Entering it's 9th year with a line-up that rivals all other UK festivals, this year the granddaddy of the surrealist boutique festivals is set to storm the Isle of Wight more than ever before. There is a feast of not only music, but all the delights imaginable to excite your festival taste buds. Stevie Wonder, Gary Numan, The XX, New Order, SIGUR ROS, need I say more? It's not just about the headliners either. Lucy Rose, Daughter, The Staves, Jamie N Commons and the hilarious Beans on Toast are amongst other unmissable acts. That's without mentioning the multitude of theatre, comedy and alternative shows that grace Robin Hill. Highlights include Four Screws Loose a sketch group fresh from the Fringe, aswell as the bizarre twist on the sketch show Guilt and Shame and the brilliant Andrew Maxwell. Or why not be transported into the golden age of cinema with The Lost Picture Show, or challenge yourself to a UV Ping Pong championship? Anything goes. It’s this diversity that attracts such an eclectic audience and has given Bestival it’s well deserved reputation. The creators are more concerned with providing a unique experience rather than directly fulfilling any money fuelled intentions.
Because Bestival is in it’s infancy, it’s constantly developing and keeping fresh. 2012 will see the new world of Bollywood at Bestival. The brainchild of festival and creative co-director, Josie Da Bank, has become a favourite, with DJ's outwardly requesting a slot long after they've often outgrown it's capacity. Replay has also been revamped this year with Rob Da Bank pushing his new music compass to the max to bring crowds the best new talent from around the world. He will be welcoming back old greats like Kate Nash as well as giving the thumbs up to newbies like Alt-J and Aluna George.
And with less than three weeks to go the names just keep rolling. Beardyman is set to dazzle crowds. He pushes the limits of the human voice to create a mind-blowing soundscape of impossible beats, phenomenal sounds and an entire big band's worth of instruments. BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe is going to set some records spinning, King Charles is going to chuck in some flamboyance and the legend that is Howard Marks, well he’s just going to be doing what Howard Marks does best, being Howard Marks.
For me anyway, the real big deal comes in the shape of two incredible exclusives. Mercury award winners, The XX will headline the Big Top.In 2010 they bought the festival to a standstill with thousands cramming the tent to see one of the most emotional sets given on the island. The line-up is, without a doubt, truly unbelievable but nothing comes close to the Icelandic post-rock giants and musical geniuses Sigur Rós. There isn’t a band around that could encapsulate the spirit of Bestival more vehemently. With their ethereal, anthemic and nothing short of epic music and vision, they are indistinguishable. This is the stuff that dreams are made of; band shaped festival dreams anyway.
Of course, Bestival aren't going to conquer the festival world quietly; they're going to do it in fancy dress. Home to the biggest fancy dress party you're ever likely to attend, this year’s crowds are expected to dive deep into the belly of their imagination and go wild (quite literally.) 2012 is all about Wildlife!
Rob and Josie Da Bank's creative vision has given birth to a wondrous world of adventure brimming with music, art, performance and a generous handful of magic. It might be the insects in my parrot costume but I, for one, can not wait! Let's just see if the beast of Bestival can fill that Glastonbury shaped hole in many of our hearts.
Bestival is on from 6th to 9th September at Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
Tickets are available at bestival.net