The non-stop party of epic proportions. The end of the summer. The end of the UK festival season. One last blowout before everyone returns to college, school, uni and work, for the dismal winter weather ahead. Of course, we can only be talking about Rob da Bank’s Bestival. The escapists paradise; the party festival located deep on the Isle of Wight, with over 50,000 revellers forgetting their troubles to dance the night away.
When you find yourself looking at a group of gnomes, having a play fight on the grass, then you know you can only be at Bestival. The costume element to Bestival may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but still the majority join in, always dressing themselves to Bestival’s annual theme. 2015’s ‘Summer of Love’ saw many outlandish and zany hippy costumes emerging, especially on the Saturday. The theme certainly struck a happy chord and crated a more harmonious vibe across the site. Many revellers found their way into their created characters and costumes from Thursday afternoon keeping up the festival fantasy through the weekend long.
Bestival’s eclectic mix of dance music and great bands makes it one for everyone to enjoy. You’ll never be short of something to do, and the Bestival-goers ability to sniff out a party never ceases to amaze me. Bestival still remains, undoubtedly, one of the UK’s wildest parties of the festival season. It’s not just the music that impresses at Bestival, though, and whether it’s painting a cardboard castle in the Ambient Forrest, holding a bird of pray, dancing to songs from the 30s or sitting in on one of the many educational presentations and talks given by politicians and business people alike.
With so much to choose from, and so many places to go Bestival can be a bit overwhelming at first, and is hard to know what to see to first. But, Thursday is very much a way of exploring. Thee is always something to do; watching beautifully curated avant-garde theatre, yoga classes, dance sessions. It is this attention-to-detail that elevates Bestival above that of just having headlining bands and DJs. And, it is also this that means with each year the Bestival experience is never stale or formulaic. Rob da Bank has cleverly morphed the festival with each passing year, giving regular and new guests something different. At the same time, though, Bestival has taken a slow and steady evolution; one that has helped to define the festival’s core audience.
The festival has very much a young demographic, with families now flocking to Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle, the teenagers and twenty to thirty year olds have made the island festival their own. There are still a few under fourteens enjoying the delights of Robin Hill, but are definitely in the now dwindling minority. Bestival still aims the spotlight on the other end of the spectrum, however. The select few, hardcore, old school ravers still choose the modern festival setting that is Bestival to let their hair down.
At Bestival you can always find a healthy assortment of big name bands and DJs to choose from, but recent years has seen HMS Bestival turn its rudder toward a larger amount of dance producers, DJs and grime artists. That’s not to say there isn’t always a healthy dose of power-folk, quirky or introspective indie-pop, and mad-cap gypsy swing to be found at every turn. But these elements are very much the ‘festival fringe’ – with big audiences only usually to be found when the big names come out to play. You only have to look at the audience that now attends Bestival, though, and you can see that this course of action is in no way surprising. But, if this is the way Bestival is to be to sell out, and keep up its amazing production, I certainly don’t have a problem with it. Just keep the best of the best bands coming!
Rob da Bank and co always do themselves proud be creating an epic lineup of artists, as well as digging through the history book to see who they can find. 2015 was no exception as the gripping new-romanticism of 80s favourite Duran Duran bled across Robin Hill’s fields on Friday night. We were of course blown away by The Chemical Brothers, and their indescribable light and laser show, accompanied by moving images, pictures and two ginormous robots suspend above the stage. An ore-inspiring spectacle. Sunday’s closing headline, Missy Elliot, was not one that I feel fitted or evoked the happiness that Bestival brings. The ego-fuelled, self-obsessed set that the American rapper graced us with was not one that I want to remember, and made me wish that Duran Duran had had the Sunday Fireworks in the backdrop of their set instead. This said, my Bestival 2015 was in no way damaged by this, it’s just not my cup of tea. Nor is it right for a closing set.
Moving on, and the list of artists and scope of genres that we manage to cover over the weekend was astounding. And the stream of endless DJ talent that graced our ears is second only to Glastonbury. Pop, rock, indie, garage, house, bassline, drum & bass, to name a few, can only help describe what an auditory wonderland Bestival is. Despite the last night of rain turning the lushess green fields into rivers of mud, not a single person’s mood was dampened, and watching Skrillex in the rain made for an enhanced sensory experience.
Every moment of that festival is filled with joy, and Bestival leaves every single attendee with their own personal, favourite moments to take back home with them. Each moment is made ever special because of their semi-secret and intimate nature. Exploring the creative world of Bestival is one that no one will ever forget, and the island wonderland allows you to create a unique set of precious memories born out of the shared excitement of huge crowds and your closest friends. And, at every opportunity, the festival gives you the challenge of hunting down the weird and the wonderful in the site’s hidden nooks and crannies.
Will we be back? I don’t think I need to answer!
Site Setup 8/10
Festival Communication 8/10
Attention to Detail 8/10
Creative Content 9/10
Value for Money 8/10