Roll up! Roll up! It’s the GIANT BESTIVAL REVIEW – 2018!

Roll up, roll up! It’s the most colourful show on earth! We’re back at Lulworth Castle for Bestival’s second year in it’s new location and it’s 15th Anniversary year, the UK is hotter than Mordor right now and we’ve packed enough glitter to ice an entire season of Drag Race.

THURSDAY

Ok, first things first. Getting in. After a miscommunication about certain carparks being full (they weren’t) and half our group being sent miles across site, we finally a few hours later manage to pitch up in Rainbow Rave camp. The first thing we notice after grabbing ourselves a lanyard (sans tote bag and programme, we really miss those!) and setting up the tents, is that there appears to be precisely ONE block of portaloos for the entirety of Rainbow camp. Seriously. It’s by far the largest campsite too. That is so not going to be fun in the morning…

Heading into the arena for a first look around, we also notice that there are absolutely no food vendors in Rainbow either… meaning we can say goodbye to a nice morning stroll for breakfast before getting ready to go out for the day. Unimpressed is an understatement – it was considerably better on both food and toilet fronts last year, two things that can really make or break your camping experience.

However, one new development which we wholeheartedly approve of, is the new “integrated site” layout (which is actually just a return to Bestival’s of old) whereby there’s no discernable divide between campsite and arena. This crucially means that there are no bottle-neck lengthy security queues and you can take your camping alcohol along with you – anywhere!

It’s also great to note that since last year’s unfortunate drug-related death at the event, Bestival has immediately stepped up their game. There are police officers and dogs on the campsite gates, as well as ‘The Loop’ – a drug testing service on site and lots of very noticeable ‘Chill Welfare’ helpers dotted around the place, as well as an Amnesty bin. Drugs are always going to make it into events, no matter what precautions are put in place, so it’s great to see Bestival addressing the problem from multiple angles.

Anyway as we walk through the site we immediately spot some differences from last years’ debut – The Temple is now nestled at the bottom of a giant hill halfway between camping and the main arena, it looks absolutely stunning and now offers a place to sit back and take it all in, if you don’t feel like getting in the middle of it. Previously it was at the top of a slope instead but we think this orientation is going to work out so much better, it looks like a beautiful secret club in the woods, with a hillside covered in fluttering silk flags. HMS Bestival has also moved to less of a thoroughfare spot, but it is still disappointingly tiny compared to it’s original iteration as ‘The Port’.

We also spy a frankly MASSIVE trapeze set up on the hill and a high-wire fenced off in the centre of ‘Cuckoo Clump’. This whole area has changed completely, it’s considerably more open and inviting than last year’s higgledy piggledy maze of vendors and spaces. We spy Stacey’s and House of Vans on our way past but we’re heading straight for the Castle and The Feast Collective for some top notch grub. As we head through the lawn we pop over to say hello to DJ BBQ, who is enjoying a beer whilst standing in his own paddling pool. So jealous right now. He reliably informs us that he’ll be slinging more meat on tomorrow, as well as giving us frequent air guitar shows on his own miniature stage.

Now I’ve raved about The Feast Collective every single year, the variety and quality are unparalleled at any other festival in the UK, but oh my gosh. It’s hotter than hell in the tent but we are all overwhelmed by the smells and sounds, the long picnic tables down the centre and pretty fairy lights. My first festival meal has to be Shrimpy’s – a tray of battered prawns, hand cut proper chips and a heap of samphire. It’s effing decadent festival dining let me tell you. Following it up we give the edible cocktails a try, Blue Lagoon is horrific, but Espresso Martini is a delight, even if you do feel like you’re joining the ill-advised tide pod craze.

After a quick look at the Castle field we head into the Old Mout Kiwi Camp for a singalong, it’s always karaoke time in there and the tent is rammed, so we settle ourselves into a massive hammock thing and add our drunken voices to an absolutely dire rendition of Fugees ‘Killing Me Softly’. After a few more songs and a couple of ciders we decide to check out Bollywood, where some guys unwisely decided to try and teach us (the perpetually uncoordinated) to ‘tut’. Needless to say we were poor, and left laughing.

Over in my personal favourite space at Bestival; Caravanserai, we are mesmerized by Cirque Bijou’s trapeze, silk and rope artists, spinning and dropping above us in sparkly outfits. The whole place is absolutely alive with wonder and awe – something I’ve come to really appreciate about Bestival. It’s not often that adults allow themselves to be utterly swept away in the moment and give in to childlike feelings of amazement, I think that’s what feels so special about it.

We also catch a little of The Roustabout Collection on the carousel stage, who are exactly as rowdy and fun as the name suggests, grab ourselves an Elderflower Gin Fizz from one of the little bars and have a sit down in one of the old waltzers. Everyone is chatting, laughing, dancing and sparkling here – I feel so at home. After filling up our souls in Caravanserai, we begin the walk back to our campsite and decide to go via The Temple which is truly even more beautiful at night, bathed in the pink light of the lasers. There’s a sea of sweaty, uninhibited bodies jumping to the rhythm of beat, it’s almost hypnotic. Half of me wants to rush in and join them but the other half of me has spotted another festival staple – Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese. It wins out and soon we’re digging our way through mac whilst trekking up the big hill home.

FRIDAY

Oh dear lord it’s HOT. Wriggling into our first spangly outfits of the weekend (yes, we have brought theme-appropriate clothing for all three days) we head out as quickly as possible as we’re all starving. Breakfast is smashed avo on toast (basic bitch alert) followed by several average attempts at the Mitchum Ball Pool, in which you have to collect golden balls which spell out the brand name. Definitely aren’t going to be winners but they are pushing mini sample deodorant on us which we sincerely appreciate in this heat. Next door we grab ourselves free iced lattes from Nescafe Aezera and then truck up the hill to have a look at Gorilla Circus.

Little did we realise that you can just rock up and HAVE A GO. The trapeze is a giant hulking metal contraption that from the outside sort of resembles a bear trap, and is honestly no less terrifying. Some of my crew sign themselves up for a go and are pretty quickly let loose on skills like a leg-hold, back tuck and even a catch! It’s amazing and insane that this is just freely available to do at a festival, every time you think you know Bestival – they come up with something else absolutely shockingly brilliant to add to the lineup.

After the heights of the Trapeze and being out in the sun for hours, we traipse over to the Castle field for an icy slushie and some shade to watch Oh My God! It’s The Church. Having caught them last year in the Big Top, we knew they were not to be missed. The Reverend Birmingham Alabama in his gold suit is certifiably crackers, the band and vocalists are all incredible and we LOVE their rendition of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’. If we weren’t trying to fend off sunstroke, we’d have been front and centre, but we take a precautionary manoeuvre and head up through Ambientland (the forest) in search of Slow Motion.

Oh My God! It's The Church

After a quick toot on the mushroom sound pipes (not a drug reference, one of the forest’s art installations) we wind our way out into a grassy field with a tent where ‘Bubble Meditation’ is going on. Relaxing music, everyone lying down in a meditative state and um… small children walking around with bubble-guns. It’s odd to say the least but hey, whatever floats your… bubble I guess.

We take a look inside The Frozen Mole, but can’t spy any actual frozen moles in the ceiling, and then settle into some deck chairs in the shade of a small tree, as a peacock walks by and some other people are getting themselves a rejuvenating IV drip at the tent next to us. You really couldn’t make it up, everything is weird and wonderful here.

Over on the main stage Idles are going absolutely berserk, yelling “This is a song about how much I love immigrants” and wearing the Choose Love refugee tshirts. I’ll be honest, it’s not my sort of thing – but I do appreciate the cute little circle pit that has sprung up in front of the stage. At The Feast Collective we’re lured into the tent by a lady with fried jackfruit samples, which entice us to buy truly one of the best burgers we’ve ever eaten at a festival – and all vegan too.

Refueled we head back out to see our Bestival faves, The Cuban Brothers. If you’ve never experienced the CB’s, you really need to. They’re comedy kings, with a side of hip hop funk, crazy dance moves and fringed leotards. What’s not to love? Bursting on stage Miguel notes that the CB’s are “…the only band to play all 15 years at Bestival” and they indeed Bestival personified. Kenny (The Bastard) and Archerio bust out some duo disco moves “Together they are… Double Penetration!” and Miguel notes that Arch is “…sweating like a pregnant nun for you tonight” – as a mum on the front row quickly clamps her hands over her young son’s ears.

We’re treated to Kenny’s artistic Whitney Houston ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ rendition, warm up our hip circles with Miguel and marvel at Juan Erection’s flips and breaking during ‘Ante Up’. Oh and a slew of families quickly escape the arena when Miguel takes all his clothes off except some very tiny pants, and starts banging the mic with his penis. Standard.

As the sun begins to set on this incredible first full day at Bestival, people are flooding into the arena in a host of sparkly costumes and accessories with glitter and smiles plastered all over their faces. We’re scouting out our perfect dancing spot for tonight’s headliner – Silk City.

READ OUR FULL SILK CITY REVIEW HERE!

After an incredible Bestival debut full of hard-hitting mixes, neon and raucous dancing, we really should be partied out… but at Bestival, the night is never really over. We head from the arena to The Temple to catch a bit of Kiwi, and drink in the image of all the gorgeous wild and free souls under the stars of Lulworth, there’s nothing quite like it.

SATURDAY

After choking awake in our furnaces/tents we dress in appropriately Circus-themed outfits (ringmaster plus circus animals and props) and head into the arena for Kojey Radical, who is busting up the Castle stage in sparkly red converse, he deserves a much bigger crowd than there is down the front – but there are pools of people crammed into every available patch of shade, hiding from the heat. We grab ourselves a slushie and watch Rodrigo Pérez, aka The Human Cannonball blast himself 25 metres through the air onto a giant inflatable crash-mat. It’s exactly as mad as it sounds, even LoveBot looks concerned.

Stefflon Don is reportedly stuck in traffic and isn’t going to make it so we head off in search of energetic delights in the form of The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle. It truly is humungous (taller than the Great Wall of China and roughly three times the size or the Berlin Wall, filled with 1143 cubic metres of air, in case you were wondering) and we are all giddy like five year olds hopped up on Birthday cake just looking at it. What we didn’t realise, as we gleefully ditched our shoes and socks is that it would be HOTTER THAN HADES on that thing, the rainbow canvas scorching our feet as we attempt to bounce ourselves right out of it. Great photos, loved it anyway – a must do Bestival experience.

Over in The Big Top, Black Honey are the perfect blend of indie rock and sparkle with vocalist Izzy Phillips owning the stage in a rainbow sequin dress, the band are great and really kindly come out after their set to hand out free EP’s and patches, even signing stuff and posing for selfies – they’ve definitely gained more than a few new fans on the back of this performance, a great pick from the Bestival team.

Up next are the funky and fun Superfood; we’d been pre-gaming with their stuff on the Bestival playlist and they certainly did not disappoint. We loved ‘Unstoppable’ and their eponymous song ‘Superfood’ has a very Radiohead-esque riff that we’re into but it’s you know… happier. We also have a quick catch up with the man Rob Da Bank himself, who just seems to be hopping around the site checking up on people and saying hello. Rob tells us that he hasn’t had a go on the trapeze himself yet and SFG accuse him of being a fraidy-cat.

Over on the main stage we are blown away by the stunningly talented First Aid Kit, playing in the blazing sunshine in coordinated zebra-print outfits. The Söderberg sisters’ vocals are unparalleled and they don’t hesitate to bring a political message along for the ride, yelling “…That was our protest punk song… for women… we’re really sick of being fucking afraid” and waxing lyrical about how rape crime is rife with victim blaming propaganda. The crowd roars in agreement as they gutsily shout “The blame and the shame always belong to the perpetrator, no more fucking excuses!”.

We couldn’t rave more about their Kate Bush ‘Running Up That Hill’ cover but our absolute favourite is the dark and brooding ‘Wolf Mother’ backed by cyclical wolf visuals on the big screen. The ambience is only slightly marred by the sight of two people wielding actual first-aid-kits attached to tent poles down the front; it did make us giggle. Finishing up with a crowd-wide crooning for Emmylou, their “little love song” and finally the outstanding ‘Silver Lining’ set against a galaxy backdrop as the sun begins to set gold over the whole arena. It is the perfect show.

We recharge with an insanely rich salted caramel brownie with ice-cream from The Green Brownie before bowling headlong into madness with the weird and wonderful, Grace Jones. Stalking on stage in a billowing black sheet and golden skull mask, she’s dramatically striking in appearance with vocals to match. We have to laugh when she disparages her trip to Bestival; “I had to take a helicopter… helicopter… but I wasn’t gonna miss it if I had to take some wings and fly myself…” and dons a metal feather mane whilst writhing on the floor of the stage. ‘My Jamaican Guy’ sees her casually whipping her extraordinarily beautiful pole-dancing man – who is covered in matching body paint, before she cracks out a massive pony-headdress and hops on the shoulders of a roadie to parade the pit area high-fiving fans on the front-line for ‘Pull Up to the Bumper’. The confetti cannon sprays the crowd with rainbow ticker tape as Jones comes back to the stage shouting “Who's camping out? My God… let’s go before they pull the plug on me” and we’re all going crazy for ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ and a good 15 minutes of solid hula-hooping whilst singing. The woman is a machine.

As Grace Jones exits the stage we all turn around to face Lulworth Castle and are met with an audio-visual anniversary spectacular played out on the castle itself – Bestival themes over the last 15 years, a bombardment of amazing fireworks and a lot of oohing and aahing. ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’ plays and the final message reads “Sail safe shipmates” – is this a clue to next year’s Bestival theme we wonder?

Strangely after this ‘firework finale’ which in previous years would mark the very end of the festival, we still have London Grammar to go on the main stage. It’s a bit of an emotional whiplash going from the party vibe of Grace Jones and the excitement of the fireworks into the soft, ambient vacuum of London Grammar, but they are stunningly beautiful.

READ OUR FULL LONDON GRAMMAR REVIEW HERE!

As the Castle stage closes, we head out for the nightclubs of Bestival and oh we are spoiled for choice – Stacey’s and House of Vans are jumping, Caravanserai looks like a glittering chandelier and HMS Bestival’s lights pierce the darkness. Carpe PM!

SUNDAY

Sunday morning at Bestival always feels slower. The toilet queue is visibly hungover and big sunglasses are a must. Luckily it’s marginally cooler today because in the harsh light of day it’s pretty clear a lot of little lobsters have been neglecting their sun-cream this weekend. We take a fortifying hike up to Slow Motion for a little life affirming Bollywood yoga and a wonky-veg slushie (which was a lot tastier than it looked, which is good because it looked like gators might live in it). Over on the Castle stage the soothing sounds of Songhoy Blues ring out over the site and bring us back to life, as we peep into The Frozen Mole where a tshirt design workshop is in full swing.

We tiptoe past aerial-yoga, where people appear to be fighting brightly coloured silks on A-frames in attempt to achieve inner peace, and head to the main arena for Gentleman’s Dub Club for a boogie – albeit a gentle one whilst we’re in recovery. Next up, with absolutely no remorse for our fragile states is the batshit crazy Dubioza Kolektiv, who appear to be dressed as crash-test dummies with boundless energy. Brandishing signs reading ‘make’, ‘some’ and ‘noise’ they yell “Find a person in the crowd to hug” and this being Bestival, that is exactly what happens – strangers hugging strangers, increasing the peace. We are in fits of laughter at their song ‘Free.mp3’ otherwise known as ‘The Pirate Bay Song’ with it’s repetitive message “Our music is for free, you can download mp3, keep it playing on repeat, if you hate it press delete” and their unashamed Pirate Bay flags – it’s going straight on our illegal playlists.

Hauling on stage a group of jump-ropers, they attempt to “teach the crowd some Bosnian lyrics” whilst skipping; “…jumping the rope is traditional Bosnian dance… we do this for 2 thousand years”. They’re mental, we love it.

Up next the arena is packed for Chaka Khan, who arrives on stage to backdrops of her signature, wearing a sparkly top also featuring her signature. You could say it’s a signature look… ha. Despite an initial kerfuffle with her mic being off, she launches into the good solid disco music we’ve all been waiting for, in the sunshine. It seems the sun-facing stage is a bit much for Chaka though as she gripes “How you doin… damn I hate this shit, I hate the sun in my face… I’m brown enough!”. The set is decent but in truth we’ve all been waiting for ‘I’m Every Woman’ which is exactly as fun as we’d hoped (there’s a man wearing fluffy fringing who looks like he’s been positively dipped in glitter, having the most fabulous time atop his friends’ shoulders) and ‘Ain’t Nobody’ is explosive with the addition of a confetti blast from the cannon. Magical.

Afterwards, the sad news about the passing of Barry Chuckle – a Bestival veteran, is screened on the main stage as sad “to me, to you” lines are spoken around the site, The Chuckle Brothers have been a big part of this festival for years, and indeed, most of our childhoods.

Plan B attacks the main stage with ‘Grateful’ wearing a curious outfit, half Peaky Blinders, half military tactical jacket, with a strange white chin-strap thing. It kind of looks like he’s sprained his beard. I don’t get it. As the tall tramway lights flicker, Drew asks “Can I get some vodka please?” and busts out fan favourite ‘Prayin’ and ‘She Said’ with the entire crowd singing along. It’s amazing how many people actually know the entire rap section actually. Calling out “Who’s drunk? No that’s not enough… who's drunk?” Plan B can’t hear this amusing response from the crowd; “You’re drunk! You put your highlighter on wrong son, blend honey!” but we’re all giggling as he heads into ‘Welcome to Hell’.

After all that dancing we’re desperate for nourishment and absolutely spoilt for choices still. Tonight it’s grilled steak and chips from The South West Food Collective, whose proceeds go to charity and who are collecting leftover food from Bestival vendors and campsite hubs tomorrow to be distributed to a local food bank. Not only that, the steak is crazy good, restaurant good. It’s things like this that Bestival draws in that really make the difference. The entire vibe of this festival is centered on its motto ‘Increase The Peace’ and rather than just say it, this is the festival that actually strives to model it.

Up next is the part artist, part activist, musically explosive M.I.A. smashing up The Castle Stage for the finale of Bestival 2018. She’s a force to be reckoned with, emerging from her temple doorway under yellow billowing curtains;

CHECK OUT OUR FULL M.I.A. REVIEW HERE!

After M.I.A. we scurry over to the Cuckoo Clump for the grand finale, which begins with an incredible violinist in a glowing dress, surrounded by neon lit umbrellas dancing in unison at her feet. Above a perilous high wire, sans any form of safety net or harness sways ominously in the light breeze. We are utterly amazed by the three tightrope walkers from Cirque Bijou, who proceed to walk, lie-down, headstand and even climb over each other, but then they just continue to up the ante. There’s a guy walking on the top wire – even higher than the original wire… then they set it on fire… then he rides a bike across… then a girl attached to a harness sails along it with a balloon and danger dances with the man who has no harness… It’s nail-biting stuff. The accompanying fireworks exploding from three different locations, lighting up the helter-skelter are the cherry on top of the most fantastic layer-cake of this finale. I’ve seen some mad incredible things in my time at Bestival but I really think this has been one of the most incredible. I don’t know of any other experience on this earth that is as chaotic, mysterious, bizarre and awe inspiring. With that, we are off to Caravanserai to hide out in a camper, drink cocktails and dance like we don’t have to go home tomorrow. Rudimental are DJ’ing The Temple soon, and there are at least a few more heady hours of glorious freedom to be had. See you next year Bestival, you have well and truly got your mojo back.

Images © Andy McHardy for Summer Festival Guide

Bestival 2018: M.I.A. – Reviewed!

It’s day three of Bestival, we’re all sunburnt, knackered and happy – but we’re back in the Castle Field eagerly awaiting London bad-gal rapper, artist, political activist and all round boss babe – M.I.A. The main stage is set with billowing yellow drapes reminiscent of a Disney princess dress and a neon archway which looks like you could descend to Moria through it. If you know, you know. The arena is packed out and everyone is looking forward to one last night of debauchery before having to head home to the real world.

Red shell-suited dancers attack the stage with a vengeance, and M.I.A. herself emerges from the temple doorway wearing an all-white ensemble apart from one very loud, tiger print um… chap? Half of chaps. Can I call it chap singular? Anyway, the energy is up, she’s wrapped in a floral headdress and already smashing through the likes of ‘Bamboo Banga’ and ‘Y.A.L.A.’. She is pure power in these first few songs, keeping up with her Tamil dance crew and winding in her shredded shorts, before jumping down to high five people in the crowd.

For all of Maya’s raw musical talent, the political activist in her is still very much present and integrated into her work, backdrop visuals of Syrian refugees accompany her swift lyrics while her DJ seems to vie for attention yelling out “M.I.A.” and “Bestival”. Returning to the stage after a brief pause, Maya is now rocking a massive shiny boxing style robe and we’re treated to a heavy hitting “Live Fast Die Young” which is honestly the highlight of the set – especially because it comes dance moves. Hey, it’s no Macarena but having been a child of the 90’s I know how to Miyagi wax-on-wax-off with the best of them.

Confusingly M.I.A. yells “Where the boys at?” hold on… equality always… I guess it’s time for the boys… maybe we should get some boys on stage…” and none appear to materialize. No-one cares though, both factions of her female dancer troupe are absolutely killing it. One funny/soul destroying moment, is Maya calling out “Hey Bestival, now we need your help… we want you to sing with us, are you ready for it” and asking for people to get their lights out. It’s a sea of phone torches instead of lighters these days, I’m nostalgic for the warm glow of real fire in this blanket of LED. I feel old.

Rolling into ‘Boyz’, Maya is back down the front throwing flower petals from a basket into the front row and standing up on the barrier holding hands with fans, a security guard holding onto the seat of her pants for safety. She calls out “Bestival if you’ve still got fucking energy let me hear you” before exclaiming that she only has 7 minutes left. Given the 15 minute late start, this makes for a pretty clipped set, but luckily she is allowed to go on a little longer. After handing the mic to a person in the crowd who decided to use the platform to wax lyrical about going out there and being an astronaut if you want to – bit weird… she finishes up with super-hit ‘Paper Planes’ and amusing bird-hand motions.

Just to cap off the political slant to the whole set, Maya exits the stage with a stinging jibe “The British government got some apologies to make around the world” and with that, the Castle stage is officially closed for 2018. I know M.I.A. isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t deny her fierce energy and I applaud her use of her platform to speak on issues she is passionate about. She’s everything Bestival stands for and pulled off a solid headline set.

Images © Andy McHardy for Summer Festival Guide

Bestival 2018: LONDON GRAMMAR – Reviewed!

After a stonking warm up of the always incredible (and insane) Grace Jones, and the most spectacular 15th Anniversary fireworks and AV show on Lulworth Castle, we’ve been expecting big things from London Grammar tonight. The sky is cloudless and cool, a welcome relief from the scorching days and the stage is set, well… incredibly minimally.

As the band take to the stage after an inordinately lengthy intro, visuals of the moon and stars set the scene, and lead vocalist Hannah Reid launches effortlessly into ‘Hey Now’. ‘Wasting My Young Years’ is beautiful, but honestly, it’s all a bit of a come-down after the raucousness of the previous acts. It feels a bit like giving a kid a lolly before bedtime and then expecting them to lie down for the lullaby – yes Bestival is eclectic and has always been known for having a bill with something for everyone, but the people are voting with their feet and the arena is already looking sparse as people seek rowdier pastures at HMS Bestival, Bollywood and The Temple.

As the band head into a cover of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ I can’t help but think that the original with it’s soft but strong beat would have gone down better, but ‘Rooting For You’ is undeniably stunning. I just so wish they’d been framed by a similar act, something to get us into the right mood for this. It’s clear they’ve got plenty of die-hard fans at the front, but there’s no denying that the turn-out is considerably thinner than for Grace Jones.

For an awkward pause of about ten minutes, someone decides to scale one of the trees in front of the stage… out of boredom or love – we’ll never know but it shuts down the proceedings while security attempt an extraction. Reid calls out “So we’re being told that there’s a guy in a tree… I don’t know which tree… but basically, we can’t carry on – we're gonna be shut down until he gets out of the tree. So I’m actually not allowed to start singing until he’s out of the tree.” Which comedically elicits a range of both boos and cheers, further supporting the divide tonight.

Finally the stunt is over and Reid quips “He’s out of the tree! He's naughty…” before resuming with ‘Strong’. Finishing up with ‘Big Picture’ before the one song encore of ‘Metal & Dust’ against a pink-rain of stars backdrop, it really is beautifully ambient. Calling out to the crowd one last time, Reid muses “Robbie had us for one of our first ever shows here, in a tent and it was one of the best gigs we've ever done. It’s crazy to think that was 6, 7 years ago. Thank you!”.

For me this was a tough one. Yes I think London Grammar are fantastic, but do I think they had that site-wide appeal a headliner should garner? Ultimately, no. Whilst it’s true everyone has different tastes, upbeat bands are always going to win when it comes to headliners, especially at Bestival where people are here to set themselves wild and free. Sorry London Grammar, you just didn’t grab me this time.

Images © Andy McHardy for Summer Festival Guide

Bestival 2018: SILK CITY – Reviewed!

Tonight, for a marvelous treat – Bestival are giving us the second ever live show of the brand spanking new Diplo and Mark Ronson collab; Silk City. As the castle field fills up and an NYC back-alley set design is rolled onto the stage, the sunburnt masses are gearing up for a night of big beats and laser filled dreams.

Debut hit ‘Only Can Get Better’ proves a banging opener, supported by a barrage of lights and Diplo’s yells of “Bestival are you ready? Let’s go!”. The stage set-up is something outside of the usual DJ realm and makes for a much more visual and interesting show than just two guys pressing buttons, as they work their way through remixes of current and old hits. Projected neon street signs blink on the grey walls and faux Silk City band posters are pasted in hypnotising repetition across the big screens. Hung from the centre of the stage is an enormous disco ball, spraying flecks of light across the jumping crowd – it’s honestly one of rowdiest Bestival crowds I’ve ever seen, whether that’s down to mass sunstroke, first day drinks, or a genuine love for the music, is yet to be determined.

Shouting “We made some remixes for you tonight, just for you Bestival, hope you like them” Silk City show off with a plethora of interesting and big mixes, there’s truly something for everyone in there. A little Tori Amos anyone? A little of Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ does indeed bring all the boys to the yard (and yes, we Brits are still largely terrible at twerking) but it’s the Dua Lipa ‘New Rules’ remix that everyone goes absolutely berserk for.

With their embroidered Silk City denim jackets (where can I get one please?), Diplo and Ronson just flow seamlessly through hit after hit, shouting such classic DJ tropes as “We’re called Silk City, are you ready to party tonight?” and “Let’s go!”. Ok, so it is a bit cheesy but that’s kind of what we’re looking for – something we can get wild to.

A little bit of Route 94, someone spinning glow poi in the crowd and “This is the first night of Bestival 2018, thanks for partying with us tonight! This is only our second gig as Silk City!” has the duo firmly established as a Bestival success, and for a bit of personal joy as 30-something, I loved the inclusion of Wamdue Project’s ‘King of my Castle’. C’mon, what a jam, am I right?

A little bit of Diplo’s own ‘Be Right There’ flows surprisingly well into Missy Elliott’s ‘Work It’ and a remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On’ gives us the feels from Bestivals’ past. Further into the surprisingly funky and retro set, we’re asking each other what we’re gonna do with all the junk in our trunks (again with the poor twerking situation) followed by my new favourite version of Amy Winhouse’s ‘Valerie’.

Closing out with a second round of ‘Only Can Get Better’, Diplo calls out “Thank you for taking a chance on us tonight Bestival… we know how important it is” as the giant confetti cannon covers the arena in flickering light.

Now I know this collaboration in its infancy, obviously doesn’t have a back-catalogue of their own hits to roll through, but they have wisely created a set-list that punches hard at the absolute core point of Bestival – fun. I think they did a cracking job of it, despite some protests that it was nothing more than a glorified school disco. I have but one gripe – why where they scheduled at the same time as Bicep?

Images © Andy McHardy for Summer Festival Guide

Bestival Soundsystems and New Music Announced

Bestival is proud to present a host of new names joining our multi-ringed circus of love. With heavyweight soundsystems, dancefloor stalwarts and must-see new acts, don’t miss four days of magical music and circus-themed trickery on over 20 stages and micro-venues in eight unique arenas, at the most colourful show on Earth, now in the heart of the summer, on the Lulworth Estate, Dorset.

Rob da Bank says: “Teaming up with mates and compadres who run record labels, parties or raves is what Bestival has always been about and this year wont disappoint as we bring over Marrakech’s Oasis gang, roll out the one and only David Rodigan, our first and only Resident For Life with his Ram Jam party, as well as some drum and bass mayhem from Goldie and Metalheadz and the Ram crew… turn up the control!”

We’ve teamed up with Marrakech festival and house music haven, Oasis, for an Oasis x Bestival soundclash with sets from Amelie Lens, Nastia, Butch, La Fleur, Benjamin Damage, Alex Niggeman back to back with Denis Horvat & Amine K. Rattling your ribs on a serious rig, we’re are honoured to welcome Ram Jam back to the dance with sets from incomparable reggae auteur Rodigan, plus original nuttah Shy FX, turntable conjurers The Nextmen &Venum Sound.  Legendary junglism comes courtesy of Metalheadz with sets from main man Goldie, plus double drop pioneer Randall, first lady of drum n bass DJ Storm and Ant TC1.

Expect super-rave behaviour from the Raindance crew with ultimate oldskool action from Rat Pack, Rachel Wallace, Liquid, Billy Daniel Bunter, Uncle Dugs, Nebula 2 and Nookie. And big system banging flavours come from the airwaves next generation Radar Radio with sets from Jossy Mitsu, Conducta, Kenny Allstar, Amy Becker, DJ Argue & Master Peace andMartha. Plus, we’ll have Shogun Audio Pres Alix Perez, Technimatic, Pola & Bryson, Glxy &SP:MC & Visionobi and Ram Records with Loadstar going B2B with DC Breaks and Mind Vortex.

And keeping it fresh and correct we’ll have live music and DJ sets from The Big Moon, The Heatwave, Justin Robertson, Purple Rave with Rob da Bank & Tayo, London Contemporary Voices: Guilty Pleasures, House of Pharaohs, Mt Wolf, Jethro Watson, Thomas Urv, Ellie Prohan, Tasha, Gilded Pleasures, Jim 8-Track, Eden Pardey, Cooking With Sherry, Ian & Rob and Roast Beatz.

Bestival Announce Friday Headliner – SILK CITY

The Bestival team are extremely excited to announce yet another exclusive for 2018! Diplo and Mark Ronson’s brand-new project Silk City is our exclusive Friday night headliner at this year’s midsummer show on the Lulworth Estate. 

Rob da Bank says: “We don’t like doing the same thing as other festivals here at Bestival HQ… so for our Friday night headliner we’ve booked something you’ll never have seen in Europe or probably the world. Two of the best party-starting DJs with a new stage show packed with surprises back to back… ladies and gents, boys and girls, please welcome Diplo and Mark Ronson aka Silk City to the stage! 

They’re long-time friends of Bestival, so we are ecstatic Diplo and Mark Ronson have chosen our 15th anniversary celebrations to make their European debut as Silk Citywith a UK festival exclusive set. And if there’s one thing you can guarantee, it’s that this pair know how to rock a party.  Two of music’s greatest names together on the Castle stage, with you, us and some big, big tunes, it’s already got legendary written all over it.

Destined to be monumental, do not miss your first ever chance to catch Silk City as they join fellow exclusive headliners London Grammar and Jorja Smith, plus MIA’s only confirmed UK headline festival appearance and an ever-eclectic line-up featuring Grace Jones, Plan B, Chaka Khan, First Aid Kit, Mura Masa, Rudimental (DJ Set), Hot Chip (DJ Set) and many, many more.

First acts for Bestival 2018 announced!

Behold the most audacious performers to ever have graced Bestival’s green fields. From UK festival exclusive headliners, soul divas and sonic heroes to the ‘must see’ acts of 2018, these are the sights and sounds that will define four days of mind-altering music and circus trickery on over 20 stages and micro-venues in eight unique arenas, at the most colourful show on Earth, now in the heart of the summer, on the Lulworth Estate, Dorset.

Rob da Bank says: “Here come the girls…and a few boys too! Yes, it’s Bestival 2018 and we’re here with the first wave of our all-singing all-dancing line-up. With UK festival exclusive headliners London Grammar and Jorja Smith to legends in the game Chaka Khan, Jimmy Cliff and Grace Jones, and always representing the new blood from Mura Masa and IAMDDB to Mabel and Idles, we’re covering all bases. As any Bestival veteran knows we don’t just do music, so come and check our Hot Yoga, Dubstep Dodgem rides, wood-fired hot tubs, AmbientLand craft tent, East 17’s Christmas Party!, and loads of circus-based trickery, including a Human Cannonball, high wire fire walking and a pretty buff strongman popping up on the Main Stage.”

Commenting on their exclusive headline set, London Grammar’s Dot Major said: “We are so excited to be coming back to Bestival this year! Our show there back in 2014 was one of our favourite shows we have done on home shores. I’ve been going along for years as it’s such a magical festival and this time we get to headline! ? can’t wait to see you all there.”

Bestival 2018 will see UK festival exclusive headline sets from London Grammar on Saturday night, Jorja Smith on Thursday in the Big Top, and a huge and very special Friday headliner still to announce, with M.I.A. closing the show before our fireworks finale on Sunday evening.

There’s no shortage of heroes, legends and bona fide superstars full of circus-themed swagger with standout sets from Grace Jones, Plan B, Chaka Khan and First Aid Kitplus Mura Masa, Sundara Karma, Thundercat, Jimmy Cliff, David Rodigan & The Outlook Orchestra and Stefflon Don among many others confirmed to appear on the Castle Stage.  And our gargantuan and all-embracing Big Top line-up features Django Django, IAMDDB, Kelela, Mike Skinner & Murkage present Tonga and many, many more.

DJ sets and outlandish PAs include, in alphabetical order, 2Bears, Amelie Lens, Bez’s Acid House, Bicep (DJ Set), Billy Daniel Bunter & Raindance, Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts, Craig Charles, Denis Sulta, East 17’s Christmas Party, Faithless (DJ set), Gilles Peterson, Goldie presents Metalheadz, Honey Dijon, Hot Chip Mega Mix (DJ set), Jaguar Skills, Norman Jay, Ram Records, Rodigan presents Ram Jam, Rudimental (DJ Set), Sink the Pink, So Solid Crew a Vic Reeves reggae set and Wookie & Matt Jam Lamont, with many more selectors signed up to our unholy order of rhythm.

And there are psychedelic sideshows and extraordinary attractions to satisfy the soul in eye-popping venues including Temple, Bollywood, HMS Bestival (AKA The Port),Stacey’s, AmbientLand, Caravanserai, Club Dada and a magnificent charm of stages and immersive micro-venues scattered across our boutique campsite wonderland.

As ever Bestival goes far beyond the music, and this year’s circus-themed arcadia is no exception featuring an array of tableau and temptation with Fat Gay Vegan, Feast Collective, Free Haircuts, Slam Poetry Yurt, Gong Healing, 5k Campsite Run, Dubstep Dodgems, Black Light Forest Party, Yoga Nidra With Rob da Bank, Human Ball Pit, Musical Vegetable Orchestra, Wood Fired Hot Tubs, the WI, the World’s Largest Confetti Cannon & Disco Ball, Fireworks, Witness The Fitness Tent, Lit Tent, Loop Sessions, the Love Bot, Rainbow Astronauts and much more. See below for the full line up so far.

Bestival 2018 Line-Up So Far:

Castle Stage: London Grammar / M.I.A. / Grace Jones / Plan B / Chaka Khan / Special Guest / Mura Masa / Sundara Karma / Thundercat / Jimmy Cliff / David Rodigan & The Outlook Orchestra / Stefflon Don / Kojey Radical / Dubioza Kolektiv / Gentleman’s Dub Club / Songhoy Blues / The Cuban Brothers / IDLES / This Is the Kit / Chaka Demus & Pliers / OMG! It’s the Church / L.A. Salami / Son of Dave

Big Top: Jorja Smith / Django Django / IAMDDB / Kelela / Mike Skinner & Murkage pres. Tonga: Holy Goof, Donea’o & Jaykae /  Mabel / Not3s / Kojo Funds / Charlotte de Witte / Agoria (Live) / Ghetts / Mr Jukes / Casisdead / Lotto Boyzz / Sink the Pink / Phil Taggart pres. Slacker: Ratboy, Shame, Superfood, Black Honey, Confidence Man, Touts & whenyoung / We Are Scientists / Nilüfer Yanya / House Gospel Choir – Frankie Knuckles Special / Hak Baker /Adrian Sherwood / Caravãna Sun / Grace Carter / Mellah / The Correspondents / Kitty, Daisy & Lewis/ Blossom Caladron / Beans on Toast / Dutty Moonshine Band / Digital Love: A Tribute to Daft Punk / London Astrobeat Orchestra Perform Talking Heads / Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana / Park Hotel

Temple: Rudimental (DJ Set) / Bicep (DJ Set) / Amelie Lens / Solardo / Denis Sulta / Mall Grab / Honey Dijon / Artwork / Camelphat / Flava D / Palms Trax / Objekt / Nastia / Eli & Fur / Alex Niggemann / Benjamin Damage / Amine K / Mella Dee / Moxie / Darkzy / FineArt / HAAi / Jamz Supernova / Goldierocks / Tasty Lopez / Bradley Gunn Raver

Bollywood: Goldie pres. Metalheadz / Rodigan pres. Ram Jam / Ram Records: Loadstar B2B DC Breaks B2B Mind Vortex / 2Bears / Billy Daniel Bunter & Raindance / Rob da Bank / Radar Radio / FooR / Happy Meals / Nathan Dawe / Biig Piig

HMS Bestival (AKA The Port): Faithless (DJ set) / East 17’s Christmas Party / Jaguar Skills / Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts / So Solid Crew, Wookie & Matt Jam Lamont, Shogun Audio pres. Alix Perez, Technimatic, Pola & Bryson, Glxy & SP:MC & Visionobi / Bez’s Acid House / Stanton Warriors / Big Freedia / DJ Brace / Jodie Harsh & Friends / Kiddy Smile / Savage / Schlachthofbronx / Buttmitzvah / Hard Cock Life

Stacey’s: Gilles Peterson / Hot Chip Mega Mix (DJ set) / Norman Jay / Craig Charles / Donna Leake / Andy Blake / Reach Up – Disco Wonderland / JazzHeadChronic pres. The South London Soul Train / Shaka Loves You / Amy Alsop / Perry Kaye

AmbientLand: Chris Coco / Jane Fitz / Mix Master Morris / Flying White Dots / Flying Mojito Bros

Caravanserai: Temple Funk Collective / Urban Voodoo Machine pres. The Gypsy Hotel / Buffos Wake / Chainska Brassika / Ska V Goldsmith / My Baby / John Fairhurst / Junior Jungle / DJ Chris Tofu / DJ Penny Metal / DJ Ecklectic Mick / New York Brass Band

Club Dada: Vic Reeves (Reggae set) / Reggae Roast ft. Natty Campbell / DJ Shepdog (Nice Up!)

Ezra Collective / Jazz Re:freshed / Henge / King Lagoon’s Flying Swordfish Dance Band / Tokyo Sex Wail / Captain Cumbia / Wara / Immigrant Swing / Movimientos / DJ Chris Tofu / Thrill Collins

White Mink Electro Swing Club / Choreograff: ft. Tension Breakers v. Swing Patrol with New York Brass Band, Natasha Khamjani & more. Pus Many More Stages & Micro-Venues Across the Lulworth Estate.

Common People Southampton 2017 – Reviewed!

Common People might be the littlest sister of UK behemoth Bestival, but it certainly packs it’s own unique punch. Held on Southampton Common (with a twin over in Oxford now too) it’s a two day hedonistic escape without the sleeping-on-a-rollmat or not-showering-for-four-days element, and as such, is an altogether pleasant affair.

Saturday sees the likes of Elvana (Elvis fronted Nirvana) doing, well… exactly what it says on the tin I suppose, and Loyle Carner whipping a tshirt around the stage and rapping hits from his debut album, to a sun-drenched and almost feverish front row made almost exclusively of ladies. Over on the Uncommon stage, local lads Fever are whipping up a storm with their classic punky rock vibes to a packed tent.

The arena itself is decorated with a well-known Josie Da Bank feel to it, silk flags flutter in the breeze and there are fairy lights, lanterns and rainbow streamers everywhere, but it’s the heart installation which simply reads ‘Manchester’ which stands out the most. After such a terrible event, it’s affirming to know that people will still make their way to a festival like this, but the increased police presence was very noticeable.

Despite the somewhat sobering feeling of walking past armed police to enter the festival, the atmosphere is free spirited and fun. The Kids area is packed with people attempting circus skills, hula hooping, bubble blowing and getting their faces painted. Hidden away in a magical little copse, it really does have that hazy secret summer feel to it, and the Jam Jar Bar is serving up delicious treats for the bigger kids. Did someone say Rhubarb Martini?

Over in The People’s Front Room, which is dressed up as a shabby-chic front room in case you were wondering… people are grooving along to funky sounds, but it’s pretty tightly packed so we’re off to check out the food options, which never disappoint at CP. Back in the dark old days of UK festivals your best hope was paying over the odds for some soggy chips and a distinctly grey looking burger, but at Common People your culinary compass can spin all around the world. From Paella to Macaroni Cheese, to thali boxes or soft shell crab burgers, there is nothing common about this menu. We can particularly recommend the brie, pear and walnut from The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Co. which was pretty flippin decadent.

Back at the main stage there are rows upon rows of screaming, glitter-bedazzled girls greeting a very dapper looking Tom Odell who is playing a roaring set from behind his giant centre-stage piano. Calling out “Southampton! Closest I’ll get to a home gig this season, back home, back in the badlands” Tom is returned with a chorus of “Marry me Tom!” from a group of young ladies who look like they might faint at any moment. One particular hardcore Odell fan has actually travelled with her father and sister from Brazil to see him here, now that is commitment!

Next up is Sister Bliss playing a Faithless DJ set in the deep evening sunshine which naturally has everyone up and dancing. ‘We Come 1’ is so heavy it rattles the panels of the helter skelter and Bliss looks right at home here in her sequinned bomber jacket.

Over to Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra to bang out some Ibiza classics and honestly, it is overwhelmingly amazing. Conductor Jules Buckley stands, arms spread wide in front of three tiers of orchestra and Pete Tong perched amongst the rafters at an LED lit mixing desk and they begin. It’s a strange sensation knowing these classics to be, to put it bluntly, somewhat simple musically speaking – but hearing them performed by the orchestra just brings them to a whole new level. Massive hits such as Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and Faithless’ ‘We Come 1’ get the full orchestral treatment but bathed in lasers and smoke. It’s strangely satisfying and retains the intensity of the original tracks. Pete also pays tribute to Manchester noting that it’s ‘on our minds’ before introducing Ella Eyre to sing ‘Good Life’ and Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ which are insanely good. Finishing up with Becky Hill on ‘You Got The Love’ has the whole crowd singing along and Pete Tong quips “We can’t pretend to go off and come back on again, there are too many of us!” as they close the show. With a mass surge out of the gates and into the town, day one of Common People is over and it’s been a blinder.


Sunday on Southampton Common seems a lot quieter, there are a smattering of people milling around for the first bands but it’s pretty sparse, at a guess some people went very hard last night and are nursing some pretty epic hangovers today.

The Novatones who come out strong and belt around the stage with their classic punk rock sound and jumping antics, it’s a great set and a shame so few people were out to see it. The Black Kat Boppers make short work of getting everyone who has made it in, up and dancing some sort of hybrid swing-come-dad-moves.

to being ‘stuck in traffic’ Nadia Rose appears to have all but missed her slot and Calum Lintott, who has just finished a set on the Uncommon Stage is hauled in to fill the time. He looks nervous as hell at first, forgets to plug in his guitar… “That’s a good start isn’t it! I did not expect to be doing this today” and waves awkwardly at his family out in the arena, but he pulls off a frankly fantastic second set anyway. Even the security guards are clapping along by the end and Calum seems pretty stoked about getting to play the main stage, ‘English Daisy’ and ‘Baby I’m Insane’ are going straight on the playlist.

Whilst Signals are mid set-up and sound check, Nadia Rose finally makes it to the main stage – albeit shoe-horned into the side with the DJ booth, accompanied by a large posse. Rocking a red bomber, with matching trainers and visible pants, as well as her signature space bun hairstyle – she is every bit the rapper celebrity the young front row have come to see. Busting out ‘Skwod’ and ‘Boom’ she has boundless energy and is absolutely fierce in her delivery, but it was maybe a little unnecessary of her to complain that “I’ve got a short set today, because I was put on late, but whatever” when it doesn’t seem like anyone was really at fault for that.

A brief but substantial downpour sees herds of people diving into bars and tents for shelter, which Amy MacDonald finds highly amusing “It seems a lot of people are scared of a little bit of rain… that’s a drizzle in Glasgow… southern softies eh?”. Standing in front of a broadway-esque red ruched curtain, the Scottish musician plays a storming set highlighted by recent hit ‘This is the Life’ but the rowdy contingent of Common People are squished side by side into the rainbow-ribboned Uncontained Stage area for Fat Man Scoop. Stalwart of the school disco, Fatman Scoop is of course playing an absolute cheese-fest of hits. Rocking lounge shorts and pool slides he leaves the decks to dance with three stunned kids who’ve been pulled from the crowd for DMX’s ‘Party Up’ but decides to get them to cover their eyes for his brief bout of topless shimmying. Good call Scoop, good call. ‘Be Faithful’ is exactly as obnoxiously loud and fun as you’d imagine, and with the appearance of Goldie, it’s just what we needed to get out of the grim weather funk.

Over on the main stage the House Gospel Choir are giving huge club hits in their distinctive style, notably a cover of Robin S’ ‘Show Me Love’, to a massive crowd. Up next British Sea Power aren’t garnering the same sort of response due to their softer, melodic sounds, but the front few rows seem to be die-hard fans who are absolutely loving them and their strange selection of stage-foliage.

Natives are shredding the Uncommon Stage with loads of people dancing and jumping around in the tent, and the bouncy castle has been dried and re-opened to hordes of terrifyingly fearless children. With a single experimental bounce and what thankfully was a minor collision with a manically grinning cannonball of a small girl, it’s time to escape to safety. Off to a less violent affair, lashings of glitter makeup from Dust & Dance and obligatory hair braiding, before heading over to see Wild Beasts. Flanked by flashing panel lights and a giant backdrop from their latest album ‘Boy King’ they have a distinct electronic rock sound that is definitely piquing some interest in the now quieter arena. I think they’re going to be the hot playlist add following the weekend, but I’m not sure they’re quite what everyone was waiting for.

Groove Armada pick it back up with a solid set of classic dance music, and I know it’s specifically listed as a DJ set but they really are holed up at the back of the stage behind a giant table. Why can’t DJ’s be at the forefront and engage with the crowd in any way other than that wistful sort of pointing into the sky reminiscent of Steve Zissou? Anyway… as they continue through the set the crowd builds and gets increasingly rowdy, during a remix of Breach’s ‘Let’s Jack’ security are rushed into the main stage pit to hold the barriers as people push against them whilst dancing.

After a couple of choice cocktails at The Day of the Dead Bar it’s down to Sean Paul to close out Common People 2017. Swaggering onstage in a dusty trenchcoat and a pair of sunglasses, Sean Paul looks every bit the nonchalant celebrity, but as ‘Get Busy’ begins it’s clear he is here to move and shake that thing as much as the crowd is. Flanked by two extremely energetic dancers, Sean Paul makes his way through a plethora of his classic hits such as ‘Baby Boy’, but it’s his version of Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ that we are both wincing at, and simultaneously loving. It also then mixes into Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and honestly It’s hard to assign one feeling to something like that. To explain, he changes the words… a lot. Enough to have no idea what’s going on except for the tune.

Calling out “We’re bringing you music from around the world tonight… we’ve got music from Jamaica, we’ve been to Australia with Sia… the UK with Ed Sheeran… who wants to go to Trinidad and Tobago with me?” we can’t help but think he’s playing the metaphor because his driver (easily spotted by being the only one at the back of the crowd sporting a full suit and tie) is looking horrified at the idea of driving anywhere other than home after this.

The crowd is getting considerably louder and wilder as the show goes on, and during ‘Temperature’ two girls are hauled over the barrier by security for having a scrap over which one can get closer to Sean Paul. It’s 50-50 on the funny/baffling ratio. Ending with a chant of “Say no no no, we ain’t going home” is fun until it’s actually time to go home and return to the real world, but at least there’s a bank holiday tomorrow to recover. Oh Common People you have once again been superb, with your eclectic mix of music, beautiful décor and incredible extra-entertainment options you are really anything but common, and you know it. Roll on 2017, and if you can’t wait that long for your fix, there’s always the larger scale Camp Bestival and Bestival to continue those CP feels.

Bestival Announces Second Wave of Acts

Setting the tone in our Year of Colour, we are excited to announce even more amazing artists who will be joining The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Pet Shop Boys, Jamie T, Kurupt FM, Justice, Dizzee Rascal and many more as we redefine escapism for the festival generation. With a host of live music, super fat sound systems and DJs heading to our brand new site, join us as we increase the peace this 7th – 10th September at the Lulworth Estate, Dorset.

Rob da Bank says: “Bestival’s formula is pretty simple – we like you guys having fun, exploring new ideas and listening to amazing bands and DJs in a massive field or forest or both at the same time whilst dressed as a multi-coloured gherkin. If you like the sound of that you’re on board already, but if you need any more persuasion, we are proud to announce some mega new acts for Besti, repping the best in grime with Wiley, AJ Tracey and 67, through indie and rock with Blossoms and Twin Atlantic, all topped off with some good old fashioned rave with DJs from Heidi to Bjarki, Monki to the Ragga Twins and a massive garage takeover. Step up people, step the **** up!”

The Lulworth Estate will be rocking to even more amazing live music from the likes of grime godfather Wiley, indie powerhouse Blossoms, slick rhymer Loyle Carner, UK hip-hop hero Roots Manuva, Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic, folk troubadour Nick Mulvey, grime MC AJ Tracey, legendary hype man Fatman Scoop, Ninja Tune cut n paste maverick Romare and funk machine Sinkane. Plus, there will be appearances Tash Sultana, Alma, Cakes da Killa, 67, House Gospel Choir, London African Gospel Choir performing Graceland, Skinny Girl Diet, Smerz, Brushy One String, Hackney Colliery Band, The Greasy Slicks, Park Hotel, The Rhythm Method, Zoee, The Smiths Ltd, Disney Rascal, and the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band. 

We’ll have plenty of new sound system action keeping the floors lit all weekend long, with celebratory behaviour from Andy C presenting 25 years of RAM featuring Andy C, Calyx & Teebee, Culture Shock, DC Breaks and MCs Tonn Piper, and Carasel & 2Shy. Bestival lifetime resident David Rodigan presents Ram Jam with Preditah, Conducta & MC Creed, Venum Sound and a very special guest still to be announced. And there will be footwork frenzy for the Teklife Showcase with sets from DJ Spinn, DJ Taye, DJ Paypal & Teklife Dancers.

The Garage Pool Party will be rinsing some classic beats with garage playas Heartless Crew, DJ Luck & MC Neat and Oxide & Neutrino all dropping enough two-step love to keep HMS Bestival rocking. Ensuring the subs are red hot right across the site we’ll have turntable tear ups from the Raindance crew featuring Rat Pack, Slipmatt, Billy Daniel Bunter and Uncle Dugs, Jungle Fever, with Brockie & MC Det, Jumping Jack Frost, Ragga Twins, Funky Flirt, Shockin B, Eastman Sound, and Ruddy Ranks and Nice Up! presents Daddy G, Kiko Bun, StarOne, Riddim Punks, Ghost Writerz, Shepdog, Serocee, Red Eye Hifi, Mr Benn, Cut La Vis, Jamie Rodigan, Origin One & AAA Badboy.

 

And as if that weren’t enough, there will be even more deck-based brilliance from Mad Professor, Heidi, Bjarki, Monki, Melé, Nightwave, Willow, Anna Wall, Jem Haynes, Reggae Roast & MC Natty Campbell, Tayo, Martha and DJ Dapper Dan.

Common People Announces Sean Paul and Pete Tong Plus Many More

But that’s not all, The Common Stage will see sublime dancefloor duo Groove Armada hitting the decks to provide their own inimitable brand of booty shaking brilliance with appearances from Wild Beasts, Foals (DJ set), The Selecter + The Beat, Saint Etienne, Amy MacDonald, House Gospel Choir and Lucy Leave On Saturday in Oxford, while South Park’s Sunday mainstage action will see BRITs Critics’ Choice winner 2017 Rag’n’Bone Man’s staggering vocals and gospel-powered grooves, plus music from Becky Hill, The Cuban Brothers, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Coldredlight.

And in Southampton, The Common Stage will see BRITs Critics’ Choice winner 2013 Tom Odell’s charismatic swagger and rave legends Faithless on the ones & twos, plus there will be appearances from Loyle Carner, Becky Hill, Stefflon Don, Seán McGowan, Kassassin Street, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Black Kat Boppers on Saturday. And Groove Armada, Wild Beasts, British Sea Power, Amy MacDonald, Nadia Rose, Novelist, House Gospel Choir, Signals and The Novatones will appear on Sunday.

Filling your dancing boots throughout the weekend, the Uncontained Stage will be jumping with My Nu Leng & M8s and very special guest Goldie, Novelist, Redlight, GotSome and Klose One, all stepping up to the plates to drop bombs on Saturday in Oxford and Sunday in Southampton, while hands in the air behaviour will come courtesy of Moxie presents On Loop featuring sets from Joy Orbison, Midland, Kornél Kovács, Felix Dickinson and Or:la on Saturday in Southampton and Sunday in Oxford.

Discovering new music is what gets the man like da Bank out of bed in the morning, it’s the very the lifeblood of the Bestival team! So, we’ve teamed up with fellow new music evangelist and Oxford institution Nightshift once again to showcase the best new local bands alongside some of the most exciting acts around on the Uncommon Stage, including ShaoDow, Zaia, The Balkan Wanderers, Jess Hall & Barney Morse Brown, Kanadia, Vienna Ditto, Death of Hi-Fi, Leader, Young Women's Music Project, Rhymeskeemz, The Shapes, Low Island, Desert Storm, The Epstein, Little Red, The Pink Diamond Revue, Catgod and Slate Hearts.

And continuing our long and illustrious partnership with The Joiners in Southampton we are delighted to present Beans on Toast, Black Honey, Natives, Happy Accidents, Cassava, Fever, XOCKHA, Feeble Grandpa, Scarecrow Boat, Nakamarra, Gun Shy and Deltorers.

Oxford will see universal dance adventures at The Pig’s Big Record Club Stage, hosted by the Shellac Collective 78s DJs and ensuring the party always swings, there will be a host of local DJs from Southampton and Oxford across the weekend.

With amazing music keeping your feet moving throughout the bank holiday weekend, we’ll be bringing a little taste of our legendary madness and mayhem ramping up the Bestival antics to transform Common People into an amazing festival wonderland, with plenty of our off-the-wall shenanigans including boss boogying at the Disco Shed in Oxford, and the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle in Southampton, plus both shows will have the old-time pleasures of Vintage Funfair Rides, surprising Pop-Up Performances, brass-powered Horns of Plenty in Oxford, and Saints Brass in Southampton with the savoury delights of Scrumptious Street Food, decadent drinkies from Cocktail Bars, a fantastic Kids Area with the gymnastic pageantry of Circus, Face Painting, Crazy Inflatables, and much more!