Thursday, 16 September 2010

The best and worst of Bestival.

Summer in England is generally pretty shitty, but without question we can boast the best festival season in the world. We can reel them off; Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, V, Love Box, Hop Farm, Field Day and many more. Without these little gatherings of music extravaganza, I would most probably be scratching my balls under an umbrella somewhere, praying for the dripping wet sausages sulking on my barbecue to eventually cook in the minus three degree heat. Our summers may not be respected around the world, but no-one can deny that our music kicks global arse. And the closing festival of the season didn't let me down.
Bestival 2010, held on that little piece of wight rock floating about 40 minutes away from Portsmouth in the English channel, was a fancy dress spectacle to behold. Sane people could walk around dressed as Tony Blair's book without fear of reprisal. I thought I even saw a Rolf Harris costume down there, until I found out he was hitting the main stage on Saturday afternoon! Fair play to the man, he brought the house down with a rendition of 'Waltzing Matilda' set to the English national anthem.
Friday night saw Dizzee Rascal headline the main stage. He received a tremendous reception and did put on a truly high voltage performance. However, I was left feeling as cold as the Isle of Wight early evening air. Even as he belted out hit tune after hit tune, there was no real connection between artist and audience, I found myself dancing along to Dizzee as Bestival Radio blared out his tunes the morning after, but remained still during his live performance. Weird, I know.
We spent most of our days pissed in the Drambuie tent only leaving our wicker chairs to catch a set here and there. 'Darwin Deez' were one of my highlights of the four day weekend. They literally jumped onto the Spider stage as the Saturday sun was disappearing under the grey clouds. Belting out hits, such as 'Up in the clouds' and 'Constellations', the lads gave a high energy performance. Adding dance routines in between songs, a comical element finished off a polished routine. It's amazing how Darwin Smith, who has a haircut that resembles a Jewish boy with a perm, seemed to radiate a sex appeal that wasn't lost on my girlfriend.
I also managed to catch 'Cornershop' as they were just finishing 'Brim Full of Asha.' That took me straight back to the nineties, when I was a jumped up little chav in green Levi's and Kappa jumper. The Big Top remained quite empty throughout their set and only really filled up over the weekend when Wild Beasts and the XX stormed the stage. It was the XX's first show since their Mercury Prize victory, and fights broke out in the tent as fans tried to get in.
My favourite outfit of the weekend was the gingerbread man from 'Shrek'. He was strolling around the site being mobbed by girls as he went by, even I couldn't control myself. The guy underneath must have felt like Keith Richards, and at about 4am the next morning I saw him smacked out of his face on lines of icing sugar in the Bollywood field.
Saturday night saw Brian Ferry and Roxy Music light up the main stage with a vibrant performance. Thousands of party goers surrounded the huge screens to witness an amazing show full of jaw dropping graphics and lights that etched the back of brains. They were followed by the Flaming Lips, who carried on the psychedelic trip with gusto. Michael Coyne rolled over the crowd in a huge hamster ball before returning to the stage through a haze of glitter, streamers and confetti. Not just relying on their obvious talent, the band had more drama and intrigue than most West End plays.
Even a torrential onslaught of cats and dogs from the heavens above couldn't dampen the spirits of the many Smurfs, Oompa Loompas and Mad Hatters lurking in the crowds. LCD Sound System and Hot Chip added an electronic edge to the programme, with thousands of young trendsetters piling into each other across the packed field.
Sunday saw the 'Prodigy' close the festival with a set full of raw Rock and Roll. The classics went down a storm with the over-indulged crowd. Revellers were dancing non stop for one and a half hours. Even a weekend full of rain, cheeseburgers for breakfast and laughing gas at all hours couldn't halt the bands many fans. Keith and Maxim left them wanting more. Appropriate to finish Bestival with 'Firestarter' as the closing ceremony would later spoil us with more visual spectacle.
The fairytale was ended abruptly with the burning down of the huge castle sitting on top of the Magic Meadow. It was the perfect ending to a weekend where all would find it extremely difficult to wipe off their face paint, remove their fairy wings and try to settle back into everyday life. With a showing like 2010, Bestival has all the credentials to live happily ever after.

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