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Bestival preview

Following on from Streetfest and Bilbao BBK in our Festival Preview series, we have the mighty Bestival! Check out what we have to say about the jaunt below and remember you can pick up your tickets here.

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Aaah, Bestival. It’s hard to know where to start when covering a festival that prides itself on being as different and versatile as much as Bestival does, but we’re going to give it a bash. Curated by Josie and Rob da Bank, the festival encompasses all that’s weird, whacky and wonderful in the world in what can only be described as an explosion of the imagination brought to life, with Rob taking musical responsibilities and Josie making sure everything looks like a dream.

Over its ten year history, Bestival has managed to remain one of the standout festivals of the season in a market that isn’t short of competitors. Production is a huge part of what Bestival is about, so you can expect to find yourself in the world that’s ready to get lost in.  Each year it has its own theme, which dictates the production of the festival site, as well as what your fancy dress is each year. Last year took on the theme HMS Bestival, with its very own literal HMS Bestival, and this year’s theme is Desert Island Disco!

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Taking place from the 4th to the 7th of September at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight, Bestival is easily accessible from the mainland in a variety of different modes of transport, although unsurprisingly all of them involve crossing a little bit of water over on to the island. The Isle of Wight is accessible from ports in Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington, all of which have easy rail, road and coach access from across the country. It’s recommended that you book your ferry well in advance – not only does this give you rule of the roost when it comes to choosing what time you cross, but you’ll get a better deal! You can do that here.

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Big Green Coach also offer a fantastic service from 13 locations (Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, London – East Croydon, London – Richmond-Upon-Thames, London – Victoria, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford) and this includes your ferry ride. Door to door, we like it! You can get a lowdown on the prices here.

For those of you who like to live a little and have a few extra pennies to spend, you can get the Urban Truants high-speed rigid inflatable boat from Hamble, Southampton, direct to the East Cowes Marina, where a dedicated festival minibus will take you to the festival! It’ll set you back £40 p/p, but what an exhilarating way to get to and from the festival, eh? Definitely one for those of you who might need a little slap back to reality at the end of the festival with the open hand of the sea air. All the details can be found here.

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Obviously any festival that’s curated by Rob da Bank is going to cover all manner of brilliant music, and Bestival doesn’t disappoint. Taking in artists from the widest of spectrums, you can expect to find something for everyone, whether you’re into pop, indie, electronica, experimental, hip hop, disco, house, techno, dubstep, D’n’B – basically, unless you’re looking for something on the more aggressive side of things, Bestival has got the whole ruddy thing covered. Here’s a handful of headlining artists who have played over the last ten years…

Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, Royksopp, 2manydjs, Gogol Bordello, Pet Shop Boys, Hot Chip, The Stranglers, Lily Allen, Beastie Boys, The Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Calvin Harris, Amy Winehouse, Underworld, The Human League, Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, Elbow, MGMT, Diplo, Annie Mac, Skream, DJ Yoda, Erol Alkan, Carl Cox, Squarepusher, The Prodigy, Marc Almond, The xx, Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, The Cure, Stevie Wonder, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg, Elton John, MIA, Wu-Tang Clan, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jessie Ware, Richie Hawtin & Seth Troxler

…And this year’s line up looks a little something like this…

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That’s not all though! As well as all that lovely music for you ears, there’s also stuff to tickle your funny bone. Bestival provides the cream of the crop in comedy for those moments when your legs need a break from all that dancing. Last year saw the likes of Milton Jones, Marcus Bridgstocke, Phill Jupitus, Andrew Maxwell, Terry Alderton and Daniel Sloss take the stage to make sure you serotonin levels didn’t drop below a dangerous level.

On top of all that, there’s a plethora of different areas offering a whole host of crazy goings on, from the world’s smallest pub to The Grand Palace of Entertainment and so much more. To list them wouldn’t do them justice, but you can check it all out over on the Bestival site here.

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Aside from all the goings on in the main arena, there’s the campsites, and as you can probably already guess, Bestival doesn’t do things by halves. For the main camping area, each section is divided into colours and comes with its own identity, crew and campsite hub. The hubs are your go-to place for your onsite festival needs – there’s a seating area, up to date programme info, a detailed site plan, a first aid area, and staff on hand to help you with any questions, from a little guidance to where you’ve parked your tent to reporting anything that’s going amiss in the campsite (did somebody say blocked up bogs?).

Each of the sites are named after a song with their respective colours in: Blue Moon, Back to Black, It’s Not Easy Being Green, 99 Red Balloons, Barry White, Clockwork Orange, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and obviously, Somewhere Over the Rainbow?! The Blue campsite is for those who like to keep it quiet and get their kip, so Bestival suggests that if you fancy being of the 24-hour party variety (or just generally want to make a bit of noise) that you avoid the Blue Moon area and let those campers get their beauty sleep and enjoy the serenity of the site.

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We caught up with festival organiser and all-round musical aficionado. Rob da Bank, to find out what he thinks Bestival is all about…

What is the spirit of the festival?

Well it’s kind of whatever the people who come each year make it but roughly its happiness, generosity, good music and fun. We try and create an imaginative magical wonderland for people to lose themselves in for a few days.

Who is the festival for?

Anyone! Glastonbury is our favourite festivals, and the great thing about Glasto is I’ve taken one of my sons there when he was 6 weeks old (which wasn’t the best idea!) but also my 60 year old father in law, so its all-comers. Bestival probably has a largely 18-35 kind of audience but its very diverse from ravers to indie kids, math rock musos and hippies.

Is there anything you could recommend for festival goers to check out off-site?

As in on the Isle of Wight? Well yes you need to explore the island either before or after the show and see the wondrous majesty of the Isle in the autumn. It’s a great place for a festi.

Is there anything you could recommend for festival goers to check out on-site?

Where do we start? Watch people get marries at the Inflatable Church, play ultraviolet ping pong in the woods, check a cult film at the Amphitheatre, go down a giant toboggan run, dance like a lunatic at The Port (a giant ship dropped into a field) and hide from your friends in the Wishing Tree.

Are there any special features at this year’s festival?

Lots! Mostly based around our Desert Island Disco theme with lots of mirror balls and palm trees plus we have a great new stage Reggae Roots which kinda does what it says on the tin!

What will the camping be like?

Well yes we have everything from regular camping wherever you like through to yurts, bell tents, airstream caravans, gypsy caravans, vintage bell tents – you name it, we have it.

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We’ve only just scratched the surface of what Bestival has to offer – if we tried to tell you about everything, we’d probably be here for a good few days, and quite frankly no one has time for that – but we’ve tried to cram in as much of the good stuff as possible. If you ask anyone who’s been to Bestival what its like, each and every one of them will give you a different version of events, simply because there’s so much on site to be discovered that no two experiences are alike. Basically, it’s bloomin’ brilliant! If we’ve managed to convince you to come and join the party, then what are you waiting for? Tickets to Bestival 2014 are on sale now here.