The Isle of Wight Festival has slowly become a significant fixture in the international music calendar as for a weekend in June each year, the industry focuses on our small Island at the bottom of southern England.

For years, I’ve been attending the annual event like any other punter but in the last few years my podcast Beyond The Title has earned me the opportunity to gain a media pass.

However, this year I was lucky enough to go one better and attain an amazing insight into the Sky Arts’ mammoth television coverage.

This was the Isle of Wight Festival as I’ve never seen it before.

Josh Barry backstage with County Press editor Lori Little and Sky TV presenter Edith BowmanJosh Barry backstage with County Press editor Lori Little and Sky TV presenter Edith Bowman (Image: IWCP)

The field adjacent to Seaclose Park is normally reserved for football tournaments or just a leisurely kick about.

Yet over the festival weekend there wasn’t a ball in sight as the whole area had been transformed into a professional broadcasting arena with the Sky Arts marquee as the centrepiece, swarming with crew, management teams and artists.

The coverage was perfectly presided over for Sky by festival stalwarts Edith Bowman and Shaun Keaveny who were forever on hand to chat with acts who entered the field.

Indeed it became obvious whenever a band was about to make an entrance as suddenly a swarm of journalists circled around waiting to either snap a photo or get a few words.

As a journalist, I always like playing the long game and competitive games aren’t always good for me. Instead I focused on those who were happy to wait around and chat without the cut-throat noise of media impatience.

One such band who were happy with this relaxed atmosphere was 1990s rock icons Feeder. With so many festival anthems, it was almost impossible for me to write a five minute interview and relied upon the kindness and generosity of their manager to give me seven.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary in music this year, both lead guitarist Grant Nicholas and bass guitarist Taka Hirose rolled back the years and opened up about the tragedy of losing founder member and drummer Jon Lee in 2002 which almost put a stop to their musical dominance.

Yet I’m a firm believer that it’s impossible to halt creativity and to see them light up the Big Top on Saturday night, it’s obvious that the decision to continue in light of tragic circumstances has ultimately paid off.

Beyond the music, this year’s Isle of Wight Festival enabled me to achieve a longstanding goal.

The evergreen Jo Whiley helped me fulfil one of my podcast dreams when she agreed to appear on an episode of Beyond The Title back in 2022.

Since then we have kept in touch via email and when I heard that she was to headline the Big Top on the Sunday night, going up against the American punk pioneers Green Day on the main stage, I knew I had to get in touch.

This was my ultimate climax to one of my best festivals ever and roll on 2025!

Look out for Josh's interviews on Beyond the Title