Disco fever sweeps Bestival

Other | Tuesday 23rd September 2014 | Cristina

Bestival is known for its outlandish themes, crowd, entertainment and general vibe. We made the pilgrimage to Bestival 2014 in the hopes it would fulfil its yearly promise of carnage. This year, like last, it ticked all the boxes in providing a late-summer festival with a crossover lineup constructed to satisfy rockers, preps and hipsters alike. Located on the Isle of Wight, Bestival’s crowd had to cross land and sea to arrive at the windswept, countryside wonderland, drawing a varied crowd who had one thing in common – a commitment to partying. The diversity of the crowd and its collective determination to extend every night past its 4am license made for entertaining mingling.

We loved the Guinness World Record-baiting disco ball suspended in mid-air onsite, which lent proceedings a somewhat surreal tone. 2014’s Desert Island Disco theme saw festival-goers’ creativity blossom in sparkly ways – giant, foam pineapples walked the site by the side of sequined castaways roaming en masse. The Ambient Forest provided an appropriate setting for the happily lost, its glowing lights guiding visitors through its branches. The Carnival Parade was ample amusement on the Saturday afternoon, snaking through the festival, leaving a trail of glittery chaos in its wake.

Headliners covered a wide range of genres, with Outkast taking care of Bestival’s dose of RnB, hip hop and funk. Indie titans Foals rocked the main stage on Saturday, confirming their place at the forefront of guitar music. Chic were our favourite headline act, encapsulating Desert Island Disco arguably more than any other act over the weekend. Nile Rodgers’ emotional performance made the night a unique one in Chic’s history and a one-of-a-kind memory in the minds of many of the audience. Also flying the disco flag were UK dance veterans Basement Jaxx, whose show exploded at ‘Where’s Your Head at’ as if their last album had never even happened. Candi Staton blessed the main stage with original 70s soul, her very presence vintage.

Diplo and Walshy Fire looked dapper in suits as Major Lazer, although their populist approach to mixing got a little too shameless at times, with near-abrasive EDM creeping into their set at certain points. However, the crowd lapped it up, which at a place like Bestival is what matters. Chase and Status closing their dubious set with ‘Blind Faith’ was a moment both transcendent and hard-earned. Elsewhere, acts like Kate Tempest and MØ were dishing out beats and lyrics set to shape 2015, respectively gritty and soulful.

Over at the Port stage, Bestival’s giant party boat parked in a field, the world’ hottest electronic and dance acts were keeping the rave alive from AM to PM. The stage, where we spent most of the festival, sported acrobats performing in hoops suspended from cranes and tiki dancers. Monki’s set hit hard considering her afternoon slot, whilst the sun setting over Dusky as they dropped tunes from their latest EP was a highlight of the summer. MK and Richy Ahmed were other highlights from the stage, their sets spanning decades and offering comprehensive retrospectives of house.

Perhaps the UK’s most popular festival, Bestival 2014 returned with a vengeance and enough disco fever to infect a whole colony of castaways. Often cutting edge, sometimes classic, and always hilarious fun, the lineup did its job. In keeping with this ‘any fun goes’ policy, Bestival’s atmosphere was always intriguing, surprising and faintly ridiculous. Who knows what fancy dress theme awaits Bestival devotees in 2015, but one thing is certain – we’ll rise to the occasion.

More information can be found on Bestival’s website and Twitter. Watch the official aftermovie below.