Bestival comes around every year to signify the end of the festival season.. This year, although the theme was ‘the future’ the festival, to some extent, seemed to go back to their boutique roots. In doing so, some of the attractions such as the VIP bar were relocated, the Kaleidoscope stage was axed, the invaders of the future and temple island stage was downsized and no longer under a tent. Most prominently, many were shocked that the main stage was significantly smaller this year and it was a little more difficult to see the acts on the stage unless you were at the very front or watching the screens. In terms of other activities, there was plenty to do in between watching bands again this year. There were once again hot hubs, surf lessons, yoga, gong baths, tarot readings and even a collective of artisan food.
Unlike most festivals, Bestival already has acts on the first night. These included big names such as Redlight and Hot Chip. The first band we caught were Glass Animals in the big top. The band had recently also released their second album How to Be a Human Being ahead of the festival. The band were perfect to put you in the mood for a festival due to the fact that their songs either have a summer/tropical vibe to them or are in general just quite joyous. The band played a lot of their new material with tracks such as ‘Pork Soda’ and ‘Life Itself’. The crowd did not even stop during their older songs. Due to the fact that there weren’t as many stages out, the band enjoyed a big crowd ands were able to make a lot of new fans with their performance and afterward you could hear everyone commenting on how good they were.
London based indie pop duo, Oh Wonder played in the early afternoon the next day on the same stage. The band drew quite a large crowd for early on in the day when most Bestival goers are mostly still in their tents catching up on sleep. With only one album out, the duo played pretty much their entire album. This set included ‘Body Gold’ which was one of the first songs they had ever written and ended with a crowd favourite ‘Technicolour Beat’. The band certainly made the most of their individual dreams of wanting to play at Bestival for the last few years during their time on the stage. Their set was incredibly well put together and it was remarkable how every element of their recorded work especially their synth set up seemed to just sound impeccable in a live setting. The band are not only incredible recorded but a definitely not a band that you should miss live if given the opportunity.
Next up on our list for the day was Chicago cross genre artist K. Flay. Like other artists at the festival, she was also another one who had just recently released new material, having just put out an E.P titled Crush Me. Her set drew a good number of people to the stage who bopped along and sang a long to tracks such as ‘Sleep’ and ‘ Turn it Around’. Even new tracks such as ‘FML’ received positive response with people shouting the lyrics at the top of their lungs. What probably stood out the most about K. Flay’s set is how she is able to add a extra layer of emotion to her already emotive lyrics that touch upon everyday problems, making her entirely relatable.
Major Lazer, who have much chart success recently with their collaboration’s with many big names such as Ellie Goulding, MO and Justin Bieber, put on a spectacular show with a lot of effects such as massive amounts of confetti from confetti cannons and smoke jets going off throughout their set. The act definitely brought a surge of energy to the main stage to end the night off and were even joined by MO for their hit single ‘Lean On’ and Diplo ran over the crowd in a giant hamster ball. There set also included a mix of other popular songs such as Calvin Harris’ ‘This is What You Came For’. The act where therefore overall an excellent choice of a Friday headline act and definitely brought the party to the festival.
Saturday seemed to be the day in which smaller indie bands overtook a majority of the line up. Acts such as Beaty Heart took over the Big Top. Playing a range of their electronically fused songs off their latest release To the Tomb which ended with their most prominent track off the release ‘Flora’.
Fickle friends, who signed to Polydor records recently, were also back at Bestival again this year. Although this time hey were playing a significantly bigger stage than they were last year. The band were probably one of the more chattier bands on the stage playing favourites such as ‘Say No More’ and ‘Swim’ which they did twice after starting over again due to a camera man tripping over their power supply.
On Sunday, Bastille drew an enormous crowd to their set on the main stage. Some of their more popular tracks included their cover of ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC that everyone knew. However their new material did not seem to get as much attention as their older pieces, it was evident that the crowd were there for the singles that you heard on a night out in a club such as ‘Pompeii’ and ‘Rhythm of the Night’ that were best received by the crowd and had many climbing on their friends shoulders.
Aussie psychedelic dance band Jagwar Ma probably raised the bar for performances on the Saturday with an incredibly mind-blowing set in the Big Top that evening playing numbers such as ‘Four’ and ‘Exercise’ that made it impossible for anyone to not dance to them at all.
Wiz Khalifa headlined Sunday night to the delight of many festival goers who ran from the bars towards the main stage at the very second he came on stage. Khalifa spends a lot of his time on stage talking about smoking weed and the giant inflatable joints that were a part of his set really created the atmosphere for songs such as ‘Black and Yellow’ and ‘Young Wild and Free’. Although Khalifa’s set was fun, it seemed a bit too mellow for the night to end here and it may have been better if Major Lazer had headlined the Sunday instead as their energetic set would have ended the festival on an absolute high.
Despite the major downsizing of stages, Bestival is still an incredibly special festival with a lot going on at all times and throughly enjoyable regardless of the line-up and this year was no different.