Thursday night saw the super savvy and uber-cool MIA strut her stuff on The Big Top Stage – starting the festival with a bang. It was her first gig since 2010 and she did not disappoint with her wonderful fusion of style, image and songs – merging together all number of influences.
Bedecked in Hindu symbols and a headdress she made sure all her smash hits were all on the set list – Born Free, Bad Girls, Bucky Done Gun and Paper Planes. Her fourth album is due out later this year and we are super excited for what is in store!
Earlier on in the day – the first arrivals to the festival also got the chance to witness the alternative dance duo – ‘DJ Chucks’ and singer ‘Mr Bruce’ aka The Correspondents gave people a taster of electro swing and a multitude of other genres.
Friday’s favorites saw a scaled down version of Wu-Tang Clan hit the Main Stage with all the vigour one would expect of men who have been in the hip hop game for twenty years. The crowds hands’ were constantly in the air making the sign for ‘Wu’ and there was plenty of crowd interaction with the Clan before they played classics such as Gravel Pit, C.R.E.A.M and Shimmy Shimmy Ya – which got everyone pumped up for the rest of the festival. Disclosure played the Big Top with a mammoth two hour set covering plenty of their chart climbing tracks off their number 1 album Settle. Playing at the same time on the main stage was Fatboy Slim who played a special Bestival Birthday Bash – fittingly because he was the first act to ever headline Bestival a decade ago!
Saturday we were treated to The Roots – a hip hop/neo soul collective from Philadelphia, featuring a euphonium player. Their set went swimmingly (it was the nautical themed parade day after all – see the pictures!) and they performed covers including Sweet Child o’Mine and Jungle Boogie.
Old indie kings Franz Ferdinand drew a huge crowd to the main stage to perform their well known classics (Take Me Out) and their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
Later, as darkness set in The Knife played and their weird brand of kookiness did not disappoint – wearing black monk outfits, playing with experimental dancers and harps ringing out from under the Big Top awning…
Sunday, aside from seeing the return of the glorious Elton John, saw The Strypes, a four piece rhythm and blues band from Ireland return from touring Europe. One could hear the influence of Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stone and Dr. Feelgood. Critical acclaim has followed this band around and NME have hailed them as ones to watch.
James Blake then helped to close the festival with his soulful warblings, but unfortunately, being the Sunday – the end was nigh!
Other highlights that HAD to be squeezed in were trips to Lionel Richie’s head, HMS Bestival, the costume parade, the Wishing Tree, the closing fireworks and the Ambient Forest (with hidden slides, an ampitheatre, lakes and hidden “gypsies” leaping out from behind smoke machines and fairy lights).
Until next year Bestival! You were amazing.
Our rating: *****
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio