Festival Preview: Bestival 2008

01 August 2008

You know the score by now. Better than Glastonbury in all but size, outrageously camp, full of lots of things to do that aren’t music and with a range of sleepover options that don’t involve tents, Bestival is the festival you really shouldn’t miss.

This year, to top it off, Rob da Bank’s annual extravaganza can also boast the chance to enjoy My Bloody Valentine in an outdoors environment, which means you might just have a chance of coming away with your hearing (mostly) intact. Surely that’s worth the price of admission alone?
There’s a host of other acts on offer too, of course, from Amy Winehouse to Aphex Twin, to The Human League, 808 State, Baaba Maal and Foals. You can get your freak-nu-folktronica fix of the weekend virtually 24/7 if that’s what floats your boat, with Noah And The Whale, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Laura Marling and Florence And The Machine all banging the makeshift instruments at one time or another.

Meanwhile, the doomier brigade can sweat into their skinny jeans to Micah P Hinson or These New Puritans; pill-heads can dance all night to a host of treats including Hadouken! , Erol Aklan and Cagedbaby (assuming you get through the sniffer dogs, of course); we can soak up the post-irony with Chas & Dave and party to The Shortwave Set – a band created to play Bestival if ever there was one.

There’s Will Young, Kelly Osbourne and The Cuban Brothers to suffer through too, but you can’t have everything and somehow at Bestival it won’t quite seem to matter, as you embrace your inner gay and discover that such acts don’t deserve to be clubbed to death after all. Maybe.

You’ll often find that music ends up taking a back seat at Bestival, though. Killer riffs and hummable choons no longer seem to matter so much when you can get married in the Big Love Inflatable Church instead, watch a film at the Groovie Movie Solar Powered Cinema, go round and round on the Big Wheel 24 hours a day and get fed homemade cakes by the Women’s Institute.

Dodging the environmental/fair-trade/alleviate poverty/trust-fund gap year smug do-gooders will be as tedious a pastime here as at any other festival of course, but where else will you be able to debate the pros and cons of coal-fired fuel stations while dressed as a giant lobster? At least it’ll be different.

Add to the mix: champagne and afternoon tea in burlesque surroundings, a cockerny knees-up to get you in the mood for Chas & Dave and such insulting racial stereotyping of what Havana might be like that even a ’70s sitcom would be ashamed of itself. You can try all of this and more at Bestival.

If previous years are anything to go by, you can even bet on the weather being more reliable than Glasto. After all, when sequined wellies are an absolute necessity, dahhling, one has to have some assurances in life.

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