We had the BEST weekend at the greatest of UK festivals: Bestival. This year’s Desert Island Disco theme brought thousands of people to Robin Hill County Park on the beautiful Isle of Wight, with glitter, coconuts and feathers in tow.
The festival is a magical playground for children and adults alike. Fancy getting married in an inflatable church? Or daytime raving by a huge shipwrecked vessel? Look no further than Bestival. With a mighty set of headliners this year including Beck, Outkast and Foals, we knew a musical feast lay before us. But we were impressed, not only by the lesser known acts that we discovered, but by all the pockets of random fun to be found across the site.
The Caravanserai was our top spot. A bric-a-brac camp full of ornaments, old vehicles and an antique bar serving martinis, the Caravanserai showcased impressive theatrics and some respite from the busy main arena. It was here that we discovered The Balkanoes, a band that fuse Jewish folk and Eastern European music to create the ultimate foot stomping set. They’re playing at Brixton’s Hootananny later this month. Don’t miss them.
Although we loved seeing acts on the main stage, our favourite artists from the weekend played on both the BBC 6 Music hosted stage The Big Top and this year’s debut, Invaders of the Future. Beck did not disappoint, energetically gifting us with hit after hit from most of his twelve studio albums. SBTRKT and Bonobo swept the crowd up in a heady trance. At Invaders of the Future, we saw South-East London’s spoken word poet Kate Tempest perform her debut album Everybody Down with her new band. After catching her inspirational talk in the Amphitheatre the previous day, we knew nothing about her recent venture into music. But, her lyrics maintained the same poignancy as her poetry, her stage presence was electric and she dished out plenty of moving advice for young creatives. Her transition into the music world will be big this year.
Our favourite act at Bestival was a new discovery. John Wizards hail from South Africa and every track they played was a kaleidoscope of playful energy and pan-African melodies. Check out their music below.
This year’s food winners were tucked away in The Feast Collective. New to Bestival this year, the foodie haven houses banqueting tables and an array of contemporary, tasty and avant-garde street food. Our favourites were the simple but delicious Tom’s Pies and for the more health-conscious, dumplings from Dorshi (pork, salt and pepper fish and mushroom) with mouth-watering rainbow barley salad. When we needed a natural pick-me-up, Elephant Juice were on hand with smoothies packed full of fruit, veg and fresh mint.
When neither dancing nor eating, we visited the tranquil Ambient Forest for some Amphitheatre performances. Shit-faced Shakespeare, in which a member of the cast gets rollickingly drunk and distracts us all from the play, made us spill our ciders in merriment and Duncan Macmillan’s one-man script and Edinburgh sensation, Every Brilliant Thing performed by Jonny Donahoe, had us laughing and welling up in equal measures.
Rob da Bank summarised Bestival 2014 perfectly: “Hedonistic, fun and a bit wonky…See you in the magical fields in a year”. We’ll see you there!
Get your earlybird tickets from 9am on Friday 12th September
Our Bestival 2014 Spotify playlist
Image 1, 4 and 12: Dan Dennison