There aren’t many festivals that can claim to feature something for everyone. Glastonbury is the obvious choice for family revellers, thanks to the family-friendly camping zones, baby trailers and happy-hippie vibe. Other festivals (Sonisphere, South West Four, Reading/Leeds) cater to a specific audience who like a specific kind of music and a niche kind of festival.
But just across the water to the south, long before you hit France you get to the Isle of Wight and the fantastic Bestival, which is set to be an absolute classic this year.
The theme for the festival’s 11th year is disco, so obviously Rob da Bank called up Chic and Nile Rogers to headline, alongside more modern purveyors of funk disco Outkast. Although their performance at Coachella was met with a lukewarm reception, I don’t know how anyone can oppose two hours of Stankonia concluded with a ‘Hey-Ya’ dance off.
…tried to feed chips to unsuspecting boys who just wanted to dance…
Completing the top of the billing is Beck, whose triumphant return with his beautiful new album will make for a great set; Disclosure, who will hopefully play their genius debut album in full; and Major Lazer, who made me completely lose my shit when I saw them at Bestival two years ago. I took my dinner (fish and chips) in to the Big Top and, throughout the set, while dancing, tried to feed chips to unsuspecting boys who just wanted to dance. Hoping for a repeat this year.
As always, Bestival has thrown together an eclectic mix of artists, but what they all have in common is they know how to party and have an inner funkiness which fits in perfectly with the disco theme. Take tUnE-yArDs, who I saw just last week and was so blown away I’ve booked a ticket to her Brixton gig. Her on-stage presence and performance, looping several instrumental sounds over each other and then singing over them, is infused with soul and groove.
…grab the audience from the first note…
Then you’ve got The 2 Bears, Basement Jaxx and SBTRKT, all of whom have the ability to grab the audience from the first note and keep them enthralled until we’re convinced there won’t be an encore.
Like I say, there’s definitely something for everyone, but if you’re not into soul or groove (what’s wrong with you?) there’s a range of other fun stuff to do in the sun (fingers crossed). Speakers will include Viv Albertine and Kate Tempest and there’ll be stand-up from the brilliant Twisted Loaf, who were absolutely genius at Camden Fringe last summer.
…this is much more than a music event…
While it may seem beside the point to come to a music festival and see stand-up, this is much more than a music event. It should really, like Glastonbury, be called a ‘festival of the performing arts’ – and that includes the fancy dress every attendee is obliged to don on the Saturday, making you not only an attendee, but a performer too. And if someone (ahem, me) who almost failed drama class and hated dressing up can love it, you will too.