"Madness in the Mud"
IOW Rock Festival Rally, Newport
Friday 22 – Sunday 24 June 2012

The weather on Wednesday was perfect for Macoma to sail from Fareham to Newport, Isle of Wight. A Force 3 from the south-east and brilliant sunshine; who could ask for more. Pole position at the end of the pontoon at Newport was the reward for being an early-bird before the mass influx for the Festival. I had sailed over with a crew who were new to the boat and it could not have been a better introduction. My crew departed in the afternoon, using the ferry to get home on the mainland.

On Thursday the heavens opened and the wind blew. My normal crew, Carol, was to make her way to Newport by train, ferry and bus. All went well until cars arriving for the Festival could not get to their parking areas because of the mud. The Isle of Wight seized. Car ferries were cruising around the Solent because there was nowhere for them to unload their cars. Carol spent four hours on the bus from Ryde to Newport and eventually arrived at 9.00 pm.

Friday dawned bright and clear but very windy. Sophia texted to say Bramblenet was showing a steady 34 knots of wind and they would wait to see if things improved the following day. Saturday came and still it blew. We walked to Fairlee Road alongside the Festival site and saw acres of mud. But everyone was good humoured and as it had not rained since Thursday, things were drying out. As we collected our things for the afternoon picnic, Foca passed by to berth in the relatively empty harbour. Her crew disappeared into the mud of the Festival site never to be seen again! So we trotted off alone to the Newport Rowing Club to watch Madness. They were brilliant, obviously on a high after their performance on the roof of Buckingham Palace. We did not fancy the grunge music of Pearl Jam, the headline act for Saturday, so had a relatively early night after a meal in the Bargemans. With a good piece of timing, the heavens opened again as we arrived back at the boat. One inch of rain fell Saturday. More mud.

By the time the music started on the Sunday, the skies had cleared and it was a beautiful sunny day. Bruce Springsteen was the headline act for Sunday night. He played for three hours non-stop and just when you thought his performance had ended and the fireworks had started, he came back on and played, ‘Twist and Shout’. It was a brilliant finale to a very memorable although very lonely Festival.

Phil & Carol Walden