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Guest blog by Micaela Sowerby – BA (Hons) Communication and Media student, Intern at DawBell and first-time festival attendee.

June. A time for soaking up the sunshine, and sipping sangria…but for us at DawBell it’s also the month of the first major festival in the UK – The Isle of Wight Festival!

Beginning in 1968, not only did this year’s Isle of Wight mark the festival’s 50th Anniversary, it also marked my very first festival experience, and I was beyond excited to be able to attend the festival as an employee – not something everyone gets to shout about on their placement year!

We headed down on Thursday 21st June, with half the team already on site the rest of us loaded our luggage, piled into the car and made our way out of London and towards Portsmouth (#roadtrip!). With a very smooth ferry ride across to the island, we arrived to mass crowds and colourful tents pitched ready for the weekend ahead.

The festival was built with months of preparation, and I feel really proud to have been an integral part of that – getting stuck in on helping the team with everything from media accreditation lists, to artist interviews and pictures for socials, right down to the smallest detail of the glitter and sequins we adorned ourselves with all weekend! It was great to have the team instil so much faith in me so I could get as much as possible out of the experience.

IOW Image 1
Credit: David Rutherford

Heading into our working area (A.K.A backstage) and behind the scenes had me in absolute awe. With trailers and marquees everywhere,photographers and backstage crew cruising around on golf buggies, and even artists getting ready in the hotel rooms, the scene can’t be described as anything other than a Hollywood film set – it was incredible to see everything we’d worked on come alive!

On Thursday, I managed to take some time out from working to watch The Wombats perform at the Big Top stage, a band I’ve wanted to see throughout my time at DawBell but never got the chance. (One to tick off the bucket list!)

IOW Image 2
Credit: Dylan Roberts

Waking up to clear blue sky and a warm summer breeze on Friday was no hard task. The team arrived on site early for an exciting and busy day ahead, and I started on my allocated tasks – collating coverage on the festival took a good while but it was amazing to see all our hard work scattered across every newspaper, all over the internet on sites all over the world! My other responsibilities included handing out the correct accreditation to press, getting to know them from my little spot in the DawBell cabin, as well as taking photographers to the main stage on the snazzy #IOW50 branded golf buggies! We’d lead the photographers right down to the front, directly in front of the stage, allowing them to get the best possible shots. It also meant I got a cheeky spot to watch all the action close up! Being able to do that – right there in front of the action – was an absolute surreal experience.

A couple of the lively performances I got to see included Doncaster’s finest Bang Bang Romeo, shortly followed by Rita Ora who gave a polished pop performance of all her hits. Musical icons Nile Rodgers & Chic also took to the main stage giving a glistening performance of one hit after another – some of the DawBell team even found themselves dancing with the band onstage – it’s not all work (work, work). 

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Credit: Sarah Louise Bennett

Friday night came to a dazzling close when Kasabian rounded off with an electrifying performance that resulted in *mass* moshing… and yes, Peter Crouch was spotted right in the centre of it, dancing around to the band’s hit, ‘Fire’.

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Credit: Callum Baker

Saturday rolled in marking the Isle of Wight’s 50th Anniversary A.K.A the golden jubilee. Dressed all in gold attire we made our way back to the site – there was so much going on, so constant communication with the team was vital. We used our own WhatsApp group to keep up with the latest happenings. We were continually creating moments for people to report – always really important to communicate even the tiniest things (they could turn out to be stories!). This year we appointed a pair of lucky festival goers as ‘Golden God / Goddess’ (basically the pair we felt had given their golden fancy dress their all!). They received an exclusive backstage experience, and we organised a champagne picnic for them in the artist area tipi.

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Credit: Callum Baker

Another highlight was catching football-mad festival revellers enjoying the England victory amid the heatwave – drinks flew everywhere and the atmosphere was electric, as England took home a huge 6-1 victory.

IOW Image 6
Credit: Callum Baker

Time flew by and before I knew it I was back at the main stage watching Blossoms and James Bay, followed by the ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher who took to the stage in typical Liam fashion. His hour performance was filled with cursing and maracas. And the electronic band Depeche Mode treated the crowd to ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ to end yet another incredible night.

IOW Image 7
Credit: Callum Baker
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Credit: Callum Baker

The main stage was the place to be on Sunday, with performances from Sheryl Crow, Camila Cabello, Van Morrison and many more.

IOW Image 9
Credit: Sarah Louise Bennett

The highlight of my weekend was standing at the side of the stage in the VIP bar for The Killers, who sent sparks flying during their performance – literally – as fireworks were set off near the end of their Sunday night headline slot. Watching 50,000 people go nuts celebrating the end of this year’s truly successful festival and seeing positive coverage everywhere made the months of hard work and planning all worth it. The festival made for the perfect send-off to mark the end of my placement, and wow – what a year it’s been. None of it could have happened without such a strong and experienced team – #BestJobEver!

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