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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Isle of Wight rocks again
Rock Island - pics courtesy BBCi Southampton
Getting away from it all at Rock Island
The Isle of Wight held its first big music festival - Rock Island - for 32 years on Monday.

Among the bands were rock outfit Hundred Reasons, who ended their UK tour there. Guitarist Larry Hibbitt continues his festival diary.

Never has a festival had to live up to so much. The original in 1970 had the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin on the bill and pulled in a crowd of revolution-hungry punters who really thought they were changing the world.

To say 2002's offering was radically different - or even un-radically different - is definitely an understatement.

Rock Island - pics courtesy BBCi Southampton
Hundred Reasons singer Colin Doran entertains the masses
So, putting thirty years of rock legacy out of our minds, we boarded a ferry in Portsmouth to arrive at a festival that promised low advance ticket sales and Robert Plant.

Upon arriving at the festival site, we were denied entry as we had the wrong passes (the fact we arrived in a double-decker sleeper bus full of band, crew and equipment was obviously not enough to convince them we were a band and not a bunch of chancers).

Luckily, our lighting guy Chris was a able to scale the fence and chat to one of his mates on site therefore ensuring we had bus power for the night. Good work.

Daylight

Rock Island - pics courtesy BBCi Southampton
The Bees' Paul Butler: Laid-back start
I awoke at about 11 o'clock the next day. With daylight on my side I discovered that the car park in which I had risen was almost immediately behind the stage.

On the other side sat a Travel Inn, the rooms of which were to be used as band dressing rooms.

By about 11:15 I had walked round the entire site and found myself back at the bus full of cheese and ham toasty, but 3 lighter. Not much was going on.

The first band I took notice of today were the Bees, very laid back with lots of brass and very instrumental. The crowd were into it and so was I.

Hundred Reasons' Larry Hibbitt
Hundred Reasons' Larry Hibbitt: "It took a couple of songs of being sworn at"
The Coral were next. I watched a song and then headed back to the dressing room as we were on next and I had twenty minutes of vocal scales to get through.

Ten minutes before our set we were collected and brought to the backstage area, religiously flashing our passes every ten feet at the request of the over-enthusiastic security guards.

Rock Island - pics courtesy BBCi Southampton
James Walsh of Starsailor performs
We played our intro tape, took the stage and rocked out. Due to the laid back nature of the other bands (not a bad thing, but not our thing) we decided to inject a little adrenaline into the proceedings.

After a couple of songs of being pogoed and sworn at, people started getting into it. We had a good time.

Party time

After our set, we got the end-of-tour party under way with a potentially lethal mixture of champagne, vodka, whiskey, red wine and beer and things started looking a lot better.

Rock Island - pics courtesy BBCi Southampton
Robert Plant turned back the years
I also had the unusual experience of being told off by security for drinking from a can backstage.

I pointed out I could see no-one I wanted to throw it at and the luxury of hitting the stage with any projectile had been denied by the laws of physics. It seemed to make no difference, even with a valid pass.

Starsailor played, then Ash destroyed them and the sun came out.

Robert Plant played and The Charlatans were awesome.

By this point my edges were a little ruffled and the power of speech had long been my enemy.

It wasn't the summer of love, but it had a damn good time pretending to be.

Summer Festivals 2002

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28 Feb 02 | England
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