Beastieval: Isle of Mike

by Joanna Orland

There are ‘really’ only 2 festivals I look forward to each year, the little festival that nobody used to know about called Bestival being one of them. The festival lives up to its name within the first 5 minutes that you step onto the site. People have certainly caught on to this gem of a festival as it was sold out this year, which is no surprise considering some of the bitchin’ acts on the bill. Organizer Rob Da Bank gathered headliners The Chemical Brothers, The Beastie Boys (who played 2 sets even!!) and Primal Scream who as amazing as they all are, only slightly contribute to the joy of Bestival. It’s the bizarre oddities around every corner that make Bestival the most special event of the UK festival season. You could go on your own to Bestival, not see any of the main bands, and still have the time of your life.

The Seven Wonders of the Bestival:

Planningtorock – this chick is mental. She was the absolute last musician on Saturday (Sunday morning at 2am) in the House of Bamboo tent. Experiencing many technical difficulties, this loony tune captured the audience with her brand of performance art. See, I wouldn’t call it music in particular as it’s heavily reliant on the visuals, which I cannot describe in words. See photo gallery.

Spiderpig – Saturday was fancy dress day. The main themes were ‘Pirates, Wizards and all you freaks out there’, according to the Beastie Boys. With Bestival being the only place you feel stupid NOT in fancy dress, the costume that takes the cake is the dude dressed up as Spiderpig! If I could’ve stopped gawking long enough to take a picture of him, you would be so enlightened. Please, I beg of you Spiderpig… if you’re out there, please send me a photo of yourself!!!

Gash day – Not only did Bat for Gashes AND Kate Gash play… but Beth Ditto got her gossiping gash out all over the place. That chick is damn cool, but could do with a new pair… or any pair … of underwear.

Mike D’s hair – The Beastie Boys new frontman has some awesome Jewfro goin on there… I was SO happy to see that the Beasties turned it up a notch since I saw them last at Roskilde festival. In a very good move, they played 2 sets – a ‘best of’ headline set on Saturday night and an ‘instrumental’ set Sunday afternoon. Mixing it up a bit, the boys were back on track. MCA is still pretty tired looking, Mike D has become more prominent than both the Adams, but we had some jumpin around and singing from all 3 Beasties this time. But please, put the instruments down boys.
(btw, the Bboys said that Bestival was some freaky shit – they were totally into the fancy dress thing and mentioned that they had hoped to get some dressup action on their last tour, to no avail. Bestival is where it’s at yo!)

Patrick Wolf – he has red hair and he is actually pretty damn good! I knew about the red hair thing, but the rest surprised me. He looks glam, sounds classical. Folk electro music is the way of the future.

The elephant head in my tent – the people we set up camp next to were very nice to have us. They were full on Bestivalers dressed as Clark Kent, the Flash and many strange costumey things. Clark Kent scared the crap out of me in the middle of the night when he put on an elephant mask and stuck his head in our front door. AGH! He felt really bad about it… but to be fair on him, he did warn me by saying, “I’ll be right back with my elephant head”.

Son of Dave vs. Beardyman – we saw Son of Dave, the one man band who used to be in the Crash Test Dummies. He is amazing with his harmonica, microphone, beat boxin stylee and a loop station. But then we saw 2 Time UK Beatboxing Champion Beardyman who didn’t need a loop station. Hmm.. tough call.

bonus – The Night of 100 Ukes are no Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, but there really were 100 of them. Honestly, they made the Polyphonic Spree look like a one-man band!

Legendary soul singers, old skool reggae idols, booming fireworks, lovely weather, an inflatable wedding chapel, a chat with Jack Penate and Spiderpig. If anyone knows of a reason why Bestival should not be declared THE festival of the year, speak now or forever hold your peace.


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