You might think that 24 hours isn’t enough to enjoy the offering of a four day festival. But let me tell you, a couple of weekends ago, me and my friend Pippa played the Bestival game and I’m pretty sure we won. You see, what we have come to learn over our year of friendship is that neither of us do things by halves; so as soon as we arrived on site, we popped up the tent, put on our most colourful ensemble and quickly slopped our way through the ever growing mud slides to the festival arena.
Taking place for the first time at it’s new Lulworth Castle home, the undulating festival site, also home to Camp Bestival, is smaller than the Isle of White site I came to know so well over the last eleven years. Featuring a colourfully lit National Trust castle backdrop, numerous mini stages and the obligatory exploratory tents that literally turned frowns upside down, I think Bestival fit in just nicely.
To me, Bestival is as much about the experience as the line up, so not seeing main stage acts such as The XX, Soulwax and the Pet Shop Boys didn’t really bother me that much. Instead, we set ourselves loose on Shangri Las inspired Club DaDa, enjoyed copious amounts of funk and soul at Stacey’s, danced on a make shift taxi whilst watching Oh My God! It’s The Church at Caravanserai, and set sail during a 90’s garage set at HMS Bestival. My personal favourite though was the tiny and very exclusive Sunday Best Record shop, where not only could you pick up a bargain for 50p, but also catch special impromptu performances across the weekend. I’ll caveat this by saying that my favourite half hour of the festival was here, but I would have no idea what to tell you I was listening to.
In fact, the only act we caught on the Main Stage was Dizzee Rascal, who lost his proverbial shit in front of thousands of revellers who pogoed to his undeniably catchy hits. But after his set, we made a pact to spend the rest of the time floating around the festival, not planning, but instead exploring and discovering. And it worked.
The next 24 hours were spent as follows:
Line stomachs with food – in our case chips & dips and a pork roll
Quick march to the first bar in sight
Head to JägerHaus and neck a cocktail
Set ourselves loose for the next 12 hours, talking and dancing to anyone or anything that came our way
Top 5 moments:
- Garage favourite ‘Heartbroken’ blasting out of the HMS Bestival, blue skies and sunset in the background, thousands of revellers dancing in the mud with heavy feet but light hearts
2. Dancing with giant robots, an inflatable Kanye face and the world’s biggest disco ball
3. Bonkers festival goers lining up to slide down a mud soaked hill on the inflatable giraffe flamingo that became a top theme of our 24 hour debauchery
4. Fulfilling our dreams of singing hip hop karaoke to hundreds of mud soaked revellers
5. Finding a 2017 festival friend who I met at Electric Castle in Romania and spending hours in the Caravanserai backstage dressing rooms, meeting bonkers characters and dancing until sunrise
Most devastating moment:
Having listened to the Mercury nominated Loyle Carner album what felt like 20 times in the week leading up to the festival, anticipation was high to see him perform. Waking up on Sunday and feeling like I wanted the tent to cave in on me, the only thing that made me crawl to the nearest food stall to refuel was the thought of listening to Loyle’s melodic poetry. After a quick dalliance with the hip hop karaoke boys, we wandered over to get our spot. But as we approached the main stage, an army of stewards approached and informed us that the whole arena was closing due to bad weather. I had to rub my eyes, cartoon school girl style, in disbelief. It was over.
Once we had been ushered back into the campsite, we took another look at the weather and decided it was time to retreat back to London. We left the site at 4.30pm and I was tucked up in bed, head spinning and recalling countless moments from the previous 24 hours and looking forward to Bestival’s 2018 instalment.