With the end of the summer nigh, one final glimmer of freedom and liberation came back to England’s Isle with Bestival’s 12th year of fancy dress raving, four day celebratory bonanza. Can you feel the excitement? This year the festival entered into the ‘Summer of Love’ – a space of love where hate has no place. Cya, haters.
Nestled in the idyllic Robin Hill Country Park, festival goers descended onto the island on boats, trains, and automobiles. For 4 days, normality became no more.
The sheer beauty of the location and what’s on offer means it’s as diverse as it is versatile. It’s easy to stumble into almost anything. Live comedy, theatre, art, yoga and spinning are all things you could spend days immersed in – one particular art installation title ‘A Coin Operated Artist’ by Otter Produces was one of many stand out, well thought installations.
‘Shit Faced Shakespeare’ also made a comeback this year and returned to the Amphitheatre after a successful fringe run. A new area to the festival this year was ‘Slow Motion’ which was dreamy – filled with summer vibes, relaxing spaces and a vibrant atmosphere which made it incredibly difficult to get up and do something else. This is not a criticism by the way.
Now, to the music: Duran Duran, Chemical Brothers, Missy Elliot, Flying Lotus and The Jacksons were amongst the vast mix of artists providing the Summer of Love soundtrack to proceedings. The highly anticipated Saturday headline act brought together the largest crowd of the weekend. Eight years after last performing at Bestival, The Chemical Brothers returned to treat us to a 90-minute audio-visual masterpiece containing psychedelic animations, mesmerising lasers and stimulating robotic sequences. The electronic duos performance incorporated a long list of popular dance hits, such as ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’, ‘Do It Again’, ‘Swoon’ and ‘The Boxer’.
Elsewhere, there were new musical elements to this years ‘Summer of Love’. New stages such as Only Diesel The Brave, slotted perfectly into the appearance and vibe of the festival, hosting some of the best house and grime music of the weekend, with sets from Eton Messy and Blonde, who both smashed it on Saturday night.
Other memorable sets came from Horse Meat Disco, Four Tet and David Rodigan b2b with Toddla T who burned through an eclectic catalogue of electronic, funk, disco, and reggae beats. The aptly named ‘Port’ stage at Bestival is without question one of the best areas on site. With an old vessel laid out in between the hillside, exotic dancers, fire breathers and intense light displays are as immersive as they are awesome. One particular performance of intrigue came with an aerial number from Empress Stah, AKA ‘Stargasm’. Armed with a laser firing butt plug, Stagasm beamed her butt onto thousands of summer lovers whilst the musical mastery of Seth Troxler left the crowd euphoric. Welcome to the summer of love, dear reader.
One criticism which must be raised is how quickly Sunday evening arrived, which is more of a criticism of the very notion of time itself than the festival. But once again, Bestival managed to throw arguably the best party in Europe for the twelfth time. If you haven’t been to witness the magic yourself, I suggest saving a slot in your calendar and hitting up 2016.