Bestival 2009: The Best A Fest Can Get


Events, Features, Music, Review | by — September 14, 2009


by Jon Burns

Being the only one of the Loose Lips clan who’s not yet made it to Bestival, I expected a lot, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Radio 1 Bestival curator and festival stalwart Rob de Bank totally knows his audience, and knows how to throw a party. Just the fact that you have to get a ferry to the Isle of Wight gets you in the mood for adventure, and when you arrive and everyone is dressed in fancy dress outfits you know you’re up for some silly fun.

Bestival is the best for the right reasons: The site is beautiful, its not massive (40,000 folk), the people are really nice and friendly (loads of really fit people too), the loos are clean, the food is fab, and the weather was absolutely beautiful! Where else can you take a trip on a toboggan, buy a whole dressed crab and a slice of cake in a farmers market for £8.00, work off the cake/crab on a walk through the woods, and end up bouncing about to 2ManyDjs in a Big Top?

And then there is the music, sooo much to take in. On Friday we caught MGMT and Massive Attack on the Main Stage, and whilst I’d love to say both were amazing, lacklustre is the best description as neither really warmed up towards the end of their sets (MGMT were 20 mins late too, shame on you). Over in the Big Top, 2ManyDJs rocked our world! The dinner suit clad Soulwax team followed Bat for Lashes (totally gorgeous), and pulled out all the stops.

For pure entertainment value, Goldie Lookin Chain were the perfect cure for a hangover, and enough to encourage us to start drinking again. How anyone can make up a song about making a Kelly Osbourne out of corned beef, and then fucking it is beyond me, but they did, and it was hilarious.

The Main Stage on the Saturday was the battle of the ladies: Little Boots V Lily Allen. Blackpool born Little Boots and co dressed up as Thunderbirds and put on a great cutesy-pop set, finished by leaving the stage in a tiny remote control car. A few hours later Miss Allen took to the stage as Barbarella and played a stonking set. Lily is an accomplished performer these days, plus her sense of humour, wit and rapport with the audience made this a set to remembers , and when she had us all sticking up our middle fingers to the BNP for her song ‘fuck you’ you could tell everyone was with her.

Saturday night was a the turn of the Men. Klaxons played a brilliantly on form and ravey hands in the air set before handing over the stage to the Godfathers of electro, Kraftwerk. The four men are iconic as they stand almost stock still next to their laptop lecterns, and the way that their music works with the visuals on the big screens is spectacularly mesmerising. I didn’t realise how much of Kraftwerk’s 40 year career I knew, but recognised famous songs such as Das Modell, Autobhan, Tour de France and Trans Europe Express. Its easy to see how the group as a whole have influenced every part of dance music, and will continue to do so. Speaking of Icons, we discovered Annie Nightingale on the decks in the Hidden Disco, fab!

Its always sad when Sunday comes (especially as we had to leave at 7pm), but this Sunday was lovely. Rather than the usual get cider and get on with it, we opted for a nice meander through the woods, visited the farmers market, caught some contemporary ballet and ate beautiful prawn wraps and paella in the sun. Then we found my highlight of Bestival: Introducing, are a thirteen piece band who play just one thing, DJ Shadow’s Entroducing album live. Entroducing was the first album made completely of samples, so to hear all the parts live was an incredible treat, and an incredible feat for a band.

The Doves were to provide our last little (quite big actually) burst of energy as they played a great set, and we managed to catch one song from the Fleet Foxes before bundling ourselves onto a bus, then ferry, then train back home. Bestival is one of the few festivals that seems to have its act fully together, and know what it’s audience wants… Lots of good music, fun and silliness. We had sooo much fun, and plan on spending a longer weekend there next year.

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