Bestival gets The Cure while the rain falls on Saturday

Bestival 2016 review

By Steve Collins / Marie Magowan | Published: Thu 15th Sep 2016

The Cure

Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th September 2016
Robin Hill Country Park, Nr Arreton, Downend, Isle of Wight, PO30 2NU, England MAP
£190 adult weekend (+booking fee)
Daily capacity: 79,999
Last updated: Mon 5th Sep 2016

Weather forecasting in the UK is a bit of a national pastime, with everyone turning amateur forecaster at the merest hint of a change in the weather. Part of the fun is the opportunity to disprove the lords of weather, the Met Office and prove yourself to be the latest weather tsar, at least for a few hours. Unfortunately this morning the forecasts from the Met were absolutely spot-on, and Bestival emerged hung-over form it’s tents to a wave of heavy rain. After a morning sat listening to the sound of rain on canvas It looked as though it was going to finally clear so we headed off to watch This is the Kit on the main stage, unfortunately this breather was just a false start, and as the band arrived on stage, so did another bout of torrential downpour. those few dozen of us who braved it out were treated to a great performance from the folk group, whose melancholic sound unfortunately seemed to fit the weather perfectly.

As the rain didn’t seem to be easing, we decided to take refuge in the forest, hoping the trees would protect us, this they did admirably, and our dampened spirits were raised by a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shit-Faced Shakespeare,. Their comedy take on the show is amplified by the fact that one of the cast is chosen to get blind drunk beforehand, then attempt to perform the show.

At times it wasn’t immediately clear who was the drunk member, as most of the cast seemed to be willing to go off-script quite freely in search of a laugh or a chance to get one-over on the poor drunk actor. All-in-all it was a great hour – one of the strengths of Bestival in the past is the programme away form the music, and even though the comedy tent was one of this years casualties, it was good to see that, at the Amphitheatre, there was still a place for this.

So now that we are feeling sophisticated but still a little damp we take advantage of the opportunity to warm up in the Blind Tiger. While we were there we saw one of the few full bands playing at that stage.  Noble Jacks are an alternative folk band whose roots are clearly inspired by the Levellers, but with a mother vocal and strong fiddle that brings to mind Seth Lakeman. It wasn’t long before the small crowd were up and jumping around to this exuberant band, even earning an encore (although when all five members were squeezed onto a stage barely eight feet wide, they had nowhere to go) as the crowd wouldn’t let them leave without one.

Although the rain has stopped the ground has suffered from the rain, and by now most of the site covered in a layer of mud and is getting quite slippy, at least it seems that we have seen the last of it though as the clouds have moved away, and the sun setting giving us a nice but cold evening.

Our plan being to be in the main arena for tonight's headliner meant that we didn't want to stray too far so we headed to the Caravanserai for Romanian act Transylvania, with a vocalist who has an  eerily hypnotic voice fronting a band performing high energy gypsy punk there wasn’t much not too like.

This weekend hasn’t really been about the main sage acts for us this weekend, but one of the one big draws are The Cure. The word legend is one that often gets bandied around and applied to artists as much for their longevity in the music industry as much for their creative work. But I think that for Robert Smith it’s an aptly applied one. From his early days as guitarist in Souxsie and The Banshees to his work with the Cure, his musical legacy is one that’s seen his music cross over to mainstream - no mean feat given that Goth is not one that usually sells. But then the strength of The Cure has always been a reluctance to be labelled, and as a result songs like Love Cats and Friday I’m in Love flew in the face of the expected output. Tonight's show was pretty much a retread of their last appearance in 2011, but given that this meant almost three hours of performance covering all the big hits plus a few obscure tracks, and giving the crowd three encores. Legends indeed.

Goldie these days is probably best known for his turn as an orchestral conductor on TV, but his roots started out as one of the early leading lights of rave culture. Tonight's show was billed as a set of old skool hip hop - and so I was looking forward to plenty of tracks from the likes of Sugarhill Gang and Run DMC. Unfortunately it seemed that either my understanding of the genre was off, or Goldie was just doing his own thing, but after about ten minutes of high energy drum and bass, we decided to leave him to it.

Wishing to find somewhere to catch our breath, we found ourselves heading back into the Ambient Forest. While the main DJ stages are devoted to mixers and scratch artists,The smaller DJ stages have a more general range of music and are all situated with bars. It is the hidden disco that we head to next to have a drink and a sit down situated at the base of the Ambient forest,it gives opportunity to take in the lights reflecting on some of the water features. The setting of Bestival is really something to behold and if you don't take time out to appreciate it you can miss out on something special.

To be creatures of habit we are drawn back again to the Blind Tiger catching the full set of Sally Layne a very talented singer and pianist featuring everything from Jamiriquai, Bowie and The Cure in her repertoire, she really does strike a relationship with the crowd getting a good rapport with both the older and younger audience.this is one of the areas of the site that really shows the character of any of the festival goers. Bestival this year seems to be getting a lot of bad press with reported thefts and assaults, but we haven't seen anything of this nature and most are good natured. It's not everyday you sit on a sofa listening to good music, with a complete stranger curled up asleep against your knee, only to wake every 10 minutes to apologise and ask if it's ok! – Don’t worry his friends soon found him and he was refreshed and ready to do battle with the festival site once more.

We left the Blind Tiger with the intention of heading back to the Big Top for Katy B, but I thinks we were still struggling a little with getting wet earlier, so decided to head back to the campsite for a much needed pot noodle and a couple more ciders to ward of the much colder night, glad that the weather was improving again and looking forward to the final day of the weekend.

review by: Steve Collins / Marie Magowan

photos by: Steve Collins

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