TicketWeb does Bestival 2014

After getting giddy over just writing our Bestival preview earlier in the year, we already knew that this festival was going to be something totally out of the ordinary, but we weren’t really prepared for how incredible it was going to be. Bringing festival season to a close, Bestival is the ultimate way to kiss goodbye to the summer and, luckily for us, mother nature bestowed us with one last weekend of sunshine with a cheeky glint in her eye. Take all your festival blues, times them about a million, then sprinkle some glitter on them and you’re probably about 8% of the way to understanding how we feel right now. If that doesn’t tell you enough, then let us delve a little further…

A view of the festival from the top of the hill

We had a right old nightmare getting to Bestival, despite it actually being one of the easiest journeys we’ve had to a festival, so when we finally arrived onsite at 11:30PM on the Thursday night, we were tired, relieved and overcome with excitement. We headed into the Black Campsite, quickly made some friends who helped us put our tent up in the darkness (it was literally the blind leading the blind) and skipped off to do some night time discovery of the site.

What struck us first and foremost when we got there was the giant discoball that had been planted right by the Red Bull stage. When we heard it was the World’s Biggest Discoball we were like ‘that sounds really cool’ but when you see it in the flesh, it really is a sight to behold. And massive, kind of incomprehensively big. For the rest of Bestival, the discoball became the onsite equivalent of Stone Henge. Countless spiritual awakenings and chimes of “I love you so much/you’re my best friend” etc seemed to be happening around there, the epicentre of happiness, if you will.


It didn’t stop there though. The production, which is curated by Josie da Bank, is a mixture of stunning and surreal. From Bollywood to The Grand Palace of Entertainment, there is a feast for your eyes at every turn. Our favourite stage of the weekend was by far The Port, where the cream of the crop from the dance music world performed underneath a parade of mental-looking, fire eating, shape pulling dancers on the HMS Bestival.

In terms of music, Bestival is renowned for its genre-spanning line-ups that encompass a whole host of great stuff, and 2014 was no different. Disclosure and Outkast were the most talked-about artists on the Friday, the former putting in an incredible performance that made it easy to see why they’re kings of the chart at the moment.

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The view of The Port

Elswhere on the Friday, we managed to catch TW fave, tUnE-yArDs and the recently relaunched La Roux – both ladies were seriously impressive. We skipped off to our official new favourite place in the world, aka The Port, and caught thunderous sets from Eats Everything, Damian Lazarus and, arguably the king of Techno, Sven Vath. Our final pitstop for the evening was Bollywood for the last bits of Skream’s set, before we took ourselves to bed to brace ourselves for another day.

Damian Lazarus looking fabulous in a headdress and his sweary friend – apologies!

Saturday is, as tradition foretells, fancy dress day. Everything seems a lot better when you’re dressed like a feral nutcase and, if it was even possible, the mood onsite was more jovial and ridiculous than before. The crowd became a sea of glitter and afro wigs, punctuated only by people who had elected not to dress up. We headed into the main arena early to catch Route 94 at The Port, who kicked off the day perfectly. After another wander around, we settled in for Denai Moore, followed by the reformed-for-one-night-only, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip at The Big Top.

More discoballs

Wild Beasts, who’ve been touted by us TicketWebbers since day took to the main stage around half six and showed the Bestival crowd what we’ve been saying for months – they’re ace. A tear-jerking set from London Grammar (was that just us?) followed, before Foals came out to a roaring applause for their last show for at least 18 months. Sob.

We decided after all the emotions over on the main stage, it was time to get out dancing shoes back on for Basement Jaxx. Never ones to miss out, we nipped off to catch glimpses of Paul Woolford, John Talabot, and Green Velvet too. We ended the night with the incomparable Annie Mac, who saved our asses (literally) with her packet of wet wipes backstage before she went on, and for that, we are forever grateful.

The view from inside The Port

Sunday is usually the day for mellowing out, but the Bestival crowd showed no signs of stopping. The Pharcyde kicked things off nicely for us before Clean Bandit took to the stage to get the crowd in the mood for the night ahead. With a cover of Robin S’ Show Me Love and their no 1 single, Rather Be, the mood was set for the final evening. Dusky clocked in at The Port with another fine set, followed by chart toppers Gorgon City. Major Lazer took things to the next level on the main stage, starting out in suits, briefly becoming shirtless, donning vests and then zorbing a la crowd surfing across the hands of the Bestival crowd.

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Diplo, Zorbing. Yes he DID.

Arguably, the best and most emotional set of the weekend came from Nile Rogers featuring Chic. After the World’s Biggest Discoball was raised and confirmed to be in the Guiness Book Of Records, the world’s biggest disco band came out and showed us why they’re the ultimate. After an emotional admission from Nile Rodgers that his roadie had died earlier in the day, he picked himself back up and dedicated a rendition of Let’s Dance to ‘Terry’, whose name was by now being chanted across the stage.

Chic whipping the crowd into a frenzy

Closing things off was a giant firework display over the backdrop of the discoball that saw strangers embracing each other and tears flowing like rivers all over the shop. We danced off into the night, giving our final farewells to the site, and when the music came to an end, there was a happy yet sombre mood engulfing the site. Bestival was over, but only for now…

The final fireworks… sniff.

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