Boarding the IOW ferry in Southampton early on Thursday morning it was already warm with the promise of a glorious sunny day ahead. It has only been a short nine months since the 2021 festival but today still could not come soon enough.

With only half the site open to campers on the Thursday night, I prepared myself for the weekend ahead and then went for a wander around the various stalls and stages that were open for business.

The aforementioned plan immediately went awry as I arrived at Hunky Dory too late to catch the K’s but did catch the Circus of Horrors show which could not be more different from a pop band but drew a packed crowd and delivered a great show.

Bournemouth Echo: Isle of Wight Festival 2022. Picture: of Wight Festival 2022. Picture:

Next up I walked the short distance to Electo Love to watch A Kind of Magic a Queen tribute band only to discover I had misread the app and it was Could It Be Magic a tribute to Take That, and very entertaining they were too. An incredibly hot and sweaty Thursday ended with great sets from Heather Small and The Happy Mondays before heading off to catch a few hours’ sleep ready for what promised to be an even busier and hotter day on the Friday.

As promised Friday was an absolute scorcher with warnings to drink water and take care of yourself. The old festival equation of Sun plus Beer equals Sunburn and Pain came in to play but fortunately most people went down the water route early on.

Bournemouth Echo: Sigrid. Picture: Sigrid. Picture:

During the day I managed to catch great sets from The Vaccines, Sigrid, Madness, The Snuts, Nile Rodger’s and Chic and Friday headliner Lewis Capaldi who put on an excellent headline show whilst also delivering funny and self-depreciating chats in between songs.

As good as the major acts were my personal highlights of the day were the Red Arrows and another festival discovery The Velvet Starlings who blew away everyone in the This Feeling tent who caught their explosive set.

#This served as another reminder of the rewards of tearing yourself away from the main stage and big top and heading out to explore the smaller tents where some of the best up and coming bands can be found over the weekend.

The site has retained its new feel with a wider area in front of the main arena giving more space to spread out if you feel the need earlier in the day but still filling up later on when the headliners are on.

Bournemouth Echo: Pete Tong. Picture: Tong. Picture:

With Friday over and done with it was a weary trek back to the accommodation to prep for the next two full days at what was turning out to be one of the best IOW festivals yet. Obviously more to come with some great acts including The Proclaimers, Mark Owen, Kasabian, Pete Tong, The Charlatans, The Coral and Muse there is plenty of music to come over the weekend. Personally, I am most looking forward to soul superstar Mavis Staples and local band Wet Leg.

Saturday came and a complete change in the weather came with it. From boiling hot, we had rain showers and a chill wind that proved that the island does indeed have its very own microclimate. The change did not dampen the spirit of the festival though so off I went in search of food and then music. First up were Germein in the big top, three sisters from Australia who delivered a set full of catchy pop tunes reminiscent of the Go Go’s in their prime. From there it was time for a stroll to the main stage for the mighty Proclaimers who provided an excellent set with 500 miles getting the crowd animated and singing along.

Bournemouth Echo: Mark Owen. Picture: Owen. Picture:

Back in the big top Mark Owen drew a huge crowd that were spilling out of the sides as he ran through a forty-minute set of funky solo tracks and a sprinkling of Take That thrown in for good measure. Whilst waiting for the set to start I chatted to Lynn and Clare who had driven down from Glasgow and bought day tickets just to catch Mark’s set and then drove back the next morning, an 18 hour round trip, now that is dedication.

Bournemouth Echo: Kasabian. Picture: Picture:

Kasabian put on one of the sets of the festival with Serge smashing lead singing duties out of the park as he covered every inch of the stage as they delivered that instantly recognisable sound that could be no-one else. Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra closed the main stage with a really well received collection of classic Ibiza tunes delivered by a fifty-piece orchestra. I decided to take in a final act in the big top which turned out to be Mr Boombastic himself Shaggy. A great end to another great day.

Bournemouth Echo: Shaggy. Picture: Picture:

Although Sunday, the final day, came round far too quickly I was starting to fade after three full days so decided to take it a bit easy in the morning. That changed come the afternoon where I caught Del Amitri, Toyah and Mavis Staples in quick succession. Next up were Wet Leg a local band who are definitely on the rise and played to a big top that was bursting at the seams.

When they took to the stage they seemed surprised and apprehensive by the size of the crowd bit soon settled down to deliver one of the sets of the festival. There was just about time for The Coral and Rudimental before the main arena seemed to swell in size as people arrived from all over site to catch Sunday night headliners Muse.

There had been many good sets over the weekend, but I am sure that most people would agree that this one blew the crowd away. Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme put on a proper rock festival show that may have been worth the entry fee on its own.