Bestival 2013: evaluated

In case you hadn’t realised from my review, I had a great time at HMS Bestival. However, for every good event, there needs to be a good evaluation. So, here are my Top 10 tips/lessons learnt that should hopefully get you ready for next year (yes, I’m thinking about it already – are you not?).

1. Eavesdrop on other people’s festival conversations.

I don’t know if this is just the most attention I’ve paid at a festival, or whether people at Bestival are just particularly hilarious but examples this year included, “I would love to use Elton as a footstool” and “Bristol was great, until I got kidnapped”.

2. Do not underestimate the power of performers over the age of 40 years old.

Fatboy Slim, killed it. Snoop Dogg, killed it. Nile Rodgers, killed it. Elton John, killed it. Did you know their combined average age is over 54 years old? That’s right, kids.

3. Leave early.

If I pass on one bit of knowledge from my Bestival experience it would be to leave as early as you can on the Monday. In case four glorious days had made you forget, you are on a 381 sq km island, and there’s only one way out of there: ferry. That’s 60,000 people all trying to cross the most expensive £/mile stretch of water in the world. Get up, forget your hangover and get on a shuttle bus. We were on ours at 8am and back to a hot shower and comfy bed by 12pm. It was so worth it.

4. Get the fast ferry.

Ok, so we did get back slightly ahead of schedule as we paid the extra £9 for the fast ferry. It was worth every penny for the aforementioned reasons.

5. Always have some kind of rave accessory.

We saw all sorts, from glow sticks to umbrellas to tentacles made of tights, but a definite highlight was the guy who had taken his flip flops off and put them on his hands. That was dedication.

6. Be prepared for the weather.

This is a standard festival tip but due to a beautiful summer a few in our party seemed to have forgotten that we live in England, average annual rainfall: 1132mm. The rain didn’t dampen our experience, but wellies were essential at all times and ponchos were our lifesavers.

7. Be prepared for hills.

It did rain on and off this year and although we were highly impressed with the drainage on the Bestival site (am I getting old?) there was a lot of mud. And a lot of hills. Mud and hills don’t always combine well, so be prepared to be walking up and down. On the plus side, having the main stage at the bottom of a small valley ensures that wherever you are standing, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good view.

8. Tartiflette is the ultimate dance fuel.

Remember boys and girls, just because you’re at a festival doesn’t mean you can give up eating at least one good meal a day. Bestival organisers, we salute you, you know how to bring in some good food. From Pieminster, to the Wagamamas pop up and even a Gourmet Burger Kitchen, we were thoroughly spoilt. However, everyone in our party agreed, tartiflette was the ultimate dance fuel. Don’t believe us? Try it.

9. Pack a good costume.

We had a few non-believers in the group, but seriously, you’ll feel left out if you don’t at least try and get into the theme. In the way that if I walked into the office wearing a red morph suit with a papier mache crab hat on my head I would be the laughing stock, it was the other way round at Bestival. Make sure you plan ahead and get creative, literally anything goes (within theme).

10. Stay for the Grand Finale after the headliner.

I know you might have a few last minute DJs and bands you want to see after the headliner, but please, please stay for the Grand Finale. No other festival does it better. With an incredible soundtrack pulling songs from across the festival and an insane firework display accompanied by a glitter explosion, it really is a sight to behold and a perfect way to bring your experience to a close.