Diary of a Bestival

In the words of the mighty Chic, ‘music never lets you down’ and this couldn’t be truer of Bestival 2013.


My Bestival experience was planned rather last minute and to get there I had to get: a plane from Glasgow to Gatwick, a train to Victoria, a taxi to Brixton, a taxi to Waterloo, a train to Southampton, a taxi to the Quay, a ferry to the Isle of Wight and a bus to the site….

However, let me tell you, it was worth it. I have to bow down to the mighty Josie & Rob Da Bank who I am convinced curated this year’s line up specifically with me in mind.

Tents pitched in record time, ciders cracked open and it was straight to The Port. If you didn’t already know, Bestival really know how to do a theme and this year’s nautical ‘HMS Bestival’ was certainly buoyed (couldn’t resist) up by the addition of this huge stage in the shape of an industrial boat. We raced up to be greeted by the beats of Duke Dumont who was surrounded by dancing sailors, flipping acrobats and a man flying around the audience in a rowing boat with a frisky seagull. Fire galore, we almost immediately forgot the absence of the Arcadia stage.

Before you could blink, it was time for the first of the weekend’s headliners. Now, this is the first festival where I have seen every headliner. Quote from one friend: “Are we mainstream now?” no – I don’t think we are mainstream, because as well as executing a theme, Bestival certainly knows how to pick its top acts.

The first of these acts came in the form of Fatboy Slim – reappearing at the festival after his first performance there in 2003, celebrating the festival’s tenth anniversary. As the bassline of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ rose around us I had a festival first, I was thrown on the shoulders of one (poor) lovely friend of mine and I was raving above the screaming crowd as summer stalwart ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’ started up. I was apparently heard to be screaming: “This is the best moment of my life!” and I certainly don’t think that was an exaggeration..


After a rather hectic Friday I was ready to see what else Bestival had on offer. Aside from free tea, promotional Berocca and some very full charity and poster shops we were off to see the giant inflatable Lionel Richie head (obviously it was incredible). If you don’t know the background to this, take a minute to watch this video.


Hang on, was I hallucinating? Or.. oh no, fancy dress day had begun. I was surrounded. Pirate ships, treasure chests (one of whom tried to chat me up with the line ‘want to be the jewel in my chest?’ Interesting.), sharks, crabs, mermaids and mermen, I even saw Poseidon at one point.. the list is endless and the costumes were fantastic.

Right, we’re up to Saturday night and what can I say? Get ready. This was my time, the schedule was tight, but we were armed with glow sticks and energy drinks and so we began: DJ Yoda and the Trans Siberian Marching Band (why don’t more DJs do this?), Cyril Hahn (Say My Name remix – Google it, you’ll probably have heard it), Julio Bashmore, DJ Fresh (responsible for my favourite song of all time, Hypercaine), the legends that are Rudimental and take a breath…. SNOOP DOGG (better than you can imagine), onto Hot Natured (previous posts will show you how much I love this group) and finishing up with Simian Mobile Disco (nerdiest DJs out there).

It was probably the best night of music I’ve ever experienced in my life.


I awoke on Sunday to the sounds of Fleetwood Bac on the main stage. One of the most interesting alarms in my lifetime, but I have zero complaints as it was time to get up, get the wellies on and get back out there. This was the last day of summer and it was time to do it properly.

Let’s remember how much I love a bit of drum n bass and then let’s put me in front of my favourite stage, The Port, and then let’s make the sun come out at just the right angle and my favourite Nu:Tone song come on just as I arrive. Yep, that’s the kind of moment I was having on Sunday afternoon. Unbeatable.

Enough of dance music though, Bestival was coming to an end and it was time to head back to the main stage and watch the man who basically wrote every song, Nile Rodgers from Chic (watch this to learn more). Then it was time for the finale, the man who has sold more than 250 million records and has been in the charts consecutively for five decades. People were wearing star-shaped glasses, we had miniature keyboards ready and waiting and the crowd was a sea of candles.

Bestival 2012 Fireworks

It was emotional and it ended with everyone in group hugs with the Grand Finale of fireworks and glitter bombs overhead. What better way to end Bestival and, more than that, end an incredible summer of friends and music? Guys, it’s been emotional. Excuse me while I go and wipe away the tears..


To read about our Top 10 tips for next year’s Bestival, click here.