Let’s start off with the most important point. Bestival is aptly named: it is the best festival.
Now we’ve got that out of the way we can get into the detail, starting from the minute we got onto the boat with a hundred other people carrying packs on their backs and tents in their hands. There’s something quite special about having to cross the Solent to get to the beautiful Isle of Wight. The smell of the sea and the wind in our hair, the first cider drunk, the excitement was palpable.
After a rather vigorous search upon entry (the less said about the confiscation of my homemade, organic granola bars the better) we made our way straight to pitching our enormous 6-man tent (for two) next to the world’s nicest neighbours; mallets were proffered, electric bed pumps were pulled from nowhere and a team of helpers was assembled. We were ready, in record time, for the real adventure to begin.
To give you a taste of what happened, here’s my B – L of Bestival:
B – Big Disco Ball
This year’s theme was Desert Island Disco and, never ones to shy from a challenge, Bestival took Nile Rodgers at his word and created the world’s largest Disco Ball – Guinness World Records certified and everything. Just look at it!
E – Emmy J Mac & Buddy Carson
After a rather heavy Friday evening of dancing in a forest with a few other lucky people who had found their way to the Disco Shed, it was time to do some lying down. Delicately placing ourselves in the foetal position on the grass next to the Bandstand we were serenaded by the beautiful voice of Isle of Wight resident Emmy J Mac, accompanied by Buddy Carson. After having our hangovers melted away by a number of their tracks including ‘Heatwave’, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Feels Like Home’ it was time to get on and explore.
S – Science
There is a tent on Peace Hill dedicated to SCIENCE. OK, I may have lost some of you with that last sentence but stick with me. It was great. There were bees, car races, a weird copper pot where you could make water vibrate and then there was the senses discovery corner. We learnt how your four other senses affect the way that you taste. To recreate this at home mix some cinnamon and sugar, take a spoonful while holding your nose and then halfway let go. Just see what happens and do not tell me you’re not impressed.
T – Trannies
Sink The Pink deserves every medal, award, recognition, gold star and slap on the back out there. Those lovely, lovely people know how to party and they know how to party right. Hosting the latest tent at the festival every single night, the senses that we had been testing out earlier on were assaulted by elaborate make up, outfits to rival Madonna at her peak and moves that, three days on, I am still not over. After singing along to ‘Play’ by Jennifer Lopez in the Grand Palace of Entertainment at 3am, I was back dancing along to ‘Let’s Have A Kiki’ on the Main Stage the very next morning. Sink The Pink – you are an unstoppable force. Can I have my boyfriend back now?
I – Inside Oberon’s Observatory
There are so many magical places to discover within the walls of Bestival. The organisers promised total escapism before I got there and they definitely delivered. Finding a rather dashing man in breaches with his leg blocking our way up some steps we found out that we were on our way inside Oberon’s Observatory. Climbing a small spiral staircase with wonderful views across the site, we were ushered into the top of the tower to be welcomed by Lyra, Oberon’s wife of course. After a round of brandy in tea cups and after answering all formalities (name, birthday, starsign) it was into a round of Consequences, a teacake for afters and a reading of our horoscopes and out. I wasn’t sure if that really happened… but I found the paper with the Consequences inside my bag so it must have done. I told you. Total escapism.
V – Vast amounts of glitter (and fancy dress)
When I wrote my packing list for Bestival, top of the list was glitter, pink wig and palm tree cup. The fancy dress is legendary and this year did not disappoint. From octopi to sparkly castaways, everyone had got into the spirit.
A – Annie Mac
The Queen of dance music herself headlined The Port stage on the Saturday night. The Port is a magical stage filled with lights, pyrotechnics, acrobats and a whole lot of dancing people. Crashing into ‘Walking With Elephants’ lit up by bright white lights was a particular highlight. This lady can do no wrong.
L – Lycra
In the form of the one and only MR MOTIVATOR. The man himself, complete with full knee brace after sustaining an injury during rehearsals for BBC’s Tumble, was up on stage in a full on rainbow lycra ensemble. Two songs worth of light aerobics with half of the festival was topped off by an inspirational speech that reminded us all to smile at someone every day. Because, as the man himself said, you may not change the whole world but you may change their world. Powerful.