IOW In Perpetuity

The Isle Of Wight Festival has done so much to raise the profile of the tiny island in the English Channel that local councilors have granted it a license in perpetuity and allowed it to raise its capacity to 90,000.

Festival organiser John Giddings tells Pollstar he doesn’t intend to sell more tickets for this year’s festival June 10-12, its 10th anniversary, which had sold all 65,000 tickets before Christmas.

“It just means that I’ve got some leeway if I want to make the festival bigger at some point in the future,” he explained. “I think we have a great bill this year and by not selling more tickets I might encourage people to buy sooner next year, when Glastonbury isn’t happening.”
He said the extra capacity may be partly used by bringing in more security, which could be useful preparation for the day when he does need to deal with a larger crowd.

Although Giddings is pleased with the way the council and the police have supported the festival, it seems the four-hour discussion that led up to the capacity increase and license extension wasn’t totally one-sided.

IOW councilor Geoff Lumley, who represents residents living in East Newport, expressed concern over the rise in numbers and said it was “a step too far.”

Another councilor said the event would be “unbearable,” but the Conservative-led legislative body decided May 17 that the island could cope with the increase in numbers.

Giddings, who also runs London’s Solo agency, submitted the application to the Isle of Wight Council under the Isle of Wight Act, which safeguards the council over cleanup costs for large events.

The acts at this year’s IOW include Foo Fighters, Kings Of Leon, Kasbian, Kaiser Chiefs, Iggy & The Stooges, Plan B, Pixie Lott, and Hurts.