So this is what it’s all about, Bestival Friday! For me the day started with a trip to the Press Tent to charge up my camera and phone as well as dig out the notepad so I can recount what I’d done the day before, without that this would not have been possible as there is so much going on that I will never be able to remember everything. From the Press area we can see the main stage and were able to hear the The Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band who opened the Main Stage. The band played a diverse repertoire spanning Rajasthani folk songs, Bollywood hits, spiritual qawwali and even ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia’.
For me Bestival doesn’t officially begin until Rob Da Bank hosts the opening ceremony onboard the HMS Bestival which was again docked in The Port area.
After having a wander through the Ambient Forest I found myself back in the Stardust Field where Gabrielle Aplin was performing on the Main Stage. Gabrielle is someone I have been aware of however never taken the time to listen to before. She is slightly poppier than the music I would normally listen to but her solid vocals and catchy tunes had me hooked so I stuck around for the rest of her set. Gabrielle got into the Bestival spirit and donned her sequinned jumpsuit previously seen in her new Feist-esque video for ‘Sweet Nothing‘.
Next on my itinerary was a trip to the Big Top to see George The Poet. George was part of the BBC’s Sound of 2015 and over the year he has been building quite a reputation for his intelligent blend of Hip Hop and Spoken Word. Myself and my friends sat on the outskirts of the tent so we could enjoy the set along with sunshine, a beer and some food. I opted for the tartiflette originale and it was magnifique!
After a brief trip to see The Cuban Brothers do their thing on the Main Stage it was back over to the Big Top to see Rae Morris. One of the huge benefits of Bestival is that because of it’s size you don’t have to miss out if there is a clash because everywhere is so accessible, not like the mission that Glastonbury can sometimes be!
If you read my Bestival preview then you will already know that I am somewhat of an admirer of Lianne La Havas (and her music). I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing her perform live yet and made sure that I got a good spot to see her on the Main Stage. She was better than I’d ever hoped for, with a beaming smile on her face throughout the set she performed favourites like ‘Unstoppable’ and ‘What You Don’t Do’. I will 100% be getting tickets for her UK tour later in the year!
There were a lot of great things I saw over the day and I think this was possibly the best single day I’ve had at Bestival in all the eight years I’ve been coming. The day wasn’t perfect though, I wasted about an hour of my life watching Charlie XCX and Duran Duran. Don’t get me wrong there were big crowds for both and each time the crowd was loving what they saw but neither are my cup of tea so I didn’t hang about for too long.
Bestival has always booked some of the world’s best Hip Hop artists and this year was no exception. New Yorker Action Bronson took to the Big Top and his first act of business was to light up a huge spliff which seemed to endear him to the crowd. To my shame I knew nothing of Action Bronson before but being a fan of Hip Hop it didn’t take me long to see what the fuss was about. It’s always nice coming back from a festival and finding a new music.
From new discoveries to old favourites, it was time for Jurassic 5 on the Main Stage. Wow! Just wow! Like many I’ve been a fan of J5 since the late 90’s and seeing them is a big tick off my musical bucket list. With their 2007 split I never thought I’d get chance to see them live, let alone for them to play so close to home. As night came in J5 lit up the stage with hits including ‘Concrete Schoolyard’ and ‘Whats Golden’. As they walked off stage I wish they would come back out for an encore but sadly not!
After the high of J5 I finished the night off with another of a friends recommendations Lion Babe. It didn’t take long to realise why they were called Lion Babe, one look at vocalist Jillian Hervey would explain it. I’ve since found out that the name not only stems from Jillian’s mane but Lucas Goodman’s star sign is of course Leo. The duo describe their style as neo soul, I’ve no idea what that is but I could clearly hear influences from Hip Hop, Reggae, Soul and Electro. I will definitely look to see these guys again live!
After such a long day I struggled to stay out past Tame Impala on the Big Top so sadly I missed FKA Twigs, the awesome Plastic Mermaids and Fourtet DJing in the Bollywood Bar. From what I heard the following morning I missed out as everyone who did see them had a great time! While walking back to the tent and sipping a cup of tea I reflected on the day that had just past and I would go as far to say it was the best 24 hours I’ve ever spent at Bestival. It’s just a shame some of my other friends weren’t there to experience it too!