"SAFER than a supermarket" and with stringent measures in place — Isle of Wight Festival boss John Giddings is confident the event will not be the Covid spreader some fear.

John's wife Caroline has been at the forefront of providing Covid testing at all the major festivals this year, including Latitude, Reading and Leeds, and the Isle of Wight this weekend.

John said: "It's safer to come to this gig than to go to Tesco. People were saying there was a Covid spike after Boardmasters in Cornwall but that was down to tourism, Cornwall was packed. To blame it on a local festival was outrageous."

To enter the festival people must prove they are not bringing Covid in with them, by providing proof of double vaccination, a negative Lateral Flow Test taken prior to travel on the day of arrival, or proof of natural immunity.

John said: "We've got stringent measures in place. What else can we do?"

There's a peace, love and understanding theme this year, with hippy and flower power clothes likely to be prominent.

John said: "We've got festival weather, the forecast is great, and it's going to be a joyous experience, everyone's so vibed.

"With the festival in September, the top three acts each day will be playing in the dark and will have light shows so it will be fantastic and a different atmosphere entirely, but wrap up in the evenings, it'll get quite cold."

The Red Arrows have been booked to fly over at 4.55pm today (Thursday) as a celebration of the festival gates opening again after such a long hiatus.

The capacity is set at 50,000 and there are some tickets still available at the gate.