Day two of Camp Bestival gave everyone the chance to test out the venue properly.
The camping fields were adequate if you weren’t lucky or rich enough to be staying in a wigwam in the boutique area. For the rest of us we had the choice of kid-friendly camping, non kid-friendly camping, or just camping wherever you could find a spot.
Saturday was the strongest day musically. Ebony Bones didn’t appear which was a shame as her colourful and lively act would have been perfect for the occasion. But instead we had an extended set from DJ Barry Peters keeping the peace with a selection of some fine guilty pleasures. Billy Bragg did his usual set of simplistic political posturing to hummable tunes and Black Kids impressed with their lively guitar pop.
Things stepped up a notch with The Cuban Brothers and their over-the-top brand of sexy funk complete with breakdancing and a quite phenomenal strip that left main Brother Miguel wearing nothing but tight underwear with a golden tap for a phallus. Summery, fun and outrageous, if anyone didn’t enjoy it, they should take their golden tap out of their arse.
Hercules And Love Affair were the accompaniment to the sunset, which was lucky for us as they apparently didn’t appear for their scheduled gig at the Melt! Festival in Germany the night before. They performed a solid set recreating some of the better tracks from the album. Another striptease, this time by transsexual singer Nomi and her amazing figure caused a lot of men to stop dancing and gasp. But the set wasn’t quite right for Camp Bestival. With all the fun and frolics everywhere it seemed a bit too chilled, a bit too pedestrian, and without the punchy pop songs that could keep the attention of the youngsters.
Once darkness had descended, everyone’s attention was directed to the castle, where from within appeared Wayne Coyne in a big transparent bubble. This seems to be his ‘thing’ now, as he recreated it the following night at the Lovebox Weekender and has been using it for years, but it was marvellous to see him rolled down the castle’s steps through and over the crowd and onto the stage. Setting the scene for a magical set, the Flaming Lips were here and they owned Camp Bestival 2008.
The crowd enjoyed various pieces of stage trickery, and with a stripped back Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt 1 and a sing-a-long to The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, they managed to get everyone involved despite a lot of the audience probably not being that familiar with the band. Unfortunately that lengthy sing-a-long, and a bit too much audience interaction cost them dear as strict noise restrictions resulted in the set being brought to a premature close just as Coyne said that they had ‘one more song’ (although if it was the same set as they put on the next night in London, there were two more still to come). Missing out on live performances of She Don’t Use Jelly and Do You Realise were a personal tragedy.
While this was a terrible anti-climax, bearing in mind this was the first Camp Bestival, it’s understandable that the organisers wanted to stick to the rules with absolute fervour. Perhaps they needed to give the band some stronger warnings ahead of 11 o’clock, but there you go. It’s something that has been learned for next time. It just left a bitter taste in the mouth after the joy and wonder that had come before.