Live Music + Gig Reviews

Bestival 2008: Day 3 @ Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight

7 September 2008

Sunday started relatively well – by which we mean it wasn’t raining when we woke up and didn’t rain again all day.

The mud is still knee-deep, and makes the prospect of Underworld performing Born Slippy later today both deeply ironic and almost cruel.

A sweat-drenched Ibiza nightclub full of half-naked pill-heads couldn’t be further from the Passchendaele re-enactment we are experiencing.
Still, King Creosote was more entertaining than expected while we took advantage of the press tent facilities, and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly stepped up well to the main stage. We wander back up to the delights of The Village, attend two weddings in the (somewhat deflated) Inflatable Chapel of Love and then decide to flash our press passes to get a guided tour around the Boutique camping area.

The posh camping is definitely the place to be if you can afford it – not only for the luxurious furnishings and quaint solar-powered beach huts, but also because there’s a reception. Thanks very much to for showing us how the other half lives – or at least survives rain-soaked festivals.

We wander around a rather lacklustre 24 Hour Field trying to find something to brighten our soggy spirits, and realise a fundamental truth: mud is a great leveller. In beautiful weather (or even half-decent weather) it is the quality and quantity of the ancillary entertainment that raises a concert in a field into an unmissable experience, which makes wandering around different fields and stages, into and out of smaller tents, and seeking out tiny sound systems in the woods an adventure. When it’s wet and soggy, it all becomes too much trouble, and the festival lives and dies on its main stage line-up alone.

This takes us back to the main arena, and a two-hour set from the fantastically bonkers George Clinton, brining funk to the mud-encrusted masses with the best headgear we’ve seen this year. It’s been the golden oldies that have really shone this weekend.

We stay for the first few songs of Underworld’s set but can’t shake the feeling that they don’t belong here. They belong somewhere sunnier and warmer, where sweat drips off our faces and lager is a more appealing prospect than hot chocolate, but at the moment, warding off hypothermia takes priority. Our hearts just aren’t in it, and after barely 15 minutes we give up, wandering back past the dance tents, the skeleton of Jesterval, the comedy tent that didn’t survive the first day, and the rivers of mud.

It’s been a truly miserable summer for festivals and this feels like a kick in the teeth when we’re down. We hope that next year we can forget it all and start again. If not, there’s always Benicassim…

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