The Isle of Wight hosts the last festival of The Summer at The Robin Hill Country Park in the shape of boutique festival. Bestival. For a lot of bands on the festival circuit, this is their swan song before moving into festival hiatus and back into the studio for new material. EF’s intrepid duo of Justin and Bargi headed down to bring you coverage from the festival.
EF’s Justin headed down first and had a rather adventurous trip down which started off well (caught the right train on time), before it slowly turned into a rather long journey which involved getting off at the wrong stop at Portsmouth, the wrong queue at the ferry terminal, and then the wrong ferry which dropped him off at Fishbourne not Ryde. He eventually made it to Bestival if a little later than anticipated.
The first act we caught on the Main Stage was surprisingly I Blame Coco. Not scheduled to appear, Coco Sumner introduced herself and put paid to her unexpected arrival with a blistering set that saw crowds flocking to catch her performing. Her catchy electro synth tracks included Self Machine and Party Bag along with Ceasar and new single Quicker which closed her set. She showed that she was well up to the task of performing on the Main Stage and certainly had a good crowd watching her. Heading to Sailor Jerry’s after that, we caught EF favourite Goldhawks performing to a small but appreciative crowd.including one punter who was dancing to lead singer Bobby Cook’s every word. The band played hits 1996 and Where In The World.
Back on the main stage, rapper Example aka Elliot Gleave, was getting into festival mode and playfully mocking the crowd. He asked them about their fancy dress stating that they were just a bunch of people in funny hats and not in fancy dress (this year’s theme being “fantasy”). He won the crowd back with his hits Time Machine, Watch The Sun Come Up and Kickstarts, and his brand of infectious pop and rap complimented I Blame Coco’s earlier set.
Following his set was Jamaican legends The Jolly Boys who showed everyone that despite their age, showed everyone they could still groove and gyrate with the best of them. They played a great set which included covers Golden Brownand You Can’t Always Get What You Want which had some stirring banjos. We’d certainly never heard such a version of The Stones classic. They are, in many ways, one of the sleeper hits of the festival circuit.
American folk rock/pop singer Lissie commanded the Rock and Roll Stage, though rather amusingly, she is anything but. Appearing onstage in a shroud of mist, and red spotlighting, Lissie showed us why she’s so popular. Having trouble adjusting her microphone, she called on her roadie to sort things out and embarrassed, asked the crowd for patience, for which most were more than happy to oblige. We feel she’s really developing into a great live performer and hope to see her playing the main stage soon.
From there, we caught a bit more of Coco Sumner but on a much smaller stage in Sailor Jerrys before hightailing it to the Big Top to catch Mercury Prize winner The xx. Shrouded in darkness Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft had the entire tent packed to the rafters, so much so that people were being turned away for fear of overcrowding. The band delivered their atmospheric best to the crowd and had them all spellbound. We can see why their album won them The Mercury Prize.
As we got our first glimpse into Bestivals fiction bonanza we were sucked into the Big Top tent where Tricky gave a smashing performance. The rap legend who has always been different and a bit strange really hasnt lost his touch with the crowd. Even though we were in pitch darkness we were able to enjoy Tricky’s full on stage presence. Tricky was joined by a band that produced sound that varied from epic to atmospheric and at some point he even let his backsinger get a taste of the spot light as he came off stage to chat to the crowd and take some pictures whilst his band carried on. Sound wise Tricky’s act was tight and definitly something else.
Dizzee Rascal the man who played every festival this summer didnt seem to show any signs of tiredness and yet again gave a delighted crowd what they came for our highlights of the set were, his now classic, Smells Like Teen Spiritcover/sample and of course the infectious Holiday which got the crowd into frenzy whilst his hit Bonkers closed the show. We enjoy a little of bit of Dizzee as much as the next person but boy he has been everywhere this Summer and its only his samples that seem to stand out. His expletive ridden callouts seemed to wear a bit thin on everyone and we put this down to being on the festival circuit too much. Hopefully he’ll be back next year, less expletive ridden. And so we closed the first day of Bestival. What a day its been. Check out today’s photos below.