Isle of Wight Festival draws thousands to 'Great British' weekend


Thousands of music fans have piled on to ferries ready to enjoy a "Great British" weekend of music at the Isle of Wight Festival, headlined by The Who and Queen.

Other bands taking to the stage at the first major festival of the summer, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary since the event was relaunched, include Faithless, Stereophonics, Richard Ashcroft, Iggy Pop, Everything Everything, Status Quo and Jess Glynne.

The first revellers to arrive on Thursday were blessed with sunshine as they carried tents, bags and crates of beer on to ferries in Portsmouth and Southampton for the trip across to the island.

Rick Parfitt (left) and Francis Rossi of Status Quo on stage at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

The weather forecast is for the event to stay mostly dry, with the chance of light showers on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Emma Terraccinao, 35, crossing by catamaran from Portsmouth, said: "I really want to see Queen. My mum has seen them before but I haven't, so I'm trying to keep up with my mum."

The Who, featuring Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, will be returning for the fourth time to the event, having first performed in 1969 and 1970.

Francis Rossi of Status Quo on stage at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

Festival organiser John Giddings said: "The Who are part of the fabric of The Isle of Wight Festival, and it's great to welcome them back to the island as part of their ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations.

"We're proud to have a line up of home-grown headliners to help celebrate our own 15th anniversary and ensure that this year delivers yet another unforgettable weekend of music."

Richard Ashcroft will be appearing as a special guest with The Who on Saturday night, and performing tracks from his new solo album These People.

Attendees at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

Original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bohemian Rhapsody, will perform for their only UK show of the year alongside American vocalist Adam Lambert, who has sold 2.5 million albums worldwide after coming runner up of American Idol in 2009.

Brian said: "I think Queen at The Isle of Wight Festival is a date that was long overdue. How incredible to take on this challenge at this point in our lives. With an injection of new blood in the shape of the incredible Adam Lambert, Queen will be ready to tear it up on this legendary stage in 2016. Freddie would have loved it."

Roger said: "When I think of The Isle of Wight Festival I think of Hendrix, Dylan and The Who. What immortal company to be in. Queen are thrilled to be there and can promise a special night."

A camper at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

Away from the main stage, football fans will be able to keep track of the Euro 2016 action with key matches being screened at the BT Sport Field of Dreams stage.

New to the site this year is the McArthurs Supermarket which allows revellers to pre-order their food and other essentials using a mobile phone app and pick up their supplies on the way back to their tents.

And other luxuries available on site include various glamping options including Tangerine Fields which provides pre-erected tents ranging from classic tents to boutique options in the shape of playing cards, giant cubes and Arabian Bedouin tents.

Campers at the Isle of Wight Festival (David Jensen/PA)

Campers can also make life easier for themselves by hiring a Jolly Green Sherpa to carry their bags from the car park to the campsite. Also on offer on site are wood-fired saunas and jacuzzis provided by Bathing Under The Sky which brings its hot tub double decker bus to the site.

Since the Isle of Wight Festival relaunched in 2002, it has featured headline acts from some of the world's biggest stars including David Bowie, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Blur, Fleetwood Mac and the Foo Fighters.