Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Bestival 2010 - Preview

As the UK summer festival season draws to a close our attention focuses on one of the most insane, ridiculously fun, yet fully credible events on the calendar - Bestival, on the Isle of Wight. Because of its fancy dress, late night party spirit and sense of mischievous humour Breaking More Waves has a long standing love with the festival, having been one of the few who has attended every year since its inception. The first year of Bestival has gone down in history as one of those ‘you had to be there’ weekends. A totally non-corporate event, it was like a chaotic village fete combined with a psychedelic private dance-party set in a kids adventure park. Memories include finding organiser Rob Da Bank realising that he had no overnight staff and would have to take on the roll of security himself, one of the Cuban Brothers jumping off stage into the crowd fully naked before running off into the sunset, morris men dancing, drummers drumming, an impromptu can-can dance on the grass, a huge wicker frog being constructed in the middle of the site and hundreds of punters chasing their tents across the campsite as they battled with gusting winds on the final night.

Then there was the music. It set out from the word go with an eclectic mix that characterises every Bestival - from a Kate Bush tribute act on the main stage to Mr Big Beat himself - Fatboy Slim. Then there was the Isle of Wight's own The Bees tripping the light fantastic plus a then little known Hot Chip learning their groove. That year, in 2004, it won the Virtual Festivals award for Best Small Festival - an award that due to its expanding capacity (this year 40,000+) it certainly doesn’t qualify for now.

Bestival has now reached the status that rather like other established expanding festivals some regular Bestivalites complain that the festival has changed for the worst, has lost its original spirit and has just become about money. Certainly Bestival has changed as it has got bigger, but it is still a long way from being a corporate whore such as V or Reading Festival. The acts that play the main stage are bigger and more commercial - this year sees Dizzee Rascal, The Prodigy and The Flaming Lips headline - but in order to survive Bestival has had to grow. If Rob Da Bank still had bands such as Boomclick, Quantic Soul Orchestra and Ori Jah Nal playing the main stage as he did in 2004 and provided the attention to detail in the sites art and visual aesthetic that his team still do, he would have probably gone bust a long time ago. This would have especially been the case after the horrendous weather that turned the 2008 event into the worst mud bath since Glastonbury 1997 and 1998 where there was a need for significant subsequent landscaping and restorative works to be carried out to the site at huge costs.

Following these deluges in 2009 Bestival relocated its main stage away from its traditional location at the end of ‘Besti-valley’ to higher ground. It wasn’t a great success - problems with sight-lines for punters and sound clash issues with other stages led to a significant number of complaints. So for 2010 the Main Stage finds itself in its third location, lower down the hill but with new improved drainage to the site should the weather wizard be unkind again.

In place of the old main stage one can now find the Afterburner, familiar to those who may have attended Glastonbury. Bigger and better than in 2009 this huge metallic spider shaped structure really comes into life at night time as huge jets of flame and special effects shoot out magically and forcefully lighting up the night sky whilst musicians and acrobats perform.

There’s a whole host of other stages and areas at Bestival 2010 as well. The Big Top will pay host to bands such as The XX, Fever Ray, LCD Soundsystem. A particular favourite of many Bestival punters is The Bollywood Bar with inside its hand stitched Indian designs, delicious cocktails and DJ’s such as Jakwob, High Contrast and David Rodigan lathering the crowd into a sweat, whilst outside on the grass there are day beds and silk umbrellas for relaxing on. Then there’s The Bimble Inn, The Polka Tent, The Rock N Roll Stage and The Bandstand many of whom are featuring bands blogged on Breaking More Waves. Ellie Goulding, Hurts, Beth Jean Houghton, Worship, Lucky Elephant, Delphic, Kid Adrift, King Charles, Silver Columns, Stornoway, Yuck and Unicorn Kid are just a few of the acts that have featured on the blog numerous times that are playing this years Bestival. In fact if Breaking More Waves was joined with a festival in the same way that towns and cities have twin towns, Bestival would be its twin of choice.

There’s also one further artist we should mention, as besides reviewing the festival for future blog publication, and tweeting from the event (follow us on twitter here for our updates from site) we’ll also be playing our own small part as an 'artist'.

When Q Magazine questioned why was the very uncool spikey haired 80’s keyboard pop star Howard Jones playing Bestival earlier this year, they obviously hadn’t done their research. The answer is that for the last 4 years a group of geeks and internet mavericks had been campaigning on the official Bestival forum for Rob Da Bank to book Howard Jones for Bestival. One of those geeks was the writer of this blog. Finally Da Bank had succumbed to the pressure and booked both Jones and a certain DJ Hojo Hits - the worlds only Howard Jones tribute DJ.

DJ Hojo Hits is our DJ alter ego. Bestival 2010 will probably be the last ever DJ gig under this name. When DJ Hojo Hits plays he will be joined on stage by many of the characters who campaigned on the internet for Jones to play Bestival, some of whom are flying in from as far as the USA to join DJ Hojo on stage and spin a tune or two. It will be a celebration of a stupid campaign that started as a joke and ended up going to quite extreme measures just to get Howard Jones booked for Bestival. It will be shambolic, very amateur but probably quite emotional. If you’re coming to Bestival please do come and support us - we will need all the help we can get. We’re playing in the Big Top at 6pm-6.45pm opening the festival on Thursday night, as part of the Back to the Phuture bill, and are going under the name The Sunday Best Forum Allstars, with Howard Jones appearing on stage at 8pm-8.45pm before La Roux and Dead Guy's DJ set. Janelle Monae, Heaven 17 and Villa Nah are also all playing the same night.

And should you happen to be in the Isle of Wight on Wednesday 8th September, the night before Bestival opens why not come along to Waverley Park Holiday Centre, Cowes for the un-official pre-Bestival party where you can camp for the night, catch 3 bands playing - Englane, Hurtz (not Hurts) and Pleasureade and dance your pants off to DJ Hojo Hits again in between the bands - entry is just £5 including camping - pay on the door at reception. You might even catch the writer of this blog wearing a bad 80’s wig, and doing something similar to what you see in the video below!

Finally, we will be previewing Bestival further on Portsmouth's community Radio Station, Express FM on the Guestlist show today Wednesday 1st September between 8pm and 10pm playing music from many of the acts appearing. Click here to access the station on line and then click on the Listen Live On Air box on the top right hand corner of the website to hear the show between those hours.

Bestival runs between 9th - 12th September and is totally sold out.


Joseph Kinsey said...

We'll be there Robin! P'raps time at last to meet for quick bevvie? DJ Hojo Hits sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the stage times for Bestival ?

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Yes but they are not for public release. Sorry.

Hi Joseph. Yeah that would be good. Send me an email.