By Nicole Ireland
Photos by Stevie Gedge
This year’s Bestival fell on an absolutely gorgeous weekend, and was visually, sonically, and spiritually beautiful.
For instance, it was supposed to thunderstorm on Saturday and instead it was hot and sunny, making it an unbelievably beautiful day. Sunday also gave us lovely weather, but Saturday was an absolute miracle.
Adding to the beauty of it all, Woodbine Park essentially became a huge beacon for creativity and positive vibes. The venue was packed with bold, bright colours and massive amounts of glitter. Huge colourful flags flew wildly around the perimeter of the park, silver glitter and tassels were in abundance throughout the Cosmic Commune, and the Bollywood stage was so out-of-this world that you need to Google it see it in all of its glory.
The venue wasn’t the only thing that was colourful and sparkly as it is tradition to dress up. There were flower crowns, glitter body paint, and crazy costumes everywhere you looked. The costumes that Bestival-goers wore ranged from Winnie the Pooh, to fairies, to the Isle of Wight (yes, really), and just about everything in between. Event-goers could have worn earplugs and still had a great time at the festival because people watching was an event in itself.
This year’s theme was Summer of Love. That was definitely present over the weekend, particularly with the giant inflatable church where couples could either have a pretend wedding or get hitched for real. Watching a real wedding (complete with ridiculous wedding apparel) take place was definitely the highlight of my weekend, and potentially the highlight of my life.
The two days felt like a dream — one with a fantastic soundtrack. The Big Top gave us some unforgettable EDM dance parties, courtesy of Shaun Frank, Porter Robinson, Tchami, and many more. The Bollywood stage provided everyone with some fantastic hippie vibes, along with more dancing (I think we can all sense a theme here). A definite highlight was seeing Rob da Bank perform on the Bollywood stage. For those who don’t know, he is the co-founder of Bestival, which was just really cool.
Naturally, most people came to Bestival to see the acts on the main stage. Boy, did they deliver. Swim Deep, while I wasn’t familiar with their music beforehand, became a new favourite for me, with a brilliant set that kept me bopping the whole time. Tame Impala closed out the Saturday night in the best way imaginable. There was fire, there were amazing visuals, there were positive vibes radiating from the stage, and the music was absolutely phenomenal. Seeing this band perform was a first for me, but it probably won’t be the last time I catch them live.
On Sunday, Grimes took to the main stage and had the crowd in a trance. She is the coolest woman creating the coolest music, and I highly recommend checking her out. Other notable acts from the 2-day fest included Odesza, Jamie xx, Madeon, Dubfire, Thomas Jack, the Wombats, Classixx, Catz n Dogz, Giraffage, Gaiser, Thugli, Reeps One, Pusher, the Twilight Sad, Hrmxny, Blajk and Elliott Vincent Jones.
But perhaps the most notable of all – The Cure. As headliners, this 80s sensation was the big draw on Sunday, and there isn’t much I can say about them that we don’t already know. They’re somewhat indefinable with their unique mash-up brand of Goth/alt rock/post punk music that touts the tortured soul. But they absolutely brought the house down, and there was no better way to finish the weekend. They also did three encores, just as an added bonus. No big deal or anything.
Bestival 2016 was a delight, and I left the festival grounds filled with happiness and a few stray pieces of glitter. See you next year Bestival; I’ll be counting down the days until we meet again.