The Big One: Bestival 2009

Robin Hill Country Park, IOW - 11-12 September


Photographer:John Bownas

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Daniel Fahey | 07 September 2009

What is it?

Seen by many as the final furore of the festival season, Bestival is the ultimate lost weekend that mixes innocent child favourites (dressing up, exploring and vodka jellies) with Rob da Bank’s current iPod selection.

The boutique bash is nicely nestled in a stunning Country Park dotted with hills, woods and a lake, which makes an ideal getaway for hedonists, chillers and families in equal measures, while the likes of the WI tea tent, comedy arena and healing fields allow escapism in its more platonic forms.

When and where is it?

Bestival takes place this weekend (11-13 September) at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight.

Who to see?


For lovers of Orbital, this rising Manchester four-piece drop the baggy trouser-ed sound of their 90s hometown, swapping it instead for intelligent acid undertones more suited to the Hacienda.

A rare UK festival outing for Germany’s finest musical pioneers, Bestival will welcome the sound of autobahn boys for a headline slot. Expect some electronic pop grooves and robot dance routines.

Major Lazer
All genres have their dream couples: Jay-Z and Beyonce, the White Stripes, Ike and Tina, but dance music? Not until now. London house head Switch and remix genius Diplo have teamed up for an album of reggae and breaks under the guise Major Lazer and the resulting project is a chance to see them with their dance gloves off playing some catchy party riddems and some massive beats.

The Horrors
With a critically acclaimed album now under their belt, The Horrors have left behind their first LP instead opting for luscious doom pop overtures with the subtle tendencies of Joy Division and Motown recordings.

Toddla T (DJ Set)
The Sheffield dub-hall DJ is the genius behind Roots Manuva’s latest album, so you can expect bouncy basslines with some clattering beats and an all round sunshine-friendly sound.

One to miss


With a falsetto audible only by dogs, the Britain-by-Beirut singer is only slightly less annoying than Chris Moyles with tunes as irritatingly catchy as swine flu.

Playing a rare festival date

Michael Nyman
The minimalist classical composer is probably the last thing you’d expect to see on the bill, but when you find yourself awake for 47 hours and you’re still holding an untouched cider in your hand, it is time to pull down your shades and take in some more soothing sounds.

Inside tip

Skint And Demoralised
It’s a shame that any recent political poets seem to be backed by a Reverend and the Makers sound with Skint And Demoralised sadly following suit. However singer Matt Abbot is a well-heeled 19-year old with views and rhymes well above his years – worth a listen for his lyrics alone.

Festival tactics
Spend all day drifting stage to stage with a jug or two of Bollywood Tent cocktails, watching whatever catches your ear. Then, as dusk draws in, catch some of the main stage acts, lose yourself in the woods for a while and come out the other end to join the 24-hour field for a late night boogie.

Fashionista or folky
Sonically, Rob da Bank has both covered, but everyone will be shedding their garbs for a weekend of fancy dress – both homemade and shop bought.

Alcohol of choice

Unlike other festivals, the Bestival's boozy heart is away from the Main Stage and the epicentre of activity revolves around the glamorous Bollywood Bar. There are no arguments over beer or cider carted en masse, instead there's the downing of exotic cocktails. Obviously the choice is easy - you make your way down the whole list and it must always be served by the jugful.

Take your mum score – 8/10

It's whether or not she wants to take you really! The chilled relaxed vibe during the day is enough to charge her batteries for a night of full on raving, let's not pretend now, you know she was a party animal in the late eighties (you put pay to that) and the Bestival acts as one big weekend full of memories for her. Let's hope your kids reserve you the same rights when you're aching to watch La Roux's comeback tour in 2030.

Can I still get tickets?

Unfortunately not, the festival sold out earlier than ever. Though there are some tickets available from secondary ticketing site Viagogo.

Click here to buy Bestival tickets.

NB - All tickets bought on viagogo are covered by their guarantee - if you buy the ticket, you're going to the festival or your money back.


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