Bestival 2013 Highlights

Posted by Alex Bohea on September 13, 2013

Summer is inundated with festivals. It seems like every weekend there is some sort of party in a London field, one of the bigger festivals or a couple of all day raves. My personal choice is to ignore these for the majority of the hot weather and end the season on a high by taking a ferry over to the Isle of Wight and partaking in four days of Bestival. The 55,000 capacity festival takes over Robin Hill Country Park and transforms it into a completely mesmerizing place thanks to the unique creativity of hosts Rob and Josie da Bank.

It’s difficult to quite put my finger on why this festival feels so different to others. The atmosphere, for one, is something that I’ve never experienced at a festival before. It’s a true sense of everyone wanting to have as much fun as possible while being as respectful as possible at the same time. Other festivals seem to carry the vibe where if you accidentally bumped in to someone, you’re going to get shot a dirty look or into an argument. But not at Bestival, it’s pretty much the friendliest bunch of strangers I’ve ever met.

The extra effort that Rob and Josie da Bank put in really pays off. From small decorations around the site, to constructing a huge boat with a DJ booth in it, to turning a forest into an ambient wonderland, you really lose yourself in their world rather than staring at stage after endless stage.

The lineup is one of those things where the festival has so much to explore; it’s actually quite easy to not be too bothered by it. But realistically, you’d be insane not to enjoy a lineup that basically combines the band power of Glastonbury and Reading, and the DJ prowess of Eastern Electrics and Dimensions. If you want a varied lineup, you’ve come to the right place. For example, over the weekend I walked from the grimey styling of Scrufizzer to see the insanely catchy Chic and then see garage pop outfit Jaws (who we featured on our New Music Tuesday). I don’t know another place that you could realistically do that.

Rather than reviewing everything I saw, I thought I’d recap it in a top five highlights of my favourite acts that weekend.1.

1. Crystal Fighters
While this may seem like a strange pick considering the strength of the lineup, Crystal Fighters completely blew me away. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a while but I was not expecting such a fun and catchy live show. Pumping out all the crowd favourites, they easily won me over to pick them for my top spot.

Wu-Tang Clan
I’ll admit, I was slightly worried as I waited to see the Clan. I didn’t know if they’d live up to my expectations and finding out that certain members hadn’t made it through customs worried me even more. But I couldn’t be more wrong; the Clan has definitely still got it.

3. Snoop Dogg
Another act I was slightly cautious about seeing, especially due to his recent Lion escapades but again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Perfecting his slightly longer than an hour set, and playing all the hits including Gin and Juice, and Doggystyle, the D O double G got the crowd as high as he probably was.

4. Simian Mobile Disco
Simian Mobile Disco was not an act I planned on seeing, nor have I listened to them much. But seeing as they planned a set at 3:15 in the morning to end the Saturday, I thought I’d give them ago. And now, I’m a convert. They smashed a 45 live minute set with precision and let the crowd buzzing so hard, I doubt they got much sleep anyway.

5. Seth Troxler
I’ve wanted to see Troxler for a very long time. His essential mix gets regular plays from me and some of his productions are definitely standing the test of time. Closing the boat on the Friday, the combination of his thumping weird techno allsorts and insane setting made this a set I’ll remember for a long time.

Honourable mentions go to Fatboy Slim, Jaws, and Peace.

Finally, shoutouts to Devilman for the craziest set I think I’ve ever seen. Gameboy gabba with screeched Japanese vocals is the way forward.

If you’re stuck for which festival to pick for next year, I hope this influences your decision.

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