Top UK festival, Bestival lives up to the hype

Curated by Rob Da Bank, Bestival the annual 4-day music festival at the Isle of Wight took place over the weekend. For its tenth birthday, the festival was packed with musical talents. Headliners this year included Elton John, Snoop Dog and Fatboy Slim, artists most music fans could probably find themselves enjoying.


This year with increasingly more electronic music acts there were two new stages, the Port, home to HMS Bestival, and Temple Island. I headed over to Temple Island to catch some of Karma Kid’s set on Thursday afternoon. The weather was beautiful but unfortunately, with not much else on at the time, the 18-year old producer had quite the following. It was near impossible to get into the tent so unless you like to hear just the bass, it wasn’t that enjoyable.

The Robin Hill Country park had been transformed yet again fantastically by Josie Da Bank the creative director of the festival. The new area also had a cotch looking area with comfy beds as well as the array of different food and arty places you could fill your time with outside of campsites and music. The Thursday evening kicked off with M.I.A who was as energetic as ever as she performed her famous ‘Paper Planes’ where there were lots of gun fingers in the air for the chorus.


Friday involved seeing the wonderfully humble Jessie Ware perform. It was great to hear ‘Valentine‘ and ‘Wildest Moments‘ while the last of the summer sun shone. After on the main stage, Bombay Bicycle Club were on, joined by the London Afrobeat Collective. I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.


Later that evening Cashmere Cat played an exciting mix of house, grime and tech. The hidden disco returned to Bestival this year, Ben UFO played late on Saturday. He kept his head down throughout, and barely looked up at the crowd. Professionally selecting his plates to spin. The hidden disco had an open roof and was quite small so was a bit more intimate and not as much of a sweat box as some of the other tents.

Disco shed you’d find yourself get distracted at for a bit
The Port

On Saturday Annie Mac Presents was hosting a party all night long at the Port. It included DJ sets from fellow Radio 1 resident Monki, house daddies The 2 Bears, Cyril Hahn, Julio Bashmore, Annie Mac herself, DJ EZ and Hudson Mohawke. Quite a big line up and unfortunately there is only one of me.

The Port was a non-stop dancing field all weekend. Cyril Hahn did not disappoint. A highlight was hearing him play out Toyboy & Robin’s ‘Jaded’ and his own work. During his remix of Destiny’s Child ‘Say My Name’ it began to rain and the raindrops looked like glitter as it hit some hi-tech lasers. There were acrobats floating around too, including a guy in a boat, Julio Bashmore also played a great set, his 2011 hit ‘Battle for Middle You’ going down a treat.

One of the weekend’s highlights was seeing Snoop Dogg/Lion/whatever. He played a lot of his well-known music, sadly not as much of his classic hits. He looked pretty stoned, and got a lap dance while the crowd sang to him “I wanna fuck you” during that Akon song, only Snoop. He left with Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’ playing out.



One of the main reasons I bought my ticket was to see Disclosure play live. They have had an amazing past year and have a huge discography already, including debut album Settle. The set passed extremely quickly, tracks like ‘Confess To Me’ sounded incredible.


On the Sunday after watching Elton John for a bit, we headed to the Red Bull stage for Swamp81. Mickey Pearce, Klose One, Loefah, and Boddika all played sets which got everyone vibing. My friend who isn’t really into dance music ended up here drunk after getting lost at Elton John, and all he had to say for it mid throw up was “drums”.


James Blake

Afterwards seeing James Blake was genuinely one of the best moments of my life. His voice is so soulful and fragile, he utilises it so perfectly and mesmerised the whole crowd. He opened with ‘I Never Learnt to Share’ which has the haunting vocals of, “My brother and sister don’t speak to me, but I don’t blame them.” Parts of his new album were heard, and of course ‘Limit to Your Love’ which shuddered bass through us all. Once his band left the stage, he was left with a keyboard, to perform his cover of ‘A Case of You’. He complained that it was hard to do with the bass going on in the background, but everyone easily tuned that out and focus on him.


Finale fireworks, thank you for an unforgettable weekend Bestival!

Tenth year completed, Bestival proved its worth and why it has so many accolades. The music selection and art direction are simply top notch.

📷 Emma Gillett


One thought on “Festival report: Bestival 2013

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