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jackarmy

Bestival 2017

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Overall I think Bestival was just about a success. As has been mentioned there was definitely a bit of an older crowd than the last few years, I think that's down to it being on the main land.

Camped backstage so can't really comment on the campsites, but when I went to get booze from the car park on Friday I did notice some tents camped at ridiculous angles uphill.

They need to give Chris Tofu and Caravanserai more of a budget to program things, that area was bouncing all weekend with proper good vibes.

I hope Bestival will be back next year, I think they would need a big lineup to get me to go as a punter, but it's definitely still a fun one to work...

 

 

 

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Some of my thoughts on this year - compare and contrast with your own. 

First and foremost - really sad to hear of the death / murder (?) on site. When I was having such fun to think that something like this was happening near me is horrible. Thoughts to all the girls friends and family. I do wonder if there will be implications for the festivals licence? Will the police object next year? Or will there be much tougher security? 

I've been to all but 1 of the 14 Bestivals (I missed 2011) and for me this was one of the more enjoyable....I've also been to a few Camp Bestivals

Traffic - Drove there with no jams at all, traffic management seemed to be working well (arrived about 11am). On leaving site (Sunday about midnight) drove straight out. Got slightly caught by mud, but 1 small push and I was off again.

Queuing on entry - They opened the gates before advertised which was great as it meant there was no real queue to get in. I counted 5 people ahead of me in my security lane. Each of us was given a brief pat down / examination of our bags, but nothing major - I spent less than 10 mins getting through queuing and collecting the wristband. All seemed simple and straightforward.

Camping - I knew the site was hilly from previous Camp Bestival experience although when I'd been to Camp Bestival there seemed more space and not that many people had to camp on the hills. I camped in the quiet camping (Golden Years) which was very pleasant. Mainly older people although there were some younger people as well. Everyone in my area was very friendly and made instant campsite friends. It was also quiet at night time - as it should be when it's quiet camping. The only problem  was that the campervan field was next door and there were a couple of people in vans partying in the night, slightly spoiling the full quiet atmosphere - but to be honest it wasn't that bad and I slept through it no problem.

The toilets were fine most of the weekend in Golden Years and never a queue when I used them - there was one morning when they hadn't been emptied and Bestival put out something on their Twitter (and I guess other social channels?) apologising that there had been a delay. However I found ones that were useable in Golden Years.

I do think the site could benefit with 1 additional (flatter) field for camping - those who ended up on the slope must have struggled.

Program and entertainment - I don't really understand people saying there was nothing to do in the day. There was loads to see and do. OK, maybe not big names, but that doesn't necessarily mean poor quality. I was on site from 6pm Thursday, 11am Fri and Saturday and 12.30 Sunday and never went back to my tent until bed time (except for the evacuation)

Personal highlights: Sunday evening with Soulwax and The Pet Shop Boys. I've seen Soulwax before and was a bit meh about them, but they were great - really liked their lab technician / in a studio aesthetic and their treble drummers. Lucy Rose - a moment of quiet introspection that I thought was absolutely beautiful and she seemed really genuine when she talked about how much it meant to her people singing the words as she was a big self-doubter. Stacey's - my new favourite venue. Loved all the soul they played in their and I sacked off seeing a few bands I had intended to see to dance there. The vibe in Stacey's really reminded me of the very early (2004-2007) Bestivals. The Magic Gang - big singalongs in The Invaders of The Future stage. The 2 marriage proposals on the Box stage. I particularly liked Dizney Rascal's marriage proposal - it got a huge cheer. Not sure as a band they were really up to playing such a big stage - as they admitted themselves they normally play pubs and their billing as a ska / punk band doing Disney covers sounded better on paper than it did in practice, but it was worth seeing them just for the marriage proposal and his girlfriends reaction - as a lovely thing.

The 'not so goods': I felt the programming in the Invaders of the Future Stage was relatively week. On Thursday they put a quiet post-folk band (Laucan) on just as all the dance stuff nearby was getting going. The soundclash from the beats was terrible. They would have been better putting them on earlier in a quieter part of the site. Also there were quite a few local and Isle of Wight bands in Invaders of the Future, many of whom were very average. If you're going to call a stage Invaders of the Future I think you need to put on more acts that really have a chance of becoming bigger and are of quality.

Organisation: Generally I felt things were well organised. When the winds were getting up it was the right call to evacuate the site. The organisers would have had the data from the anemometer on the main stage plus the weather forecasts and if the data indicated there was a risk that the speeds would exceed the design wind loadings, they were right to put a temporary halt to things. I know some people were upset that Loyle Carner etc was cancelled, but better this than a major catastrophe. I also thought they dealt well with the mud, putting down lots of hay in the most dangerous areas. Other festivals that have been affected by mud this year have done far less. My only minor quibble was that on exiting the car park at night the exit signs were often positioned away from lighting so you couldn't see them from a distance in the dark. All the stages seemed to run to time, and any line up changes were communicated via the app - unfortunately for a festival of this size you'll always get the odd drop out.

Food and drink: All sorts and good. Standard festival prices.Feast collective was delicious. The WI tent charged a lot more for tea and cake than the old Isle of Wight ladies, but you did get it in a pot, which was great. Personally I'd have liked another coffee stall somewhere near the main stage, but otherwise, a good selection. Good to see the use of the plastic Ecocups like Latitude use.

The crowd: Generally fine. You'll always get a few idiots on alcohol or illegal drugs, and Bestival has always had an element of this, but I felt there were a lot less idiots this year than the previous few years. A better mix of ages as well - last year seemed very young. From my perspective it does seem the more Grime is booked, the nastier / more mainstream crowd it attracts. 

The site: The main arena worked well I think. No bottlenecks, reasonably compact. I really liked all the smaller venues (Stacey's being a particular fave) which made it seem like the Bestivals of old. It was quite nice seeing them wheel out all the past Bestival installations like the robot, astronaut, Bestival sign, glitterball and then add to it with Kanye (which was freakishly brilliant). The site was similar to Camp Bestival in terms of main stage and Big Top locations but with more stages on site than Camp B.

Internet: OK, probably not essential, but when the festival is using the app and social media as its main communication channels, it is more important. I had decent coverage (o2) all weekend - for Camp Bestival in the past there has been virtually no signal when I went, but there was a booster mast on site. I had decent coverage in most areas, although it was weaker at the campsite.

Overall, I had a great time and would be back again next year (hoping for better weather) assuming it goes ahead.

Edited by rseamer
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11 hours ago, kerplunk said:

You seem to give Shambala a pass but it was no different to Bestival and your experience this weekend pretty much mirrors our experience at Shambala (didn't generate enough waste to fill bag so walked around the site on sunday morning picking up other people's litter, told bag still not full enough so had to do a stint in the recycling/sorting to get eco-bond back). 

Shambala, for us, was very different. a small bag (not full size refuse bag) of recycling and not a full size bag of non recycling either. We had a few bits of paper and half a dozen cans at Shambala and that was fine.

Shambala also has the green camping field.

Very different to Bestival.

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3 hours ago, Nobody Interesting said:

Shambala, for us, was very different. a small bag (not full size refuse bag) of recycling and not a full size bag of non recycling either. We had a few bits of paper and half a dozen cans at Shambala and that was fine.

Shambala also has the green camping field.

Very different to Bestival.

I thought your main gripe was the expectation to handle other people's litter and that expectation is clearly the same at shambala for those who don't create much waste of their own and still want to get their tenner back. Shambala acknowledge that the system is unfair for those who don't generate much waste but don't go as far as explicitly stating you need go pick up other people's litter to get your tenner back - but it's there all the same. The amount you need to collect may be different (I note bestival required an eco-bond deposit on every adult ticket but shambala was just one per order) but it's the same in principle.

I don't know about the green camping field at shambala and can't find anything about it on their website - how was it different to the non-green camping areas?

Edited by kerplunk

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2 hours ago, kerplunk said:

I thought your main gripe was the expectation to handle other people's litter and that expectation is clearly the same at shambala for those who don't create much waste of their own and still want to get their tenner back. Shambala acknowledge that the system is unfair for those who don't generate much waste but don't go as far as explicitly stating you need go pick up other people's litter to get your tenner back - but it's there all the same. The amount you need to collect may be different (I note bestival required an eco-bond deposit on every adult ticket but shambala was just one per order) but it's the same in principle.

I don't know about the green camping field at shambala and can't find anything about it on their website - how was it different to the non-green camping areas?

You did not need to return any waste but were checked to see that you did not create any - or something like that.

The bags at Shambala were small too - not full sized waste bags like Bestival gave out......... and how can you fill a non recycleable bag when pretty much all the waste is plastic, cans, paper and wood - and can all be recycled? I did ask Bestival that but they chose to avoid trying to answer.

Any festival that makes an Eco Bond almost impossible to get a refund is using it as a simple way to increase the ticket price. I have not yet found anyone who got their Eco Bind back at Bestival......... maybe you did?

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15 minutes ago, Nobody Interesting said:

You did not need to return any waste but were checked to see that you did not create any - or something like that.

The bags at Shambala were small too - not full sized waste bags like Bestival gave out......... and how can you fill a non recycleable bag when pretty much all the waste is plastic, cans, paper and wood - and can all be recycled? I did ask Bestival that but they chose to avoid trying to answer.

Any festival that makes an Eco Bond almost impossible to get a refund is using it as a simple way to increase the ticket price. I have not yet found anyone who got their Eco Bind back at Bestival......... maybe you did?

So how did you get to camp in the green camping - was there different ticket you ordered that didn't require an eco-bond deposit and different wristband/controls on the green campsite entry? Strange I can't find anything about it on their website. I suspect green camping was no different to yellow/red/pink etc.

The eco-bond was probably more challenging to complete at Bestival (I didn't have to do it as I was on a guest ticket), however if you don't generate enough rubbish of your own at either festival then you have to pick up other people's 'disgusting' litter to get your deposit back (even if Shambala are less candid about saying so).

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1 minute ago, kerplunk said:

So how did you get to camp in the green camping - was there different ticket you ordered that didn't require an eco-bond deposit and different wristband/controls on the green campsite entry? Strange I can't find anything about it on their website. I suspect green camping was no different to yellow/red/pink etc.

The eco-bond was probably more challenging to complete at Bestival (I didn't have to do it as I was on a guest ticket), however if you don't generate enough rubbish of your own at either festival then you have to pick up other people's 'disgusting' litter to get your deposit back (even if Shambala are less candid about saying so).

It was widely advertised on Shambalas social media, it is on their website somewhere but I always find that hard t find stuff on.

Regardless of candidness to ask anyone to pick up other peoples litter without providing any safety equipment is wrong and in my opinion the Eco Bind or whatever name is used is simply a way of inflating ticket prices - imagine if every single person decided to fill their bags, there is not enough litter to do that.

regardless of this though given Notthebestivals replies and lack of replies they have lost my business forever, and that of others I know.

You would have thought given the bad publicity they had last year that this year they would do their utmost to be a shining example of all that is good. Seems to me they are not that bothered.

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2 minutes ago, Nobody Interesting said:

It was widely advertised on Shambalas social media, it is on their website somewhere but I always find that hard t find stuff on.

Regardless of candidness to ask anyone to pick up other peoples litter without providing any safety equipment is wrong and in my opinion the Eco Bind or whatever name is used is simply a way of inflating ticket prices - imagine if every single person decided to fill their bags, there is not enough litter to do that.

regardless of this though given Notthebestivals replies and lack of replies they have lost my business forever, and that of others I know.

You would have thought given the bad publicity they had last year that this year they would do their utmost to be a shining example of all that is good. Seems to me they are not that bothered.

So did you buy a special eco-bond-free ticket for green camping? There was only one public entrance to the site - how did they stop you camping in the other areas and leaving a mess?

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20 minutes ago, kerplunk said:

So did you buy a special eco-bond-free ticket for green camping? There was only one public entrance to the site - how did they stop you camping in the other areas and leaving a mess?

Pass - cos I was in normal camping but friends were in the green bit and told me about it - I will guess that it is don with peoples honesty. Personally I would never dream of making and leaving a mess anywhere.

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Had a brilliant weekend!

Thought they did as best they could with the organisation considering the weather. Did well to get the arena back open as quickly as they did on Sunday.

Thought there was loads to do all day and night, loved the ambient forest and the Caravanserai areas in particular.

Also I thought the crowd was chilled and friendly for the most part, didn't feel on edge at any point personally.

Only gripe would be how hilly the campsite was, we had to sleep on a slope which was a bit of a nightmare when you wake up crumpled up at the bottom of your tent.

Was at boomtown last month and think I preferred bestival tbh, will definitely be heading back next year if there's a bit for me on the lineup again.

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1 hour ago, Nobody Interesting said:

I have not yet found anyone who got their Eco Bind back at Bestival......... maybe you did?

I did, as did several of our group. Walk around for 5 mins picking up empty cans, not that difficult and it cleans up the site.

I've never read before that the idea of an eco bond is just to clean up your own rubbish and that's it. Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention. Where did bestival say that?

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8 minutes ago, Nobody Interesting said:

Pass - cos I was in normal camping but friends were in the green bit and told me about it - I will guess that it is don with peoples honesty. Personally I would never dream of making and leaving a mess anywhere.

So a kind of selective trust for just a few - everyone else is untrustworthy and must pay the eco-bond deposit. I don't think they'd set things up along those kind of lines myself. My guess is green camping was no different to pink/yellow/red etc ;) I'd also guess your friends probably thought the campsite crew peeps going around the campsites encouraging tidyness and giving out little trinkets for having a clean campsite etc was a green camping thing only,  but they did that all over.

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41 minutes ago, ConorC said:

I did, as did several of our group. Walk around for 5 mins picking up empty cans, not that difficult and it cleans up the site.

I've never read before that the idea of an eco bond is just to clean up your own rubbish and that's it. Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention. Where did bestival say that?

On their web site. The bond was introduced to 'encourage people to clean up after themselves'..... not after others.

I congratulate you on clearing up other peoples rubbish but we were told that we had to have a full bag of non recyclable rubbish and cans and such do not fall into that category hence not being able to do that..... and without being supplied with the proper PPE I would not suggest to anyone to go around picking up litter especially not at a muddy place where contamination from toilets into the mud is likely.

Anyway, we are never going there again so what they do in future is of no more concern to me or our group.

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49 minutes ago, ConorC said:

Had a brilliant weekend!

Thought they did as best they could with the organisation considering the weather. Did well to get the arena back open as quickly as they did on Sunday.

Thought there was loads to do all day and night, loved the ambient forest and the Caravanserai areas in particular.

Also I thought the crowd was chilled and friendly for the most part, didn't feel on edge at any point personally.

Only gripe would be how hilly the campsite was, we had to sleep on a slope which was a bit of a nightmare when you wake up crumpled up at the bottom of your tent.

Was at boomtown last month and think I preferred bestival tbh, will definitely be heading back next year if there's a bit for me on the lineup again.

Heaps of lovely flat camping..... but all reserved for those willing to pay extra for Pitch perfect, Camping plus etc......

and was all far from being full. There was a huge empty flat field 2 minutes walk from the temple that was not filled by Pitch Perfect for example.

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49 minutes ago, Nobody Interesting said:

Pass - cos I was in normal camping but friends were in the green bit and told me about it - I will guess that it is don with peoples honesty. Personally I would never dream of making and leaving a mess anywhere.

I think that either you or your friend have misunderstood something. Shambala do have a "Green Campsite" but that's Green as in the colour, just as they have Red & Pink Campsites etc.. There's definitely no difference in rules, anyone camping there has had a £10 Recycling Deposit paid by someone in their group. It just sounds like your mate either didn't realise this, and so never claimed it back - or their ticket was bought as part of a group and someone else handled it.

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10 minutes ago, Nobody Interesting said:

On their web site. The bond was introduced to 'encourage people to clean up after themselves'..... not after others.

I congratulate you on clearing up other peoples rubbish but we were told that we had to have a full bag of non recyclable rubbish and cans and such do not fall into that category hence not being able to do that..... and without being supplied with the proper PPE I would not suggest to anyone to go around picking up litter especially not at a muddy place where contamination from toilets into the mud is likely.

 

Same for shambala - except we were blessed with good weather of course.

 

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Actually there was a 'special green' camping area at Shambala, I think it was mentioned in the guide that they sent via email to ticket holders.  I think it was with family camping with older children maybe?  They badged it as 'extra green campers' or something like that.

 I considered heading there if we couldn't find our mates (Kerplunk et al :)), as there were only two of us carrying no booze or food, so our litter was a paltry affair, some wet wipes and a rizzla packet or two. :lol:  No I didn't get the eco bond tenner back, I knew I hadn't generated any where near enough rubbish so they got an extra tenner from me.

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59 minutes ago, Kizzie said:

Actually there was a 'special green' camping area at Shambala, I think it was mentioned in the guide that they sent via email to ticket holders.  I think it was with family camping with older children maybe?  They badged it as 'extra green campers' or something like that.

 I considered heading there if we couldn't find our mates (Kerplunk et al :)), as there were only two of us carrying no booze or food, so our litter was a paltry affair, some wet wipes and a rizzla packet or two. :lol:  No I didn't get the eco bond tenner back, I knew I hadn't generated any where near enough rubbish so they got an extra tenner from me.

Yes the essential guide map designates green camping as "Families and super tidy campers" - like all the campsite colours it had a theme. Nothing to do with the eco-bond deposit though.

Edited by kerplunk

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12 hours ago, kerplunk said:

Yes the essential guide map designates green camping as "Families and super tidy campers" - like all the campsite colours it had a theme. Nothing to do with the eco-bond deposit though.

I suggest you talk to Shambala about it rather than go by the name - as this is the area my friends stayed in and things were different regarding the eco bond.

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I thought Bestival worked quite well at the new site. It'd be nice if they could somehow divide the main arena into themed areas a bit better, but the geography of the site makes that difficult.

Still, there were about 22 stages dotted around, and nicely spaced out to minimise sound bleed (at last - the main stage and the big top (sorry, "The Box") are located in different fields!). I was very glad that they'd brought back HMS Bestival, Reggae Roots and the Comedy tent after a year or more's absence, and it's good that the Ambient Forest lives on despite the move.

Not the strongest lineup of all time, but Saturday was packed - and although I don't like all of the following acts, other festivals would kill for a main stage running order like this:
Nadia Rose - Stefflon Don - Rejjie Snow - Laura Mvula - Danny Brown - Rag 'n' Bone Man - Dizzee Rascal - A Tribe Called Quest

Highlights of the weekend for me were Dizzee Rascal, Charlotte Church's Late Night Pop Dungeon and - on the comedy stage - Andrew Maxwell. And the food at the Feast Collective, which is always amazing.

Lowlights were: well, the weather. If Robin Hill had been bathing in glorious sunshine all weekend I'd have been really pissed off, but it looks like the Isle of Wight was just as stormy, so what ya gonna do? Just put up with it and plough on through.

I didn't spot a single bit of aggression or violence this year. And it was a nice, friendly crowd, just not as wild & crazy as usual, but I think that was because of the weather and the mud.

I had no sense of what the numbers were like, other than the fact that they never even pretended that it was about to sell out this year. But next year, all the smaller festivals ought to get a boost from Glastonbury's fallow year, so Bestival 2018 ought to do very well.

While 2017 doesn't join the upper echelons of my favourite ever Bestivals (they're probably 2011, 2012 and controversially 2016), I had an amazing weekend as usual, and really it was only the awful weather that let it down. I already can't wait for my ninth one next year...!

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40 minutes ago, smogo said:

If Robin Hill had been bathing in glorious sunshine all weekend I'd have been really pissed off, but it looks like the Isle of Wight was just as stormy

funnily enough, the festival that did take place at robin hill (Electika, or something) was also hit by the weather, mostly the wind same as bestival. And similarly to bestival it had to shut down for a while, with cancelled acts as a consequence - but also the main stage not re-opening.

(tho it's possible that they didn't re-open the main stage cos lots of peeps went home. From the pics of the tent that did restart it looks much less than full, which would have been a very thin crowd at a big open-air main stage)

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18 hours ago, Nobody Interesting said:

Heaps of lovely flat camping..... but all reserved for those willing to pay extra for Pitch perfect, Camping plus etc......

 

Not true. I camped in general camping and had a very flat spot. It wasn't all reserved.

But I do agree that an additional flatter field for general camping would have helped those who really were on a slope.

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1 hour ago, smogo said:

I

While 2017 doesn't join the upper echelons of my favourite ever Bestivals (they're probably 2011, 2012 and controversially 2016), I had an amazing weekend as usual, and really it was only the awful weather that let it down. I already can't wait for my ninth one next year...!

Wow 2016 - that is controversial!!! (Having been to all them bar 1 that was my worst, with 2008, the really muddy year close behind)

I think my favourites were 2005, 2007 and 2012 but 2017 isn't to far behind for me. Oh and 2010 - the year we got 80's pop star Howard Jones to play after a long comedy campaign started by me on the old Bestival forum to get him to play (and that wasafter Rob da Bank had let me do a Howard Jones tribute DJ set a year or two before under the name DJ Hojo Hits in the Hidden Disco)

Smogo - were you near the front for Pet Shop Boys slightly to the right? I think I may have spotted you a few rows in front of me but wasn't 100% sure?

Edited by rseamer

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I'd love to write of review but I'm still too ruined ... 

Highlights: Oh My God Its The Church!, Charlotte Church's Pop Dungeon, Soulwax & the pixie/gnome looking dj in the Ambient Forest throwing his filthy electro beats - he made our Bestival last year too.  

Loved Caravansari - got involved in the midnight cabaret - can't remember which night  - drank cocktails in a Waltzer & danced in a caravan.

Ate the best dumplings from Feast Collective - had tea in a China cup & saucer from WI Tea Tent.

I absolutely loved Bestival, again - new site is lovely - yeah it's hilly but it's fun running down the hills!

All security were friendly and unobtrusive - I was searched once coming from CV fields on day 1 then sniffer dog on day 2 after that nothing of note.

Definitely 100% will be back next year :)

 

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Robin - yes I was in that spot. And Georgie - we must've crossed paths loads too based on what your highlights were!

The things I controversially loved about 2016 included:
1) The forced scaling back meant that there were more outdoor stages than usual, because they were saving money on covered structures.
2) Skepta followed by Major Lazer on the Friday night - I couldn't have asked for a better double whammy.
3) Eskimo Dance takeover on Friday afternoon.
4) PC Music takeover on Saturday night.

Yes, the site did look a bit shabby and under-decorated, but whereas once upon a time Bestival was the apex of festival design, these days the likes of Boomtown and Tomorrowland have taken over, and I really enjoy the more DIY, "knocked up in Josie's back yard" look of Besti.

Oddly I think that 2016's "shabbiness" carried over somewhat into this year's event, yet no one seems as negative about it this time. It's probably an expectation management thing.

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