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Bestival Friday review

The sun cast its spell on the Bestival revellers for the first full day of 10th birthday festivities on the Isle of Wight. A beautiful day was had by all, as the Port stage (a full scale HMS Bestival boat complete with dancing crew and giant mermaids) played host to a vast array of popular acts including Duke Dumont, Maya Jane Coles and Eats Everything.

This colourful mecca is full of surprises and features a whole host of unusual pop ups, stages and quirky attractions. The large scale Lionel Ritchie head cuts an amusing figure on the hill, which attendees can actually enter into through a blow up bubble-type tunnel, enabling them special insight into the mind of the Hello singer! The Science stage, championed by a range of universities including the University of Bournemouth, allows for an immersive learning experience with interesting activities and a golden chance to learn some fascinating, yet slightly useless, facts. Who knew that the atmosphere had enough alcohol to fill up trillions litres of bottles? Not us!

On the Main Stage Jessie Ware whipped the crowd into a frenzy singing hits Wildest Moments, Sweet Talk and Running, dressed in full sailor girl attire complete with captain’s hat. Absent members of the Wu-Tang Clan were barely missed, as Ghostface Killah stepped up to swear in violent affection for the adoring audience and Bombay Bicycle Club drew the masses later in the day, featuring the London Afrobeat Collective on accompanying percussion.

In the depths of the usually tranquil Ambient Forest, amongst the various interactive art installations, the Amphitheatre attracted a nomadic pack of animated pleasure seekers, meandering through the woods following a stunning set from Duke Dumont, making eclectic performer The Wolf a surprising yet deserved hit.

The Bollywood stage, which is often packed to the rafters with ravers, is surrounded by other fun attractions, including a huge ‘hillbilly’ slide and a coconut shy type game featuring the heads of several well know figures that we just love to hate, controversially including that of the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, which was quite a funny sight.

Replay with Rob Da Bank stage accommodated an exciting line-up of John Newman, Sam Smith, Drenge and Australian newcomers Jagwar Ma. After a thirty minute delay London Grammar eventually pandered to their persevering fans, indulging them with a powerful set which included Wasting My Young Years, Metal and Dust and Strong. The trio, who met at Nottingham University did not disappoint and the wait thoroughly proved its worth. Following such an amazing and intense performance though, featuring vocals reminiscent of Florence Welch, virtually all was forgiven.

Sinead O’Connor showcased an assortment of new songs at the Big Top, so those who had turned up simply to hear her most famous offering (Nothing Compares) were left wanting. The singer seems to have taken a new tack with her compositions taking her in a more rock-like direction; this sexy skinhead’s still got it!

US natives Flaming Lips’ demanding stage presence and impressive visuals thoroughly entertained later in the evening. However, it was Fatboy Slim’s birthday bash performance that really hit the spot, creating a euphoric atmosphere and setting the sublime standard for a weekend of celebrations.

Other featured outfits across the 26 action stations included Disclosure, old darlings Belle and Sebastian, Melé and reggae legend David Rodigan MBE. Attendees were kept dry and in high spirits for the first day of award winning Isle of Wight, and there’s plenty more to come.

Lucy Christian
Lucy Christian
Lucy writes music news and reviews for Entertainment Focus.

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