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Football fans are ruining festivals

"Excuse me, does anyone know the score?"
“Excuse me, does anyone know the score?”


THE ISLE OF WIGHT festival was a long weekend of incredible music. So incredible, there were evenings in which I stood for seven hours straight: dancing, jumping and swaying. We ate dinner, an overpriced pizza, standing in the crowd. A desperate desire to be at the front of every act we loved, which was most of them, made these decisions seem perfectly rational. It was all about the music.

The weekend’s headliners were Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Biffy Clyro. Seeing just these four acts would have been worth it, yet the lineup was littered with several more big names. Passenger, Katy B, Peace, Rudimental, Fall Out Boy, Clean Bandit, Tom Odell…the list goes on. The Isle of Wight festival is all focused around the music and the great acts they manage to bring in.

So you can imagine my surprise when hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people chose to watch the football on a big screen instead of seeing big names. This was particularly evident on Saturday evening. Instead of watching the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, or other acts like Clean Bandit and Gorgon City, many chose to watch the England v Italy game on the BT ‘Field of Dreams’big screen. Why pay £190 for a weekend ticket if you are not going to see headliners?

Don’t get me wrong, I love football. I’m a huge Norwich City fan and season ticket holder – perhaps unfortunately considering our recent relegation. I love the World Cup, not just because of the football but because of how many people it brings together. Yet I was still surprised when so many people decided it was more important than the music they payed to see – why watch football on a screen when you can see huge names live? Especially when it’s England – I mean come on, what were the chances of us winning? Maybe some of those fans simply did not want to see the Chilli Peppers, though I question why you would pay to go to a festival if you are not a fan of the headliners. There are so many throughout Europe, at least choose one where you will get the most for your money!

The football was hugely prevalent throughout the weekend – this I was not surprised about. Although the vast majority of

why pay £190 if you miss the headline acts?
why pay £190 if you miss the headline acts?

football chants and flags were, unsurprisingly, for England, the crowds gathered for other games were nearly as impressive. Spain v Netherlands, for example, had many spectators even though it clashed with Rudimental and Biffy Clyro. Of course, I was in the crowds for the music so did not get a first hand view of sports spectators. Yet from photos and accounts it is clear how popular watching the World Cup was.

This said, many fans did choose music over sport. Flags – from Mexican to French – were all over the place, especially in the crowds. There were huge numbers of painted faces. To me, this seems far more sensible. People were still showing support for their teams, but accepting that maybe they will just have to catch the highlights on TV later on or check the score on their smartphones.

More than 55,000 people camped over the weekend; it makes sense that many were bigger fans of football than they are of festivals. Perhaps it was the extent of this which surprised me. I was simply not expecting so many to ignore the music they had paid to see. If you were such a huge fan, why chose to visit a festival during the World Cup?

How much would you sacrifice to support your team in this year’s World Cup? How terrible do you think the England team really are? (We might be kidding with this one…) Were these bands worth a miss? Tell us your thoughts.

Words and Pictures by Sarah Newey 

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