Location: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight
Date: 5-8th September
This year’s Bestival headliner Elton John recently told The Guardian: “Bestival seems to be a people’s festival.” Seeing as it won the Fans Favourite Award at the UK Festival Awards 2011 and has attracted crowds of more than 45000 for the past few years, he’s probably right.
Curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ and record label owner Rob Da Bank, the festival is set in the idyllic surroundings of Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle Of Wight. With its glittering selection of live acts and attractions, it promises to be an eclectic mix of music, film, games and costumes.
For its tenth year, the line up looks more diverse and exciting than ever, with Elton John and His Band, Snoop Dogg, The Flaming Lips, Wu Tang Clan, The Knife, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and guitar legend Johnny Marr all due to play.
Fancy dress is an integral part of Bestival and themes have included Wildlife, Outer Space and Joker’s Masquerade (with festival-goers dressing as flowerpot men, packs of cards, bumblebees and washing machines). This year it will be HMS Bestival, which Rob Da Bank describes as “nautical, but nice.”
He said: “All the nice girls love a sailor and all the boys love a mermaid. Think deckhands, anchors, beach parties, Moby Dick, tattooed ladies, Titanic, shipwrecks, Hawaii, Treasure Island, rum bars in scuzzy ports, message in a bottle, the crow's nest, sea legends, monster breakers and tall tales of life on the ocean waves.”
Live acts have been known to perform in fancy dress too, with Jessie Ware singing her R&B ditties dressed as a cat last year. With Elton John’s penchant for eye-catching onstage outfits (having previously dressed as the Eiffel Tower, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck), he could well add to this trend.
The main stage will be lovingly designed with glowing hearts, peace signs and smileys by Josie Da Bank, while the Big Top stage features a selection of Rob Da Bank’s cutting edge DJs and live acts including Annie Mac and Carl Cox.
Another popular attraction is the striking Come Dancing Spiegeltent (a Belgian “mirror-tent” originating from the 19th century) where festival-goers can learn Tango, Waltz and Hip Hop dance moves and try them out in the legendary Club Dada in the evenings.
Aside from the music, Bestival’s rollercoaster of weird and wonderful bars, parties, games and japes will be showcased in the Bollywood Field, Wishing Tree Field, Ambient Forest, Magic Meadow and Tomorrow’s World areas.
Watch death-defying motorbike stunts on the ‘Wall Of Death’, get married in the Big Love Inflatable Church and enter the fantastical netherworld of The Wishing tree, which houses the World’s Smallest Pub, the Woodcutter’s Arms.
The variety of attractions on offer shows that Bestival is much more than a music festival and cements its reputation as the last big party of the summer.
To buy tickets, visit www.ticketline.co.uk/bestival-tickets or phone 0844 888 4410.
Why go? Dance around to your favourite band dressed as a mermaid or a sailor.
Line up: Elton John and His Band / Snoop Dogg / The Flaming Lips / Wu Tang Clan / The Knife / Chic featuring Nile Rodgers / Johnny Marr.