Bestival 2014 is a record breaking party

Bestival 2014 review

published: Mon 15th Sep 2014

around the festival site (3)

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th September 2014
Robin Hill Country Park, Nr Arreton, Downend, Isle of Wight, PO30 2NU, England MAP
£195 for adults, £127 for Teen (age 13-17), 12& under free
daily capacity: 79999
last updated: Mon 1st Sep 2014

Sunday has arrived all too quickly this year, but the sun is fighting its way through to ensure that Bestival escapes the wet weather that looked to have closed in marking the end of the summer. Waking up to sunshine motivates people to want to wake up and enjoy the day, and help the really energetic along was Mr. Motivator on main stage strutting his stuff to get the crowd ready for a super day.

In the Invaders from the Future the audience were also being motivated by a different source with Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, no where else can you vent your frustrations about society in such a polite way.

Meanwhile back on the Main stage were Bestival regulars, Kitty Daisy & Lewis with their happy swing and R&B influences. Being an act that we have seen regularly we set off to the Big Top to catch up with the brilliantly eccentric Public Service Broadcasting, who set old public information films to music and communicate with the crowd through a series of pre-recorded audio clips, even let the unexpected collapse of the video DJ's table ruin their performance and used the time to interact with the crowd– electronically of course.

Calaita Flamenco Son: Bestival 2014

Wandering back across the site across the Grassy Hill field we spent a bit of time wandering in and out of the smaller stages such as the the people's front room–a recreation of a typical living room inside a tent, seating no more than ten at a time, and the Big Pigs Ballroom where Calaita Flamenco Son were playing authentic flamenco music. By complete contrast in the the Invaders from the Future stage, Melt Yourself Down were playing a mix of punk and Cuban/North-African sounds, this band are quite possibly one of the most exciting live acts about at the moment, and even in a mid-afternoon slot, they still manage to whip up the energy of a crowd depleted by almost four days of partying.

Feeling thoroughly worn out we decide to sample some of the wares from the smaller bars. As well as the big festival bars, Bestival welcome several more independent bars such as the Rum bar the Crabbies bus. It seemed unbelievable that we now seemed to be entering the last few hours of this years festival but felt that we had discovered so little, which is strange with some of the further outlying venues being omitted this year and the festival being more centralised. We made our way into what is a new venture this year, the Feast Collective, a large tent containing a selection of independent food traders offering a wide range of foods from authentic American hot dogs to whole battered soft-shell crabs, this was certainly a welcome addition and probably a good move that we hadn't discovered it earlier or we would have never leftfor the weekend.

Bestival is a festival known for being a big party, and Major Lazer clearly had heard this and were determined to, if not start it, at least make sure it kept going. From firing streamers and lobbing whistles into the crowd, to zorbing across the audience they kept up an energy, backed by a DJ set that encompassed some of the bigger hits of the last decade. By contrast in the Big Top, Chvrches were doing there best to bring the crowd down, while their intense, electro-rock was well-performed, it just wasn't a patch on the party on the main stage.

Before headliner Chic featuring Nile Rodgers took to the stage, Bestival turned its attention to the record breaking Glitter ball attempt, over the weekend everyone has got used to the giant ball sat up on the top of the hill behind the stage, but to be considered for the record it needed to be aloft and spinning under it's own power, so a massive crane was bought in to do the honours, with a diameter of 10.33 metres, it beat the previous record by 45cm and was certainly an impressive sight when lit up in all its glory.

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers: Bestival 2014

As Chic took to the stage Nile Rodgers was given the sad news that his guitar tech,Terry Brauer had died, this could have resulted in a poor show, but Nile instead decided that he would make this a party dedicated to Terry's memory. It was certainly a party to be proud of, having featured last year I wondered whether the performance would be a déjàvu from last year, but it most certainly wasn't, and the sheer breadth of music that he's written meant that it made for a great end to the party - helped along by giant balloons and plenty of streamers. The main show ended with the now traditional firework display, which was matched to a disco megamix - particularly impressive were the slow motion fireworks (both going up and down) that linked to Donna Summer's ‘I feel love'.

For many Bestival ends here but for us there were still two top class acts to perform in the Big Top. Festival stalwarts Dub Pistols owned the stage as always but the less than empty tent and the large top seemed to be too much of a deterrent stopping Barry Ashworth from his customary crowd surf. As always 45minutes is not long enough for a set from these treasures who were this year joined on stage by sometime member Rodney P.

The last act for us this year was Paloma Faith, who's costume was very sedate considering the chance to dress-up outlandishly, it also seemed to sum up her performance which lacked the power she can display - perhaps a 12.30am start was too much, but she also seemed to be the victim of poor sound quality from the Big Top which didn't improve things.

Before the festival, it looked like, after the big names of the previous years, this festival may not have been a classic, but thanks to a wide selection of music interspersed with some real gems, meant that as usual Bestival remains the big party to end the festival season. Congratulations have to be extended to Rob and Josie Da Bank and all those who put the festival together, for once again putting on a great (and record-breaking) show. Bring on 2015.


review by: Steve Collins / Marie Magowan

photos by: Steve Collins

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th September 2014
Robin Hill Country Park, Nr Arreton, Downend, Isle of Wight, PO30 2NU, England MAP
£195 for adults, £127 for Teen (age 13-17), 12& under free
daily capacity: 79999
last updated: Mon 1st Sep 2014


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