Bestival Announces Amphitheatre Line Up

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

#Bestival16

A brand new area for Bestival 2015 – CARNIVALE!

Bestival’s Summer of Love is all about going back to our roots. It’s about remembering all the things that got us super-excited about our amazing festival life in the first place, and one of our true loves that’s floated our boat since day dot is off-the-wall carnival action. So we’re massively thrilled to be able to announce a brilliant, brand new attraction for 2015 – Carnivale!

Our king of the carnival, Rob da Bank says: “We all know Besti-goers love a good party and any excuse to dress up, so gradually over the years we’ve been building our carnival activity up, till this year things have just gone off the scale with a fantastic Arts Council grant enabling us to put on our biggest carnival ever, and to have a mega pirate ship base for everything carnival to operate from. Combine that with our annual Saturday afternoon parade, and brand new illuminated night parades, soundtracked by yours truly, then things are going to go well and truly crazy for carnival this year!”

Produced by Kirsty Henderson in collaboration with Bestival and one of Europe’s leading and most original carnival groups, Shademakers, Carnivale is situated smack bang in the wonderland that is the Wishing Tree Field. Featuring a huge pirate ship stage with a cast of oddball performers and dancers providing mind-bending entertainment all weekend long, prepare to be bowled over by all manner of amusements, from morning shakedowns and eye-catching exploits, to our Carnival Day Parade and our incredible Night Parades. Plus, there’s an inviting workshop tent where you can get involved in the madness, learning mysterious carnival arts and making your own costumes. An enchanted hive of the unanticipated, Shademakers menagerie of wild and wonderful creations will scamper through the crowds, as Commedia Dell’Arte inspired pirates romp from the rigging, and acrobatic monkeys scale the heights, all as carnival music from around the world, sea shanties and drums fill the air.

Visit the Carnivale’s rhubarb and custard big top, and experience the Galleon Gallery, join in with the creative workshops, make a mask, flag, lantern or withy sculpture, or have your face painted as a cherub or glittery devil! Watch or take part in the many dance and musical workshops… Have you danced to tikitak, played the spoons or a kazoo? There will also be a History of Carnival exhibition where you can kick back and watch some stunning film footage of carnivals from around the world and discover the history of the truly fantastic costumes on display – come and be inspired to join the Carnival!

Whatever you do, don’t miss this year’s Day Parade with more sparkle, more music and more energetically colourful performances than ever before thanks to some of the UK’s top carnival companies. A collaboration across several art forms, the gates to the Carnivale will burst open and the fields of Bestival will be filled with one big summer of love explosion and the joy of the carnival featuring Spandy Andy, Sink the Pink, Mr Wilson's Second Liners, Mariachi El Pinche Grin Go, Shademakers, Area 51, Cirque Bijou, Emergency Exit Arts, Batala Portsmouth, Kinetika Bloco, Mandinga Arts, Preston Carnival, Brouhaha, New Carnival Company, VIP Puppets, Artemis, Quture, CTD Dance Company, Rainbow Connections, Utopia Mas, The Love Float (a collaboration between Shademakers and the IOW Police Volunteer Cadet Force) and The Parlour Make Up, all rocking along to an amazing soundtrack designed especially for the occasion by the man himself, Rob da Bank.

Each night as the sun sets over Bestival, our carnival revellers will come out to play in nocturnal disguise for our glorious Night Parades commissioned by Bestival in association with Roundhouse, Gideon Reeling and Shademakers. Cast your eyes to the horizon and watch as illuminated dancers appear, spreading their glorious wings, marvel as ethereal beings float past your eyes, radiating joy into the Bestival twilight. Heading for the hills of Slow Motion, they’ll gather together there to perform their Rituals of Love, in a spellbindingly wondrous display replete with a jaw-dropping fire finale that will enrapture anyone lucky enough to witness it.

Witness the Spirits of the Summer of Love, here to spread their message of freedom and joy, and to capture you in their playful web, as they dance their way through the festival. And keep an eye out in the Ambient Forest for the spirits as the wonderful Gideon Reeling and The Roundhouse team up to sprinkle magic and a bucket-load of love throughout the thickets, clad in the glorious flamboyant creations of Shademakers Carnival Costumiers.

 

Bestival announces Grand Palace of Entertainment lineup

FROM SINK THE PINK & SCOTTEE’S CAMP

TO LOVE-INS, BLIND DATE & RAVE KNITTING…

THE GRAND PALACE OF ENTERTAINMENT LAID BARE

FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVES FROM:

SINK THE PINK / SCOTTEE'S CAMP

BRAND NEW FOR 2015:

BIRTHDAY GIRLS / BACK DOOR BOYS (& THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF POP) / RAVE KNITTING / GOSPELOKE / DANCE OF THE DEAD / HI-BROW MARISA CARNESKY'S FINISHING SCHOOL

BESTIVAL SPECIALS FROM:

MASSIVE IN CHINA / CUSHION COLLECTIVE / WRONG PONG / KAT & MATT DO THAT: EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION / BRASS FUNKEYS / MUSICAL BINGO / EUPHORIC FITNESS WITH FRAME / BLIND DATE / TINA T'URNER TEA LADY / JAYDE ADAMS / LEGS AKIMBO

OPENING NIGHT PARTY WITH: THE LOVE-IN LOCK-IN

www.Bestival.net / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr

#Bestival15 / #SummerOfLove

Defining breath-taking flamboyance on an epic scale, we’re tickled pink to announce that our audaciously tongue-in-cheek adventure-land, The Grand Palace of Entertainment, will be gracing Bestival’s Summer of Love with more than just a splash of bawdy bacchanalia. A hive of fun and brilliance, if you seek the astonishing or unexpected this September 10-13 at Robin Hill Country Park, then look no further than the Grand Palace.

Summer lover Rob da Bank says: “Where else can you find Rave Knitting sitting alongside the outrageous camp overload of Sink the Pink and Scottee? I’m not sure, but what I do know is The Grand Palace is one of the funnest and funniest places you’ll find at Bestival – non-stop cabaret, outrageous camp, and one of the most flamboyant arenas at any festival. Don’t be shy – dive in!

 

 

In a festival exclusive, we’re overcome with joy that Sink the Pink are back for their seventh year at Bestival. A party force keeping our minds blown and our lives fabulous until dawn, you can expect huge stage shows, interactive performance madness and the best party DJs. Also returning exclusively for us is Bestival favourite Scottee, who has rounded up his gang of the truly unusual, to present another startlingly limp-wristed edition of his infamous variety knees up – CAMP!

Keeping things swoonsomely amazing, we have lots of brand new turns joining the palatial party, too. So brace yourselves for sketch comedy trio Birthday Girls, boyband disco action and debauched dancing with Back Door Boys (& the 10 Commandments of Pop), the unholy alliance of acid house and wool that is Rave Knitting, and church-fuelled sing-along mayhem from Gospeloke. Plus we’ll have Dance of the Dead, Hi-Brow and the all-action Marisa Carnesky's Finishing School, all making their Grand Palace of Entertainment debuts.

The libertine liveliness doesn’t stop there though, as Bestival brazenness runs all day with Massive in China who will host all manner of daylight revelry from the likes of The Roundhouse’s resident performance art troupe, Cushion Collective, who will be exploring love in its many guises, crazy table tennis types Wrong Pong, interactive comedy duo Kat & Matt Do That: Education, Education, Education, New Orleans style hip-hop brass band the Brass Funkeys, and melody-based ball manipulators Musical Bingo. Plus there will be Euphoric Fitness with Frame, Blind Date, and Massive in China’s comperes Tina T'urner Tea Lady, Jayde Adams and Legs Akimbo .

And, kicking it all off in the exquisite style that we’ve come to expect from our off-the-wall cabaret kingdom, don’t miss an avalanche of emotion, power ballads and throbbing beats at our opening night party The Love-In Lock-In. Welcoming in the weekend with a saucy, sexy smile, make sure you start your Bestival endeavours with love.

Bestival 2013 Review – Part 1

As the late summer nights begin to draw in and the end of the festival season is in sight, while many have packed away their daisy dukes, the Bestivalites are suiting up sailor style for the magical mayhem of HMS Bestival 2013 – Robin Hill park is adorned with swaying flags, the ferries are full and the campsites are primed for partying.

Bestival 2013

Thursday’s foray into the mad world of Rob Da Bank’s imagination sees a brand new area – Temple Island (which we managed to explore before it all burnt up – apparently part of the act not an act of pyromania) and a host of new ‘bubbles’ with a stage, chill out areas and sculptures as well as a heap of amazing places to eat (our particular favourite is Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese).

Heading into the main arena past the giant illuminated Big Wheel, the Big Top is already chocka with people for The Correspondents. Mad frontman Mr. Bruce is spinning wildly in his humbug-harlequin frilly getup during ‘What’s Happened To Soho?’ before launching headlong into heart thumping jungle tunes, to which the crowd goes mental. Yelling “This is about as dirty as a gentleman like me gets on a Thursday” before leaping onto the sea of arms in the audience, Mr. Bruce crowd surfs to the halfway point in seconds as DJ counterpart DJ Chucks lays down the beat. Calling out “I’ve gotta be honest, this is overwhelming…” Mr. Bruce isn’t kidding – for anyone who hasn’t seen The Correspondents before; they usually play to pretty tiny crowds, and tonight The Big Top is overflowing and going top notch wild. Elsewhere, Tankus The Henge bring a punky edge to the adorable Polka Tent and every single person we pass has a giant grin plastered on their chops.

Friday sees drag spectacular Sink The Pink (usually found gyrating at The Grand Palace of Entertainment) joined on the main stage by members of The Royal Marine Reserves for a thoroughly jolly workout session, “On behalf of the armed forces, we thank you” and “On behalf of transvestites we thank you” are not two sentences you expect to hear at a festival on a Friday afternoon but it did make us giggle. French electro band Caravan Palace are a surprise with their interesting mix of what’s being termed ‘gypsy jazz’ alongside some proper swing-dancing, but the crowd really draws in for the hotly anticipated return of American hip-hop crew, Wu-Tang Clan. Despite the fact that pretty much everyone only knows one song, the band manage to produce enough hype to get the crowd jumping, before busting out 2001 mega hit ‘Gravel Pit’. DJ Mathematics pops off his shoe and proceeds to work the mixer with his foot to the chant of “When I say Wu-Tang, you say forever…” as a mass of ‘W’ hand signs are thrust skyward in appreciation. Though their set seemed to a lack a bit of punch overall, the nostalgia factor made up for it.

Wu Tang Clan @ Bestival 2013

A quick jaunt to check out new area The Port reveals it to be a giant boat with Diablo acts, fire poi spinners and a massive mermaid, alongside some banging music from DJ’s atop the structure and a huge crane providing an aerial dancer a place to do crazy tricks above the awestruck crowd. It’s sort of reminiscent of our beloved (missing) Arcadia from the last couple of years, and really comes into it’s own at night, with regular fireworks, flame cannons and an amazing DJ lineup.

Over in The Big Top, Sinead O’Connor pokes her signature shaved bonce out onto the stage to a decent crowd for a stirring rendition (with added crowd participation) of her iconic Prince cover of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, giggling, Sinead says “Thank you, you sang beautifully”. Main stage veterans The Flaming Lips are as bonkers as ever, with frontman Wayne Coyne cradling a baby-doll atop silver spheres, in front of a light-waterfall before spinning a flaming orb around his head like a talisman. Amid the madness and glitter ticker-tape, it’s actually a decent set, but the bafflement on the faces around us suggest they’ve gone a step too odd/dark for the Bestival crowd this time.

The Big Top welcomes Belle & Sebastian with an almighty roar for ‘Cuckoo’, and their soft melodic rock lights up the rammed tent, as the rain begins to pour outside. Joking “I hope you haven’t taken all your drugs at once, remember it’s a marathon not a sprint” frontman Stuart Murdoch launches into ‘Another Sunny Day’ and grabs a host of lucky fans from the crowd to join them on stage for ‘Boy With The Arab Strap’. The Scottish Belles definitely put on one of the best performances of the whole weekend.

Despite the extreme soaking the thousands at the main stage just received, the crowd is going absolutely hyper to the sounds of Fatboy Slim’s Bestival Birthday Bash (See main review for full details), with lasers, fireworks, a great AV show and absolutely banging beats. Norman Cook was absolutely made for Bestival and it’s great to see him filling up the main stage instead of either getting crushed in the Big Top or on the fringe watching the fun happen from the outside. ‘Right Here Right Now’ and ‘Rockafella Skank’ are just absolutely massive, heart pounding, raving beasts of tunes and the whole arena is jumping and waving glowsticks like there’s no tomorrow.

Fatboy Slim @ Bestival 2013

At Bestival, the headliner isn’t ever the end of the action – if you go back to your tent, you’re missing out on the most magical hours at Robin Hill. Staggering about the Ambient Forest, with it’s Chinese lanterns and kids play areas, tiny stages and secret hideouts is honestly like being a kid again. Stick on a forest dwelling animal onesie and you may as well have been dropped into Where The Wild Things Are. It’s totally surreal. As if that wasn’t enough, sneaking past Bollywood and The Port, the top left corner of the forest has a hidden jewel in the form of The Ampitheatre. During the day, this plays host to a huge array of acts (notably, Scroobius Pip’s Satin Lizard Lounge of amazing spoken-word artists) but at night they show bizarre and melon-bending movies for the drunk and delusional. Tonight’s effort is an 80’s hip-hop spectacular ‘Beat Street’. The movie itself is kind of confusing and terribly acted, but the atmosphere of the dark benches hidden in the trees, the bunting and the secret snuggling is what The Amphitheatre is all about, oh and the really exceptionally drink-and-or-drug addled couple falling all over people on their 30 minute attempt to leave – comedy gold.

 
Photos by James Bridle for Summer Festival Guide