Bestival is the last big event on the UK festival calendar and signals the end of summer *cry*. 2017 was the year I visited Bestival for the first time, and despite the apocalyptic weather (more on that later) I absolutely loved it! It has a bit of all my favourite festivals rolled into its own little boutique site, with lots of unusual quirky things to see and do, and I’ll definitely be back next year.
The first thing that struck me about Bestival was how small it is, with so much to see and do everywhere you look. There are only two main stages, with lots of smaller tents and indoor bar areas dotted around which hold more intimate performances. There’s also a huge Indian style temple which houses DJs, the world’s biggest bouncy castle, a giant disco ball, a wedding chapel, a makeshift beach, a love robot and a 20ft inflatable model of Kanye West’s head, to name but a few things. Visually the festival is just amazing, there’s so much colour and magic in every detail that it’s just Insta HEAVEN. Oh, and there’s also a literal castle smack bang in the middle of the new site (it moved from its old home on the Isle of Wight this year).
My favourite area of the festival, particularly at night, was the ambient forest, a wooded area that’s hidden away at the back of the site. The trees are lit by fairy lights and there’s lots of cosy places to sit, cute bars and chilled out music. This is the place to come for one of those deep chats with your mates at 5am…
The lineup at Bestival every year is right up my street; there’s never loads of big names or more than a handful of acts I want to see, but it’s really eclectic and mixed, meaning you end up seeing people you never would have planned to and discovering new music. That’s not to say there’s no big acts – I got to see The XX for the first time, the last EVER A Tribe Called Quest show, my favourite artist in the world (Jamie T) – it’s just not all about them. I had just as much fun at a jungle rave, singing along to a Prince tribute, watching Fatman Scoop on a boat and dancing to DJs in the Jaeger Haus. There’s different kinds of music everywhere you go – there’s even a drum and bass exercise class in the Witness the Fitness tent if you’re that kind of crazy.
One of my favourite things about any festival is the copious amounts of food on offer (I may have mentioned that here) and Bestival is no exception. In fact, they have a designated foodie area called the Feast Collective, with some of the UK’s best street food vendors bringing flavours from all around the world together under one tent. Here you’ll find everything from Ghanaian home cooking to authentic Thai curries, Swiss cheese and seafood fresh from Devon! There’s plenty of food around the site too, with lots of old favourites from the festival circuit popping up. As a part time vegan myself, I also have to point out how good the vegan options are here; they’re plentiful and actually the best things I ate were all vegan, including this amazing spicy vegan burger and this vegan curry which was one of the best things I’ve EVER eaten from The Peckish Peacock:
As I mentioned earlier, the only negative part of my Bestival experience – which was in no way anything to do with the festival itself – was the atrocious weather. I have never known weather like it at a festival, it was RELENTLESS. Luckily all the bars and tents of Bestival provide plenty of places to hide, but there wasn’t much that could be done about the mud. This mud made Glastonbury mud look tame!! And at one point, the wind was so strong that the organisers had to close the arena and usher everybody back to their tents out of fears for people’s safety. Honestly, this weather was apocalyptic. It didn’t dampen our fun too much, but there’s really no beating a festival where the sun is shining and you don’t need to wear two pairs of tights at all times.
So, to sum up, I loved Bestival and I’ll be back next year with my fingers crossed for more forgiving weather.
If you love festivals, read my post about the original and the best, here.