The Isle of Wight Festival makes its triumphant return for 2020 with a huge line-up of music icons marking the first major festival of the summer over 11th – 14th June.
Friday’s headliners both make their Isle of Wight Festival debut in 2020; international superstar Lionel Richie will co-headline the Main Stage alongside GRAMMY and BRIT Award-nominated man of the moment Lewis Capaldi. Special guest Pete Tong will bring the spirit of Ibiza to Seaclose Park, as he closes the Main Stage on Friday night with his Ibiza Classics.
Since debuting 20 years ago, Saturday co-headliners Snow Patrol have amassed over 17 million global album sales, 1 billion global track streams and countless award wins. They’re joined in headlining duties by The Chemical Brothers, a duo who redefined the concept of live electronic music, bagged six UK Number 1 albums, four GRAMMY wins and a reputation for a transcendent live experience.
Duran Duran, in a UK festival exclusive, will close the Main Stage on Sunday night. The British music icons and purveyors of triumphant pop music will see out the 2020 event in style.
Acts also announced today are (in alphabetical order): Becky Hill, Dido, Example, Happy Mondays, James Arthur, JC Stewart, Kaiser Chiefs, Maisie Peters, Primal Scream, Sam Fender, Shed Seven, Sigma (DJ set), Supergrass and The Manor
Tickets for The Isle of Wight Festival 2020 event are on sale Friday 6th December at 9am.
As one of Bestival's satellite babies, Common People Southampton was always going to be hit and in it's inaugural year 2015 proved you can have all the feel of the festival in the middle of a city, but now round 2 has started on the common and there's a new sense of ownership, like Southampton has taken CP to heart.
Over in Oxford a new dawn rises on a sister festival, but we're getting the kinks-ironed-out experience of a trialled triumph and the site looks incredible. Towering high right inside the main gates is The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, a Bestival x Something Creative collaboration that looks like it should have been made by Willy Wonka or be home to a herd of unicorns. Apparently it can comfortably hold one hundred people at a time, but we bet the somersault-police couldn’t catch us in that many…
A decent queue is forming already but it’s off to the main stage we go for first band of the day, Wild Front who to be honest look a little scared to be there. After a sort of quiet start, the Hampshire lads get their rhythm and there are some full on dancing fans down the front.
Next on are West End Kids, an energetic musical troupe who buzz through hits from all the biggest stage shows, followed by the legendary kids comedy duo The Chuckle Brothers. Who can resist a bit of to-me-to-you with Paul and Baz (…and Tinchy Stryder)? The massive and rowdy crowd singing along with them is decidedly younger than they should be for long-time fans, I can only assume they’ve been hitting up youtube in preparation for the festival…
Rapper Lady Leshurr gives us a short but energetic set, after being over an hour late due to ‘traffic’ but dressed head to toe in camo and waxing lyrical about her weave and being from Birmingham, hit ‘Brush Your Teeth’ goes down a storm. Though she clearly doesn’t trust us – yelling “Has every single one of you brushed your teeth today?” “I feel like some of you are lying”. The Sugarhill Gang crowd-please with ‘Apache (Jump on It)’ and ‘Rapper’s Delight’ with Hen Dogg sporting epic double-denim and a rather fetching gold tipped cane.
Over on the Uncommon Stage Southampton crew Our Hollow, Our Home have drawn a big crowd, and Chris is jamming on the guitar in The People’s Front Room. Elsewhere the Jam Jar bar is packed with people sipping fancy martinis and the kids area is awash with laughter from the wonky bicycle trials.
Hometown band Signals pack out the Uncommon stage, as mermaid-haired frontwoman Ellie bounces about, we get a taste of the curiously named genre ‘math pop’. Ghostpoet is getting soulful on the main stage to a big crowd, and Gaz Coombes is rocking less of the Supergrass era sideburns and more of his second solo album ‘Matador’.
Public Enemy get the crowd moving with the likes of ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ but it’s just not the same without clock-toting weirdo Flavor Flav who apparently wasn’t allowed to come for some reason – “F–kin governments. Flava flav can’t be here because of F–kin governments”. The kid in the front row wearing a PE tshirt and a bedside alarm clock around his neck is obviously devastated.
After a tasty dinner at one of CP’s many amazing food outlets (Soft-shell crab burger? Brie and Pear toastie? Truffled mushroom quesadilla?) we are ready to take on the night, and so are Primal Scream. Rocking an eye-offendingly bright pink blazer, frontman Bobby Gillespie lopes about the stage looking every bit the archetypal boho rockstar. It’s a great, powerful set from the band with new album Chaosmosis material hitting the mark. Over on the Uncontained Stage (read: rave station) Kurupt FM are winding up the absolutely rammed arena into a frenzy, there are bodies everywhere – it’s a mostly teenage rampage.
On the main stage, the much anticipated return of Southampton son Craig David has drawn practically everyone from around the site and it’s not without a touch of nostalgia that we’re singing along to hits ‘Fill Me In’ and ‘Re-Wind’. Though the TS5 moniker is largely being ignored, it is fun to hear him mixing in tracks from other artists and sampling some proper legendary stuff, but to be honest – we all just love a bit of him singing his own name over and over again. Ahh memories.
Sunday stacks up a bit cooler but everyone still seems to be rocking up in bright festival-attire, and the telltale signs of yesterday’s sunburn are found in every bald head or exposed shoulder today. Shrieks of mayhem are emanating from the behemoth bouncy castle and a quick peek inside is like looking at a candy-coloured warzone. Kids are tombstoning each other, toddlers are being skimmed within millimetres by their falling parents and the flip-police have no hope of stopping the teenagers intent on putting the maximum effort into possible neck-injury. It’s awesome.
Next door on the Uncommon Stage, Arid Wave are rocking everyone’s socks off, but it looks like Hercules Morse on the main stage have fallen foul of the Sunday hangover absentees – there just aren’t that many people here yet. M.E.R.C.Y. – Southampton Urban Collective take over the main stage in the absence of Xylaroo, with two of the most adorable… sorry, SICK, hiphop dancers Jamie and Jamal giving us proper attitude and a heap of up and coming artists alongside.
Later on, Mr. Motivator draws a massive but spacious crowd as young, old and anyone in-between are getting their groove on with the positively ageless Mr. M and his lovely wife. Sporting a dazzlingly terrible-yet-amazing lycra onesie he plugs in his jams and off he goes doing squat technique mixed with curious life coaching “If the grass is greener on the other side, you probably aren’t watering yours. No man's gonna water my grass”. Telling us we’re “Much better than Oxford” only serves to endear this living legend to us more, and with classic moves such as ‘drive the car’ and the possibly slightly inappropriate for a younger audience ‘whip the horse’ – what’s not to love?
Brighton scenesters The Magic Gang look like they’ve stepped right out of Empire Records and give us a good dose of proper melodic indie pop before Chas & Dave take to the stage (flat-cap mandatory) to tell us about those ‘London Girls’.
Now we brace ourselves for the powerhouse of unmentionably bad behaviour that is The Cuban Brothers. The CB’s are of course rocking a new set of crazy patterned suits for the occasion, throwing down headspins, flares and insane flips all over the shop, as Miguel assures parents that all of the rude things he says will go right over the kids’ heads. This would be fine, but there’s no way you can make those kids un-see him pretending to slam his willy into a microphone whilst wearing only a thong, now is there? That right there is seared into some young memories. Newest member One Erection almost smashes his teeth out doing a massive front tuck off the stage into the pit and gets thoroughly told off by security for hopping into the crowd. M.E.R.C.Y lads Jamie and Jamal are invited on stage to dance with the CB’s and their faces are absolutely priceless when the guys hit the stage in their holographic fringed jumpsuits. However they are visibly horrified when Miguel dons a pair of extremely skimpy Bjork-esque swan pants. ‘Mike For President’ is the only song I remember because there was so much happening. He gets my vote though.
Jamie Lawson’s ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ has everyone up and singing in the sunshine – he even managed to get us to do a decent job of harmonizing, but it’s Katy B’s set that really lights the place up. Bathed in the setting sun her sequined dinosaur dress shimmers all over as she dances around the stage with her troupe, and the likes of ‘Lights On’ and ‘Katy On A Mission’ has the arena jumping – especially when she doubles up the tempo. Chalk up another win for Southampton as Katy yells “Southampton, you are abosolutely smashing oxford right now I have to say”.
As the last of the daylight goes and the Helter Skelter and Big Wheel go neon, there’s just one more act to finish off what has been another amazing Common People festival, and it’s no small fry. Eighties synth-pop legends Duran Duran blow through a hit parade of absolute classics such as ‘Wild Boys’, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ and ‘Girls on Film’. With tributes to both David Bowie and Prince, it’s a special one and ending with anthem ‘Rio’ couldn’t be more fitting on the costa del Southampton. As the arena clears and the crowd spills out into the streets to head home, it’s obvious that once again CP has been a massive success, and it sounds like Oxford is loving the CP vibe too.
A roll of simulated thunder with flashes of lightning tear across the huge stage screens in the dark of Southampton Common… Duran Duran are here and they mean business. Thousands have turned out to see the eighties synthpop legends and as Simon LeBon emerges from a raised stairway centre-stage rocking tight white jeans and a leather jacket, the crowd goes wild.
Paper Gods kicks things off, a statement of intent that they won’t just stick to the hits, that they have something much more current to say. With the likes of Keisza, Lindsay Lohan and Janelle Monáe on the album collaboration bill, it’s clear Duran Duran are marking their territory in modern music, and it’s hardly surprising with all the electronic emphasis in the charts at the moment and eighties style resurgence, that the younger contingent at CP seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the original fanbase.
Wild Boys features fire effects on the backdrops and a fair amount of stamping around from the band members, and Hungry Like The Wolf keeps the party going, with LeBon, head thrown back howling into the night sky.
James Bond track A View To A Kill gets the signature aperture and gun treatment on the big screens and even the teenage boys in the back seem appreciative of this one, whilst huge confetti explosions herald funky Notorius and LeBon yelling “Does everyone love the music of the eighties?”
A tribute to the late great David Bowie sees a huge projection of the singer’s face during a quick rendition of Space Oddity, and after some saucy moves for Girls on Film, Duran Duran also ask for the crowd to raise their phone lights for Save a Prayer to pay respect to another recently lost music hero – Prince. There’s not a dry eye in the house as LeBon shouts “He’s a man who really changed music and gave fans like us a kick up the arse” and the stage is lit purple.
Finishing up with classic summer smash Rio is the only way to go, with twinkly city lights in the background and a load of inflatable beach balls bouncing around the crowd, Southampton steals a little bit of the Caribbean tonight. Oh and if there are any yacht and suit related thefts reported tomorrow… well frankly, we have no idea what you’re talking about. What an epic ending to Common People 2016!
The Bestival family has a long and august history of going that extra mile, making the world of festivals bigger, better and brighter. And this year is no exception, pushing the boundaries of bobbing up and down to the very limit, we’ve teamed up with our old muckers, Cardiff-based Something Creatives to make what we think is the world’s biggest bouncy castle! Aiming to add to our accolades for the world’s largest fancy dress party, the biggest busk ever and our colossal disco ball, this could well be the greatest inflatable on Earth, and it’s making its debut at Common People in Southampton this coming bank holiday weekend!
Rob da Bank says: “We do love breaking a record and this is one of our funnest builds so far. Me and my mate Matt from the infamous Inflatable Church had a pipe dream about five years ago of building the world’s biggest bouncy castle, and this summer we’re making that a reality. So polish your socks and step up for what will be one of the most innocent of pleasures – bouncing up and down with gay abandon with your mates, family or friendly strangers. See you on the castle!”
Something Creatives’ Matt the Hat commented: “I’ve always been the first kid in the sandpit and consider play a fundamental part of everyday life. Everyone should find the time to play. The playful spirit of creating joy and fun is shared by Rob da Bank and all of the Bestival family and has made this brilliantly bonkers idea a reality. Whether you’re young or old, what could be more fun than jumping around inside the biggest bouncy castle in the world? Just watch out for the ‘bouncers’, and remember if you’re wearing shoes then you can’t come in!”
Everyone loves a bouncy castle. That’s a fact. And we’ve got even more facts about our blow up bastion that could see us heading for the record books once again. Smashing an almost 20-year-old record and measuring a frankly epic23.8 metres long and 20.7 metres wide our bouncy castle stands 12.8 metres tall at its highest point; the side turrets are equal in height to the walls of Cardiff Castle, making it taller than the Great Wall of China and roughly three times the size of the Berlin Wall! Filled with 1143 cubic metres of air it can comfortablyaccommodate 100 pleasure-seeking festivalgoers at one time.
Quite simply massive, it’s an inflatable legend in the making, don’t miss the chance to have a jump around on our historic bouncy castle at Common People, Southampton this 28th & 29th May, and then at Camp Bestival 28th-31stJuly and Bestival from 8th – 11th September.
Bouncy Castle Comparison:
Length Width Height
Word’s Biggest Bouncy Castle: 23.8m 20.7m 12.8m
Previous Record Holder: 19m 19m 12m
The clock is ticking and Common People tickets are flying so grab yours now at www.commonpeople.net
Continuing our mission to connect like-minded party people on common land, the Common People team are very pleased to announce the line-ups for our Uncommon Stage. Flexing his all-encompassing musical muscles Rob da Bank has joined forces with legendary, longstanding music publication Nightshift in Oxford and acclaimed venue The Joiners in Southampton, to bring you the cream of the up-and-coming music scene, featuring some of the most exciting new and underground bands, this coming May Bank Holiday at South Park and Southampton Common.
Common People curator Rob da Bank says: “The beating heart of all our festival adventures is getting people to discover new music and uncover new bands. Our curators, Ricky from The Joiners in Southampton and Ronan from the seminal Nightshift magazine, are experts in these matters, so please be upstanding and make much noise for The Uncommon Stage.”
Nightshift’s Ronan Munro says: “It’s fantastic that so many local acts are getting the opportunity to play at Common People, with the opportunity to play to a whole new audience, and it’s great that we get the chance to show the variety of music that comes out of Oxfordshire – from hot jazz, reggae, hip hop and blues to doom metal, electronica, punk and even pirate pop. I’ve always tried to make musicians proud to come from Oxfordshire, and Oxfordshire be proud of its musicians and this weekend is proof that Oxfordshire is home to a wealth of music talent”.
The Joiners’ Ricky Bates says: “We at the Joiners are utterly thrilled to be directly presenting the Uncommon Stage this year with some of our favourite touring acts of old and new in one space! Plus, we have some amazing home grown local talent throughout the day covering everything from ska to metalcore to indie rock n’ roll across the weekend, it’s going to be the most righteous fun weekend, don’t stay in! See you down the front”.
Saturday in South Park, Oxford will see the Uncommon Stage shake to the sounds of local seven-piece vintage r ‘n’ b and hot jazz outfit Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, east Oxford’s roots-inspired Zaia, the glistening pop hooks of Neverlnd, Chipping Norton’s Esther Joy Lane, the doomladen Undersmile, and Cowley’s Cameron A.G. who recently scored a Hottest Record in the World Right Now on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. There will also be rum-soaked fun from Peerless Pirates, gothic blues pop sounds from Death of the Maiden and looped vibes from mind-blowing cellist Duotone.
Sunday’s super-fresh action will see Oxford-based, pan-European gypsy-ska-punks The Balkan Wanderers heading up a coruscating line-up that will include local electronic types Maiians, electro rockabilly blues from Vienna Ditto, Witney’s Little Brother Eli, Oxford-based beats cooperative Inner Peace Collective, Chipping Norton sibling duo Cassels, purveyors of porch folk with attitude The August List, Cowley’s Young Women’s Music Project and the experimental, ethereal sounds of Oxford via Stockholm’s Julia Meijer.
On Southampton Common, Saturday’s dazzling new sounds will come courtesy of much admired Cambridge five-piece Lonely the Brave and experimental Brightonians Tall Ships, with sets from singer-songwriter Sean Mcgowan, stadium-ready post rockers New Desert Blues and BBC 6 Music-supported Bel Esprit, all of whom hail from Southampton. There will also be live music from the Isle of Wight’s math-pop four-piece Signals and the home turf triumvirate of Our Hollow, Our Home, Elixir and Vicki Musselwhite, with the first of our soon to be announced I Want to Play at Common People winners also making an appearance.
Sunday will see NME-championed Palma Violets topping a bill that will include garage rockers Pretty Vicious, Portsmouth’s Kassassin Street, and a cavalcade of local heroes including Science of Eight Limbs, The Rising, Bigtopp, These Septic Stars and Cassava, with two more I Want to Play at Common People winners completing the line-up.
Showcasing the very best in ambitious new music, don’t miss discovering your new favourite band at Common People’s temple of innovative sound, The Uncommon Stage.
Revealing a gargantuan cavalcade of delicious music for your dancing feet coming to Common People, we’re extremely excited to announce our Big Top line-up and lots more dance-based beatniks, who will be joining Duran Duran, Primal Scream, Craig David, Gaz Coombes, Public Enemy and many more at Oxford’s South Park and Southampton Common on Saturday 28th May and Sunday 29th May.
Common People curator Rob da Bank says: “Well, what can I say? Some of my favourite DJs, new and old, are coming to our joint Common People shebangs in Southampton and Oxford. Rodigan is a legendary party starter and reggae god, Kurupt FM are the funniest, funkiest garage crew ever and Hospitality promise to bring the jungliest ruckus… See you down the front”.
Hitting the Big Top in Southampton on Saturday and heading on to Oxford on Sunday we will have pure murkage and bare reloads from Brentford’s finest pirate radio crew Kurupt FM, plus there will be a sublime Hospitality Takeover featuring Camo & Krooked, London Elektricity, Fred V & Grafix, Etherwood and Dynamite MC, Wrec, with 130bpm bomb selection by Amy Becker.
Making good in South Park’s Big Top on Saturday and bound for Southampton Common on Sunday is reggae big gun David Rodigan MBE who will present his legendary Ram Jam with My Nu Leng, David Rodigan MBE, DJ Zinc, Prince Fatty and Venum Sound, plus there will be bassline business from recent chart stars 99 Souls, plus soulful and classy club business from local boys made good Housewurk in Oxford.
In Southampton our iconic Bollywood Cocktail Bus will play host to Junk: “Not Your Thing” on Saturday with rising Glaswegian star Denis Sulta ramping up the energy, and speaker smashers from Jordan McKinlay, Luca Pilato, Ronnie Spiteri, Caruana & Daniel O’Rourke, while Sunday’s sounds come courtesy of Deaf By Disco, Pete Callard, Foor and Little Chief.
There will be plenty of beats and bass in Oxford at the kaleidoscopic Sugar Skulls Cocktail Bar with Ben Gomori, Cornerstone Soundsystem, Ghettospheric, Mims & Thirsty, DJ Giles, Joel Kane and DJ Hecktick providing the flavour on Saturday, while on Sunday Simple Presents club wunderkind and Glaswegian house maverick Jasper James, with soundsystem fire from Em Williams, James Weston, Xavier, Time Gore, Tom Baker, Stav, Dan Gascoyne and Burt Cope.
Oxford’s South Park will also have the exalted Disco Shed on hand to keep you dancing long into the evening with Count Skylarkin (Trojan Records), Kerry & Casio, DJ FU (Freerange), Harvey K-Tel, Greg’s Greats (The Shellac Collective), Alex 19 from Wigan and Jason ‘The Cat’ King on Saturday and Peepshow Paddy, Del Gazeebo, Em Williams (Simple), Dapper Dan, Trol23, JJMaurage’s Reggae Bingo and Miss Splinters on Sunday.
Set to take our two-day metropolitan jamboree by storm, the Common People crew are delighted to announce that Duran Duran will headline Common People 2016, topping the bill at Oxford’s South Park on Saturday 28th May and then providing a fitting finale for our Southampton Common shindig on Sunday 29th May.
Common People head honcho Rob da Bank says: “So, we were already off to a flyer with Common People selling out last year, announcing a second site this year, with our beautiful South Park location in Oxford, overlooking the dreaming spires, and now we’re putting the cherry on top with the news that Duran Duran will be headlining a day in each city! Icons of the last four decades the boys are still churning out hits and absolutely smashed it at our mothership show Bestival last year. I’m also delighted to announce Katy B will be joining the party. See you in the fields”.
Commenting on their headline performance, Duran Duran’s John Taylor said: “We are very honoured to be a part of this year’s Common People festival, we had such an incredible time at Bestival last year. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend! See you all there”.
A universal highlight of Bestival’s Summer of Love, Duran Duran took it to the next level on the Isle of Wight last year, so team CP just couldn’t resist bringing them to South Park to headline the first day of Oxford’s inaugural Common People and to wrap up our sophomore Southampton outing. One of UK pop music’s most successful and enduring bands, Duran Duran have provided the soundtrack to the lives several generations, from their early days in Birmingham’s Rum Runner formulating the sound that would give us Planet Earth and Girls on Film to their latest acclaimed album, Paper Gods, that returned them to the top ten winning them a whole new audience in the process.
Also joining Common People’s line-up on Saturday in Oxford and Sunday in Southampton is dance music trailblazer Katy B. Firmly at the forefront of the most recent wave of chart invading beat fanatics, Katy’s armoury of pop-rave bangers saw her last album taking the top spot, and with follow up Honey poised to be the soundtrack of this summer, you can guarantee she’ll hit the mark.
Both acts will be joining previously announced performers Primal Scream, Craig David, Public Enemy, Gaz Coombes, Ghost Poet, Kurupt FM, Hospitality, Ram Jam, and many more, plus there’s still a whole raft of bands, DJs and outlandish action to announce. For more information and ticket details head to http://commonpeople.net/.
As the early bird catches the proverbial worm, so to do the first campers snag the best spots. A stream of gear laden guys and gals is making its way into the campsites from all directions and the sun is luckily, shining. Nighttime on Thursday sees the early opening of a few areas, The Wishing Tree is available for tiny raves, the Grassy Hill’s Caravanserai is jumping, and Underworld take an absolutely rammed headline slot in The Big Top. It’s a bit of a shame there’s no longer a big screen on the outside of the tent, as it’s frankly impossible to fit everyone in, but those outside are still dancing their legs off to the likes of ‘Born Slippy’ regardless.
Friday’s Gabrielle Aplin brings beautiful summer vibes to the main stage dressed in a spangly gold sequined jumpsuit, whilst The Cuban Brothers’ Miguel rocks his “Elvis in Marrakech” kaftan and afro combo as Archerio, Kengo and One Erection wow the crowds with headspins, backflips and flares galore. Having had the entire crowd sing Happy 70th Birthday to Bestival veteran, and former drug baron Howard “Mr. Nice” Marks who dons a golden kaftan on stage, Miguel implores everyone to “Increase the peace with a collective unconscious”.
Up on the big hill, the Slow Motion area is a serene place to take a break, with the bandstand gone, a new stage – Kaleidoscope – peeks out from the bottom corner, covered in silver sunrays. Grab yourself a fresh corn-on-the-cob, a pint of Bestivale and maybe take part in some Yoga. Massages, tea and cake from the Women’s Institute or making friends with fluffy llamas is also on the menu here, and if you venture inside Oberon’s Observatory you’ll find a tiny cinema and a pretty awesome lookout across the festival. Though there are notably less children year upon year, the kids area is still going strong with games and activities, across the way from lectures and comedy in the Bestiversity tent. There truly is something for everyone here.
A sun drenched crowd is relaxing at the main stage listening to the powerful voice of the incredibly talented Lianne La Havas, who is dressed in a show-stopping green ball gown and is tantalizing everyone with news of her upcoming UK tour in December for new album ‘Blood’. Followed up by the complete juxtaposition of Charlie XCX who spends her entire set swearing and making crude gestures. Luckily her songs are catchy enough to make up for it, and everyone seems to be enjoying ‘I don’t Care (I Love It)’ and ‘Boom Clap’ whilst she jumps around with a giant inflatable guitar, in her platform sneakers.
90’s Hip Hop super-group Jurassic 5 bring the entertainment with a massive turntable, portable turntable/mixer guitar contraptions and their distinctive brand of swagger, but it’s Duran Duran who are the stand out surprise of the night. The younger age set at this festival might not think they know more than ‘Rio’ but the hits keep rolling, and they put on an absolutely epic show which has everyone joining in with both classic hits and brand new album tracks.
If you’re not feeling so fresh this morning, a quick trip to the lavish Elle Beauty Cupboard in partnership with Rimmel will have you all dolled up with a makeover or a manicure, as well as a goodybag full of makeup and you can get your brain back on track with a stop at the Science tent, where you can pick up a pair of psychedelic solar glasses for watching the fireworks too. New this year is the giant Lovebot, and a new-look Inflatable Church for all your wedding-disco wishes.
Over on the main stage, Dodgy rock “Good Enough” and IOW locals Level 42 (with a cameo from Cubano’s One Erection breakdancing) play to a relaxed crowd. Little Dragon wears some sort of golden bin-bag with red evening gloves for a set of weird and wonderful sounds, and over in the Magic Meadow the parade is a swarm of bright silks and mysterious creatures. Colourful birds, adorable little strawberries and lotus flowers dance past, as a squid rides a giant turtle followed by a Battala band. Only at Bestival…
Secret act cheesy hip hop legends House of Pain are actually great and anthem 'Jump Around' is spectacularly taken to heart by Bestivalites who are doing their best to jump up, jump up and get down. Kate Tempest gathers a big crowd for her main stage foray, in previous years she’s usually a walk through the woods to the amphitheatre for her spoken word sets. With obvious excitement she quips “Jeremy Corbyn has been elected… this is the summer of change, the summer of love!” and a keen eye can spot Rob da Bank clapping in appreciation from the side of the stage.
In the deep dark of the night forest, the amphitheatre comes alive and tonight The Story Beast (comedian John Henry Falle) is MCing Films in the Forest. Award winning short ‘Jonah’ is beautifully made and captivates the audience but ‘Festevil’ is the one that’s really going to stick with you – what could be better than a slasher short about a couple getting murdered in a tent at a festival by pig-masked psychopaths? “Are you all suitably shitted up? That could happen to you tonight!” says Falle. Cheers Story Beast… no really thanks so much. Just as well he follows it up with a rousing rendition of the theme from Dune (join in, all the words are… THE THEME FROM DUNE) and Tom Hyatt brings beautiful acoustic flavours to the stage with his songs about love. We hot-foot it when the next movie ‘Behind the Candelabra’ comes on, but not quite quick enough to escape seeing Matt Damon fellate Michael Douglas.
Annie Mac is ripping it up on the main stage with glowing palm trees to match the glowing umbrellas and fairy lights of the neon night parade, and The Chemical Brothers’ headline slot is a laser loaded, big beat heavy, electrifying show with a slew of hits from opener ‘Hey Boy Hey girl’ to ‘Block Rockin Beats’ and ‘Galvanize’.
The night is young and the weather is sort of holding, so it’s off to Future Islands in the Big Top to see enigmatic frontman Samuel T. Herring dance like he’s been tasered and growl like he’s in a metal band. Completely bonkers but light, fun synthpop. The Port is packed with ravers and fire-dancers spit flames from atop the giant boat. Arial hoop dancers swing hypnotically from a crane above, everything is just on the edge of surreal and it’s brilliant. For a little less bass, Caravanseri’s little love-in is dancing along to violin folk-rockers Keltrix, cosying up in retro caravans or drinking mojitos in the carousel.
Despite an overnight soaking, the campsite awakens to a clear and sometimes sunny morning (hurrah!) and there’s a dawning realisation that there’s only one day left of hedonistic adventures. DJ Yoda’s unmistakable beats reverberate across the arena to a massive crowd, and there are major queues outside the packed Amphitheatre for the genius Shitfaced Shakespeare. The drunken cast member simply can’t be arsed with what’s going on and keeps having existential epiphanies like “News is new… news!”. Throughout the forest people are hiding out, watching red squirrels or exploring round the lake, or searching out the secretive Blind Tiger stage.
Jungle Brothers get everyone chanting “We at Bestival baby” as indeed we are and Boy Better know keep up with the distinctly hip hop flavor to this year’s main stage lineup. It’s not as though those who aren’t into it have nothing else to do though, Pig’s Big Ballroom is a house of energetic folk and feelgoodery and the close-by Invaders of the Future stage is showcasing a plethora of great rock bands.
Over on the Kaleidoscope stage, Coco and the Butterfields are absolutely smashing it, gathering a bigger and rowdier crowd as they play, one of the very best things about Bestival is happening upon something or someone amazing that you’ve never heard of, and finding this banjo-led upbeat band is just one of those moments. Elsewhere the Oxfam tent is selling sparkly wares and as the weather is looking decidedly unsafe, wellies. The Llamas at Llama Karma are happily munching their way through Robin Hill’s luscious grass and wearing some very fetching rainbow neckerchiefs, the Solace tent is providing tea and cake to burnt out hippies and there are bare bottoms basking in the wood-fired hot tubs overlooking the enormous site.
A rare musical treat in the form of The Jacksons has the entire arena boogying, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s not just a classic hit parade – these guys are every bit as good as they always were. Polished entertainers with cracking vocals, for the likes of ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, ‘Rock With You’ and ‘ABC’. Jermaine has a noticeable tear in his eye when the crowd joins in for ‘I’ll Be There’ as a montage of their younger selves play on split video screens. Over in the Big Top, Todd Terje is providing summery soft electro-house to a busy tent, which makes a change from the heavier Port acts.
Final headliner Missy Elliott is every bit as showy as you could imagine. Plenty of bling, an army of backing dancers and MC’s hyping up the crowd the whole way through. Hits ‘Get Ur Freak On’ and ‘Work It’ are absolutely huge.
As Missy makes her way off stage, ticker tape explosions coincide with the start of the fireworks display, which is magically timed so that red heart-shaped fireworks burst to the chorus of “Love Is In The Air” to the oohs and aaahs of the crowd. The floral fire arrangement of the Commune is glittering away and everyone is hugging each other, it truly is the Summer of Love. Though the night isn’t over, the rain starts coming in hard and a lot of people are heading back to the campsites with the threat of early ferries and late hangovers in the morning. Skrillex is bouncing around at The Port with a few thousand pals, the Carnivale ship is still rocking tunes and the drag queens of Sink the Pink at The Grand Palace of Entertainment are still werking it hard.
This year’s Bestival has been home to some eighty thousand neo-hippies for the Summer of Love ’15 and it’s pretty hard to say goodbye to this beautiful, weird and wonderful land knowing full well that responsibility and the adult world is waiting beyond these borders. You can be sure we’ll be first on the early bird ticket bandwagon at the end of the month, and the countdown clock will be immediately set for Bestival 2016. Massive thanks to Rob da Bank and the Bestival crew for another incredible weekend, we can’t wait to see what’s next…
It's Friday night, the sun has set over the Bestivalley and the crowd is a sea of sequins and glowsticks… 80's kings Duran Duran make a spot-lit dramatic entrance dressed in monochrome leather, and the packed arena roars in anticipation of some straight up guilty pleasure.
Starting strong with stage pyrotechnics and huge AV backdrops, this is power pop turned up a notch and 'Hungry Like the Wolf' is met with howls of appreciation around the arena. There are more than a few drunken impersonations of wolfiness.
Bond theme 'View to a Kill' is special for Bestival regulars as it's also the film another Bestival diva Grace Jones (2008) was in. Calling out to the crowd"Looking out at all of your happy faces… we just realised this is the most important gig of our career" the band touch on something we hear quite often here, that special atmosphere you only get at this festival is picked up by artists every year. With the new album being released today, 'Out In The City' is all new, techno and modern, it probably is the most important gig for their new album – an arena full of new ears and fans alike.
Photo courtesty of Bestival
As lead vocalist Simon LeBon tootles along on an electronic ocarina, the crowd joins I'm singing along to 'Reflex'. Offering the mic to keyboard wizard Nick Rhodes, who deadpans "there are far too many people here". In fairness, this might be the biggest and youngest crowd Duran Duran have seen in a while, UK festivals get bigger every year and it's far more faces than any arena tour could be.
Following on with a Duran Duran classic, "We relased our first song in 1981… we're here thirty years later, playing it to you… this is Ordinary World" and the B.I.G appropriated refrain 'Notorius' has everyone yelling along. New single 'Pressure Off' is suitably promoted with a huge explosion of pink and white ticker tape, it's funky and completely unlike the other new song, setting up the album to be a fairly varied affair.
As the first spits of rain come down, 'Girls on Film' picks everyone up, and there isn't a single person who isn't attempting to sassy Vogue along with them.
Coming back on for a encore with a 1978 Summer of Love ringer tshirt, 'White Lights' shows the days of lighters is well and truly over "If you have a mobile phone, get it out and hold it up, we're filming this, we want it to look like the stars". Finishing up with hits 'Save a Prayer' and 'Rio' have the entire arena bouncing, after a thoroughly brilliant set. Even the rain can't dampen the spirits of this crowd.
Bringing some of the world’s biggest live acts to Gibraltar each year, GMF is back in 2015 with its biggest lineup to date in the picturesque and intimate surroundings of Victoria Stadium on the Rock of Gibraltar.
Headlining proceedings this year are none other than Nashville rock heroes Kings Of Leon who come to GMF as a British exclusive performance. Since bursting into the public consciousness with breakthrough album ‘Youth & Young Manhood’ back in 2003 they have spent over a decade becoming one of the greatest bands of a generation.
Also headlining will be pop icons Duran Duran. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide and with a new album set for release in mid-September of this year featuring highly anticipated collaborations with the likes of Janelle Monáe, Kiesza, Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, the band are as vital and festival ready as ever. Expect a career spanning set filled to the brim with the band’s huge arsenal of hits alongside new material.
Joining the headliners is a supporting cast of some of the world’s best talent including award-winning piano balladeer Tom Odell, breakthrough singer-songwriter Rae Morris, powerpop superstars The Feeling, pop-rock chart smashers Lawson and reggae veterans Third World alongside names like Reach,Strange Brew, Tim Garcia featuring Afterhours, Paddy Taylorand many more still to be announced.
Providing the perfect end to the festival season, GMF is a family-friendly festival in the sunshine. Affordable and easily accessible, Gibraltar Music Festival rolls a holiday and a festival into one incredible weekend.