When River Island first told me about their idea of having a karaoke tent at the Isle of Wight Festival, I must confess I was jealous I didn't think of the idea. Who doesn't longingly look at the musicians on stage at festivals and wish they too could be a rock star with thousands of adoring fans? Well, more or less, River Island provided that unique opportunity for anyone willing to brave it on stage.
Called Sing In Style, the karaoke at River Island's Isle of Wight Tent was like nothing I have ever seen before. First of all, you don't perform with a recorded track but rather a live band. That in itself is something else. Add that to the fact that you dress up as a rock star in River Island clothing and perform in front of a few hundred people, and you're right on your way to being a rock legend.
Now, I wasn't brave enough to step onto stage. However, Mr. FFG has absolutely no fear and volunteered to experience the whole thing on my behalf. You have to know upfront that it is this man's dream to be a rock star. Banker by day, rock legend by night. That's how I think he pictures his future. He selected Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams to sign on stage. He was given an artist's pass and led backstage to select an outfit to perfectly compliment the song. I went backstage, as his stylist, naturally. We put him in a jean jacket and some rather retro looking shades to help give him a bit more a "look."
Then the time came to go on stage. The band announced his name and Mr. FFG ran out on stage like a seasoned professional as the crowd gathered and threw their hands in the air. It seems my man is a bit of a natural when it comes to performing for crowds. I swear I thought I saw a woman try to unhook her bra so she could throw it on stage. Thank God she was having a difficult time of it or it certainly would have gone straight to Mr. FFG's head.
While I'm not sure a career in music is in Mr. FFG's future, there were several dozen men and women who took to the stage to share voices that belonged on American Idol finals. It was an incredible display of talent and word quickly spread throughout the festival that River Island Sing In Style was the place to be. The queues to participate were longer than the number of hours available in three days to accommodate everyone. That being said, it was an amazing experience for everyone involved from spectator to on stage guest. What made it even cooler was the fact that if you did choose to perform on stage, River Island gave you images and a video to walk away with.
Honestly, this was by far the coolest thing I have ever seen at a festival and I do hope River Island will continue with this initiative. While I was brought out with the brand to experience the tent, I certainly did not have to write a review or even mention what I had seen. But trust me, they wouldn't be able to stop me as I was absolutely floored by not only the level of talent, but by the incredible participation. Even when some of the biggest bands were playing on the Main Stage, River Island's tent was still overflowing with people. That says quite a lot, I find!