Dream Summer Blog 2006 - Bestival

Anna Hyams - 09 September 2006

Day 1 - Friday

Today we got up bright and early ready to make the ferry trip over the Isle of Wight, Clare and Loz?s house is conveniently situated rather close to the terminal so we were there a lot earlier than we needed to be and were first on the boat! Yay! The weather is lovely, and we decide to pick up some pre-roasted chickens for lunching upon. The ferry trip is highly entertaining as it seems that nearly everyone travelling with us is headed to the festival, and a really strange tie-dye-loving lady approaches my housemate Dave and says she feels some kind of spiritual calling to talk to him. They discover they are both teachers? only he teaches English and she teaches? Reiki healing? hmm? we?re not convinced they?re heavenly connected, but it does provide a talking point for the rest of the journey. So anyhow, we arrive at the site in less than half an hour ? hardly any car queuing, unlike every other festival we?ve been to this year ? most unusual, and we get a bit messed around about where VIP ticket holders are meant to go. Its all worked out in the end and we find out that there is no difference between VIP and regular ticket, apart from getting in a shorter wristband queue. When we get our wristbands, we tramp on down a practically vertical pathway which is VERY dangerous, and emerge into the huge arena and camping area. We take up a spot behind three enormous army tents, which provide a good blockade for people walking around your tent at night and ripping out your guy lines. That?s festival tactics for you! We trudge back up the hill to get the rest of our stuff only to be told that when we go out, we might not be able to get back in for 2 hours, because 2 people have already broken their legs falling down death-valley and they have to try and make it safer. Methinks they might have overlooked the massive amount of shit people bring to festivals ? especially this one where costumes are practically mandatory.

SO, we?re starving and thirsty so vote to picnic at the car for a couple of hours, since only our tents are down in the camping area. Back at the car we lay out a picnic rug and feast upon chicken and fosters. Now we?re really in the festival spirit! When we?re finally told we can go around the long way (previously a roadway into the arena) we drag out our things and set up our tents proper. To complete the traditional festival evening, we buy churros, take breakdancing lessons in the Come Dancing tent, (making little headway with CC?s and 6-step but it?s a lot of fun anyway), and finally, I find the Fairy Love stand and buy myself a pair of black and purple wings to celebrate being at Bestival! Dave dons his Moroccan Fez (which Charlie had been using as a bin in the car unbeknownst to him), Paul pops on his Doctors outfit and I get all glammed up in my very best fairy clothes and sparkly makeup. We spend the night being amazed at everything ? the umbrella village outside the Bollywood Bar, the fact that there are more people in fancy dress than those who aren?t, the open cinema, the sheer number of different eateries and the circus people swinging glow in the dark poi. Its already magical?

Day 2 - Saturday

Waking up is actually nice here, having camped behind the huge tents, we?re a bit shaded and don?t choke awake for a change! After breakfasting on beer, crisps and cereal bars, we take a walk through the main arena, and stop by the enormous 3D Bestival sign, where we got some paint and a brush each from the nice ice-cream van men, and choose a spot of wall to create our masterpieces. Not quite a Monet, but not a total playschool effort either, I feel proud of my section! Afterwards, we head through the secret woods entrance to the Bestivalley, where we undertook even more activities, such as painting another wall, this time using natural ingredients like ochre, dirt and flowers! As well as joining in at the ?Demon or Doppelganger? tent, where we made clay models. Dave made Cake and Tea, Paul made a Goose called Gandhi, I made a pixie and Charlie made a surfer on a wave and we all set them to bake in the sun with the hundreds of others that had been made!

We then move on to Bunting painting (a messy affair) and then off to have a bite to eat in The Village. The village is truly amazing. First we go for a drink in the medieval style Inn, which serves only 2 appropriate kinds of beverage: Bestivale and some kind of champagne cocktail. Horribly expensive, but definitely necessary. After that and meeting a guy who is obsessed with lotus flower tattoos (random), we take a look at the food options and are pleasantly surprised! There is a sushi yurt, where you have to take off your shoes to go in ? selling boxed sushi and warm sake, the WI tea tent, and finally the best of all ? the farmers market. Here we get hot grilled corn on the cob, coated in butter lime and chilli flakes for £2, truly the best festival food I?ve ever had. They also sell homemade beefy stew, but its too hot for that today. Whilst munching our corn, we watch a very entertaining lot play the bandstand in the middle (they were playing StarWars music at one point) and walk up the hill to see what the commotion is around the seating area. Funnily enough it turns out that it?s a Dave competition (stickers around the site proclaim ?Some like it Dave? and that Dave?s of Bestival can compete on Saturdave). Alas, its too late to enter our Dave, but it is a highly amusing contest, involving Dave wrestling. Paul and Dave wanted to have a go at the climbing tree, but you had to book a time and they couldn?t be bothered.

Having forced ourselves to walk up the huge hill, we come upon the ?Big Love Inflatable Church?, which is magical. It has pretend stained glass windows and a steeple, and for £25 you can real or fake marry someone (or a few someones, or everyone?). The sermons are gorgeous if a little odd, and the after party is truly brilliant. A little further on, we spy a nice looking café tent, which turns out to be a FREE TEA AND CAKE area which obviously amazes us all. I choose rocky road and normal tea, and we sit outside under the prayer tree (a tree you attach written prayers to) and look out across the site. I?ve never felt so content!

After a morning of messing around doing festival things, we decide its about time we actually watched some bands, so we head off to the main stage (hosted by The slightly mental Cuban Brothers) to see Kid Creole and The Coconuts who are, no kidding, some of the best performers I have ever seen! We had a fantastic time, especially starting a conga line all around the arena, and doing the ?cha cha cha? ?samba? and ?rhumba? movements the Kid told us to! We also join in the huuuuuuge fancy dress parade (amazing), see The Pipettes (Not my kinda thing, but they were wearing nice outfits. They looked like polka-dot air stewardesses) and The Young Knives. From there, Paul and I go to see the Beard and Moustache championships and were extremely pleased with the outcome, the winner was clearly the best, although the farmer men were also very good. We meet a guy dressed as Jimi Hendrix with an amped guitar ? he?s brilliant.

I bought yet another pair of wings from Fairylove (thus is my obsession) and we go back to the tent for some pasta with sauce and cheese (a regular occurrence, as its practically all we brought). We find some glow sticks and take off to see The Pet Shop Boys. On the way I purchase some monster poi and nearly take a transformer?s head off with them. Ok, so I?m not a fan anyway, but even Charlie is disappointed with The Pet Shop boys. We wait for ages for them to come on, and when they do, they are stale and boring. It is true that you can replicate their entire set list by picking a list of single words, which you repeat over and over again to a background of electronic beeps. This incited much piss-taking, stupid dances (i.e. the shopping trolley move) and sneaking backwards towards the food stalls. However, I must say, I really did enjoy the giant top-hat with legs which was frolicking about the stage ? that was a pure genius idea.

After a cuppa at the Tiny Tea Tent, we wander back to the tents for beer and snacks and later bed. Dave and Charlie go to see The Bees (as Dave is obsessed with monkeys and loves the song about them) and tell us the next day that they were really great, despite being on at about 2am!

Day 3 - Sunday

We awaken to the sounds of the drunk girls next to us singing 80?s TV theme tunes and have to make the awful trip to the portaloos. By now, they are all absolutely foul and stink to high heaven. On the plus side, someone next to me was humming the Darth Vader song which I found highly amusing. After a tour around the arena again, and another trip for corn in The Village, we happen upon a selection of people carrying large letter tiles on sticks. As we look out across the arena whilst we watch Hot Chip?s ?Over and Over? we spy ?Bestival & Sex? being created in an enormous game of scrabble, brilliant. Lost & Found have hit on a great idea with this one! Hot Chip are also very good, and manage to incite strange dance moves even in Paul ? quite a feat.

We pop back to the tents for yet more pasta, sauce and cheese and spark a previously unconsidered argument about the moon being made/not being made of cheese. We the pro-cheese argument, Charlie the con-cheese argument. You wouldn?t believe how long it lasted and how many people were dragged into it, including Men In Pants ? who bounded into our ?garden? looking slightly maniacal. After dinner and more beer, we walk back through the arena (swiping more free Quinns on our way past. NB: if you lick your hand right after they stamp it, it comes right off) and head over to see The Long Blondes and then pop into The Loose Tea Tent, where they are selling huge knitted biscuits. Very odd. Following on from this, we set off to The Village for something to eat, and then through the woodland trail to see the Scissor Sisters on the main stage. The woodland trail has many attractions, including a wooden tractor which Paul fell in love with, and whack-able wind chimes. After all of that, we end up quite close to the stage in time for the Scissor Sisters, who again, perform their stuff quite nicely, but not really my kinda thing. Having watched the crowd go wild for the sounds of ?Laura? we pootle off to look at the stalls, and have a beady eye in the big top to see if Late Night Cabaret has started yet. As it hasn?t we go off to see The Lindy Hop in the Come Dancing Tent and to have a go at some circus equipment. The whole night is spent in this manner. Dave puts a wish on the wish tree at Fairylove - ?I wish I didn?t have to poo so bad? and my ?I wish my tent was bigger?. We get more churros and watch some girls dressed as boxers hit each other, whilst a caveman is riding a giant wicker elephant and being whipped by a female ringmaster. In the distance some naked people are dancing round a fire near the tepee village and a cardboard Viking longship holding 4 warriors (one on crutches) ?sails? past us. This is the BEST FESTIVAL of all time.


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