Day two at Bestival is a bit of a wash-out, with rain coming in until 4pm the arena is a sludgy mess and the wellies are out in force. Nevertheless it hasn’t dampened the Bestival spirit, the crowds are rolling in for tonight’s headliner, The Cure.
Having played Bestival back in 2011 (a performance which was actually recorded for CD) they know it’s a vibrant and colourful festival… so naturally turn up in their standard undertaker-esque garb. Robert Smith’s unmistakable panda-eyed stare and backcombed mop grace the stage as the band kick off with the aptly positioned Open.
Calling out “I’m not going to start explaining what all the songs are about…” Smith warbles through The Baby Screams, and the entire crowd hoots along in unison for The Caterpillar. With a big screen showing MS Paint style heart designs, it’s on to hit Friday I’m In Love, with a quip “Wrong day for this really…” I mean, do The Cure purposefully not book Friday slots so they can make that joke all the time?
Just Like Heaven and Boys Don’t Cry are just, perfect. Every single voice in the crowd is yelling skyward. There’s nothing like the pure new wave gloom to make you feel like you are the most deeply emotional person that ever lived, and no-one could possibly understand your tortured genius.
However, this is where things get messy. After a longer than expected absence from the stage, The Cure pop back on for an encore. Then another. Then another. Now, the final encore does include The Lovecats which is fun to say and to sing, but come on. Two and a half hours of any band is excessive, let alone one which really less than half of the Bestival population has even heard of.
Much is made of Bestival’s age-range and how inclusive it is, but honestly – it’s an overwhelmingly young crowd, particularly with the other chosen headliners this year. Unfortunately this means a severe thinning of the arena every encore break, and by the third you can stride from the sound-desk to the front in thirty seconds. This says nothing of the performance though, The Cure are unfailingly brilliant, but perhaps a touch overdone tonight.
Cloaked among luxuriant trees in Bestival’s Ambient Forest lies The Amphitheatre, an enchanted world of arch amusements. Featuring a provocative feast of curious follies by day, and an unmissable whiff of penetrating, tongue in cheek fun by night, this is just one glimpse of The Future at our anthology of the absurd this September on the Isle of Wight.
Rob da Bank says: “We like to think we’re pretty open-minded and uninhibited at Bestival… and it certainly feels like that in the middle of the night down by the Amphitheatre. It might be off the beaten track but it’s definitely one to search out if you’re looking to have your mind blown by all manner of crazy things. From our mates Sink the Pink, Jodie Harsh and Scottee to madcap theatre, spellbinding poetry and brilliant comedy you won’t know what’s hit you”.
Resplendent below its verdant canopy, The Amphitheatre is a treasure trove of off-the-wall entertainment by day, including electrifying gig-theatre from My Beautiful Black Dog, a celebration of the Bard on booze with Shitfaced Shakespeare, sketch comedy from Beasts Presents Mr Bestival, anxiety comedy from Morbid Abnormal Me, the final part of Sleeping Trees’ live movie trilogy, Sci-Fi, dance-theatre from Scary Shit, sketches, songs and super-good jokes from Shelf Comedy Duo, absurd comedy from Simon Slack – The Fantastic and an enlightening look at drug policy with Leap – Good Cop Bad War.
We’ll also have music from London Contemporary Voices Choir, beatboxing heavyweight and artist Reeps One will be turning up the heat for Nando’s Music Exchange, there will be fx pedal mania with Dawson Loop Station and the Sounds Familiar Quiz, plus versification with The Satin Lizard Lounge curated by Scroobius Pip, our Island Poetry Competition winner Kestrell and the amazing Roundhouse Poetry Collective, all hosted by Jack Rooke.
As day time turns to night we discover exactly what lurks beneath the belly of the Bestival beast… fizzing with gay abandon, The Amphitheatre will transform into a glitter-strewn arcadia where our number one drag slags Sink the Pink await you on Friday and Saturday night. We’ll also have bottle-blonde-bombshell beats with Dystopia Presented by Jodie Harsh, limp-wristed future weirdness from Scottee's Camp, Hacienda legend Greg Wilson's Super Weird in the Woods, with The Reynolds and Blind Arcade, Backstreet bacchanalia with Figs in Wigs, homo-hip-hop from Hard Cock Life, and the chance to unleash your hidden diva with Gospeloke. Plus, there will be Two Total Losers and the Fabbo Future Quiz, and it’s all hosted by Aoife Hanna.
There are still plenty of treats to be revealed for our Future paradise, including our Sunday night main stage headliners and much more, so head to www.Bestival.net, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / Tumblr
As Bestival’s luminous dream world draws ever nearer, we have news of a host of amazing new live acts and DJs who will be dropping future sounds among the cosmic campfires, mindful escapism, intergalactic raves and Mexican wrestling when Bestival heads into The Future this coming 8-11 September at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight.
Rob da Bank says: “As ever we aim to please at Bestival and cover all bases at our insane island party. So let’s head into The Future with one of my favourite electronic acts ever Leftfield, a-song-a-month sensation Oh Wonder and newbies Honne and Anne-Marie, plus jungle and house legend DJ Zinc and hardcore heroes Slipmatt, Billy Daniel Bunter and Altern-8!”
They’re one of the biggest and best live dance music acts ever, so we’re over the moon to announce that Leftfield will be tearing up the Big Top on Saturday night. Famed for their speaker smashing bass, and a truckload of anthems from Phat Planet and Release the Pressure to Swords and Universal Everything, they never fail to give the dancefloor a proper spanking. You don’t want to miss this one.
But that’s not all as we’ll have breathy synth duo Oh Wonder, electronic soul from Honne, Rudimental collaborator and winner of MTV’s Brand New list Anne-Marie, hotly tipped rapper Tiggs da Author. acoustic trance from The ShowHawk Duo, and post punk three-piece and Robert Smith faves The Twilight Sad.
There will be even more live music from London Music Awards’ Rising Star Espa, widescreen indie types New Desert Blues, Sunday Best’s own Alice Jemima and Xylaroo, high octane rhymesters Too Many T’s, and the incredible winner of our Isle of Wight bands competition Lauran Hibberd.
Joining our future perfect fun on the ones and twos we have a host of forward-thinking crate diggers who’ll keep you dancing all night long including super sharp shooter DJ Zinc, the World of Rave & Music Mondays crew with History of Rave action from DJ Slipmatt going b2b with Billy Daniel Bunter and a DJ set from Altern-8, plus grime selector Sir Spyro, Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, freestyle femme fatale Amy Becker and woozy, psychedelic wunderkind Roosevelt.
We’ll also have pleasingly repetitive beats from Junk: Not Your Thing featuring Luca Pilato & Jordan Mckinlay, Bestival FM co-host and all round party phenomenon Goldierocks hosting the main stage, and dancefloor devastation from Ghettospheric, K2rah, Dr DJ, Joe Roberts Presents Ecstasy Garage Disco, Suspiciously Delicious, Bitr8 and Isle of Wight DJ competition winner Just Eden.
Plus, there will be energetic pursuits from the amazing Reggaerobics who will be helping us blow away the cobwebs with some stirring morning manoeuvres.
There are still plenty of treats to be revealed for our Future paradise, including our Sunday night main stage headliners and much more, so head to www.Bestival.net, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / Tumblr
The legendary Port remains missing, its whereabouts unknown but Bestival’s brand new, revolutionary monolith of sound, The Spaceport, is shaping up to be the greatest dance stage ever! Throbbing to an intergalactic soundscape of epic proportions, our seven storey symbol of the future will transmit Bestival’s unique vision of our dancefloor destiny as we unveil the crack squad of space cadets, who will be joining previously announced Spaceport headliners Diplo, Carl Cox, and Fatboy Slim, to blast us into the unknown this coming September on the Isle of Wight.
Bestival rave-master Rob da Bank says: “Prepare for lift off my futuristic friends, this is going to be the stage of the summer of UK festivals. A dream team of Josie da Bank, our mate Paul Normandale, who’s Bjork and Coldplay’s lighting designer, super set designers Spatial and a host of madcap inventors are building an incredible imaginary Spaceport for you to rave at and take off into The Future. In that rocket will be no less than rave veterans Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Diplo, DJ Yoda and Candi Staton propped up by newbies like DJ Barely Legal and Mele and Monki… The Future is almost here”.
Following an out of this world opening ceremony, we’ll be heading into orbit as we ramp up the rave action with a cavalcade of advanced selectors including Benji B, Destructo, DJ Barely Legal, DJ Yoda, Dub Pistols Soundsystem, Eats Everything, James Zabiela, Kenton Slash Demon, Klose One and Mella Dee.
And hitting the decks to take us beyond the solar system of sound will be Mount Kimbie, Mumbai Science, Norman Jay MBE, NRG Flash: Monki & Mele, Oneman going back to back with My Nu Leng, Purple Rave Prince Tribute from Heidi, Rob da Bank & Tayo, Riton, Sink The Pink presents No Limits with Candi Staton & Livin’ Joy, Skream and The Heatwave.
The epicentre of the inevitable and the future of the dance, The Spaceport is where the party’s at. Don’t miss it.
Making Bestival the festival to discover new music is a big part of what keeps us buzzing. Finding an incredible new band that could change your life, or that one amazing unknown track that will blow everyone away is something that our intrepid curator Rob da Bank has made his life’s work. With his monumental musical knowledge helping him to sniff out a cornucopia of mysterious gems, Rob’s track record for discovering the next big thing is unparalleled, and the Invaders of the Future stage is Bestival’s cathedral of cutting edge sounds where you’ll find this year’s selection of bright young things who could just be your new favourite band in The Future.
Rob da Bank says: “Yup, we all love a stonking big headliner at Bestival, and huge DJs and bands that have sold millions of records smashing it on our stages, but mostly where you’ll find me across the weekend at Bestival is in our Invaders stage checking out the new bands. Once more we’ve gone mentally diverse from Radio 1 and SXSW darling’s Danny L Harle, Pup and Sunflower Bean through the amazing Eska and a takeover from the hottest label out there, PC Music, to local island talent Born Ina Barn and Xockha. See you down the front!”
Out on a mission to capture your heart and keep your feet moving at the UK’s official Best Major Festival, the Invaders of the Future stage will be bouncing all weekend long to sets from west London’s All This Noise, high-octane punks Asylums, atmospheric four-piece Black Honey, Island b-boys Born Ina Barn, and soulful pop types Clean Cut Kid, with appearance from Coco, Creeper and Saturday’s late night headliner Danny L Harle.
We’ll also have singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eska, beguiling trio Fatherson, pop outfit Fickle Friends, rock n rollers The Greasy Slicks, the darkly inventive HÆLOS, visceral Spanish indie quartet Hinds and the swirling sounds of The Japanese House.
Getting those in the know all hot under the collar there will be more Invaders of the Future action from the golden voiced JP Cooper, Illinois’s K.Flay, the folk musings of L.A. Salami, hotly-tipped Merseysider Louis Berry, emo four-piece Moose Blood, punk rockers Milk Teeth, hyperreal ultrapop label PC Music All Stars and Pinegrove.
Don’t miss the chance to check out Merthyr Tydfil’s Pretty Vicious, Toronto’s Pup, the hypnotic and pulsing Rationale, off-kilter R&B producer Royce Wood Junior, epic indie upstarts The Sherlocks, Mancunian powerhouse Spring King, mesmerising 12-piece Stompy's Playground and incorrigible ravers Subgiant.
And make sure you catch amazing new music from Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean, Smugglers co-founder Will Varley, purveyors of surf-doom The Wytches, alt rockers Vant, the Island’s own Xockha and indie three-piece Zibra.
Collecting all our top tips for the future in one mind-blowing stage, head to the Invaders of the Future and discover what fires up Bestival’s soul.
Predicting something very special as we charge inexorably towards The Future, the Bestival crew are set to whet your appetite with a hearty helping of amazing bands and DJs that will be joining The Cure Major Lazer, Diplo, Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Bastille, Skepta, Wolf Alice and many more at Robin Hill this coming September.
Rob da Bank says: “I love booking Bestival. It’s proper ‘kid in a sweetshop’ time when I look at all the acts out there and try to curate a line-up that makes sense across many genres… which is how I think Bestivalites like it. It’s not just booked for you, it’s for me too, so I cannot wait for a weekend encompassing Kano, Goldie, Mura Masa, Evian Christ and Reggie and Bollie. If you fancy it too, I’ll see you on the ferry!”
Upping the grime ante, renaissance man Kano will be joining us to showcase his skills with some super-sick bars. His recent Fire in the Booth for Charlie Sloth was a total masterclass that set the standard for the young pretenders, making his appearance at Bestival truly unmissable.
We’ll also have future perfect live performances from much vaunted Seattle duo Odesza, the lush and sultry Snakehips, wunderkind producer Mura Masa, London collective WSTRN, superfly freestyler Lady Leshurr, BBC Sound of 2016 nominee Billie Marten, Brits Critics' Choice nominee Frances, soul-funk-jazz-pop fusionist Izzy Bizu. and X Factor’s real superstars Reggie & Bollie.
Also taking to the stage will be the inimitable Los Hermanos Cubanos, The Cuban Brothers, the sublimely intimate This Is The Kit, South African folkster Jeremy Loops and our old mates the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band.
Stepping up to the platters that matter to keep you dancing all night long expect DJ sets from beat juggling behemoth DJ Yoda, Metalheadz legend Goldie, Southampton’s finest deck destroyer James Zabiela, sonic adventurers Mount Kimbie, and Ellesmere Port’s boldest export Evian Christ.
There will also be sets from Radio 1’s Heidi, bass marauders Oneman b2b My Nu Leng, on the fly edit merchants Melé & Monki’s NRG Flash, architect of grime and recent Bestival FM guest Artwork, and Honey Soundsystem, Applescal, Poté and Venum Sound.
And, adding a soupçon of off the wall behaviour, we will have Bestival antics from spandex-clad force of nature Mr Motivator, crack of dawn ravers Morning Gloryville, and Circus Raj.
HMS Bestival has vanished in mysterious circumstances. Investigations are underway, but as the enigma deepens and the conspiracy theories grow, the ship’s fate remains unclear. As the future unfolds, and human horizons expand beyond the planet, The Port, devoid of its antiquated maritime attraction, will evolve into a new kind of universal berth. A colossal cosmodrome. The Spaceport.
Rob da Bank says: “Be under no illusions my futuristic friends… This stage is going to blow your mind and take you interstellar like no other stage before… This is The Future of the dance. HMS Bestival, our trusty old ship, has sunk or otherwise been sucked down a Bermuda Triangle shaped whirlpool, and thus we are reinventing Robin Hill’s sacred rave space once more with a spaceship the likes Planet Earth has never witnessed.
“A veritable space oddity standing seven storeys high The Spaceport will beam out music day and night, lit by lasers with giant astronauts floating across the sky. Prepare for take-off, take your protein pills and put your helmet on. See you at The Spaceport in t-minus 196 days and counting…”
Featuring a vast rocket standing more than 20 metres high at its centre, The Spaceport is a laser-loaded mega-structure featuring a truly state of the art db audio array processing sound system, guaranteed to smash out epic low-end, with lighting design from Lite Alt Design’s world renowned Paul Normandale, whose previous credits include the Chemical Brothers, Coldplay and the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. The Spaceport is a unique step in the advancement of sound and vision, where next-level partying isn’t just an ambition, it’s a promise.
As well as a main stage date with Major Lazer, the mighty Diplo will also be making a separate appearance headlining our brand new stage. A true innovator and originator, when Diplo first brought his Mad Decent Soundsystem to rip up Bestival 2009 the night was truly legendary, so expect more of the same and a lot more besides.
Rave pioneer, three-deck wizard, label don and über producer, Carl Cox is lined up for some very special headline excursions at The Spaceport. A mainstay of contemporary dance culture over the last three decades, we’re super-excited that he’ll be joining our futurescape playing an unmissable, career-spanning House Classics set.
He’s headlined the main stage (twice), he’s played Bollywood, the Big Top, and even a sneaky set or two in the hidden disco, so when we asked our great friend and serial rave god Fatboy Slim back this year, there was only ever one place we wanted him to play; on our epic new stage, The Spaceport!
Bestival 2015 was a psychedelic wonderland that brought the third Summer of Love to life! With a passionate crowd of hippies, ravers and lovers, it was four days of sun-drenched joy.
Rob da Bank says: “Thanks a million for making our Summer of Love so spectacular… It was a crazy colourful explosive ball of fun and love and music and mad things happening. With truly memorable moments and amazing new things like Slow Motion, Missy, the Carnival Parade, the Port, the Blind Tiger, the Chemical Brothers, Revolution Ride, the Love-Bot and a thousand other things I could list, I think we’ve taken it up another level this year and having such a lovely crowd was no small part of that. I’ve already got some amazing things lined up for next year, so watch this space!”
Featuring incredible headline sets from Missy Elliott, Duran Duran, the Chemical Brothers and Underworld, and mind blowing performances from Boy Better Know, Tame Impala, The Jacksons, Flying Lotus, Skrillex Annie Mac, Future Islands, Duke Dumont, Mark Ronson, Charli XCX, Action Bronson, our special guests House of Pain and so many more, not forgetting what can only be described as an utterly insane reaction to the Chuckle Brothers, it’s a been a truly vintage year!
With a mass busk, an eight metre tall Love-Bot, the return of our record breaking disco ball and our beloved I Heart Bestival sign, totally delicious food, our brand new arena Slow Motion, cuddly llamas, jaw-dropping night parades, glitter-strewn cabaret, Carnivale, fantastic comedy and most of all you, our summer-loving crowd, filling our lysergic land of awe with delight, we don’t think it could have been any better! So we want to say a massive heartfelt thank you for making it another absolute corker.
We’re already chomping at the bit for Bestival 2016, and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be pleased to know that limited Early Bird Tickets go on sale at special prices from 10am on Friday 18th September. Do. Not. Miss. Out.
And, if you’ve already got the Bestival blues, make sure you catch Seth Troxler’s two-hour Essential Mix recorded at The Port, which is going out on BBC Radio 1 next Saturday 19th September at 4.00am and our Channel 4 Bestival Special coming soon.
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…
Saturday night headliners The Chemical Brothers, have been long on the wish list for Best-goers having waited for their main stage return since 2007. With Bestival being the last hurrah of the UK festival season, early dark skies provide a perfect backdrop for the onslaught of blinding green lasers of opening number and iconic late 90’s track ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’. Despite the lack of the famed saucy skeletons on the big screens, it’s a strong start for the dance duo and the arena is jumping.
The show is heavy with trippy images of clowns and dancers, strobe lighting and colour to make up for the fact that you are essentially watching two guys push some buttons and bob along to a future beat in their headphones, but it honestly looks like they are having a damn good time as they drop ‘GO’ alongside a visual of a glittery roller-dancer gliding about on screen. Standard as it might now be for a festival or arena tour, there is something exciting about smashing giant inflatable balls around the place when you’re swimming in the depths of the front barrier crowd, long live the gimmick!
Two huge red and blue animatronic robots walk on stage shooting happy ravers with their laser eyes, and a giant inside-out disco ball refracts spotlights into a million starry specks as the Chemicals close out with hits ‘Block Rockin’ Beats', ‘Push The Button’ and ‘Galvanize’. With a final flourish and an on-screen tribute to their sadly missed music producer Stuart Jammer James, who had also worked with a plethora of Bestival favourites such as New Order, Hot Chip and Grace Jones, the set is over. The Chemical Brothers were well worth the wait, and as the sweaty masses leave the arena for other areas with wide grins plastered on their faces, it’s clear they were a great headline pick.