fairytale Bestival finishes with fire-starters and fireworks

Bestival 2010 reviews

published: Thu 16th Sep 2010

around the festival site (3)

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th September 2010
Robin Hill Country Park, Downend, Nr Arreton, Isle of Wight.. PO30 2NU, England MAP
£150 (Adult) - / £75 (Age 13-15) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 40000
last updated: Thu 9th Sep 2010

Sunday brought the sunshine with it, looking at the line-up it promised to be slower paced than the two previous to it, but there was as always a few hidden treasures to look forward to. The crowds also seemed to be in the mood to sit back and soak up the sun for the beginning of the day. The festival unfortunately had a shadow cast over it this morning as news broke out that there had been an accident the previous night which had proved fatal for one of those involved. This meant that the main car parks were moving a little slowly, any local people who were planning on popping home at the beginning of the day were warned of a long wait to get back in as part of the road over the downs was still closed.

around the festival site (3)
Like so many others we used the morning to recover from the efforts of moving around site the evening before and spent some time around the campsite before heading to the main arena in time for things to be livened up by The Cuban Brothers. Now regular Bestival favourites both as themselves and their alter ego Barry Peters, these three really do bring energy and amazement to the stage.

This had wakened the audience fittingly and Marc Almond received a warm welcome and his classic dance-pop songs were well received. His set included 'Something's got a Hold of My Heart' which he dedicated to the late Gene Pitney, also Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love' finishing fittingly with 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye'.

From here we took a quick trip to the top of the hill past the Bandstand where the The Guy Page Trio were playing blues rock to a rather relaxed crowd. Our return visit to this area gave us another chance to partake of the excellent tea and cakes laid on by the local Women's Institute. The work they do at the Bestival is much appreciated and for most, one trip is never enough and even makes the steep hill from the main site to the top worth the effort.

around the festival site (4)
From here it was straight back down the hill to the Big Top in an effort to see Beardyman but he is now admired by so many there was a crowd ten deep who hadn't managed to fit under the canvas. After the success he had with the crowds last year on main stage I feel this was one of Rob da Bank's big mistakes and Beardyman probably should have been playing main stage where many more can appreciate his vocal talents rather than being tucked away where numbers become limited.

So from being stuck on the outside with difficulty to see we thought we would head off to the Cabaret tent at the far side of the site to catch a final hour of the weekends comedy. This tent was packed to capacity, and this was one of the areas that seemed to have suffered worst from the rains of the day before - with the floor being still very wet. But this did not deter the majority from sitting down and taking an hour or two out from the music. It's a shame that the late night comedy shows of previous Bestivals have been cancelled. Treating the crowds to fast packed laughs and some alarming bare chests in the final hour were Andre Vincent, Andrew Maxwell, and Rufus Hound, with MC Craig Campbell. If you are over 18 and ever at a festival with a comedy tent it is well worth taking an hour of your weekend just to share in the experience.

Chic
During our trip round the site the Main Stage had hosted legends Echo and the Bunnymen, and Chic featuring Nile Rogers. We returned in time for Chase & Status where the crowd was surprisingly sparse. But this was soon to change as it seemed as if flood gates were opened during the first two songs of their set, as people flowed into the arena from all areas and it was soon very packed and lively. Chase and Status are one of this year's big acts and, while the large crowds showed there was a lot of interest in them, they didn't have anything that encouraged you to stay and watch them, sounding like so many other bands of their ilk.

around the festival site (1)
For many people a festival is all about the big bands on the main stages, but Bestival, like its bigger cousin Glastonbury, has so much more to offer away from the main stages. There is nothing like stumbling across a band in a small corner of the festival, and with several micro-stages Bestival is particularly good for this. Today's discovery were The Rinky Dinks, a band who specialise in cover versions of songs played on ukuleles. Whilst bands like these will never trouble the charts, they are entertaining and perfect to sing along to, beer or cider in hand – in other words a perfect festival act.

We were again drawn back to what was probably the favourite find of the weekend for the final group to play in the Gazebo in the Woods, this was again another local band Dance Preachers.

From here we headed back to the main stage for the final headliner of the weekend who were preceded by festival organiser Rob da Bank DJing a set that was fast paced and full of many great anthems and a great build up for the final act. The Prodigy, are a dance band who are regulars and favourites on the festival scene. The main arena was full to capacity with a crowd who seemed appreciative of what was before them, apart from one idiot who decided that throwing a flare in the middle of the audience was the way to show it.

around the festival site (3)
This brought the main arena to a close and was followed by the firework display, this year moved to the Meadow after the congestion in the fire field last year. Unfortunately some of the crowd let themselves down a little by trying to climb a fence and taking the head off a gas cylinder by the food stalls causing a small panic until security shut it down. The theme for this year was Fantasy and the bonfire was a huge fairy tale castle which burnt down to a backdrop of fireworks to which the audience cried "ooh", "aah" and "what's happening? I can't see" at appropriate points.

This stage of events marks the end of the weekend for many who attend but for those who still want to party hard the music goes on it the Big Top and over at Arcadia. It was to the latter that we were headed with the fire jets to keep the crowd warm, the dance beat to the music keeps the crowd energetic. We arrived to catch the end of yet another Rob da Bank session and one of the last groups of the weekend Dub Pistols, a ska band who seemed a little out of place on a dance stage as eccentric as the Arcadia Spider.

around the festival site (Arcadia Spider)
Having seen Dub Pistols perform previously it was a little disappointing this time, the band suffered several technical difficulties, and the competition of the noise from the fire jets and tesla towers meant the sound did not come over as strong as we know it can. But the revellers seemed undeterred and were treated to special guest appearances by Lindy Layton from Beats International who performed 'Dub be Good to me' and Ashley Slater from Freakpower.

It was here that we decided that the hills had taken their toll over the weekend and it was time to bring our weekend to a close. Back at the tent we sat down with hot chocolate to discuss what had been our highs and lows of the weekend. The Flaming Lips, and Mumford & Sons were the best acts of the weekend - To have been in a field in Hampshire a little over a year ago with 1200 people watching Mumford support Laura Marling and then do their own set, it's great to see that a performance that was enjoyed so much then has gone on this far, and it is surely without doubt that they will be headlining festivals in the near future. On the smaller scales, hit stage of the weekend has to be the Gazebo in the woods, with The Rinky Dinks' fun performance a classic festival moment.

One suggestion that festival organisers might consider is that given the occasionally overwhelming crowds within the Big Top, it may be worth considering opening another outdoor stage next year.

And finally a major moan, not directed at the festival, but its attendees. For many festivals the toilets are always an issue, but for Bestival this year they have to be complimented on the great job staff did in keeping them clean. The regular power-hosing kept them almost pleasant, it was just a shame that so many people couldn't find them! Perhaps Bestival needs to take a leaf from Glastonbury and employ the Green Police to draw attention to and belittle those who found it more acceptable to urinate all around the site rather than walk to the toilet.

What was frustrating was to see a number of men urinating against the fence on the outside of the urinals. Come on guys this is a family festival - would you really want your kids sitting next to fences where people have urinated just hours before, not to mention the damage it does to the water ways in the country park and surrounding farm land. Is it really too much to ask?

around the festival site (2)
review by: Steve Collins / Marie Magowan

photos by: Phil Bull / Steve Collins

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th September 2010
Robin Hill Country Park, Downend, Nr Arreton, Isle of Wight.. PO30 2NU, England MAP
£150 (Adult) - / £75 (Age 13-15) - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 40000
last updated: Thu 9th Sep 2010


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