BLOG: Bestival 2011: a mind-boggling bill of brilliance

Crowds at Bestival 2009 by Sara Bowrey
Crowds at Bestival 2009 by Sara Bowrey

'Bestival has a mind-boggling bill of brilliance, not contained by boundaries of genre, music snobbery or any kind of rational sanity - they've even got the Village People!'

With all the hot air surrounding the Reading and Leeds line-ups producing enough vitriol vapour on internet messageboards to steam up Melvin Benn’s glasses, people may have missed one of the best and most eclectic line-up announcements of the summer for Bestival 2011.

It was The Maccabees fault, honest. They decided to splash out the line-up on their website – clearly before they were allowed to – forcing organisers to run the whole thing. And run it they did. I’m not going to count them all but there are well over 100 new names set for the Isle Of Wight soirée and it looks like we may have a heavyweight contender for Line-Up of the Year in the ring.

“My brain literally never stops whirring, thinking and puzzling over who to book for Bestival,” curator Rob da Bank said, and boy are we glad it was Rolex who installed it into his noggin. Albeit its size – in both venue and capacity – Bestival is now closely moving towards the hallowed Glastonbury territory year-on-year, matching the master with a mind-boggling bill of brilliance, not contained by boundaries of genre, music snobbery or any kind of rational sanity – they’ve even got the Village People playing and you’ll bet a night at the YMCA that they’ll be ace. Even in a tongue-in-cheek or one-too-many-local-ciders-sort of way.

What else makes it stand out? Well, Friday night headliners Pendulum may continue to divide critics with their output, their live performances still aren’t far off the likes of The Prodigy for dazzling dance shows and that’s before we mention the magnificence of PJ Harvey, bow and bounce to hip hop legends Public Enemy and Jungle Brothers or fill ourselves full with the fizzy pop of Paloma Faith, Clare Maguire and Patrick Wolf.

Of course, considering da Bank’s day (well, night) job, the line-up excels greatest in two areas: dance music and new artists. If you’re not licking your lips about Dry The River, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Two Wounded Birds, Skrillex, the King Midas Sound soundsystem, Junip, Yaaks and Robert Luis, you’ll be licking your wounds come October, having missed them all.

The anything goes mantra serves Bestival well and I still haven’t even bleated on about The Cure, Brian Wilson, Primal Scream, Magnetic Man or Norman Jay yet.

But, for me, what aligns Bestival alongside Glastonbury the most is how it’s possible to spend a weekend onsite without seeing a single act and still fumbling back into the office a few days later, mumbling about the “greatest four days ever” as if recovering from an out-of-body epiphany, just with sunburn.

Click here to buy Bestival tickets.

More acts are expected soon.