and got Peter Crouch on stage kicking out footballs.

"The Sunday couldn't have been better - Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix, England won the football, the Isle Of Wight Festival was sold out and the guy who does our concession [stands] sponsors a team in the touring car championship and we have our logo on their roof. They're called Norlin Racing and they won their first ever race on Sunday."

Huge crowds gathered in the BT Sport Field of Dreams to celebrate England’s World Cup victory against Panama on the Sunday afternoon.

"It was absolutely extraordinary to see 10,000 people cheering England scoring those goals; it sent a shiver down my spine," added Giddings. "BT Sport sponsors a field specifically to broadcast the football and it's better to do it within the confines of the event than to have 10,000 people walk into town, which is 10 minutes away, it's just better to keep it all contained.

"But I wouldn't put it on the main stage - the trick to it is to put an artist on the main stage who is either Irish or Scottish when England play!"

The 2019 festival will take place from June 13-16. Early bird tickets are on sale from 9am today (June 29).

"We've already started making offers and we're going on sale with the early birds [this] morning so fingers, arms and legs crossed," said Giddings. "It's never perfect, there are always a couple of little things that I want to make better, but as I keep saying to everybody concerned - the audience pay me to come, I pay the artist to come, so the audience are more important than the artists.

"Keep the audience happy and they'll keep coming back as long as you provide them with good entertainment. It's not just about music, it's about the vibe, the atmosphere and everything that goes along with it." 

Subscribers can click here for Music Week's recent Isle Of Wight Festival cover story and here for Giddings' favourite IOW performances. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story, click here.

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