Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Bestival: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight 5-8 Sept 2013

Bestival Festival 2013
Bestival Festival 2013 Snoop Dog: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Jessie Ware: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo - Carolina Faruolo) Fatboy Slim: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo - Dan Dennison) John Newman: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo - Ian Taylor) ?uestlove (The Roots): Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Carl Cox: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo - Victor Frankowski) Nile Rodgers (Chic): Bestival 5-9 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Rudimental: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Angel Haze: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Carolina Faruolo) Scrufizzer: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Ian Taylor) Valerie June: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Ian Taylor) Bill Brewster: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Dan Le Sac & Scroobius Pip: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Fra Wu-Tang Clan: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) M.I.A: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Max Romeo: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Frank Tope: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) A-YO: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Ian Taylor) Fatboy Slim: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Dan Dennison) Snoop Dog : Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Rudimental: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Nile Rodgers (Chic): Bestival 5-9 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Jessie Ware: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo - Carolina Faruolo) Bestival Festival 2013 Bestival  (Photo - Victor Frankowski) Bestival Festival 2013 Bestival  (Photo - Victor Frankowski) Fatboy Slim: Bestival 5-8 September 2013 (Photo: Victor Frankowski) Bestival Festival 2013 Bestival  (Photo - Victor Frankowski) Rob Da Bank & the errr Queen: Bestival Festival 2013 (Photo: Dan Dennison)

We made our way through the gates of the festival and down the jaw-droppingly steep hill to which our campsite awaited…

At 6 o’clock we left the campsite and headed towards our first festival act of the evening, Karma Kid...once we arrived at Temple Island, we found the tent absolutely packed. It was so hot you could feel the heat leave the tiny tent, there must have been close to 400 people crammed in. Still, without hesitating, we made our way inside and it instantly felt way to crowded. However, we stayed for half an hour and heard, “Look Right Through (MK Dub Remix)” and Karma’s own “It’s Always” which helped raised the heat just a little more. Having only been around since 2012 and at the astonishing age of just 19 years old, he proved he could hold his ground as a great start up act for festival. It was however cut short due to the overcrowding.

Instead of seeing another act, we decided to have a yonder around the site to see what entertainment there was. The festival sported a vast array of coffee shops, food stands, shops, a ferris wheel, a comedy club, several nightclubs including an R&B one, the swamp which featured a great set on the last night, a tree which held around 80 people including a DJ, a drag show, a polka tent, a Wagamamas, a Nandos and even a ship named HMS Bestival which would host some of the biggest DJ’s this weekend. After having a look at the rest of the acts performing, we decided to call it a night and headed back to our tent so we could make the most of Friday.

Feeling fresh and excited for the weekend, we checked out who the 'must see' acts on Friday consisted of; Wu-Tang Clan, The 1975, Disclosure, Duke Dumont, Eats Everything, John Newman and the one and only Fatboy Slim. Making our way to the arena we first decided to see ‘The 1975’. Now for me, this wouldn’t have been my first choice. However, with hindsight I am very thankful we did. When they performed “Chocolate” the tent  (Big Top) absolutely erupted with a buzz I’ve not seen in a long while. The atmosphere was electric and it really did set a great start to the Friday. 3.15 would see Wu-Tang Clan hit the stage with a rather dapper performance by bringing back the 90’s East Coast Cool vibes. This meant everyone around the stage was rather relaxed and carefree. As time flew by their brilliant hour and fifteen minute set was soon at an end. Once Wu – Tang had finished, we made our way down to the Port that held the HMS Bestival. A spectacular ship that had been settled into the bank of the hill and turned into a DJ booth/performance stage.

Upon arriving, it was nice to see that Bestival had clearly gone out of their way to impress their fans. With swinging trapeziums and absolutely stunning visual effects and lighting displays, it was surely going to be the hub of the party. We caught the end of Room Service as he performed to the hundreds waiting for Duke Dumont to arrive. On turning up, Dumont, performs the classic crowd pleaser, “The Giver” which only instigated an eruption of screams and cheers from the over five thousand strong crowd. Moving towards the bar for much needed refreshments allowed us time to re-energise ourselves and have a little chat about the day. We all agreed on one thing, Wu-Tang Clan were superb, a retrograde group famed for there success in the 90’s was brought to life on the main stage.

After a much needed break we hung around The Port to see Eats Everything. Taking to the stage like an omnipotent god, he never showed a hesitation or hint of nervousness as he began to perform in front of the thousands that had come to see him. Throughout his entire set he seemed confident and relaxed as his presence and deep house vibes filled the arena with happy party-goers. Eats Everything’s remix of “Circles” by Adam F was probably one of the biggest tunes on his set, people began to jump around as if they were 10 years old again!

The main act of the evening was Fatboy Slim’s Birthday Bash, and boy have I been looking forward to it. Slim rarely does festivals these days so when he does, you cant afford to miss it. The stand out tune for me would be his new song “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat”, and it certainly packs a punch with its hard hitting techno beat and long introduction which had the crowds going wild. It also saw hundreds of huge inflatable balls being thrown into the crowd to add to the electric atmosphere! Incredible.

Saturday would host some huge acts, first on the list was A-YO featuring Mark Ronson vs Zane Lowe, bringing some originality to the stage for the younger generation of hip-hop Jay-Z Kanye West enthusiasts alongside R&B/Jazz/ Soul Artist Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”. The crowd was on its feet in a short space of time and had the whole place rocking to anything from rock to indie to hip hop to dance. The vibes were brilliant.

There was no shock then to find that the next act I saw, had to have been Rudimental, with such a short set time of 50 minutes they were definitely ones to fill a gap before we headed over to The Port. Hearing the likes of “Waiting All Night”, “Feel The Love”, “Not Giving In” and their latest release “Right here” would only result in one thing. Some serious shapes and moves being thrown around in front of the main stage. They nailed the short set and attracted a huge crowd which praised them with cheers and screams, cracking lads!

Taking a quick break, we mustered our energy with some food from Wagamamas and discussed who’d we like to go and see next. What sprang to mind were two words, Annie Mac. This spectacular Radio one DJ had been presenting at The Port the whole day with her set time due to start at 10:30. Whats astonishing though is that only a few months ago she was pregnant and she’s already back on the high horse doing what she loves best... Being a DJ! Also gracing the stage with his presence is her other half Toddla T, whose due to perform later that evening. But before we talk about Annie, House Heavyweight producer from Bristol Julio Bashmore is first on the centre stage. Watching The Port explode to “Au Seve” and “Battle For Middle You” was certainly something I’m glad to have witnessed, the dancers and visual effects were all synchronised to the music and even included people swinging in on trapeziums suspended from a crane high above the ground. Julio Bashmore’s warm up meant the bar was set high for Annie Mac, but I’m sure this would not prove a problem for such a talented DJ. She brought all sorts of mayhem to the festival as she smashed the set out the ball park with songs from Shadow Child, Breach, Dusky, London Grammar and Rudimental, one of the best DJ’s I have seen live so far.

Main headliner for Saturday was Snoop Dogg, or should I now say Snoop Lion. He headlined the main stage as the final act for the evening but as expected Snoop turns up fashionably late... Or should I say really Late. Half an hour from when his set was due to start, he appears and when he does he asks the crowd to ‘Light up their Spliffs’. He was (in my opinion) not too sober when he joined the stage, lol! He had good range of song choices ranging from his collaborations with Katy Perry “California Girls” to “Signs” by Justin Timberlake and also songs of his own such as “Drop it like it’s hot”. Snoop put in a decent performance and everyone supported him throughout his hour and ten minute set. Uh yeah... Snoop!

Our last act of the evening that I had been dying to see was a group of talented artists, their group name, ‘Hot Natured’. The group was originally founded by Jamie Jones and Lee Foss whom own the critically acclaimed electronic dance music label, Hot Creations. Eventually, the group added two new people, Ali Love and Luca C from Infinity Ink. Now, this powerhouse of talent was surely going to impress at Big Top. They held their own as thousands poured into the big tent to see the relatively new group perform. Kicking off the the set with “Forward Motion” had got everyone singing along in no time, the result was climbing on my friends shoulders and gaining a better view. Eventually the song “Benediction” was dropped and boy was it a big one, Ali C’s Vocals on the song were as crisp as ever and everyone kept on singing ‘...On...and on... keep on riding on... and on...’ this place was live! A nice little surprise was that Anabel Englund joined the stage to perform their first single released on their debut album ‘Different Sides of The Sun’. Performing “Reverse Skydiving” was definitely a treat in itself, with Lee Foss and Jamie Jones on the decks we were definitely going to hear some decent tunes. Eventually we managed to hear some of their new content from the album which has recently just been released. “Different Sides” was one of the stand out songs from the album, it held a deep house vibe mixed with beautiful vocals which made the atmosphere of big top very chilled. Although, Jamie Jones managed to mix in his own tune “Hungry For The Power” which sent the crowd into a frenzy when he eventually dropped it. Their set was now at a close and the crowd were more than pleased with their performance cheering and clapping them off the stage.

All in all the saturday had been perfect, the range of different artists alongside Snoop Dogg, Annie Mac and Hot Natured made the entire day one that I wont forget.
Like all good things must come to an end, the end was near and Sunday had arrived, it never however dampened our spirits. Sunday would see the likes of some pretty big dance artists and by now you will probably realise I like my dance music! However, I was looking forward to seeing Chic perform for the first time.

The Port, it was hosting Hospitality which in my opinion was the only real big line-up during the day. It consisted of a four hour set featuring Fred V & Grafix, Nu: Logic, High Contrast and Danny Byrd. Catching the back end of the set we saw High Contrast and Danny Byrd perform some pretty serious Drum and Bass, I witnessed people dancing around like raving lunatics so I decided to call it a day and go and see something a bit different. Chic was over performing on main stage so we went and had a look there. Im happy to say we did! The atmosphere was great and the crowd had a mix of young and old people, Nile Rodgers was at his best on guitar and they even had the audience on stage at one point! Stand out songs were “Everybody Dance”, “Good Times” and “Le Freak”, I never had so much fun in my life listening to such classics!

After Chic we waited for Elton John, a massive must see artist whom was due to perform at half 8. Upon entering he was greeted with thousands of cheers and screams. He performed “Your Song”, which had me and my friends singing along to from start to finish, not to mention everyone else. He also performed “Candle in the Wind” and “Im Still Standing” which put everyone in the right mood and frame of mind for the Grand Finale which was due at 11. Once Elton John had bowed and finished, he left the stage to make way for the truly awesome fireworks that we were about to witness. Within in a matter of minutes of Elton leaving the fireworks were let loose and a spectacle in the sky had occurred. Thousands of people raised their phones to sky whilst they recorded the incredible firework display which lasted around 15 minutes. That was it, it was a sign that Bestival was actually coming to a close.

Heading swiftly over to The Port, we were going to see knife party. When we arrived it was pitch black and the lasers, strobe lights, theatrical performances and fire... Yes Fire! Were in full motion! Honestly, seeing Knife Party alone hands down won it over for me. When they dropped “Put Em Up” by Alvin Risk, it literally felt like a war had been started. Fire, lasers, strobe lights... the lot, you name it, it all happened! “Bonfire” was also a keen favourite of mine, it was a complete crowd pleaser but the visuals were by far some of the best I have ever seen. Once Knife Party had finished, we made way for Carl Cox, an internationally renowned house DJ whose experience in the rave scene during the mid 80s makes this man a veteran on the decks. Smashing out all sorts of music from garage, to deep house to techno he made no small intro. My favourite song on his set though would have been from Friend Within “The Renegade”, it was pouring with rain and it was coming to the end of Bestival, and this still never stopped the thousands that were there for one reason, the music.

Once Carl Cox’s set had finished, a very disappointed self who never wanted it to finish headed back to the campsite to gather the last of our things and head home. It was really over, and boy had it been brilliant. Every act I had seen that weekend had made an incredible effort and performance that I had never seen before at any other festival. In conclusion then, the acts that made the weekend for me would have been Fatboy Slim, Annie Mac, Hot Natured, Snoop Dog, Wu-Tang Clan, Carl Cox and Knife Party. Would I go again? Definitely. Have I purchased my ticket already? I would if I could!

Thanks for an a truly unforgettable Weekend Bestival!
Words B&S

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