IN JUST four weeks, the Isle of Wight Festival returns to Seaclose Park, and the County Press has been speaking to promoter, John Giddings, ahead of the big weekend.

On June 20, the gates will open for 2024, boasting an enviable line-up including The Prodigy, Pet Shop Boys and Green Day, all headlining Main Stage. 

“The summer is starting, the arches are up, and we’re laying the site out now,” said John.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, putting it all together; three weeks of hard work.

“Last time, we had 15 stages, though I only knew about 12 of them.

“We’ve got 12 this year, though there might be some more I don’t know about."

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“I always get excited around this time every year," John said.

“It’s always different and lots of different things going on.

“I also get a bit nervous, but you need to be a bit on edge to put it all together.

“My doctor tells me I survive on stress. It’s been 22 years now and it’s grown so much since I started.

“I never imagined it would go on this long. I’ve been in the music business all my life, and the festival is the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.

“You can never stop improving, but we’ve learned so many things over the years.

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“Investing in the infrastructure has been a huge and important change.

“We get a new arch every year, and that’s very much the signature of the festival."

John says Green Day are among the acts he is most looking forward to.

“I love a good rock act, and they’re a great rock act! They’re fantastic," he says.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing The Streets and Pet Shop Boys, and we have a lot of up-and-coming acts on the Big Top and River Stage.

The 71-year-old credits his wife with doing 'most of the hard work', admitting "I can’t do it forever, so I will have to pass the mantle on at some point.”

Asked for his top tips, John said: “Always bring layers. Be ready for scorching hot weather and rainy weather.

“Don’t drink ten pints in the first half hour.

“Treat everybody the way you would like to be treated; be kind to other people and enjoy yourself.”

John is looking forward to newbies Dirty Blonde, who will open up the Big Top and The K’s on Friday, on Main Stage, who he says will kick the weekend off with a bang.

And keep your eyes peeled for John playing – or “strumming”, at least - too!  

Booking has started already for 2025 and this year has 'almost sold out.'