Bestival took over Robin Hill Country Park once again to close off the festival season, disco style. Known for its eccentric style, this year didn’t disappoint with a huge range of music including a new “Reggae Roots” stage. Impact offers a few picks from the weekend.
La Roux performed on the big top after Outkast had finished their polished headline set, so naturally the audience were already excitable. Lead singer Elly Jackson’s flamboyant style was colourful and eccentric, giving a real sense of fun to the set. New songs including “Uptight Downtown” went down well but older hits such as “In For The Kill” and “Bulletproof” proved the most popular. La Roux’s high energy, synthy-pop, created an atmosphere which got the whole tent dancing, and was the perfect transition to the late night party vibe.
I managed to bump into Scroobius pip who explained his busy Bestival schedule, hosting his spoken word Satin Lizard Lounge as well judging a beard competition and performing his last ever set with Dan Le Sac. Scroobius Pip is at the forefront of the rapidly growing spoken word scene, which has expanded significantly in the last few years. Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip incorporates this element of spoken word with a beat and bass heavy style from Dan Le Sac. Being the last ever show, this pulled a huge crowd with inspirational lyricism combined and clever mixes the audience could dance to. Highlights included “Let ‘em Come” and the final song of “Thou Shall Always Kill.”
The Kooks surprised Bestival goers with a pumped up secret set, playing many of the songs off their new more indie based album “Listen” which was released this year. Lead singer Luke Pritchard shouted to the crowd “Who remembers 2006?” before launching into the classics of “Naive” and “She Moves In Her Own Way”. The Kooks rattled through their songs without too much talking, ensuring they packed as much music into their set as possible. The highlight of the set was a chilled acoustic version of “Seaside” with the rest of the band offstage.
I first saw Sean McGowan supporting the Rifles in London, and passing a smaller stage I managed to catch his Bestival set. Although only pulling a small crowd, his passionate, rough and ready sound is similar to that of a politically charged Frank Turner. His clever lyricism drawn from real experience makes his songs so relatable to any listener, with commentary on social issues as well as songs on family and being hung-over (we have all been there). Definitely one for the future, he gave a heartfelt performance in a one of the many smaller stages which make Bestival what it is. Highlights included “Never Let Us In,” “Come Unstuck” and “Neverland”.
Major Lazer were certainly one of the highlights of the festival. As they emerged on stage in suits donning various props it was clear they knew exactly how to work a crowd, sending the Bestival audience into a frenzy that would be more common at the wilder reading festival. There were sizable mosh pits, rarely seen at this more relaxed festival, and large scale crowd participation when each side was encouraged to run at each other- which was uncomfortable to say the least. Starting their set with bass heavy remixes of popular songs and then moving to some of their original music, with highlights of “Pon De Floor” and “Watch Out For This” and a clever remix of Steve Aoki’s “Boneless” receiving a particularly enthusiastic response. Confetti cannons, provocative dancers, an inflatable figure of Major Lazer and Diplo zorbing on the crowd all added to the excitement, alongside a well performed set.
Dub pistols with special guest Rodney P, gave a classic performance with their unique mix of Dub, Ska and Electronic elements, backed with a powerful brass section to give Bestival an unforgettable experience. Barry Ashworth was on top form playing new songs as well as some old classics which brought the pistols such success, and got the whole of the big top skanking. There was a real mix of ages with old and new Dub Pistol fans enjoying the bass pumping performance together. Crowd favourites included “Bad Card” and “Alive” with “Mucky Weekend” sending the audience into a frenzy. A polished performance form these long established partiers.
Although this year’s headliners may have originally triggered doubts in some, Rob Da Bank once again proved that he knew exactly how to put on a fantastic show, and Chic feat Nile Rogers proved to be a real highlight of the weekend, with classic hits such as “We Are Family” and newer additions such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. Bestial once again stood out from the rest due to a huge range of acts, the detail in the hundreds of quirky installations around the site and the party vibe brought by Bestival goers, making this year another great success for Rob Da Bank.
For more from Impact Music, check us out on Twitter