Bestival: my festival experience
I feel as though a good place to start when it comes to Bestival is to tell you of some of last year’s incredible proceedings. Bestival 2014 encompassed my first real festival experience and it’s safe to say that despite the lack of showering and other bathroom comforts, it was one of the best times of my life. Everything started early on the Thursday morning of the 4th of September, when a few friends and I carried our bags onto the train to Southampton equipped with wellies, glitter and various accessories just to let every passer-by know exactly where we were headed.
A topic of complaint amongst festival-goers seems to be the journey there and back. But one of the amazing things about Bestival is not only the fact that it takes place on the Isle of Wight, but the whole travelling process of becoming ridiculously excited on the ferry that you don’t even notice you’re onto your fifth beer. Part of the atmosphere you feel when you first arrive at the campsite is created through the hours of the journey to get there.
I still vividly remember, after long queues and the drama of thousands having their alcohol taken off them (don’t forget you can only take in a crate of beer per person), seeing the various stages, tents and campsites from a distance. The brains behind Bestival, Rob Da Bank, has managed to create an incredible community of around 55,000 people and I’m sure you can only imagine the amount of field space that requires. This brings me onto the mind-blowing creativity you’ll witness as you stroll around the festival, sunglasses firmly on your face as you hide a monstrous three-day hangover, and explore the various alternative events. After all, Bestival cleverly goes for the “It’s not all about the music” vibe. From 24-hour haircuts, to hot tubs, films in the forest and rave knitting, there truly is something for everyone. And I’m only naming a few of the things you can take part in! In case this isn’t for you, rest assured that there are also 24 different venues for you to dance the nights and days away in as well as 9 areas available for you and your friends to explore.
It’s also worth mentioning that as cliché as it may initially sound, Saturday at Bestival is dress-up day. A whole day in which you and 55,000 other people can dress as ridiculously as humanly possible and rave well into the early hours of the morning. It’s a chance for both the crowd and the acts to take part in transforming their look and come up with the most weird and wonderful (yet stylish) attire. After all, by the Saturday you’ll be starting to feel pretty tired so there is nothing better than a little creativity to get the party going again.
Fun and games aside, one of the reasons Bestival impressed me and many others so much is the atmosphere created through the support of everyone around you. They provide brilliant resources for absolutely anything – whether you feel a bit under the weather, physically run-down, or it’s something a lot more serious than that, the Bestival team has your back day and night. After all, with thousands of people partying in a huge field, something is bound to go wrong for someone at some point.
Finally, the absolute highlight of the whole experience was, of course, the final night. My friends and I had been excited about seeing Nile Rodgers and his band live for months and when it finally happened, it was nothing short of breath-taking. After the announcement that Rob Da Bank’s disco ball had made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for officially being the largest disco ball in the world (10.33m in diameter!!!!), the party commenced and the fireworks set off.
I feel as though the above image is pretty self-explanatory, but nothing will ever come close to hearing the sound of thousands of people singing along to every one of Rodger’s songs whilst the disco ball was lifted into the air and fireworks lit up the sky. In that moment, on the final night, you come to a stand-still and feel connected to the crowd as you share those few breaths of awe, before you come to your senses again and remember you still have an entire night left to dance (and pack).
Bestival this year takes place at Robin Hill County Park, Isle of Wight, 10-13 September.
Tickets are available now.