I love music festivals. That’s a fact. I love the atmosphere, the booze at 10 in the morning, the smell of greasy hamburgers and Chinese food mixed with the one of piss and beer for the whole time... And I even love the chavs and demented all dressed up for some reason that I, foreign, am not given to understand. But, getting old, I stand less and less the idea of camping, mounting the tent, walking for our to get to the campsite, cold showers, and what if it’s raining, not to mention the idea of paying 150 quid for a 3-day tour de force in the woods and mud and the mathematic certainty that you will see maybe half of the bands you really wanted to see because usually the stage times overlap or you’re behind a tree throwing up the 5 litres of beer you’ve had since breakfast. So when I was asked to come to the Isle of Wight festival on Sunday as part of the crew (none the less as the only English speaker out of 10 people), I immediately said YES, already anticipating the pleasures of the backstage, dressing room full of free booze, VIP area, nice and (again) free food, not to mention wristband of a different colour that basically says to everyone else: “You, losers, get away! I’ve got the power, I’ve got the bracelet that opens all the doors of this festival HA!” And that’s what it was, indeed. Sunday’s line up was pretty cool, most of the bands I like at the moment were playing in the Big Top stage, curated by The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess, while I didn’t pay much attention to the Main stage, that counted among his highlights Goldie Lookin’ Chain, that my friend obliged me to see (it was good fun though) a great set by reformed and rejuvenated Pixies, and an immortal (and kind of cute - in a pervy way, maybe? - for me that I’m not that much into his guitar riffs and solos – that he must love so much, I think he does love his guitar) Neil Young. So, here we are. After unloading the equipment and drinking a whole lot of booze that’s waiting for us in the dressing room me and my mates head to the Big Top stage. Dance For Burgess, this amazing up an coming band from Italy, mix of garage/ post-punk/ shoegaze at their best, put me straight into the festival mood, armed with Vox Phantom from the 60’s and Billyboy guitars. They’re young, they’re all tiny but they know their shit. FYI: the name is NOT a tribute to Tim Burgess, even though that’s what he probably thought when he hand picked them via Myspace and he probably still likes to believe. It's the name of a composition by Edgar Varése written in 1949 and never performed. Hatcham Social do another great set. With their don’t-give-a-fuck attitude (the clash on the drum in broken, but who cares? They keep banging!) and creepy looks they give us a great performance of their first album – that to me, sounds so much better and more powerful played live than recorded. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart look and sound a bit bored. Maybe they're fed up with gigs and festivals and want a holiday? Who can blame them, considering that they’ve been playing non-stop in Europe for more than a month. Still, they present us with an outstanding performance. They seem to be a bit out of place among Killing Joke, Hatcham Social and The Horrors with their of their shoegazey twee-pop. And the crowd seems unimpressed, too. Still, to me they remain one of the best acts in the line-up. But the true highlights of the day for me are The Horrors. Their set overlaps with The Pixies’ on the Main stage. Hmmm hard decision: rock legends or hype garage-goth-krautrockers? After 10 minutes at The Pixies, just to make sure they’re still as great as I remember, we go back to the Big Top tent, moved by curiosity and a bit of scepticism to be honest. You know, if you're a real fan you don’t really trust a band anymore after they’ve graced the pages of the NME and Vice and acted in the Mighty Boosh. But they are actually getting better and better. Despite some small techy problems, on stage they are still as mad as they used to be, and even more. Hot stuff. 
Just a shame the front rows are full of chavs dancing like they are at some rave in 1992. But hey, maybe I’m just a bit too picky – yeah, I am one of those really irritating judgemental “purists” that immediately start despising something the very same moment this something becomes public property. After all, that’s the music business, baby, and that’s where money is. And The Horrors seem to know this. Even with their fancy clothes (sponsored by some trendy company – hey, after seen their gig I sooo want to buy a pair of April 77 jeans or another pair of Doc Martens duh!) and polished haircuts, they keep rocking. They are good, that’s a fact. And I don’t care if you are laughing at me and think I’m wrong. ‘Cos I’m not. And if you disagree, I’ll stab you with a peg and drink your blood. After their set we are all ODing from live music, so we head to the artists’ canteen where we scoff down anything we can fit in our drowned-in-beer stomachs and when we’re back to the festival site, we manage to catch the last bit of Killing Joke’s gig, which is good fun. Then it’s time for the Charlatans. Well, either you like them or you don’t. And I don’t so I’m definitely biased. Tim Burgess jumps around like a kid while playing all the big hits and everyone seems to enjoy it. And actually, I do as well (especially thanks to that stolen bottle of wine that me and my friend downed in 15 minutes during their set). Overall it has been a good festival. I wouldn’t pay that much amount of money for a ticket to go to there, though. I mean, as I said, I love the atmosphere and everything, but honestly, you can hang out and get drunk (in a cheaper way) in London Fields, too, and I bet you can see all those acts singularly in venues with a better sound quality, and save in money and health - ever heard of stressival? The stress that most festival goers seem to suffer from when the line-up is too good and they are struggling to see all of them even if the stage times usually overlap? It’s something I’m trying to demonstrate to NHS in order to get benefits for my poor (mental) health conditions due to too much gigs/festivals-going (it was not exactly this case, still...) The conclusion of all this is: either you become a rock star or you marry one (or a band manager or a festival organizer), and live only the good side of the festival life. That is, still, one of the best treats that Summer can offer.