Why you should watch: The Cure at Bestival 2011

The Cure at Virgin Trains Move Festival 2004 by Andrew Future
The Cure at Virgin Trains Move Festival 2004 by Andrew Future

The festival return of The Cure isn't about length of absence, fringes or back catalogue, writes Fiona Gladstone; it's more an amalgamation of all three.

Spotify Listen to our The Cure Spotify Playlist.

In the mud-splattered world of festivals, years can seem like lifetimes. We’ve flipped seven new calendars since The Cure last graced a festival with their presence – back at the now defunct Move Festival in Manchester (remember that? It rained) – but they’re back, readying for an exclusive Bestival 2011 headline show.

It’s been a long time coming too. Organiser Rob da Bank hasn’t made any secret of the fact that he’s wanted to book them for, like, ever and perhaps now is the first time since Bestival’s inception in 2005 that the event has the capacity, reputation and award-winning panache to dig out such an audacious coup.

Let’s be honest, they could have been Reading’s cup of Tetley’s or above Biffy on Sonisphere’s scrawled summer wish list. The goth pop greats have an arsenal of 80s post-punk brilliance that appeals to all sides of the rock coin and, thanks to the open-doors genre policy of Bestival, it finds itself fitting alongside headliners Pendulum and Bjork too.

Their poppiest moments ‘Friday I’m in Love’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ may get the dancefloors going at those cringey Hairbrush Hero nights, but who can resist a singalong at a festival?

There’s the hope too that this will be a greatest hits showing, rather than a shunning of their finest, though often their album footnotes hold as much grace and weight as their singles.

If so, they can really showcase their versatility, funking up on ‘Just Say Yes’ and drowning the crowd with the mellow tones of ‘Lullaby’ – they’ll switch styles as often as Taking Back Sunday swap band members. Plus we haven’t even mentioned ‘A Forest’, ’10.15 On A Saturday Night’ or ‘Love Cats’ yet.

As the Crawley group were a band that grew up in a time of touring rather than the music channel generation, they also relied on a consistent show-stopping performance. Fans took their music for what it was, no gimmicks attached. This post-punk new wave genre put them in competition with heavyweights such as Adam and the Ants, Echo and the Bunnymen and Gang of Four, and outdoing them all.

And while we’re on the subject of style, there’s the look: the spidery Scissorhands tresses of Smith, with smudged eyeliner and swollen lippy, no doubt the reason behind the festival’s ‘Rock Stars, Pop Stars and Divas’ fancy dress theme. Expect several thousand typecasts to be strutting their stuff across the site paying the wages of Revlon thanks to the amount of Kohl pandering their eyes.

Just make sure you’ve got yours too so at least you can scribble ‘I Woz Ere, The Cure, Bestival 2011’, it could be that memorable. You can turn it into a tattoo when you’re back home.

Bestival 2011 takes place from 8–11 September at Robin Hill County Park on the Isle of Wight.

Headliners for the Friday and Sunday night of the festival are Pendulum and Bjork, respectively.

Bestival 2011 tickets have sold out.

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’.