Today and tomorrow I'm covering Bestival 2013, where I spent the weekend at with Papasaurus. Todays photos are all black and white, tomorrows will all be super vibrant colourful shots of the HMS Bestival parade from the Saturday afternoon. There's one thing that stood out for me at Bestival this weekend, something that other festivals this year haven't quite nailed and that's atmosphere. Here's the things I loved about Bestival in 2013, when it saw it's 10th birthday - now I didn't have a photo pass so there was no popping up at the front the stage to snap the bands - if you want those sort of shots you can see them in all the main papers / festival / music websites today - I tried to capture what else was going on...
Above: The Port, a ruddy great ship in a field, hosting some immense DJ acts - my faves? Duke Dumont and the Hospitality takeover with amongst others High Contrast. Such a great vibe, happy people all enjoying the music.
Above: Acts suspended from a crane above party goers
Above: The acts dropped into the crowd - much to their delight...
Above: The act appeared to pick up party goers and hoist them up into the air - obviously they were part of the act but the crowd was loving it!
Above: Each year Bestival has a fancy dress theme - this year was HMS Bestival - a nautical theme. We saw pirates, sailors, spongebobs, boats, octupus men, divers, mermaids and more - including this imagainatvie family below who everyone turned to watch go by, one young boy of the family was blowing a ships whistle - brilliant
Above two photos: On of my favourites stages music wise at Bestival, Rob Da Banks Replay tent festooned inside with pairs of jeans. Jagwar ma were awesome and the crown went mad for them in their little shorts and bobble hats. I also really enjoyed Drenge, a name to look out for.
Above: The Kids Area at Bestival, an area containing some of the activities from this years earlier camp Bestival.
Above: Much love and support was being shown for Oxfam's Love Syria campaign.
Above: The axis of comedy awesome, Eirc Lampeart as Poseidon in the comedy Tent on Saturday evening. If you didn't go and have ever wondered what noise a teabagged dolphin makes then you missed out my friends.
What did I think of Bestival? I loved it. I loved the atmosphere, that so many people were obviously enjoying some of lifes excesses and totally happy, I didn't see one cross word or angry jostle all weekend. I loved the festivals creative feel, all the areas of the arena are decorated differently, something that stands out from some of the other festivals this year.
We stood and chatted to a couple who live on the Isle of Wight pre-Snoop Dogg and they told us how they go every year, how they, and their friends and family love Bestival and want to promote and support it's existance on the island as much as possible. They shared their highlights from past years, Faithless topping their list.
There is a Kids Area at Bestival and I did see a few families around having fun, personally I wouldn't take my younger children along, my teenagers yes but not young ones - for that I'd stick to Camp Bestival. As with Camp Bestival there was a whole area dedicated to supporting charities, both large and local and that area was always busy which was nice to see.
Bestival didn't disappoint.The Flaming Lips gave me my bizarre festival moment on Friday night, when Wayne started off holding a fake baby in his arms, continuing to play with it's little fake feet as he sung. Half way through the second song I did start to become concerned that he was about to 'do a Jacko' and lob the baby into the crowd. But like any loving eccentirc he merely dropped it on its head at the start of the third song - of course everytime the big screen showed him for the rest of the gig I was distracted from his beautiful bejewelled cheeks by the sight of the crumpled fake baby at his feet on the right - maybe that's the mother in me. I loved the mix of musical genres - especially the high percentage of DJ sets.
Musical highlights for me were: DJ Fresh, Duke Dumont, Jagwar Ma, Drenge, The Cuban Brothers and Franz Ferdinand.
The Port - the spectacular sight of a huge ship in a field was attention grabbing enough but mixed with great music, dancers and performers on top of the ship - fire juggling ladies especially and the brilliant crowd it was a clear success. Best bit has to be the acts suspended on long silk strips from a crane that moved them in the shy across ,and sometimes in, the crowd - even at night when they moved the black silk strips to make it look like a pulsating base - just staggeringly good stuff.
We chose to stay in Blue Camping which is the 'quiet camping' area. We heard great things about the Wild Copse area from other festival goers that we talked too, the Wild Copse is where you pay extra for more spacious camping, showers and toilets, however that area was situated furthest away from the main arena along with the Boutique camping. I'm assuming because it's quieter being further away, I must admit however I'd have been a tad miffed to have paid more and ended up much further away - Blue camping was close to the main arena and the music noise at night was nothing a pair of ear plugs couldn't solve.
It would have been handy to know just how steep the path down from the Red Car Park was before hiring the festival trolleys to transport our stuff - we saw (and helped) a fair few other campers with their trolleys on the incline over the weekend who were really struggling. The incline turned from steep slope to the 'slippery slip' as the rain came and by Sunday it was hard going keeping upright on the way up and down - let alone carrying camping items - again some folk really struggling with trolleys.
Would I recommend Bestival?
Too right I would - the creative styling of the event and the atmosphere alone make it worth considering. The music was great and there were so many smaller areas to explore, making Bestival the type of festival you could easily immerse yourself in for a whole weekend. It felt like there was constantly something unexpected going on - really engaging. Huge thanks to Bruce Hay and Stevie Gedge from GetInvolved for being such a joy to work with.
Tomorrow, bright and colourful photos of the HMS Bestival Parade!
Early Bird Tickets to Bestival 2014 go on sale at 10am Friday 13th September for a limited time only -see Bestival.net for more details.
Disclosure: I received a weekend Press Pass to Bestival 2013 in order to share my honest thoughts with you on the festival.