As a survivor of the Isle of Wight Festival – no, I don’t camp, but I still think I deserve the campaign medal – I feel sufficiently qualified to comment on the whole mud-soaked debacle that saw thousands sleeping in their cars on jammed roads as the torrential rains fell.
But far from blaming the festival organisers for the chaos – and founder John Giddings worked as trooper throughout the whole of that night attempting to clear cars parks and un-jam highways – I point an accusing finger simply skywards.
The mess was caused by Him upstairs and not that old Devil called rock and roll.
There are questions though for authorities on both the Island and in Hampshire to ask themselves. This was in some ways an artificial ‘disaster’ but it appeared beyond the emergency services to cope. What if a real evacuation had been underway? Where was the regional-wide planning for such a challenge as this?
Calls, though, for the festival to be scaled back or even banned will fade away. In the end, following understandable assurances from organisers, next years rock event and the £10m it brings to the local economy will go ahead.