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Isle of Wight Bestival

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2 Reviews

Bestival is an award winning 3 day boutique music festival set at Robin Hill - a beautiful leafy country park (a veritable Garden of Eden!) near Downend and Newport in the heart of the Isle of Wight. The event is brought to you by Sunday Best in conjunction with partners Get Involved and the innovative promoters behind these companies are Rob da Bank (Radio 1 DJ supremo and Sunday Best captain) and John Hughes (Get Involved honcho and music manager extraordinaire). The first Bestival, in September 2004, was headlined by Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, Zero 7, The Bees, Mylo and Lee 'Scratch' Perry and was a ground-breaking success. Bestival 2005 meanwhile saw Royksopp, The Magic Numbers, Super Furry Animals, 2manydjs, The Go! Team and Soulwax take to the stage (amongst many others!). It also set the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Fancy Dress Party (10,000 people dressed as Cowboys & Indians!) and was voted (by the festival-going public) the Best (Medium-sized) Festival and the Most Innovative Festival at the 2005 UK Festival Awards.

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      13.01.2010 22:14
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      Try it!

      Fancy escaping? Have eclectic taste in music? Want to eat something better than a 'dirty burger'? Want a gorgeous experience? Welcome to BESTIVAL.

      Bestival is an annual shindig in a country park on the Isle of Wight in early September curated by Rob da Bank. I went in 2007 and 2008 (couldn't go in 2009 :( ) and loved it. It's a magical fairyland of a weekend. Here's some info to help sway you, it's not comprehensive but I hope it encourages you to investigate!

      Music
      Bestival usual plays host to a good selection of major artists from across the pop/rock/dance/folk/indie/electro spectrum, so there's usually something that would suit most tastes. Examples include: The Beastie Boys, Kate Nash, Bat for Lashes, the Wombats, the Human League, Amy Winehouse, the Chemical Brothers, Gossip, Mr Scruff. They always have a secret act on the main stage on Saturday afternoon, rumours of which create a real buzz around the site (I saw Madness!). There's a main stage, along with a handful of other tents.

      Activities
      As well as music, you can amuse yourself in the Comedy or Cinema Tents, drink in many of the bars, puruse the many stalls selling fun clothes and bric a brac, or go to the Healing Field for a cup of tea in a China cup. I had a foot massage in the Healing Field in 2008 - it was heaven but I felt guilty for the poor lady washing my stinky festival feet!

      FANCY DRESS.
      Bestival is famed for fancy dress. A theme is announced a few months before the event and you are encouraged to dress up, particularly on the Saturday. You can buy bits and pieces there if you get there and don't have a costume. It's great fun watching the gorgeous array of costumes, even if you don't choose to participate.

      Food.
      I. Love. Bestival. Food. Food is of high quality, and there's a great variety of food to suit all tastes including curry, fish and chips, pizza, moroccan, pies. Listing it, it looks like stodge but it's really very good and just what you need to keep your energy up for the dancing. Expect to pay between £5 - £8 for a meal.

      Camping
      Camping is well organised with several areas available, including a family area and a quiet area. There were a few thieves around so I wouldn't advise leaving valuables.

      Minus sides...
      You have to walk up a big hill to get out of the site, which hurts on a hungover Monday morning when you are lugging your camping gear

      Weather is legendary for being great for Bestival, but unfortunately in 2008 it rained all weekend and the place was a nightmare, not of Glastonbury proportions, but the team were clearly not prepared and some of the stages got flooded. Don't forget to be sensible and take waterproofs, regardless of the forecast

      In all, Bestival is magic, not a huge festival, but plenty to do so you won't get bored. Great for going with a group of friends as well as the variety of music on offer should suit most tastes. Try it!

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      • More +
        04.08.2008 18:52
        Very helpful
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        The Isle of Wight Bestival (not to be confused with the Isle of Wight Festival) is a great annual event. Not only does it seem to have a more laid back approach to other festivals, but there is a community spirit amongst the people attending.

        The Bestival often showcases new up-and-coming musical talent, and also throws in some well established big names to keep things interesting. The variety in music is excellent, and is not just limited to mainstream genres - people with a taste for world music will be well catered for also.

        There is usually a range of unusual things to do on and around the site, and of course you will find the regular shop and food stalls that go hand in with festivals . The setting is the beautiful Robin Hill, which makes for a wonderful backdrop to the UKs last festival.

        The weather is usually fairly good around September on the Isle of Wight, hence the '06 and '07 Bestivals being bathed in sunlight.

        For those of you who want something a little different at the end of the summer, then the Bestival is the Festival for you - that's if you can get hold of a ticket.

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