It ain’t called Bestival for nothing, folks. If acts like Florence + the Machine, Ben Howard, Rizzle Kicks and Stevie Wonder (I repeat, Stevie Wonder) didn’t already have you on your knees, then just a glance at the rest of the lineup will see you begging for a ticket. The sheer variety of musical styles is staggering, but curator Rob da Bank has chosen only the cream of the crop from each genre, making Bestival the be-all-end-all of 2012’s festival circuit.
Reading the lineup has got us just about wetting ourselves with excitement; it features everyone from the ubersuccessful such as Emeli Sande, Nero, Two Door Cinema Club and Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros, to the lovely Lucy Rose (whose folksy sound has had crowds falling in love at festivals all over the country this summer) and DJ sets from Bassnectar and Jamie xx. In fact, there are so many heavyweight musical talents being plonked onto the Isle of Wight this September that it’s in danger of sinking.
Add 55,000 punters to the equation and it’s set to be a wild rumpus indeed, especially with WILDLIFE announced as this year’s fancy dress theme. September 6th will see a stampede of onsie-clad creatures bopping to 4 days worth of fantastic music, eclectic entertainment and relentless inebriation; it’s hard to think of a better way to end the summer. Harping back to the lineup (have we mentioned it’s good?) The xx, Django Django, Ben Howard, Grimes, Jamie xx and Sound of 2012 Award Winner Michael Kiwanuka will be bringing the most current sound-waves to the furry ears of festival goers, while New Order will be bringing it all back to the 80’s. Azealia Banks, Beardyman, and Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip will be delivering their potent beats, with Pip also performing Le Sac-less for a solo set. That’s not to mention the host of comedy acts like Ruby Wax who will have us giggling all weekend.
Aside from the music, there’s plenty of alternative entertainment about- from Saturday’s carnival parade (you can get involved by creating a Bloco or Samba Band to lead the way) to the new Lost Picture Show vintage cinema and the expanded Soul Park healing area, which has massages, yoga, and wood-burning Scandinavian hot tubs. It’s details like these that set Bestival apart from the other major festivals and make it so deserving of the numerous awards it’s been racking up over the years (Most noteably, Bestival trumped Glasto and Reading as Best Major Festival in a 2010 public vote). Few festivals can two-time it as both a Major and a Boutique festival, but Besti does just that; keeping a laid-back, non-corporate vibe while pulling in major crowds and what is arguably the best lineup of the summer.
This year the joy will be spread across 9 areas and an extended campsite (including luxury options with actual flushing toilets and spa facilities). At the new Grand Palace of Entertainment, expect cabaret performances, plenty of glitter and I quote ‘dancing lycra-clad bearded trannies’. Arcadia’s Mechanical Cabaret will feature plenty of pyrotechnical shenanigans and DJ sets from Kissy Sell Out, Congo Natty and Rob Da Bank himself, among others. There’s a roller disco, UV ping pong, and an insect circus.
If you’re exhausted by all the amazing offerings, grab yourself a pick-me-up- from the local farmer’s market serving BBQ corn-on -the-cob and home-made ice cream or one of the innovative goodies brought to you by the Young British Foodies. Immersed in so much happiness, one can’t help falling in love, and luckily there’s an inflatable church so you and your new mate can be forever united in glorious animal-dress.
So don’t miss out on what is sure to be one of the best weekends of the summer- grab a ticket, get your costume together and don’t forget your wellies!
Words: Tess Hokin