The big one: Bestival 2008

We look ahead to this week's biggest shindig as Bestival tries to grab the title of Best Medium Festival for a forth-year running...

What Is It?

Like the Lost City of Atlantis, the Bestival is set to become an underwater utopia with a fancy dress theme of '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea'. But whatever the atire of choice this is one festival which needs rediscovering year-on-year. The three-day soiree is a carnival of colour and sound that will allow you to find your favourite new act as you lose yourself, a nonsensical escape from normality with WI cakes and tea, cocktails, rabbit-burrows and even a toboggan run to keep 30,000 freaks beaming and bemused in equal measure.

When And Where?

It all takes place in the confines of Robin Hill Country Park, near Newport on the Isle Of Wight from 5-7 September.

Five To Watch

George Clinton and Funkadelic/Parliament

The madcap inventor of P-Funk will head to the IOW for a performance that will hopefully prove as colourful as his hair.

The Sugarhill Gang
A rare appearance from the forefathers of hip hop. You may only know 'Rapper’s Delight', but you'll relish rapping along to all 14-minutes of it.


Dark theatrical tango and flamenco with a Victorian twist. This London-by-way-of-Madrid troupe will surprise and excite in equal measures.

Laura Marling
The ever demure teenager old who delivers elegant and mature folk way beyond her years – stunning.

Bobby Friction and Nihal  – Bestival Seaside Special
The British Asian music stalwarts are set to spin a seaside special – we don't know what to expect either.

One To Miss

Why oh why are people listening to this? With a lead singer who blends the combined smarminess of Mark Ronson, Jeremy Clarkson and a joint venture into selling real estate.

Playing A Rare Festival Date

My Bloody Valentine – Main Stage, Friday
The Scottish shoegazers will make their only UK festival appearance on Friday's main stage. If you want to hear anything for the next five months bring earplugs.

Inside Tip

Fuck Buttons – BBC Introducing Stage
Noise, upon noise, upon noise. They started by trying to make a sound that's un-listenable and ended up creating an urban account of Sigur Ros.  The kids can watch, just don't mention the band's name.

Be At Bestival If You Like
Nonsense and tomfoolery in abundance. With 30,000 people expected in aquatic costumes, surprise guests, comedy, poetry and even a hidden disco it's time to be a child again.

Avoid If You Hate
Having fun in large quantities.

Festival Tactics
Drink and discover. Wander around the woods, check out bands you've never heard of and find yourself making conversation with an inebriated crab at 4am. Only then will you have done the Bestival successfully.

Fashionsta Or Folky?
Musically there will be enough acts to go around for both factions, but as for outfits, shed those clothes and dive into the dressing up box for the weekend.

Alcohol Of Choice
Cocktails. Make it your mission to try each of the concoctions available at the Bollywood Bar – by the jug-load. Then try the quaffable and locally produced BestivAle to help you get trough that slow Sunday morning start.

Take Your Mum Score
7/10. She'll be up the front throwing her knickers at George Clinton, Gary Numan and The Human League while you get off your head to Aphex Twin, Sub Focus and Underworld. And if she gets annoying you can always drop her off at the WI tea tent for a daily dose of salacious village gossip.

Can I Still Get Tickets?
Not a chance, the festival sold out in record time.