Bestival’s Summer of Love is all about going back to our roots. It’s about remembering all the things that got us super-excited about our amazing festival life in the first place, and one of our true loves that’s floated our boat since day dot is off-the-wall carnival action. So we’re massively thrilled to be able to announce a brilliant, brand new attraction for 2015 – Carnivale!
Our king of the carnival, Rob da Bank says: “We all know Besti-goers love a good party and any excuse to dress up, so gradually over the years we’ve been building our carnival activity up, till this year things have just gone off the scale with a fantastic Arts Council grant enabling us to put on our biggest carnival ever, and to have a mega pirate ship base for everything carnival to operate from. Combine that with our annual Saturday afternoon parade, and brand new illuminated night parades, soundtracked by yours truly, then things are going to go well and truly crazy for carnival this year!”
Produced by Kirsty Henderson in collaboration with Bestival and one of Europe’s leading and most original carnival groups, Shademakers, Carnivale is situated smack bang in the wonderland that is the Wishing Tree Field. Featuring a huge pirate ship stage with a cast of oddball performers and dancers providing mind-bending entertainment all weekend long, prepare to be bowled over by all manner of amusements, from morning shakedowns and eye-catching exploits, to our Carnival Day Parade and our incredible Night Parades. Plus, there’s an inviting workshop tent where you can get involved in the madness, learning mysterious carnival arts and making your own costumes. An enchanted hive of the unanticipated, Shademakers menagerie of wild and wonderful creations will scamper through the crowds, as Commedia Dell’Arte inspired pirates romp from the rigging, and acrobatic monkeys scale the heights, all as carnival music from around the world, sea shanties and drums fill the air.
Visit the Carnivale’s rhubarb and custard big top, and experience the Galleon Gallery, join in with the creative workshops, make a mask, flag, lantern or withy sculpture, or have your face painted as a cherub or glittery devil! Watch or take part in the many dance and musical workshops… Have you danced to tikitak, played the spoons or a kazoo? There will also be a History of Carnival exhibition where you can kick back and watch some stunning film footage of carnivals from around the world and discover the history of the truly fantastic costumes on display – come and be inspired to join the Carnival!
Whatever you do, don’t miss this year’s Day Parade with more sparkle, more music and more energetically colourful performances than ever before thanks to some of the UK’s top carnival companies. A collaboration across several art forms, the gates to the Carnivale will burst open and the fields of Bestival will be filled with one big summer of love explosion and the joy of the carnival featuring Spandy Andy, Sink the Pink, Mr Wilson's Second Liners, Mariachi El Pinche Grin Go, Shademakers, Area 51, Cirque Bijou, Emergency Exit Arts, Batala Portsmouth, Kinetika Bloco, Mandinga Arts, Preston Carnival, Brouhaha, New Carnival Company, VIP Puppets, Artemis, Quture, CTD Dance Company, Rainbow Connections, Utopia Mas, The Love Float (a collaboration between Shademakers and the IOW Police Volunteer Cadet Force) and The Parlour Make Up, all rocking along to an amazing soundtrack designed especially for the occasion by the man himself, Rob da Bank.
Each night as the sun sets over Bestival, our carnival revellers will come out to play in nocturnal disguise for our glorious Night Parades commissioned by Bestival in association with Roundhouse, Gideon Reeling and Shademakers. Cast your eyes to the horizon and watch as illuminated dancers appear, spreading their glorious wings, marvel as ethereal beings float past your eyes, radiating joy into the Bestival twilight. Heading for the hills of Slow Motion, they’ll gather together there to perform their Rituals of Love, in a spellbindingly wondrous display replete with a jaw-dropping fire finale that will enrapture anyone lucky enough to witness it.
Witness the Spirits of the Summer of Love, here to spread their message of freedom and joy, and to capture you in their playful web, as they dance their way through the festival. And keep an eye out in the Ambient Forest for the spirits as the wonderful Gideon Reeling and The Roundhouse team up to sprinkle magic and a bucket-load of love throughout the thickets, clad in the glorious flamboyant creations of Shademakers Carnival Costumiers.