Saving the Bestival until last: a Bestival 2011 preview

Bjork at Coachella 2007 by Mark Austin
Bjork at Coachella 2007 by Mark Austin

Get on the Bestival bus - last stop, Funky Town.

Really? It’s that time of the year again?
Yep, it’s the big final jolly of the festival season, and what a final blow out! Bestival has pulled out the big guns for this September weekend.

What’s so sick about this gun show?
Three festival exclusives for a start: The Cure, Bjork and Brian Wilson. If those legends don’t tickle your loins, then try a Pendulum headline set for size. Fatboy Slim, Paloma Faith, Public Enemy and Village People all make their way to the island too.

Really Public Enemy and Village People on the same bill?
Yes, you heard it right. Eclectic is the name of the game and Kelis, Mogwai, Goldie Lookin Chain and Ms Dynamite would have to agree, Bestival are game changers in this respect.

Why the Isle of Wight?
Why not choose the largest English island? It has a Morrisons, three prisons, over 322km of cycleways and Alan Titchmarch was named sheriff of the island in 2008. When Flavor Flav heard Quarry stone from the island was used in the construction of the Tower of London 900 years ago he told his homies they had to visit. Likewise Goldie Lookin’ Chain only agreed to play when they heard the island had been the former home of poet Alfred Tennyson.

What’s this I hear about fancy dress?
It’s not tradition; it’s stronger than that, almost a Bestival rite of passage. This year organiser Rob da Bank has opened up the theme to its wildest spectrum yet; rock stars, pop stars and divas. Expect a few Beatles, a few Stones, a few GaGa’s and a million and one tasteless Winehouse costumes.

So who do I need to see?


Behind cured ram scrotum and the world’s largest penis museum (Icelandic Phallological Museum), Bjork is Iceland’s third biggest export. She still remains the strangest. Full of artistic flare, her range of wide-eyed sentimentality and full-bellied rage is always a wonder to behold. This year she’s bringing her soon to be unveiled ‘Biophilia’ project which by all accounts is set up to be another wonder of the world, all we know is it might well feature a live tesla coil on stage.

The Cure

What’s there really left to say about this band? Formed in Sussex in 1976, they have been a force of unbridled brilliance ever since. They recorded such classics as ‘Lovecats’, ‘A Forest’, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Friday I’m Love’. There isn’t any left to say apart from but superlatives, and this Fringe-favourite joke from Alan Sharp: “I was in a band which we called The Prevention, because we hoped people would say we were better than The Cure.”

John Grant

John Grant was happy walking his obscure path through Europe and a field of alcoholism, depression and drug abuse when Midlake near enough bullied the singer to record in their Texas studio. His first release since fronting The Czars half a decade ago, ‘Queen of Denmark’ is a truly beautiful, heart-wrenching affair, full of poignant lyrical references to his period of personal despair, still with a heavy dose of wit and references to Sigourney Weaver.


The first (but not the last) Mercury Prize nominated act on our list, Ghostpoet is a soon to be discovered prophet of the meek and mild rap scene. His debut full length ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ picked up where his first EP left off, with a deep and dark sound, both self-deprecating and carrying a charming message of wasted youth, his live shows are nothing but arresting.

Jon Hopkins & King Creosote

This pairing was never going to be a straightforward one, the Fife troubadour and London producer spent seven years producing their masterpiece, ‘Diamond Mine’. Released on Domino earlier this year it fully deserved the Mercury nod and will be seen as a crowning gem in King Creosote’s prolific discography of more than 40 albums.

This isn’t a festival; it’s an utopian paradise on the centre of the Isle of Wight?
Nah, you’ve confused, that’s Blackgang Chine adventure park. But Bestival is actually a better way to spend a weekend on the island, sadly though it’s now sold out.

You may be available to get some tickets through The Ticket Trust at face value.

What else you got for me?
Spotify Well try our Bestival Spotify playlist, plug it in and play it loud, this party is about to kick off.

Ferry tickets from Red Funnel are on sale. Book now to avoid the rush and the disappointment of not being able to get onto the Island.

Finally, those with frightfully short and miserable looking legs (like myself) might want to get their hands on a pair of Wedge Wellies for extra long, sexy looking pins for the Bestival weekend. We’re offering a 20% discount for a limited time – just use the code ‘FAB20’.