The opening day...

Bestival lands once again to herald the end of summer with the country’s biggest fancy dress party, accompanied by a smidgeon of music on the side.

The theme for 2010 is, somewhat fittingly given the calibre of the festival season this year, ‘The Year of the Fantastic’, giving everyone plenty of scope to indulge in many a flight of fancy when raiding the dressing up box.

Friday is, according to the organisers, ‘Moustache Friday’ - ahead of ‘Dress Up Saturday’ - but there are still more unicorns and oompa loompas running riot across Bestival than there is errant facial hair.

Clash are onsite in force this weekend, holed up in the artist area with the Right Guard camper-van to host acoustic performances and interviews with some of the top artists of the weekend. Friday sees Tricky, Chilly Gonzales, The Book House Boys and Sparrow and the Workshop join us for some tasty aural treats.

With sunshine vibes emanating from the crowd at Robin Hill Country Park, the action in the main arena gets off to a jumping start with the help of Barry Peters, Halifax hospital radio DJ, whose ridiculous chat and fabulous lycra-clad sidekicks, Double Penetration, get everyone grooving and laughing in equal measures.

Barry, real name Mike Keat from Cuban Brothers fame, prances around in little more than a black T-shirt and Y-fronts, onto which a gold tap has been attached for comedic effect, which wobbles around whenever he pumps his groin.

“I want to do little bits of nose whisky and joy discs with you all”, he shouts, as they turn Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ up.

Onto the Big Top for Wild Beasts, whose music is the perfect vehicle to sucker everyone into a fantastical parallel universe. Professionally ploughing through a set that includes ‘Fun Powder Plot’, ‘Devil’s Crayon’ and ends with ‘Hooting and Howling’, it’s a solid performance to round off a stellar festival season for the quartet who’ve found themselves to be critics’ darlings this year.

On the move once again, Clash heads to the gentle folky vibe of the Bimble Inn for a rather unusual addition to this stage’s bill in the shape of instrumental dance-rock noiseniks Three Trapped Tigers. After ten minutes of what is essentially the live music equivalent of ‘Survival of the Fittest’, all the hippiesin the crowd have departed to leave a predominantly male audience losing themselves in the complex rhythms blasting from the stage. Unforgettable.
The biggest buzz of the day was always going to be this week’s Mercury Prize Winners The XX. The excitement is palpable amongst the packed out tent as the unassuming trio take to the stage surrounded by smoke.

As the distinctive minimal twang of Romy’s guitar starts up for ‘Intro’, there’s a roar of appreciation before everyone settles in to become mesmerised by the soporific dreamscapes woven by the songs on their eponymous debut.

Hot Chip ramp the tempo up a couple of notches with their well-rehearsed live carnival. The boys from Putney open with a rambly version of ‘Boy from School’, before segueing into ‘One Pure Thought’.

Suddenly a screen with a massive image of Joe Goddard’s face appears over Alexis’ shoulder, as a recording of his vocals booms out. It turns out Joe’s wife has given birth, so the comedic head screen is the band’s classic answer to the hole left by their fifth member as he spends time with his new baby daughter.

The group are in good spirits as they announce that this is their 30th and final festival of the year, but the fatigue shows a little amongst the ranks, apart from with Owen, who takes every given opportunity to hop away from his synths and give a funky shuffle at the side of the stage. It’s a fun, if slightly ragged, warm up for the main event of the evening.

And so it is that Dizzee Rascal bursts onto the stage for his party, playing the hits to please the crowd. The staccato thrust of ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ rattles out across the field, but it’s when ‘Bonkers’ drops that the volume suddenly gets ramped up and the evening’s party shenanigans really begin. Ah Bestival, it’s good to have you back.

Words by Laura Foster


Right Guard Presents: Off Guard Gigs at Bestival 2010
Check out exclusive interviews and acoustic performances from backstage in Right Guard's VW Campervan at Bestival 2010 HERE.

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