Camp Bestival starts bright and early on Saturday

Camp Bestiva1 2012 review

published: Wed 1st Aug 2012

Jimmy Cliff (1)

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012

Treating us to a second run of uncommonly good sunshine, Camp Bestival starts bright and early, opening stalls and entertainment areas soon enough for the little darlings who greet the day loudly and full of beans.

The traditional early appearances of The Gruffalo and Mr Tumble pave the way for the legendary Jimmy Cliff on the Castle Stage. The introduction by Dick and Dom feels slightly sacrilegious, but is soon forgotten as 'You Can Get It If You Really Want' pours out along with the sunshine.

Jimmy Cliff (1)
As dynamic as ever, Cliff's vocal has not depleted over the years and he treats us to some serious dances moves alongside his soulful voice. The backing vocalists add quality to the sound and the crowd soon swells into a dancing and singing throng.

A cover of Cat Steven's 'Wild World' slows the tempo and flows into an endearing version of 'Hakunmatata', bringing younger faces a smile or two. Themes of acceptance and political awareness still fill this ever-active social commentator's set – the stage show inspired by his 'The Harder They Come' soundtrack is making another UK run – and 'Many Rivers To Cross' spills in beautifully, as moving and relevant as ever. A truly stand-out moment.

Encoring with 'One More' from his new album 'Rebirth', Cliff shows he is well worth a booking still and could easily hold a weightier slot in the future.

Taking a turn for the electro, Little Dragon bring the fans of the 90s forward. Suitably stylish in the Swedish tradition, Yukimi Nagano dazzles in neon pink trousers, 'Ritual Union' and 'Test' showcasing her neat vocal to great effect. Some heavy bass tones and great electronic effects build and build, especially in the extended instrumental pieces, but at this time of the day his set feels directionless and could perhaps use an upbeat reworked tune or two.

Little Dragon (2)
Almost dub-like in places the set ticks over nicely, 'Precious' proving a very noteworthy track – it would have been better placed a little later, where the subtlety could be appreciated.

Fulfilling the daunting task of a five-hour afternoon set, Tim Goldworthy and Mark form Warm & Electric Minds in the Bollywood tent. Playing a warm mix of beats from Roisin Murphy to more up-tempo house tunes, the team provide an easy, enjoyable set with a moderate volume and proximity to the bar proving an ideal shady chill-out spot for the weary.

Gecko
For the more lively, the Bandstand houses Gecko, a youthful pop four-piece offering accessible reggae beats and hooky choruses for those inclined. 'We Got Science' appeals to the Bombay Bicycle Club-loving younger listeners and the themes of mild political commentary continue throughout and suggest at one point "If you internet, go to the library, you want books, go to a book shop". It's not radical but its family-friendly and upbeat.

Drawing further into the evening and further into the site, the Big Top hosts Jamie N Commons and his good looking and equally great sounding band. Relentlessly engaging, Commons dresses like a long-haired Bill Hicks and has such an oaky timbre in the ilk of Joe Cocker, that one would believe he is much older than he appears. A good study in old blues, 'The Preacher' and 'Wash Me In The Water' display the intensity of the band and sit happily alongside stalwart classic 'Wade In The Water' performed Judy Henske style.

Jamie N Commons (2)
Such evocative lyrics and a very tight band, harmonising and building songs to rousing crescendos, wisely varying tempo to follow the audience, leaves Commons and co very much the ones to watch – indeed they already seem to have their own female following in the front row who whoop and yell as we all wish the keys player a happy birthday. Fantastic stuff.

Raising the sounds levels and dropping the age of the audience dramatically, P Money brings his bombastic grime stylings to the Big Top, whipping the teens into a frenzy. With heavy beats and squelchy mixes, the tone is unashamedly early 90s. With all the confidence and swagger of an old-school rave MC, he ushers the evening in. Current hits such as 'Dubsteppin' have a more, and possibly over-produced sound miles away from the complex, raw feel of 'Slang'. Still, the atmosphere is set for the appearance of Camp Bestival favourite DJ Yoda.

Treating us to his trademark visual assault, Yoda mixes Bill Haley and the Comets with LL Cool J, and Mario with Kanye West, all interjected with clips ranging from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and YouTube classics such as vinyl flipper Music Bunk.

DJ Yoda and The Transiberian Marching Band
Though he appears to have taken a step back from the more comedic set of previous years, and to have moved into a more mix-focused approach, Yoda still manages to bring surprises to a flagging set by introducing The Transiberian Marching Band.

The brass-heavy ensemble blast out folk band versions of the hits played - at one point echoing 'Push It' by Salt n Pepa, with brash humour and energy so infectious the crowd even dances to the Tetris theme. An evolution more than a revolution, and he could do with completely cleaning the slate and embracing this new genre-bashing direction, but Yoda still wins everyone over and sends us to bed with smiles on our faces.
review by: Helen Brown

photos by: Gary Walker / Rob Koster

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012


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