Bestival 2008

by Joanna Orland

Each year I look forward to Bestival as my favourite UK festival, and of course as a great way to close the summer’s festival season. This year was no exception as the line-up was ace, we had matching fancy dress outfits (aqua-themed), and even just the word Bestival brings a smile to my face.

Our train / ferry journey down on Saturday morning from London to the Isle of Wight was effortless, but as we were boarding the shuttle bus from Ryde Pier to the site, the rumour mill kicked in and scared the shit out of us. The townsfolk were going on about how the site was Washed out, 100 people were leaving the site for every 10 new ones that were arriving, and how it was a general disaster. Yes, it’s true that it looked like a warzone with some of the fields closed due to flooding, some of the stages sinking (seriously), acts being cancelled or shifted due to the muddy floods, and just general CHAOS.

We fell into the trap of believing the negative rumours and were in a right strop as we managed to finally set up camp where some festival-goers had given up and packed it in for the weekend. We didn’t stay stroppy for long as in true Bestival spirit, everyone was just giddy, happy, silly, in fancy dress, and trucking along without a care in the world! Even musicians who had every right to be peeved about the randomness of it all were just feeling the happy vibe and loving every minute of it! Even poor Slagsmalsklubben (our new FAVOURITE band – think special needs Hot Chip… and that’s saying a LOT) had to play through the pain of being continuously electrocuted on stage whilst playing their waterlogged analogue synths… But with their own Wayne & Garth dancers and the persistent attitude of loving every minute of their time on stage (maybe not so much the strong voltage shooting through their veins) this turned out to be one of our fave festival performances of the year! Other highlights included Will Young stripping on stage (a new item removed after each song), surprise act Grace Jones that we missed due to Slags… Amy Winehouse being 40 minutes late and being the worst act of the year and cutting her set to only 35 minutes (actually, that was a lowlight), Hot Chip, The Coral, Filthy Dukes, Florence and the Machine (the next big thing!!!), Pete & the Pirates, and those fancy dressers that kept the Bestival spirit alive! Not even the wrath of Mother Nature can bring Bestival down! (even so – fingers crossed that next year will see some sunshine!)

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