Best Festivals Off Mainland UK
|September 14, 2012||Posted by under Events|
Few people realise that the United Kingdom, being an archipelago, has a lot more going for it than just the major sights of the mainland. That’s right. The number of smaller islands �that dot the seas off Great Britain and Ireland have as rich a cultural heritage as the rest. From the Isle of Wight in the south to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, each hold their own when it comes to festivals celebrating culture and life in the realm of Elizabeth II. Here’s a few you might want to try next time summer rolls around.
Best Festivals Off Mainland UK: The Isle of Wight Festival
Drawing music lovers from all over the UK, and even some who use ferries to Isle of Wight to come across the Channel and the Atlantic, the Isle of Wight Festival is a top drawer attraction. Begun in 1968, the festival is often touted as the “European Woodstock”. In fact, the one from 1970, testament to its popularity (attendance: 600,000+), not only surpassed that year’s Woodstock, but it also prompted Parliament to pass the “Isle of Wight act”. This annual music festival features not only performers from the UK, but it also artists from around the world.
The Isle of Wight Festival is usually held on the last week of August. This year’s musical lineup (2012) included heavyweights like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, backstopped by various local acts.
Best Festivals Off Mainland UK: Isle of Man TT
The Isle of Man is found right smack in between the two landmasses of Great Britain and Ireland. A modest-sized isle, it nevertheless possesses the distinction of being home to the legendary Avalon of Arthurian fame. Peel Castle which is situated right across a causeway, on St. Patrick’s Isle, is considered as the final resting place of the legendary king. The site is open to the public, many of whom flock there during summer.
A contemporary Manx attraction can be found in the International Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, or simply Isle of Man TT, a motorcycle race tourney. During the festival, a number of public roads are closed to be used as the venues for time-trial races. The most famous of these courses is the so-called Mountain Course, which is arguably the most exciting phase of the race. Competitors race their machines at breakneck speeds on the twisting and turning roads from Douglas to Ramsey and back. Riders are challenged with more than 200 bends, some at high-altitude roads, before the finish. The exhilaration that can be found driving all over the Isle is a motivation for daredevils, even with the event’s notoriety as being extremely dangerous.
Best Festivals Off Mainland UK: Jersey Live
Back to the south of the English Channel and we find the Isle of Jersey. Jersey is notable for its up-and-coming music festival, Jersey Live, which mirrors closely the Isle of Wight Festival. Jersey Live, however, features up to six stages, each with a different set of performers (and audiences). Some of these stages have a pre-defined theme, such as the Tease Stage, which is characterised by performers wearing fancy dress. The entire event can accommodate up to 10,000 visitors each day, and there are plans to expand it to include camp grounds for out-of-towners who wish to participate with the festivities in the coming years.
If you’re looking for a new cultural experience, one that departs from the more common events happening over the mainland, then a good few days of island hopping will provide you with a fresh perspective of what’s “hot” on the Isles. Of course there’s more out there, but these few provide a great start.