Continuing our women in festivals theme, we did a quick interview with Caroline Giddings, Director of the much loved Isle of Wight Festival…

Looking back on your time with the Isle of Wight festival, what would you say are your top 5 moments? 

  1. Persuading Amy Winehouse to sing with Mick Jagger and hearing them rehearsing “Ain’t to proud to beg” in the dressing room
  2. Hosting the annual Dragon Boat Race on the Medina River on the Isle of Wight where we have raised over £100k for Charity
  3. David Bowie skippering the Isle of Wight Ferry
  4. Peter Crouch kicking 50 (beach) balls from the Main Stage into the crowd to celebrate the 50th Anniversary
  5. Every year, I love watching the gates open and the customers pour in – hopefully in the sunshine! It makes all the hard work and planning become a reality

Festival life can get extremely busy, especially when the summer season arrives. How do you maintain a work life balance? 

Going to the gym, taking short breaks before it gets too busy are the best ways to get time out in all the craziness

The Isle of Wight Festival has raised a lot of cash and awareness for large and local charities over the years including the annual dragon boat race. What inspires the charitable work of the festival each year? 

We’ve always been committed to supporting various national and local charities at the festival such as Stand up to Cancer, Save the Children, the Earl Mountbatten Hospice and IOW Pride.  It’s a way of giving back to the local community and supporting and fundraising for some important causes. We feel it’s essential to use the event and its platform to shout about the good work these organisations do and to raise much needed funds.

There are more awards and recognitions for females across many industries every year. Who are you inspired by? 

There are so many brilliant women working in the industry and I am constantly inspired – but I should really mention here our wonderful female team at the Isle of Wight Festival who work tremendously hard in making it all happen every year.

In your opinion, what changes are there to be made in the festival industry over the next 5 years, if any? 

As a festival promoter you cannot be complacent, it’s a constant challenge to draw customers to your event and you have to strive to put on the best possible festival experience, be as inclusive as possible, and to offer value for money in such a competitive market.  I think the work that Attitude is Everything does is hugely commendable so I’d like to see more focus on providing an inclusive environment for festival goers as well as eliminating single use plastic and dramatically reducing the carbon emissions of the festival industry. It’s an ongoing conversation and isn’t something that happens overnight but we all need to be moving in the same direction.