Now in its it thirteenth year, Isle Of Wight bash Bestival – curated by islander and celebrated DJ Rob Da Bank – has become one of the most anticipated fixtures on the festival calendar.
And with an internationally renowned electronic trio, seminal British indie band and celebrity rapper topping the bill this year, Bestival offered perhaps the most eclectic mix of genres of any major festival in the UK.
Skepta tackled his main stage slot spectacularly, with an extremely high-energy performance of tracks from his Mercury nominated LP ‘Konnichiwa’. The Tottenham-born rapper rattled off the likes of ‘Man’, ‘That’s Not Me’ and ‘Shutdown’ seemingly without ever pausing for breath. A triumphant performance.
Even better though were Major Lazer. Perhaps the hottest dance act on the planet at the moment (‘Lean On’, their collaboration with DJ Snake, is the most streamed song of all-time on Spotify), the multi-national DJ collective created a carnival atmosphere with their Caribbean-flavoured EDM.
Nineties shoe-gazers Ride impressed with some mesmerising noise-rock jams on the main stage – on the strength of their performance you would hope their recent reunion won’t prove to be short-lived. UK rap duo Krept & Konan also delivered with a performance that contained nods to hip-hop history, before culminating with a thrilling one-two punch of ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ and ‘Freak of the Week’.
There were murmurings throughout the day that a three hour set from The Cure might prove to be a little over-indulgent, but the quintessential British alt-rock act delivered with a spectacular showcase of their vast back-catalogue. ‘Inbetween Days’, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘The Lovecats’, ‘Just Like Heaven’, ‘Pictures Of You’, ‘Lovesong’, ‘Close To Me’ – the band never seemed to run out of hits and the roar which greeted ‘Friday I’m In Love’ remained unparalleled across the whole weekend.
A mere two days after the release of their second album, Bastille delivered their anthemic indie-pop with real gusto in a sunny afternoon slot on the main stage. Covers of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ and Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ prompted mass sing-a-longs, but the band’s sound felt somewhat one-dimensional with only closer ‘Pompeii’ providing a stand-out moment.
Wiz Khalifa’s headline slot proved to be the weakest of the three. His interaction with the audience, which mostly involved asking ‘which side of the crowd smokes better weed’, quickly wore thin. The rapper is at his best when showcasing his masterful flow, while crowd-pleasing bangers ‘Black and Yellow’ and ‘Young, Wild & Free’ were well utilised. However, stand-out moments were few and far between and the rapper did little to bolster his credentials as a headline act.
Despite a somewhat underwhelming finale though, Bestival should be highly commended for offering such a diverse line-up – indie, electronica, hip-hop, grime and pop all contributed to a terrific party atmosphere. The festival is escapism at its finest and its 2016 iteration solidified its reputation as one of the best musical events of the year.
Main image: Bastille via Getty