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A Guide to the Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight Festival takes place every year in mid-June at the islands Seaclose Park. Primarily hosting rock and pop artists, the festival dates back to 1968. Bob Dylan headlined in 1969, while in 1970, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Doors played to an estimated 600,000 people on Afton Down. After that, the islands council pulled the plug on allowing over 5,000 people to gather in a public space, and the festival was no more. The infamous pop festival was resurrected in 2002. Since then, it has seen performances from thousands of world-renowned acts including David Bowie, Queen with Adam Lambert, Muse, Fleetwood Mac, Amy Winehouse, and The Rolling Stones. Its become a prestigious event in the UK festival calendar and is certainly a bucket-list festival for fans of classic rock and contemporary pop.

What to Know

Each year the festival transpires sometime in mid-June check this years dates on the official website. Tickets also range in price year-on-year but tend to be around 200 for a full Thursday-to-Sunday camping ticket. There are early-bird tickets released every year. People who live on the island can buy discounted tickets. There are also day tickets available for just Friday, Saturday, or Sunday if you dont fancy staying the whole weekend. Music starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday. The campsite remains open until Monday for campers to stay over on Sunday night. There are two primary stages of music: the Main Stage, where the biggest headliners play, and the Big Top tent, which hosts alternative acts. There are a dozen other smaller stages including the Kashmir Caf, the Hard Rock stage, and Electro Love 80s and 90s disco. There are disabled access, viewing platforms, and priority camping areas for disabled visitors and their families. The festival is family-friendly with designated kids areas and camping fields.

Where to Stay

Of course, the best way to enjoy the festival is to camp! Bring your tent and pitch up in a designated camping field of your choice. There are quieter areas where you can get a good nights sleep, or you can get stuck in with the fun in fields where the party goes on until the early hours. You also can choose the Boutique Camping option to stay in style in a pre-pitched tipi. If camping just isnt your style, here are your alternatives:
  • There are plenty of budget hotels, like Premier Inn and Travelodge, in central Newport, which is a short walk from the festival site.
  • Check out local B&Bs in Newport or further across the island.
  • Rest up in a luxury hotel each night, like the Hambrough or Hillside Hotel. All the 5-star accommodation tends to be on the south-side of the island, which is still only a 30-minute drive from Newport!

What Else to Do on the Isle of Wight

Plan a holiday around the festival to make the most of the beautiful island in the summertime! Here are some other things you can get up to while youre there:
  • Alum Bay: The famous Needles cliffs on the western edge of the island are a must-see for all visitors. Also find cafes, a beach, and a chairlift down to the ocean.
  • Monkey Haven: Somewhat strangely, theres a primate rescue centre just outside of Newport, which is also home to owls, meerkats, and a boa constrictor!
  • Robin Hill: This country park has amusements for all the family. Ride the toboggan, see a falconry display, and spy an elusive red squirrel in the woods.
Check out our list of things to do on the Isle of Wight for more suggestions!

How to Get There

Getting to the island is easy after a short ferry ride! Red Funnel and Wightlink provide the islands major passenger and car ferries to various ports along the north coast. Visit their websites to book your tickets. Psst some of the ferry companies offer combined Isle of Wight Festival and boat tickets! The Festival offers designated parking spots to guests who have parking tickets. Buy these alongside your ticket online. Bring your car over or hire one from Southampton or Portsmouth. Easily get to the island via train from any location. Simply head south to Lymington, Portsmouth, or Southampton to find links that will take your car or foot passengers. Non-UK festivalgoers can easily fly into London with easy train or coach links to the island. You can also rent a car at Gatwick or Heathrow. Driving from London to Southampton takes only 90 minutes!
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