Isle of Wight Festival’s Greatest Ever Headliners
22 Jan 2019
Over the course of its 51-year lifespan, the Isle of Wight Festival transformed from a humble affair on a modest farm, to the largest counter-cultural event of the 20th Century, to a modern-day indie-rock behemoth.
As the UK’s most enduring music festival, its legacy, as much as its location, is very much interwoven in the mythos of rock ‘n’ roll history.
So with an announcement on the 2019 lineup impending, let’s hark back to the greatest ever headliners over the many years in the festival’s existence:
David Bowie, 2004
The Doors, 1970
Queen + Adam Lambert, 2016
No one will ever fill Freddie’s shoes. Queen realised this when appointing former Free frontman Paul Rodgers as their temporary singer during an ill-fated stint from ’04-09. What they subsequently realised after that period, however, is that Queen’s vast catalogue of bombastic sing-a-longs, embedded so deep within popular culture, need to be performed with a bit of extravagance.
Teetering on a tribute act of sorts when announcing their tour with former Pop Idol contestant Adam Lambert, it gave Brian May and Roger Taylor the flamboyant injection they needed. In what was their debut headline performance on the Isle of Wight, it was the closest thing you’d get to see Freddie strutting on-stage once more; ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’ were all executed with the blend of exuberance and emotional gravitas that only Freddie could bring.
When he appeared onscreen during the second verse of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, there wasn’t a dry eye or arm aloft in the crowd.