Why has Bestival become so popular?
Bestival is a popular festival located on the site of a country park, home to inflatable churches, wishing trees and rave shacks and now currently holds the record for the largest fancy dress party in the world. Plus Bestival is on the Isle of Wight, which is the weirdest part of all.
Bestival is organised by Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank and has been going since 2004 which has gone from strength to strength during the last 7 years so far, now for the 8th planning to be the most successful yet. Having a particular interest in Bestival encouraged me to think about the rise of a festival and how quickly Bestival has become so popular and host to some of the most famous and influential acts of our decade.
The numbers say it all, dramatic increases year on year. 2006 must have been a fantastic year when you take into account the 12,000 increase in attendance.
The question here is what makes Bestival special, what are its special ingredients?
Rob da Bank
Rob da Bank is a well-known British DJ who founded Sunday Best in February 1995 which is now the creative team behind both Bestival and Camp Bestival and an incorporated record label. Being part of the music industry will have helped Rob da Bank considerably as having connections and friends in the business can make booking acts significantly easier. He has done very well to use those friends to his advantage. Some of the acts who have played over the years include; Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Bees, Mylo, Pet Shop Boys, Beastie Boys, The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Amy Winehouse, Massive Attack and the Cure, its quite an impressive bunch.
Bestival’s rite of passage is the fancy dress. In 2005, an attempt was made to set the Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress at any one event. By 2010 this was achieved, when 55,000 festival goers set a new Guinness World Record and 90% of Bestival goers last year dressed up as their favourite stars and divas! That’s an impressive statistic of involvement; with each year hosting a new theme it creates an exciting atmosphere and stage for the attendees to go wild, providing all levels of escapism.
It is considered more alternative and diverse, offering a large selection of vegetarian foods; a dressing up tent, a wishing tree and a ‘secret stage’. These are some of the qualities that make Bestival different from the other festivals on the Isle of Wight and festivals of the same size like Creamfields and the Big Chill. Bestival also has a baby sister festival called Camp Bestival which is designed to accommodate families with a suitable festival including similar features as Bestival. There isn’t another festival that delivers a festival ‘family’ quite like Bestival and it shows commitment to all types of audiences, providing them with a suitable space to enjoy themselves and listen to great music.
Supporting The Environment
Bestival is heavily involved in supporting social, political and environmental causes. The festival upholds a Keep It Green policy which includes giving free cups of tea for a bin bag full of rubbish, paying 10p for each Bestival branded cup or cans given back to the bars, colourful economic toilets and free pedal power mobile charging. These all contributed to Bestival winning the highly commended Greener Festival Award in 2010 and 2011. All of these and many other factors contribute to the non corporate feel of Bestival which adds to the relaxed atmosphere and encourages participants to get involved.
2012 – Acts so far announced – Stevie Wonder, Sigur Rós, The XX, Justice, Two Door Cinema Club, Annie Mac, Emeli Sandé, Nero.
See more acts listed here: http://2012.bestival.net/line-up
Regardless of Bestival’s increasing success and numbers it still remains a small festival and is marked by its atmosphere due to its mix of genres and openness to incorporate as many weird, alternative and wacky components as possible. This year its been made clear Bestival does not intend to get any bigger and all the more respect for doing so, its intimate and special and thats why its become so treasured and rightly so.
See 12 NEW things coming to Bestival this year:
2011 Bestival reviews: