We are very pleased to announce the return of Camp Bestival, back in the spacious grounds of Lulworth Castle from Thursday 29th July to Sunday 1st August. Scored by the very best music acts around and bursting with blockbuster action don’t miss out on Camp Bestival 2021 because we mean it when we say ACTION.
Featuring a cast and crew that reads like the greatest soundtrack ever made, expect movie music magic from the likes of Fatboy Slim who remains our weapon of choice to top the bill on Saturday night following a set from special guests Friendly Fires. We’ll say hello to the nightclub sounds of Groove Armada and we’ll most certainly have heaven on our minds when Becky Hill takes to the stage heading a glittering Friday night Castle Stage triumvirate that also includes a tasty turn from Kelis and Sophie Ellis-Bextor featuring daring doyens of the dance, Sink The Pink.
Winner of ‘Best Family Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards 2019, we’ve got family entertainment galore in the fresh coastal air with a host of CB faves including risqué tearaways Dick and Dom, outrageous live scientists Brainiac Live, and Cbeebies legends Mr Tumble, Mister Maker & Rebecca Keatley, Andy & The Odd Socks and Sam & Mark. And we have singalong joy with the BRIT School, and performing arts amusements from Stagecoach, plus Art, Science, Dance & Circus Workshops, and kiddie friendly techno-colour courtesy of Big Fish Little Fish, and Junior Jungle.
You’ll see stars all weekend long right across the capacious castle grounds with music from Level 42, Max & Harvey, Georgia, The Selecter, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley’s 90s Anthems, The Sugarhill Gang – Furious 5 ft Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio, Vengaboys, Heather Small, The Sherlocks and Louise Redknapp. Our cinema scope will catch the sights and sounds of David Rodigan, Reef, Space, Tim Burgess, Biig Piig, Mae Muller, Self Esteem, DJ YODA PRES. FILMSTOCK, The Cuban Brothers, Norman Jay MBE and Cheryl Hole. And we have scene-stealing sets from Craig Charles, Gengahr, Jaguar Skills, Dub Pistols, S Club 2, The Wurzels, LTJ Bukem, Krafty Kuts, Klaus Blatter, R.A.E, Tamzene, Fleetmac Wood, Hungry Heart, Purple Rave – A Prince Tribute, Bowie Disco and many more.
Our movie-themed weekend won’t be short on the talkies with comedy and spoken word appearances from Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly, award winning author Irvine Welsh, and snooker great and leftfield music authority Steve Davis and his DJ partner Kavus Torabi. Plus, there’s more verbalising and vaudeville across the weekend from the likes of Scummy Mummies, Man Vs. Baby, TheDadLab and Wacaday mainstay Timmy Mallett!
No Camp Bestival would be complete without lashings of bonhomie and fabulous fare. So, expect food and drink fun that caters to all tastes including The New Foodies hosted by Fred Sirieix, live fire demos, traders tutored by The Black Farmer’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, Neil Rankin, DJ BBQ, Fizz Bar and Mother Earth’s Open Kitchen.
If contemplative vibes are more your focus, then head to Slow Motion to enjoy the delights of yoga, breathwork including an appearance from Richie ‘the breath guy’ Bostock, meditation, sound healing, ayurvedic workshops, and a sleep retreat. Or set your pulses racing with Fit Camp including wild runs, HIIT & family boxing, and a holistic triathlon.
With a cast of long-term faves already in place, Camp Bestival also has some superstars in the making with thePalace our teen area, Stargazy Presents ‘Keep It Cosmic’, a blend of music & mixology, the Giggle Box our new comedy venue, Cirque Bijou’s High Wire Spectacular and, of course, the Full Moon Cinema, all brand new for 2021.
And following its smash-hit debut performance Wild Tribe gets star billing with a host of earthy and earthly activities including the Big Build, Water Slides & Ziplines With Woodland Tribe, Spinney Hollow Craft Village, Mossy Crow, Bushcraft, Bivouac & Fire Building, Interactive Theatre and Calm Spaces.
As ever, there are a multitude of options for camping out at Camp Bestival. Featuring the very finest in outdoor living, check out all the expansive options that range from our roomy General Camping fields, through the generous plots of Camping Plus and Backstage Camping right up to the none-more luxurious Boutique options, Campervans, Caravans and beyond.
FEATURING THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY STEPHEN BELL
PRESENTED BYMYLEENE KLASS
MATT FORDE | ANUVAB PAL | MILTON JONES | AL MURRAY | CHRIS STOKES
SIMON EVANS | SHAPPI KHORSANDI | OLGA KOCH | KEN CHENG
EDWARD ASKHAM-SPENCER | ADA CAMPE | KIRSTY NEWTON
TOM HOUGHTON | SOPHIE DUKER | RORY BREMNER | JUSTIN MOORHOUSE JONNY AWSUM | LOST VOICE GUY | CRAIG HILL | MARK SIMMONS
ROBERT WHITE | WITT ‘N CAMP
JAZZ & SWING
THE BONESHAKER BAND | MOSCOW DRUG CLUB | JAZZ DYNAMOS
NATTY CONGEROO & THE FLAMES OF RHYTHM | GROOVE UNDER THE SEA
AUREUM SAXOPHONE QUARTET | THE HAWKMEN
WORLD & FOLK
JULU & HEG | MARTIN HARLEY SOLO
HENRY WEBSTER & ELLIOTT MORRIS | NICOLA & JIM
CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL | THE GASLIGHT TROUBADOURS | MAX PASHM
PAPRIKA | THRILL COLLINS | NAMVULA
BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING BERKSHIRE
RALEGH LONG | DARSHAAN | ROZ FIRTH
OLLY CHAMBERLAIN | TABI GAZELE
PUNCHBOWL GALLERY| CRISTO DESIGN | HANOI ART HOUSE
FRED GORDAN | GALLERY ATTACHÉ
Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous festival, and winner of Headline Performance of the Year in 2016 returns to its spectacular setting on the riverbank in Henley-on-Thames from 8th to 12th July 2020.
As the UK’s only black-tie festival, Henley Festival is glamour personified, offering Michelin starred food, award-winning comedy, critically acclaimed artists and the biggest names in popular, world, jazz and classical music. Many festival goers arrive by boat, as the green lawns of the festival are transformed into a Great Gatsby vision, as black tie clad revellers spill across the festival site, champagne in hand, while fireworks explode overhead.
Established 38 years ago as a classical music charity event, Henley Festival continues to run as a non-profit organisation, supporting charitable projects at both a national and local level.
THE FLOATING STAGE HEADLINERS 2020
Seminal British pop band Madness will open Henley festival 2020 on Wednesday night. One of the top 20 selling UK groups of all time, Madness have seven top ten albums, 22 top 20 hits and over six million album sales to their name. Having celebrated 40 years in the music industry in 2019, Madness will perform much loved classics including ‘House of Fun’, ‘Baggy Trousers’ and ‘It Must Be Love’ alongside new songs from their first album in five years ‘The Bullingdon Boys.’ A British group like no other, formed in the heyday of punk, Madness are true originals who mix ska and reggae rhythms with social comment and music hall humour. Their appeal endures to this day, Madness’ latter-day concerts having become fun-packed celebrations of one of the best-loved songbooks in British pop.
On Thursday night, Henley Festival is delighted to welcome the multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter James Blunt to headline the Floating Stage. A household name across the UK and beyond, Blunt rose to fame in 2004 with the release of his debut album Back to Bedlam, achieving worldwide acclaim with the hit singles ‘You’re Beautiful’ and ‘Goodbye My Lover’. Back to Bedlam went on to become the best-selling album of the 2000s in the UK, with over 11 million copies sold worldwide. Blunt has received numerous awards, including two Brit Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards, as well as receiving five Grammy Award nominations. He has continued to achieve huge commercial success with his following releases, the latest being his new album Once Upon a Mind.
The Henley festival audience are in for a treat on Friday night, as singer-songwriter sensation Sophie Ellis-Bextor takes to the floating stage. The queen of ‘sophisticated pop’, Ellis-Bextor released her double-platinum selling debut album Read My Lips in 2001, which reached number two in the UK Albums Chart and produced hit singles including ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Take Me Home’. The album also experienced international success, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide and winning the Edison Award for ‘Best Dance Album’ in 2003. Ellis-Bextor continued to achieve great commercial success with her following releases. In 2014, her fifth studio album Wanderlust became her highest charting album since Read My Lips, peaking at number 4 in the UK. Bringing a vibrant mixture of mainstream pop, disco, nu-disco and 1980s electronic sounds to Henley, Ellis Bextor’s headline show is bound to have the whole festival dancing the night away!
Friday night’s performance by Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the floating stage will be followed by Sara Cox presents: Just Can’t Get Enough 80s.Dance the night away to classic tunes from the TV and radio broadcast legend! Join Sara Cox for all the hits from the best decade, delivered with a stunning stage set and amazing visuals. Huge anthems for monumental crowd participation moments making epic memories to take home. If you’ve got fond memories of legwarmers and spandex, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough 80s’ is a new show set to send you into a retro frenzy!
Lovers of disco are in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat on Saturday night, as a collection of the world’s most iconic dancefloor hits are reimagined, reinvented and brought to the floating stage by Disco Classical, with legendary Special Guest Sister Sledge featuring Kathy Sledge. Formed in 1971, Sister Sledge achieved international success at the height of the disco era. The year 1979 saw the release of their breakthrough album We Are Family, which peaked at number three on the US Album Chart and included the top ten singles ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ and ‘We Are Family’, the latter earning a Grammy Award nomination. Alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra – who opened Glastonbury 2017 – a live band, guest singers and renowned crowd-pleaser DJ Mark Armstrong, Disco Classical and Sister Sledge will create one of the most memorable and uplifting live music experiences around, filled with captivating light displays and glittering disco balls; it’s the perfect party show!
On Sunday 12th July, classical superstar Myleene Klass will present Classic FM’s Classical Salute, an evening of classical and military music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stephen Bell.
Classical Salute celebrates the power and glory of one of our finest orchestras and the theatre of the military around the world. During the evening, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined by a string of military musicians including Ceremonial Trumpeters for Verdi’s Grand March from Aida, a band of Military Drummers for Ravel’s Bolero as well as uniformed pipers for Highland Cathedral by Roever. The orchestra will also be joined by internationally acclaimed soloists for performances of popular greats including Rule Britannia, Bizet’s Carmen and a rousing performance of Goodwins 633 Squadron. There will also be music by Gershwin, Strauss and many others, and the evening will end with triumphant fireworks exploding over the river on the final night of the festival.
A STELLAR COMEDY LINE-UP
The 2020 comedy line up at Henley is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Al Murray,Milton Jones, Shappi Khorsandi and Rory Bremner among the stellar 20 comedians performing at this year’s festival. One of Britain’s favourite comedians, Al Murray’s hard-edged social and political satire is sure to have the audience in fits of laughter. In 2003, Murray was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, and in 2007 he was voted the 16th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.
Milton Jones will be bringing his hilariously clever one-liners to Henley’s comedy line up, involving puns delivered in a uniquely deadpan and purposely neurotic style. Jones has had various shows on BBC Radio 4 and is a recurring guest panellist on Mock the Week. Along with the likes of comedian and author Shappi KhorsandiandScottish impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner,his hilarious show is certainly not to be missed. In addition, runner-up on series 12 of Britain’s Got Talent, Robert White, and the first stand-up comedian in Britain to use a communication aid in his routines, Lost Voice Guy, will also be keeping audiences thoroughly entertained, alongside a whole host of up-and-coming comics.
JAZZ AT HENLEY FESTIVAL
Henley Festival’s very own Jazz Club in the stunning Spiegel Tent offers dining and live jazz music before and after the main headline act. With their thrilling three-part harmonies, mercurial percussion, virtuoso violin and soaring sax and clarinet, The Boneshaker Band will create an inimitable and unmissable opening to the Jazz Club on Wednesday night. On the following night, Moscow Drug Club will bring their intoxicating & intimate musical experience – where elements of Berlin Cabaret, Hot Club de France, French Musette and Storytelling meet – to Henley’s Jazz Club. Friday night will see London’s own Jazz Dynamos transform and reinvent well-known songs from Peggy Lee, Dolly Parton and Madonna with a mix of jazz, bossa, samba, and contemporary pop music – occasionally all at the same time!
On Saturday night, internationally acclaimed Swing band Natty Congeroo & the Flames of Rhythm will bring the party to the Jazz Club with their high-energy, immersive live performance. Led by the legendary showman Natty Congeroo, the Flames’ repertoire is a combination of tight original numbers and explosive interpretations of classic Hot Jazz, Swing, Rhythm ’n’ Blues and Gospel. Closing the Jazz Club on Sunday, Austrian ensemble Aureum Saxophone Quartet will showcase the richness and infinite array of sounds that are possible on the saxophone; your ears will be amazed! In addition, electrifying live outfit The Hawkmen will bring a taste of rhythm ‘n’ blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll – brought together in a uniquely classic, rootsy, hybrid blend – to Henley.
WORLD & FOLK MUSIC IN THE BEDOUIN TENT
Enter the Bedouin Tent for a taste of world music and home-grown British folk at their best. World music highlights include Paprika, the UK’s leading Balkan band, who create fiery melodies and foot-tapping rhythms that fuse Eastern European, Balkan, Gypsy and Classical music in a whirlwind performance of frenzied virtuosity. Max Pashm will also bring his infamous live show experience to Henley, featuring uplifting percussion, vocals and keyboards along with his general showmanship and sense of humour on stage. Fusing the folk and urban traditions of her Zambian homeland and her Scottish roots with London’s eclectic music scene, Namvula’s uplifting, emotive songs will transport the Henley audience into different worlds, while staying firmly rooted in African soil.
The Bedouin Tent will also be presenting up-and-coming names in folk music, including Julu & Heg, who have taken the scene by storm with their evocative, harmony-rich songs. Award-winning fiddle player Henry Webster is also among the latest generation of folk musicians bringing a fresh perspective to the tradition. Teaming up with singer-songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris, this special performance is not one to be missed. In addition, folk duo Nicola & Jim will present the amazing spectacle of Nicola’s simultaneous fiddle playing and clog dancing alongside the driving sounds of Jim’s piano and accordion. Having recorded and performed with international stars including Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Laura Marling, British slide guitarist and songwriter Martin Harley will also showcase hisincredible artistry and intimate, gritty style to the Henley audience, and with three albums and numerous gigs across Europe already under her belt, Charlotte Campbell will be bringing her charming London street performances to the Bedouin Tent stage.
BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING BERKSHIRE
BBC Music Introducing was created in 2007 to support unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians. Henley Festival is hugely excited to be working with BBC Music Introducingdiscovering breaking acts from the region, all of whom have featured across the BBC network before.
This year Henley Festival will be hosting new local producer talent in addition to emerging bands and songwriters. Elton John and Lauren Laverne approved multi-instrumentalist Ralegh Long brings his Nick Drake-like sombre lyricism to Henley on Wednesday night followed by the London based and Reading bred electronic composer Darshaan on Thursday. On Friday Henley audience gets to enjoy the intricate folk of Roz Firth and on Saturday the singer-songwriter Olly Chamberlain will grace the stage at Pure Heaven before hitting major UK festivals in Reading and Leeds. Nigerian-Australian Tabi Gazele’shypnotic melodies and joyful yet thought-provoking lyrics have drawn her comparisons to Emeli Sande. Her first performance at Henley Festival follows over 2 million combined streams of two track features (Devil On My Shoulder and Soul Glo with Lee Fields) on multi-platinum Australian hip-hop group Bliss n Eso’s 6th Studio Album ‘Off The Grid.’
Henley Festival is one of the very few festivals in the UK to showcase artworks from some of the UK’s most talented artists, photographers and galleries. Focusing largely on local talent this year, Henley Festival is delighted to play host to a string of up and coming makers and craftsmen, including artisanal jewellers of Studio 35 and Cristo Design’s striking wooden furniture. The festival will also welcome back Tommy Burr’s urban art that repurposes mundane materials like traffic signs into vibrant pieces of art. The festival will also collaborate with the internationally recognised Bishopsland Educational Trust for the first time, celebrating the craftmanship of the recent jewellery graduates.
Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett MBE will be returning to Henley Festival 2020 to run Europe’s biggest field restaurant, creating a bespoke menu exclusively for Henley, at the Riverside Restaurant. Angela Hartnett’s astonishingly creative, flawlessly executed dishes focus on purity of flavour and reverence for ingredients. A festival for food lovers, Henley caters for all tastes offering a huge number of restaurants and pop ups from street food to fine dining. Restaurant’s popping up at the festival will include Garden Bistro by Jimmy Garcia, Green Box, Oink, BBQ Club, Hotel Chocolat, Jessecco Prosecco, Black Cab Coffee Company and many more.
Sunday sees the festival transformed into an enchanting playground for families and children of all ages, with a whole host of dazzling activities, performances and concerts.
Headlining the stage on Family Sunday is award-winning children’s presenter and double MOBO winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown performing with the spellbinding Henley Symphony Orchestra. From glitter face painting, eccentric comedy and theatre shows to interactive performance art, Family Sunday is a whole day dedicated to nurturing adventurous, curious and creative little minds.
For kids who love our furry friends, globe-trotting theatre troupe Creature Feature will roam the grounds as hugely lifelike and interactive gorillas for the day, for kids who love music there will be jazz and funk fuelled storytelling taking them on a magical adventure under the sea from Groove Baby whose latest show ran at London’s Southbank Centre, and for kids that love to have a giggle, hilariously silly comedy-duo Mad Etiquette will be performing one of their critically acclaimed skits.
With a programme packed full of wildly imaginative activities, Family Sunday at Henley Festival promises a truly entertaining day out for all the family.
The Big Feastival 2015 is on track to create its best music line-up to date, securing chart-topping artists and some of the hottest new acts in music.
Original indie-rockers, The Feeling have been confirmed for the main stage, and the crowd can also expect a special guest appearance from songstress Sophie Ellis-Bextor, as she will be joining the band on stage for an unforgettable music moment.
Fellow indie singer-songwriter, Badly Drawn Boy has also been confirmed today and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Festivalgoers will be in for a treat on the Friday night of the event as synthpop legends, Heaven 17, known for their good-time anthem ‘Temptation’ are also announced. These acts join headliners Groove Armada (DJ set), Dizzee Rascal and Paloma Faith in what is shaping up to be the greatest Big Feastival music line-up to date.
The Big Feastival has also announced a plethora of rising stars as it champions the very best in new music. Joining established acts on the main stage will be breakthrough artist, Rae Morris, a soulful singer-songwriter whose debut album Unguarded hit the top ten. London quartet Flyte have been selling out venues in the capital with their infectious sound and are sure to impress the Big Feastivalaudience. Irish pop duo Hudson Taylor will also make a welcome debut at the event with their Simon and Garfunkel-like melodies. Rounding up the latest additions of fresh new music at Big Feastival is rockabilly siblings, Ruen Brothers, who will be bringing their guitar-twanging, drum bashing sound to the main stage.
The Main Stage music line-up so far is as follows:
Friday 28: Groove Armada (DJ Set), Cuban Brothers, Norman Jay M.B.E, Heaven 17, Flyte
Saturday 29: Dizzee Rascal, Example & DJ Wire, Ella Eyre, Grandmaster Flash, Hudson Taylor, Duke
Sunday 30: Paloma Faith, The Feeling ft Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Roots Manuva, Maxi Jazz, Rae Morris, Badly Drawn Boy, Ruen Brothers
Other musical treats at The Big Feastival 2015 will come from a jam-packed Udder Stage which makes a welcome return and features Jake Isaac, Booka Brass Band, Rive, Object Object, Grace Savage, Pocket Club, Folk Idol offering visitors the chance to don beards and play covers of folk songs, as well as City Shanty Band who will entertain the crowds with traditional sea shanties. By night, the tent will transform into a Silent Disco for visitors to enjoy.
Top chefs and the best in children’s entertainment will also make up this year’s Big Feastival. This chef programme includes Raymond Blanc, Monica Galetti, Nathan Outlaw, Ashley Palmer-Watts, Mark Hix, Gizzi Erskine, The Fabulous Baker Brothers Tom & Henry Herbert and Gennaro Contaldo. There will also be a brand new Healthy Living Zone starring Deliciously Ella plus other healthy trendsetters as well as family entertainment from the likes of CBeebies Justin Fletcher, Peppa Pig, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and The Little Dudes’ Den.
There is nothing like the utter glee of throwing off the shackles of work and life for one final splurge of hedonism at the festival season’s last hurrah – Bestival. Seasoned Besti-goers have sat back and watched the Glastovians, Creamfielders, V-lovers and Reading-heads toddle off for weekends of muddy silliness, and smirked a wry smile at the thousands of Moss-alikes in their tedious wellies-with-knicker-shorts combos. Now, the waiting game is over and Bestivites the country, nay world over, are flocking to the Isle of Wight for four uninterrupted days of pure high summer mayhem in the beautiful setting of Robin Hill, by hook or by crook (well, by ferry, hovercraft or swimming really…) they are chasing their bit of paradise.
Thursday saw campsites being opened early due to the large number of eager beavers waiting at the gates, and better parking organisation around the Yellow parking area meant that everything ran super smoothly getting in. With an array of campsites to choose from there’s a home-turf for everyone, and tribes are picking their areas, giggling with memories of campground legends from years past. The sun is already out as tents pop up, and the arena is beginning to buzz. Heading up to Peace Hill, sun-soakers are taking in a lively performance from Juke and The All Drunk Orchestra, with glittery hippy types up and dancing like loons immediately.
Many Bestivites count snacking on delicious butter-slathered corn-on-the-cob a rite of passage up on Peace Hill, but there’s also stunning Lobster and chips brought in from local Vetnor, fabulously flavoured ice creams (honey and ginger anyone?) and the very acceptable Bestivale available for the discerning gourmand. If you’re looking for a mental challenge, there are talks at Bestiversity all weekend, and the Science tent has many interesting experiments to try out with the help of some extremely knowledgeable scientists. Heading for a wander up the hill, Tiny Town is a giddy little exercise in hiding in kids playhouses to scare the living daylights out of each other, and the wooden Maze is surprisingly complicated, good for a race around and it’s always comical to bump into someone dressed as a Panda or Palm Tree, at speed.
Despite the woods and Bollywood/Port area being closed for Thursday, there are lights and sounds everywhere, with a million things going on. Caravanserai is a little wonderland through a magic door, you can sit in the sawn-halves of gaudily decorated proper caravans to drink your cocktails, have a boogie on the Carousel dancefloor or cuddle up with your mates in the Wurlitzer seats for a while. Next door is The Feast Collective, a new addition to the Bestival family. The big tent hosts a myriad of incredible food outlets to satisfy any craving – handmade maki rolls, raclette oozing over… everything, baked camembert, hearty goulash, Indian street food, great British pies, American loaded hotdogs and even incredible soft-shell crab burgers. The quality of food around the Bestival site always amazes, but this is truly a step into the weird and wonderful. To compliment all this, there are heaps more benches and tables out than in previous years and the music coming from the newly housed Polka Stage in the Travelling Barn is excellent. If none of that is quite enough, watching the sun shimmer on the record-breaking and truly incredible gigantic Disco Ball installation, or getting an eyeful of ‘Christina’ at The Grand Palace of Entertainment, or maybe some first night music like the odd brilliance of The Correspondents, or classic Beck to tip you over the edge into your Bestival adventure.
Friday sees the opening of Bollywood and The Port, the dance/electronic capital of Bestival. The Port is a huge ocean liner type installation where DJ’s play from the roof along with dancers, firebreathers, a couple of giant mermaids and arial acrobats suspended from a crane above the crowd, it’s like everything that could be hilariously weird to the terminally trippy has come together in one heart-pounding bass heavy place. The Sunday Best shop and cocktail lounge is selling jam jars full of icy mojitos, Bollywood is violently bright and brilliant, with people draped over the box seats underneath shimmering coin-laden umbrellas and the Helter Skelter/Wall of Death/toboggan run combo downfield is a big kids dream.
Heading into the deep dark woods there’s a noticeable increase in the number of giant net hammocks hiding amongst the trees, where naptime is a genuinely acceptable event for grown ups in the middle of the day. Glittering lights, waterfalls, playparks, hidden pools and a massive synthesiser installation to play with are just some of the things you can see in The Ambient Forest, before you burst into a clearing at The Amphitheatre. Spoken word artist/rapper Kate Tempest’s pre-show interview is witty, intelligent and truly captivating, hearing her talk about her work and life is a real insight to a genuinely talented individual. Back at the Main Stage, secret act Lethal Bizzle is hyping up the crowd with an attempt at a mosh pit and The Harlem Shake. Up next Laura Mvula’s beautiful vocals soar across the arena but there’s not much of a crowd, whilst over at The Bandstand, Motif are playing to a sun-baked audience and getting jazzy.
Back at The Amphitheatre, Scroobius Pip’s Satin Lizard Lounge is kicking off with spoken word artists Harry Baker (with a hilarious rendition of Ed Sheeran’s A-team based on desserts), the nervous ball of energy that is Tim Clare (we loved ‘Noah’s Ark and Grill’) and the raw, honest words of Kate Tempest.The evening sees the main stage light up for Disclosure, and a guest appearances from Eliza Doolittle for ‘Me & You’ and Sam Smith for ‘Latch’, gets the arena bouncing, but headliner Outkast come across a bit flat in some places. Hits ‘Ms Jackson’ and ‘Hey Ya’ have everyone up and screaming but more rap-based songs don’t quite hit the mark. Heading over to The Big Top, newly reinvented La Roux (with her band who are performing at a big UK festival for the first time) draws a huge crowd for her soaring vocals, and both new and old tracks go down a storm, particularly ‘Bulletproof’ – one of those perfect hazy Bestival night moments that everyone will remember.
Fancy dress Saturday is sort of a misnomer at Bestival now, everyone dresses up all weekend anyway, but Desert Island Disco is the theme and everyone seems to have embraced the sparkles, sequins, rainbow and afro combination with wild abandon. Though the theme isn’t as clear as previous years and there aren’t as many ‘big’ costumes as we’ve seen before, everyone is joining in, and there’s a pleasingly distinct minority of the sort of people who buy “Festival Fashion” that seem to come in droves at other festivals. An early start and crazy booking for Welsh Reggae-Metal band Skindred, who usually hit up festivals like Download at Donington Park and have a distinctly black-tshirt wearing fanbase. They absolutely tear it up on the main stage, gaining many new fans with current album tracks such as ‘Ninja’ and anthem ‘Warning’ – getting the crowd to join in for some t-shirt whirling for their ‘Newport Helicopter’. Despite a sparse and lazily sunbathing crowd, pop princess Sophie Ellis Bextor surprise all with a solid set featuring hits and covers, notably Moloko’s ‘Sing It Back’, as well as ditching her red-ridinghood dress halfway through for a theme appropriate saucy grass skirt costume. Joking “If the giant disco ball were to fall on me and kill me, it would of course be… Murder on the Dancefloor” she ends the set with a giggle. Bestival stalwarts and kings of comedy The Cuban Brothers are always the funniest thing you’re going to see all weekend and this is no exception. Lewdness, rudeness, downright dirtiness, nothing is out of bounds for Miguel and co. but the music and the dancing holds up, Archerio, Kengo and Dominico one up each other with B-boy and breaking moves whilst Miguel takes his keks off and gets busted by security whilst quipping that he used to “do too much nose-whiskey” and telling everyone to “touch each other in the correct manner”.Kengo/Kenny (“the bastard”!) comes out in a white jumpsuit to do a touching rendition of Whitnney’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and the finale of three Cubans doing a press-up tower with Dom barrel-flipping over the top is truly impressive.
Over in The Big Top, a very special event is the final show of Dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip, before they head off to pursue their own individual projects. Personally introduced by Bestival curator Rob Da Bank himself, the duo come busting in with ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’ Dan and Pip show why their three album collaboration has been so successful, as the crowd go mental. Pip laments “The first time that we played was here in this tent. We weren’t even allowed on the stage, we were in a DJ booth on the front and it was really late”. ‘Sick Tonight’ is powerful and has everyone singing along despite the speed of Pip’s verse and the pair joke “Can they jump and clap? Yeah! This is Bestival it ain’t no fucking Reading or Leeds crowd!”. ‘Get Better’ is a fan favourite and their first ever song ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ (with a little addition of ‘Thou shalt not question Rob Da Bank’) is perfectly executed. Sharing a hug and final photo on stage, Dan and Pip go out with a bang. It’s the end of an era and Bestivites who’ve been with them from the beginning are right there with them.
After a recharge up at The Solace Tent, and an open-mouthed stare at the sheer size of Bestival from the hill-top, it’s down to the main stage for the ambient and soulful London Grammar, followed by headliner Foals, whose sound gets a bit lost in the noise of the surrounding tents. The grassy area outside The Polka Club is ambushed by the tartan clad New York Brass Band playing a rousing rendition of ‘Happy’ and The Big Top is packed from the inside of the tent right out to the food outlets surrounding for Basement Jaxx. Many are questioning the decision to put Foals on the main stage and Jaxx in the tent, as the sound is severely dampened from the outside, and from the view that Foals did not hold a particularly dense headline crowd earlier compared to the thousands who are trying to get into the Big Top. ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Red Alert’ almost lift the roof off the tent and security try in vain to get those who’ve shinned the poles for a better view, to get down.
The final day at Bestival has come, and Sunday’s vast lineup of music, poetry and activities is no less full or impressive than the last few days. Clean Bandit take to the main stage for an amazing sunshine filled electronic set with the crowning jewel ‘Rather Be’ belting out across the arena and proving to be the perfectly apt lyrics for the Bestival crowd who are hugging each other close; “We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have travelled land and sea, but as long as you are with me, there’s no place I’d rather be”. Due to the cancellation of Busta Rhymes, the main stage crowd is instead treated to another member of the Bestival family, DJ Yoda – whose hilarious AV show and samples from movies and TV are played on the giant stage screen, along with a flashing line of text proclaiming “I am not Busta Rhymes’.
Major Lazer play a raft of current mixed up current hits such as Oliver Helden’s ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ and Keisza’s ‘Hideaway’ whilst club dancers thrash about on the stage and Diplo pretty much steals stage gimmicks from everyone (Skindred’s Newport helicopter as seen earlier in the day, neon ticker tape canons, even the Zorbing ball a la The Flaming Lips and a frankly embarrassing attempt at a circle pit…). In the Big Top one of the most incredible shows of the weekend – Chvrches completely makes up for the aural assault of Major Lazer, with swooningly beautiful vocals and the kind of electronic wizardry that makes you feel like your heart is trying to get out of your mouth. The tent wasn’t full, but the people who made it in there can count themselves lucky to have caught an absolutely stunning set from the Scottish band.
Sunday headliner ChicFeaturing Nile Rodgers was beset by a band tragedy – guitar tech and long time friend Terry Brauer having died just before the show began, and Nile broke into tears a number of times during the set. Despite this, it was the great disco showdown that we had been promised by Bestival, Nile’s incredible discography speaks for itself and the sheer quality of Chic shone through. Hits a plenty had everyone pulling out their best Saturday Night Fever style moves and winding up Bestival in the best way possible, pure unadulterated party. The closing ceremony saw the giant disco-ball hoisted into the air via crane, glittering in the spotlights, and a barrage of incredible fireworks lighting up the arena over Peace Hill, and anyone who grabbed a pair of shimmery glasses from the physics area of the Science tent got an extra special psychedelic show on top of it all.
Of course, nothing’s ever really the end at Bestival… The woods are calling with secret parties and DJ sets, The Port is aflame and going strong, The Grand Palace of Entertainment is still as indecent as ever, and ‘Almost Famous’ is being screened in The Amphitheatre… we’re going wherever the night takes us, for one last time this year…
The full line-up for one of the UK’s biggest events has been unveiled with X Factor star Joe McElderry offering a taste of what’s on offer.
Joe, who won the ITV series in 2009, is set to be one of the star attractions at the South Tyneside Summer Festival 2011, making a triumphant return to his South Shields hometown on July 24 as part of the festival’s three month programme of free events.
The singer, whose debut album reached number three in the UK charts, was recently joined by representatives from event organisers South Tyneside Council and sponsors MInchella & Co to launch the festival’s printed guide, which includes details of every event being held during the festival from June until the end of August.
As well as Joe’s homecoming gig, the South Tyneside Summer Festival 2011 will include two further open air Sunday concerts in Bents Park, South Shields, featuring headline performances by Sophie Ellis Bextor, with support from rockabilly band Sinead and Dawnbreakers and up and coming boyband Twenty Twenty (July 17) and 90s groups The Lightning Seeds and Dodgy (July 31).
The newly-printed guide, launched over an ice-cream at Minchellas by Joe and friends, also includes complete listings for the festival’s series of concerts by North East artists at the South Shields Amphitheatre during June, the brass band performances taking place throughout the summer and the popular Music In The Bandstand series which returns to the town’s South Marine Park during July and August.
Families reading the guide will also find full details of this year’s Tommy’s Parties, open to young people aged one to 15, including fancy dress themes and a list of the guest performers who will join host Tommy the Trumpeter at each of the twice-weekly parties during August.
Joe said: “The people of the North East were extremely supportive during my time on the X Factor and have been ever since. I’m really looking forward to performing for them in my hometown and having the chance to be part of the South Tyneside Summer Festival, which I used to attend as a music fan growing up.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead member for Leisure and Community Safety for South Tyneside Council, said:“The South Tyneside Summer Festival 2011 looks set to be one of the best yet and we’re particularly excited that Joe will be headlining the first show in his hometown as part of this year’s bumper line-up.”
Michael Minchella of Minchella & Co said: “The South Tyneside Summer Festival is a fantastic event for the North East. We’re delighted to continue our involvement and I would encourage everyone to get their copy of the new printed guide so they don’t miss out on any of this year’s fantastic events.”
The South Tyneside Summer Festival, organised by South Tyneside Council, is one of the biggest free events to be held in the UK, annually attracting thousands of visitors for three months of large concerts, intimate gigs and family entertainment.
All events being held as part of the festival are free.