It's an invasion of the Isle Of Wight on the Thursday of Bestival

Bestival 2011 review

published: Thu 15th Sep 2011

around the festival site (5)

Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th September 2011
Robin Hill Country Park, Downend, Nr Arreton, Isle of Wight.. PO30 2NU, England MAP
£170 (Adult) - / £85 (Age 13-15) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Fri 9th Sep 2011

Man the trenches! There's a Normandy Landings-esque invasion of festival goers headed for the sleepy Isle Of Wight for four days of escape, and it seems they all want to get there as early as possible!

around the festival site (5)
The invasion is grand and swift and there's at least a two hour queue at the festival's bus stop, but spirits are high as the mist descends upon the Robin Hill Park, our home for the next few days.

Certainly by the time the Big Top opens to the sound of Liverpool's The La's the campsites are already jam packed with tents, and already many have burnt themselves out and opted for an early night.

Spirits are high, and the site is awash with colour, the low cloud cover providing joy for the laser testers who blast the heavens with green light. The low cloud also means it's a warm, and well lit evening, although at night Bestival's lamps spill enough light to keep nearly everywhere colourfully well lit.

You'd have thought looking at the assembled crowd for Blancmange, on this a limited night of programming that the crowds were all tucked up in bed, or out chatting in the busy walkways between the campsites, or going in search of somewhere nice to get a bite to eat. But, when Santigold arrives on stage it suddenly brings in a surge of crowds. They've probably remained in their tents drinking their own supplies, rather than pay an extortionate £4 for a can of of that wee inducing cider. Fortunately there are a lot of toilets, unfortunately many are too trashed to find them!

around the festival site (4)
Or maybe it took them that long to get through the searches that are in place for the first night or maybe suffered from some form of wristband confusion as staff are brought rapidly up to speed with the sudden influx of festival goers. The hastily re-designed site, after high winds took their toll on Tuesday also means that for some campers they need to ask directions with Orange Overflow, Purple, and Pink campsites all suffering from the re-jig.

The urinals have lovely views - a feature I like and at some other festivals they have removed the ability to stop and take in the sights. There are plenty of facilities on site, but at times these generate long queues, and so both men and women resort to using the walls of tents and arenas. Not nice! The festival does feature a urinal wall, but it would make sense to have one in the main arena, as despite there being urinals literally the other side of a block of toilets the fence is used instead, creating a lake on the other side of it.

around the festival site (2)
A look around the site also reveals that some areas are still be put together last minute, the week's earlier weather has clearly delayed the build, and it's all completed by the first day 'proper'.

Some confusion over artists wristbands also leads to a few acts having to move their slots. Fortunately Bestival has big neon info signs that kept festival goers abreast of most of the changes. At times some venues ran late (or early), and the occasional guest DJ (most notably JFB who rocked up to scratch in the Big Top on Sunday) would appear unannounced on various stages over the weekend.

We're in a campervan, and whilst it takes a while to reach, it does at least give us a chance to go through the campsites each day, and witness the crazy antics of the up for it crowd. They're a friendly bunch. However, as is all to familiar there's a rash of thefts from tents on the first night, whilst their owners partied or slept heavily.

around the festival site (4)
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams / Phil Bull

Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th September 2011
Robin Hill Country Park, Downend, Nr Arreton, Isle of Wight.. PO30 2NU, England MAP
£170 (Adult) - / £85 (Age 13-15) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Fri 9th Sep 2011


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