Bestival’s 10th year comes to show-stopping finale
Thursday night saw the super savvy and über-cool MIA strut her stuff on the Big Top stage – starting Bestival with a bang. It was her first gig since 2010, and she did not disappoint with her wonderful fusion of style, image and songs, merging all manner of influences. Decked in Hindu symbols and a headdress, she made sure all her smash hits were on the setlist – Born Free, Bad Girls, Bucky Done Gun and Paper Planes. Her highly anticipated fourth album is due out later this year.
Earlier on in the day, the first arrivals to the festival witnessed alternative dance duo The Correspondents (comprised of DJ Chucks and singer Mr Bruce) give a taster of electro swing and a multitude of other genres.
Friday’s favorites were a scaled-down version of Wu-Tang Clan, who hit the main stage with all the vigour expected of men who have been in the hip-hop game for 20 years. The crowd’s hands were constantly in the air making the sign for “Wu”, and there was plenty of audience interaction with the Clan before they played classics such as Gravel Pit, C.R.E.A.M and Shimmy Shimmy Ya, which got everyone pumped up for the rest of the festival.
Disclosure played the Big Top with a mammoth two-hour set covering plenty of chart-climbing tracks off their number one album, Settle. Performing at the same time on the main stage was Fatboy Slim, who played a special Bestival Birthday Bash – fittingly, as he was the first act to ever headline Bestival a decade ago!
Saturday’s line-up included performances from Snoop Dogg, Bastille and Hudson Mohawke. In addition we were treated to The Roots, a hip-hop/neo-soul collective from Philadelphia, featuring a euphonium player. Their set went swimmingly (it was the nautical-themed parade day after all!) and they performed covers including Sweet Child o’ Mine and Jungle Boogie. Old indie kings Franz Ferdinand drew a huge crowd to the main stage to perform their well-known classics (among them Take Me Out) as well as tracks from their new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Later, as darkness set in, The Knife’s weird brand of kookiness continued to delight, with the band wearing black monk outfits, playing with experimental dancers and with harps ringing out from under the Big Top awning.
Aside from the return of the glorious Elton John, Sunday brought The Strypes – a four-piece rhythm and blues band from Ireland, returning from touring in Europe with clear influences of Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and Dr. Feelgood. Critical acclaim has followed this band around and NME have hailed them as ones to watch. James Blake then helped to close the festival with his soulful warblings.
Other highlights that had to be squeezed in were trips to Lionel Richie’s Head, HMS Bestival, the costume parade, the closing fireworks and the Ambient Forest (with hidden slides, amphitheaters lakes, and “gypsies” leaping out from behind fairylights and smoke machines).
Until next year, Bestival – you were amazing!
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
For further information and next year’s dates visit the Bestival website here.