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...within two years it attracted musical legends like Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and The Who.

The Isle of Wight plays host to several major annual events, particularly in the music and sailing calendars. There will be some of you who know these fantastic times of the year like the back of your hand and need no further explanation! However, for those of you to whom the Isle of Wight would be a new adventure, or who perhaps only have childhood memories from your family holidays over here, we hope the following article will help to show you just how much the island has to offer. (Of course, the Isle of Wight has far too many great events during 2012 to list in this article...but here are five of the most popular!) 

Sailing Boats: Credit: Stuart Shore of Wight Wildlife PhotographySailing Boats: Credit: Stuart Shore of Wight Wildlife PhotographyRed Arrows: Credit: Stuart Shore of Wight Wildlife PhotographyRed Arrows: Credit: Stuart Shore of Wight Wildlife Photography

Walk the Wight – 13th May 2012

Walk the Wight is part of the Walking Festival, lasting from 5th – 20th May 2012. There are many walks and activities during the festival, but Walk the Wight is the most well-known and has the most people taking part. Every year, thousands of residents and visitors alike step out on the challenging 26 mile walk, covering the length of the island, in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice which cares for over 800 patients facing life-threatening conditions each year. The Isle of Wight County Press reported that the 2011 Walk the Wight was a huge success, raising a massive £310,000 for the hospice. 50% of the island is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so it’s no wonder that so many people enjoy walking here so much!

Here is a video of Walk the Wight 2009… it was rather wet that year so well done to all 12,000 people who took part.

Credit: MeridianDave

The Isle of Wight Festival – 22nd - 24th June 2012

The Isle of Wight Festival is one of the largest music festivals in the UK, attracting around 70,000 people to the island each year. The first festival was held in 1968, and within two years had become a major world event, attracting musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and The Who in 1970. That particular gathering saw so many people converge on the island that the authorities passed laws that effectively banished similar sized meet-ups. The festival was revived, however, in 2002, and 2012 will mark its 11th anniversary.

This video shows clips from the 1970 event, which drew crowds of over half a million attended.

Credit: barbergrey

The last ten years have seen some amazing artists, such as The Prodigy, The Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Coldplay, Pink, Jay-Z and many more, including old time favourites Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones.

Here is a video of some 2011 Highlights.

Credit: isleofwightfestival

If you are thinking of coming this year, visit the Isle of Wight Festival website to make sure that you buy official tickets.

JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Yacht Race – 30th June 2012

Even if you are not a sailor yourself, come along to watch the Round the Island Race. Each year, a couple of thousand boats sail around the island in this challenging contest which starts in Cowes. Many people travel over to the island to get a great viewpoint on the coast. You have to get up pretty early to see the start, but many residents and visitors watch this spectacular sight, as the boats make their way around The Needles, along the south coast, past St. Catherine’s lighthouse and Ventnor, up past ShanklinSandownBembridgeRyde, then finally back to Cowes

Here’s a video showing part of the 2010 race.

Credit: sailingvideos

Visit the official website here if you wish to enter.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week – 11th - 18th August 2012

This is the event of the UK sailing year: a world famous sailing regatta, in which sailing boats from all over the world take part. The organisers have said: “The event is a great mix of competitive sailing and a vibrant social scene and has evolved enormously since the early days; it now attracts up to 1,000 competing boats, around 8,500 competitors and at least 100,000 visitors. On the final Friday a fireworks display is traditionally held when we welcome thousands more to view the famous display from Cowes and along the mainland coast, and hundreds of boats gather off Cowes to watch this extravaganza from the water.” The Red Arrows display is also a popular feature of Cowes Week.

This video shows you a glimpse of what’s involved.

Credit: aberdeenasset

Bestival – 6th - 9th September 2012

Bestival is our second biggest music festival which is well known for its dance music and fancy dress theme and is another of the UK’s main annual events. Tens of thousands of revellers visit the island to enjoy the more ‘alternative’ festival of the two. Highly popular, Bestival is growing fast.

Here is a little taster of the Bestival Vibe! 

Credit: bestivaltv

If you would like to buy official tickets, make sure you visit the official Bestival website.

We hope to see you in 2012! Take a look at our Accommodation and Things to Do pages if you plan on staying.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Photo Credits: Stuart Shore of Wight Wildlife Photography