Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Festival review – Bestival

My tent has barely been away 24 hours and the post-festival blues have hit me hard...so it's the perfect time to ponder whether Bestival 2012 was best of all. 

With a whopping great Glastonbury-shaped hole in our summers, my group of festival-loving friends and I decided to turn our attention to Bestival – the last of the big names in the festival calendar. It couldn't have gotten off to a better start as we arrived on the Isle of Wight on Thursday to find that holy grail of all festival trips – sunshine! The glorious September rays made for an especially joyful atmosphere and the site with its giant stars, love hearts, glowing swans, wishing tree and enchanted forest looked amazing. Not forgetting that 80% of the crowd were in permanent animal mode (the theme for this year was Wildlife). We were ready for everything the line up could throw at us. Here are just a few of my personal highlights.

Florence + The Machine never really disappoint but there was something especially brilliant about Florence when she headlined the main stage on Friday night. Maybe it was her pre raphaelite inspired look and staging but the whole thing felt as if Mother Nature herself had landed on the stage and bought with her strings, harps and a choir to teach us how to "just keep following the heartlines on your hand." It was completely magical. 

In contrast to the extravagance of Flo in full flow Daughter, made up of Elena Tonra and chums, sort of stumbled through their first couple of songs but by the time we hit the midway point I knew this was going to be one to remember. The band were completely dumbfounded that they'd managed to pack out the awesomely named Psychedelic Worm tent and the friends that I'd dragged along left converted to the Daughter cause (one even cried – that's how good it was.) 

Ryan Keen played a super set to a modest crowd (he was on exactly the same time as Ben Howard) and was the only act I saw at the festival to indulge the audience in a bit of a singsong (we love singsongs!). Yes, he's a friend of mine, but he's also a genius on guitar and with 25 festivals under his belt this summer he knows exactly how to give everyone a good time. 

In an all too familiar scenario the hype band of the moment Alt-J, were too big for the small stage on the outskirts of the arena on which they found themselves late on Friday afternoon. But that didn't stop heaps of us from sticking around outside to hear what all the fuss is about. They wisely got radio favourite Tessellate out of the way early on and impressed with the amount of really great tracks they have.

And then there was Miike Snow. Having seen them do their thing at Brixton Academy recently I knew their upbeat 90s dance vibe and pop lyrics would be a great start to the final night of the festival and I wasn't wrong. We all enjoyed the last few hours of the festival with their track Pretender stuck in our head and with smiles on our faces. 

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