Well hello! Its been a while, but I really do have a good excuse. While doing my disco show on the 21st July, I managed to have a cracking little accident, locking up the station, resulting in my left index finger being severed off at the first knuckle…. Yep bet you weren’t expecting that! 3 operations later and It’s looking like a still have a finger. This is good. Its going to be a painful and long process, but hey ho, at least I’m not gonna be called stumpy for the rest of my life eh?
To celebrate the ok from the docs I decided to venture to Bestival. Now, I hadn’t heard the most positive things about last year, as mother nature was definitely not on their side, and everyone seemed to sulk that it had moved…. but the whole point of reviews is to see what you think, so off I went.
This is the bit where I’d usually start the review. I’d go on about the layout, programme etc, but something happened to me that made me see this festival in a whole different light. 3 hours into the journey, and literally turning off to Bestival, something rather scary happened. A huge log fell out of the tree, while we were driving, smashing completely through my windscreen. We screamed, pulled over and literally couldn’t believe our eyes.
Now this is where I start my review. I always believe an event can be judged on how they deal with their curveballs, and hand on heart, Bestival really were the best. Within seconds we has 2 stewards with us, directing traffic around us to keep us safe. 4 police turned up within 2 minutes of it happening, asking us if we needed assistance. We were understandably shaken, so the stewards offered us water. The sheer quickness of their response left us feeling reassured and a little less shaken. The car wasn’t really driveable, so the stewards radio’d ahead so we could park in the first available car park, which just happened to be artists camping and parking. Now, the security was high for this area as expected, but honestly nothing was too much trouble. We pulled in to the car park to be greeted by Rhys the steward, who was exceptional. He arranged for us to not only park there, but camp in the artists area (with the permission of the wonderful Box Office manager Jess) so we could be near the car. They also arranged for us to get our accreditation at that box office and not the other side….. we were so grateful in our shaken state. I made a few phone calls, and the window could only be fixed on the Monday – but that was fine. We could stay in the area all weekend, and was told by Jess to “get gone and have some fun” as they would look after the car for the weekend.
What a first impression. But there’s more….
After setting up and having a few beers at the camp we ventured into the site. Set in the stunning Lulworth Castle, the rest of the festival really did not disappoint. One thing that I’ve never experienced in a festival before, is that Bestival allows you to take your own alcohol in. Yep, no sucking you dry on the bars, Bestival allows you to take in 6 cans per person, which I think sets the bar for what this festival is about. Having fun, not making money. The main Castle Stage was accessible to all, with good views all around so all could see. Stage right of the Castle stage is the Lucky Cat bar… or VIP area. You are able to purchase tickets for this area, or its included with any hospitality or boutique camping you may book. If you don’t like too many crowds, or need a quick pee, then this is your area and worth the upgrade. You can see the main stage really well, pee and get a drink at the bar. The prices are the same as the main arena, so for me its a thumbs (not fingers obvs!) up from me for paying for that upgrade.
As we were partying in the Lucky Cat Bar we spotted a local celeb to Cardiff and Newport; namely the one and only Iffy Harris. Iffy was with his partner in crime Ron and looked amazing in their costumes!!!! Iffy travels to Bestival every year and wanted to show us his favourite place in Bestival: Caravanserai.
Now there are many incredible stages and nooks and crannies in Bestival, so many, there’s no way I could write about them all, but Iffy’s choice has to be written about. Its situated right in the middle of the festival and as you approach it you join a small queue to what looks like a waltzers ride in a fairground. Once you get past the doors, you soon realise all is not what it seems. The area opens up like a TARDIS, with another “fairground ride” style stage. Theres lots of live music, trapeze artists above you, cut up caravans and old waltzers seats for you to sit in, and lots lots more, so much, you have no idea where to look first. The time and effort and thought that has gone into this area is incredible and can only be described as a festival in a festival – you could stay there all night! But we knew there was more so off we went in search of HMS Bestival.
So HMS Bestival eh? We were thinking nautical themed stage…. you know fishes, blue and white stripes, anchors, that kind of thing……but no… that’s not the Bestival style. Guys….. THERES A BIG FREAKING SHIP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD!!!!!! Yep you read that right… the stage is a ship. It’s totally incredible and visually stunning. Over the weekend there was a mixture from East 17’s early Xmas party, to Shola Ama to Faithless on this stage, and was certainly a favourite of mine for the weekend.
I haven’t even started on the music. Grace Jones was ridiculous and over the top and everything I hoped she’d be. She moved on that stage at 70 better than I’ve seen some 20 year olds move and banged out those tunes, even including a classic Bowie track. Rudimental did what they do best, playing classic tunage and mixing it in with a D’n’B style on the Temple Stage, creating enormous energy with the 25k people watching on. The surprise for me was Plan B. He, by far, blew the stage off its foundations with one of the most powerful voices I’ve heard live in a long time. The crowd were thrown hit after hit, and I can safely say he should have easily been the Sunday headliner for me.
All in all for me, Bestival is brilliant…. I love music, I’m a DJ after all, however, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this…. The acts were incredible, but not the best bit. The atmosphere, the visuals, the whole entire place attacks all of your sense, beats you up and smacks you in the face, and guys, you have to experience it. Go to Bestival. you wont regret it!!!
Thanks to Jay Page my wingman for the weekend and Iffy for the pics.