I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a Bestival virgin. In fact I’m a bit of a late developer on the festival front full stop – I’ve somehow managed to reach the ripe old age of 30 with only a handful of outings to Reading under my belt. It’s not that I haven’t been interested in any others, but every time a festival I want to go to approaches I convince myself that I couldn’t possibly spend THAT much money on one weekend and should do something sensible with it instead, like putting it towards my ultimate home-owning goal. And this this year I have been doing just that, except last weekend whilst watching the Reading coverage at home on BBC Three, I felt a sudden pang of disappointment that I wasn’t there. It wasn’t the acts I was particularly upset to be missing out on – I wasn’t exactly excited about the line up to start off with, which was the main reason I decided to give this year a miss – but I missed being amidst that unique festival atmosphere that just can’t be replicated anywhere else. It became obvious there and then that I would absolutely regret it if I didn’t attend at least one festival before the summer is out, and with the season rapidly disappearing, I sought out Bestival to be my ‘last chance saloon’.
Now being a first timer, I’m unsure exactly what to expect from my inaugural Bestival experience. Taking place on the Isle of Wight, the addition of a ferry crossing to the journey had always seemed too complicated and costly for me to ever give it a second’s thought. But seeing as Bestival was voted ‘Best Major Festival’ at the Festival Awards in 2010 and 2012 as well as ‘Fan’s Favourite Festival’ in 2011, many people certainly seem to think it’s worth it. On quizzing some friends who are regular attendees, it was described to me as “a weekend of happiness and magic”, with the whole vibe being one of sheer awesomeness. Well, why on earth would I turn down a four-day prescription of that?!
Watch Nile Rodgers Challenges Rob da Bank at the Desert Island Disco Bar
Desert Island Disco is the theme for this year’s event, and from what I’ve read and heard about previous weekends, it really seems as if Bestival promises a four day party like no other, telling its fictional back story throughout a fully immersive experience with immense attention to detail. With 2014 offering an exciting array of four to the floor beats, all night boat raves and spectacular fancy dress juxtaposed with mellowed out musical stylings, a hot tub spa bus and a knitting tent, there really should be something there to suit every taste. Adding to the atmosphere an eclectic line up of big names including Beck, OutKast, Basement Jaxx, Paloma Faith, Foals, London Grammar and Major Lazer, I for one can’t wait to embrace my clown fish costume and get stuck in to the party spirit. The weekend’s disco fever climax will be provided by Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, who has challenged festival organizer Rob da Bank to construct the world’s largest ever disco ball for the final headline performance.
So having conducted my research in preparation for this weekend, I have compiled a few of my own personal do’s and don’ts to make sure I survive the not so deserted desert island:
Don’t be shy – So I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, but according to my sources Bestival is the friendliest festival around by far and I’m pretty much guaranteed to make new friends.
Do learn the Desert Island Disco Carnival Dance moves – Apparently there is an actual dance off, and who wants to be the plum who doesn’t know what they’re doing? Not me!
Do bring plenty of cash to indulge in the vast array of food porn – Apparently The Feast Collective promises me the most seductive festival food I’m ever likely to taste, and by the looks of some of the photos on the Bestival website, I think there’s a very strong chance I’ll be coming home a little bit heavier – and my purse a lot lighter!
Do camp somewhere close enough to the action but far enough from the all night raves – As one friend put it, the raves are amazing but it’s nice to be able to walk away from them once you’ve had enough.
Don’t miss the closing fireworks – apparently they are seriously awesome and may make me cry whilst I hug my best friend and tell her how much I love her.
Other than this small but perfectly formed list, I have absolutely no plans other than to simply explore, dance, have fun and just enjoy the whole experience.
Bestival 2014 runs from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th September, and although according to festival organisers the last remaining tickets are selling like hot cakes, there’s still time to grab yours at festivalmag.com/tickets.