Bestival - it's not all about the music, there’s a whole other world of madcap mayhem and convention defying oddments waiting to be discovered around every corner…
Bestival has not only has amazing music acts galore, including Stevie Wonder, New Order, The xx, Sigur Rós, Friendly Fires, Bat for Lashes, Roots Manuva, Orbital, 2 Bears and David Rodigan to name but a very few playing at this year’s show, you could be forgiven for thinking that Bestival is just about the incredible music. But, of course, as anyone who has ever been to Bestival knows there is so much more on offer!
Rob da Bank says: “We're all very proud of the musical line-up each year at Bestival with so many great vintage and festival-rocking acts combined with the who’s who of new blood… But this is the announcement I’m probably most excited about - the alternative land of Bestival. Stages, tents, hidden nooks and crannies, jam-packed with polka, cabaret, striptease, cream teas, gay bingo, birthday parties, spoken word, freaks, circus, a live band playing inside a jukebox, illuminated night time ping pong, an arts salon and drag queen foodie demos…obviously! This is what Bestival is all about, the creativity and madness of all who come, let loose on a multi-stage technicolour freak out. Jump in!”
You’ll be pleased to hear that our ramshackle Louisiana style Swamp Shack returns for a second year, after being voted one of the highlights of Bestival 2011! Once again there’s an incredible music line-up at night including some of the UK's hottest emerging acts like Jess Mills, Clean Bandit, The Correspondents and Kill It Kid. And there’s a rocking mix of blues, bluegrass, folk and country music in the daytime on the rickety old porch stage.
But that’s not all... this year the venue will be crawling with interactive theatrical performances from the Invisible Circus and Roundhouse Performance Collective bringing a host of Deliverance-style mutants, fading southern belles and other unwholesome night-crawlers to life around the Shack.
The Ambient Forest is also back with a treasure trove of enchantments to lose yourself in. From the captivating Nomad Cinema to the David Lynch Foundation’s Transcendental Meditation sessions, there’s plenty to salve the psyche and enrich the soul with soothing grooves supplied by myriad cosmic crusaders including The Orb’s Dr Alex Paterson, Pete Gooding, Chris Coco, Tom Middleton, Phil Mison, Mixmaster Morris, Pathaan, Tythe Versus Mojo Filter and Balearica’s Graeme Fisher.
We’ve got even more to add to the already jam-packed line-up on our brand new Amphitheatre Stage, set deep in the heart of the Ambient Forest. Scroobius Pip’s Satin Lizard Lounge was so popular last year we had people climbing the trees to get a look in! This year, he’s secured a stellar line-up of the very best spoken word artists in the country, including B Dolan, Laura Dockrill, Chris Redmond, Tim Clare and Luke Wright.
Continuing the poetry offerings, we’re welcoming Tongue Fu, which features spoken word artists performing alongside a live band in a unique and compelling union and Bestival Limings, who fuse a carnival and party-loving vibe into a spoken work format to Bestival for the first time this year.
Completing our already announced line-up of comedy theatre on the Amphitheatre Stage, Guilt and Shame present their brand new depraved show Night of Seduction and on a slightly less debauched note, Eye Brow Productions present Collision, four hilarious and thought-provoking new short plays about surviving physics, testing love, and time travel.
Plus Rob da Bank favourite Fake Bush will also be gracing the stage with her unmissable renditions of our favourite Kate Bush songs. And are you ready to play some extreme UV ping pong at Bestival this year...? Ping Tron is a fully immersive, totally captivating ping pong experience played in a custom-built, lightproof mini arena with just the glow of AV to illuminate the action!
We’ve cranked up the fun factor just a little bit more to present a brand new Bestival venue; the Grand Palace of Entertainment. On the outside, it’s a beautifully decorated traditional fairground façade but on the inside, it’s a rainbow coloured, pleasure-seekers’ twisted fun house...
During the day you can sing your heart out with alternative karaoke kings, Hot Breath Karaoke, or test your musical prowess with the ever popular, Sounds Familiar Music Quiz. If pop culture is more your thing, then don’t miss the raucous games of Let’s Get Quizzical and don’t forget to check out Vikki Stone, in her hilarious and brilliant one-woman musical comedy show, Big Neon Letters.
We’ll also be throwing a retro style Daily Birthday Party each afternoon, where everyone who is celebrating their special day (plus guests!) can gather to regress to the good old days of musical bumps and pass the parcel.
In the evening, we’ll be presenting a very special selection of the UK’s best in alternative cabaret. First up, is award winning performance artist Scottee’s brand new 70s gameshow inspired Camp, featuring the likes of Bourgeois & Maurice. Favorites from last year, Boom Boom Club are bringing us a new, Coney Island inspired, showcase of deliriously twisted cabaret freaks, geeks and misplaced spirits from the lost age of the fairground.
Longstanding Bristol institution Hoochie Coochie Kabaret will be bringing their world of trashy and surreal entertainment to the Grand Palace, while drag queen legend Jonny Woo will be whipping us into a frenzy with his Gay Bingo and Lipsyncing mayhem.
And taking us deep into the night, our favourite tranny super group Sink The Pink will be donning their Lycra leotards and rainbow eye shadow to lead us into a hedonistic, multi-coloured, glitter strewn party where all your inhibitions should be left at the door. See you in wonderland!
If you have a taste for the macabre then you’ll be welcome at the Slumbarave, an irresistibly twisted, spooky hotel. Check in, if you dare, in the early hours and consort with characters ranging from the gothic to the insane; become part of the murder and mystery during the weekend at the haunted Hotel Slumbarave. Keep your bed tidy and the pillow fights tight, get your straightjacket pyjamas on and make sure the bed bugs don’t bite. The ‘Chambermaid of Festivals Past’ may well tuck you up during your worst nightmares.
You can make your bed and 'Rest In Peace' in it in our funeral parlour or find bed-wear ‘to die for’ in the dressing down cupboard. Patrons can enjoy nocturnal party games galore; play Swingo Bingo, Pillow Fight Club, or dance the dream with our late nightie music policy where DJ’s supplying narcoleptic beats ‘lift spirits’ with rare disco, soul and house for those incurable insomniacs…
It's not all about the stages, though. Peppered between the big tops and tucked into secret corners are a host of delightful sideshows and micro venues to discover.
Spidora is a dark yet delightful immersive theatrical sideshow presented by Copperdollar and The Peoples Front Room is a 19th Century Salon of creativity, artistry and performance all combined in a strangely familiar yet surreal environment. And why not join the RSPLB for romantic chit chat over a jigsaw, pen a love letter, go on a blind date or learn a mating dance and celebrate love in all its glory? And if you’re still looking for something a little different, Camp Cooks are a trio of 1950s style drag queens, cooking up a storm with foodie demos, camp performances and delicious meals for sale in their retro Airstream.
Those who haven’t yet seen this have been missing out! The Dukes Box is a sideshow that crams an entire band into a tiny shiny…er…juke box. With 35 songs to choose from, you can hear your favourites played just for you – live, with lights and sound system! And new to Bestival this year is the Dukes Box’s caravan cousin, the Sol Cinema, a super-cute and dinky retro cinema for eight people, showing short films, music videos and random curios for your viewing pleasure. All powered by the sun! Amazing.
Brand new to Bestival this year and situated in the Ballroom Field is Mazy's Art Club helping you to get back to your creative roots. It's miles ahead of your old after-school club but still requires you to stick out your tongue in concentration. Drop in and get into printmaking or giant origami; making anything from pin badges and mosaics to feathered headbands. Be sure to take an hour out of watching the artists and become one yourself. Make and do man!
Staying on a creative tip, if you head down to the Wishing Tree in the afternoons, you can join in the Spread the Love project with super talented folk Craftinoon Tea. Create handmade messages and random acts of kindness then spread the messages to as many people as possible by joining them on secret field missions.
Bestival wouldn't be the same without our two much loved institutions the Knees Up Tent and Time for Tease. If you fancy an afternoon tea with a dollop of saucy burlesque, or taking part in a racy art class with Dr Sketchy, then the Time for Tease tent is the place to indulge. For an eclectic and reckless party, with everything from world street vibes to comedy to plenty of gin fuelled sing-alongs with Underbling and Vow, then join the revellers in the ever energetic Knees Up Tent.
A certified Bestival treasure, Club Dada will be a four-day marathon of mentalness featuring DJ Tofu’s welcome home, The Electro Swing Club, the Night of 1000 Beat Boxers and Breakin Brass. And fast becoming a September tradition we can’t live without, the Polka tent is a den of wild-eyed wonder and the only tent in the world dedicated to the remix of Gypsy and Hoetown styles, curated by Continental Drifts, Global Local and Penny Metal.
To keep you on your toes while you’re exploring the many wonders of Bestival we are also adding even more musical acts for your pleasure, including twitchy blissful beats from Jamie xx, beguiling bass from Julio Bashmore, and cut-up party anarchy from The Nextmen, plus there will be sets from B Traits, Leo Zero, Evian Christ, Reggae Roast, Frank Tope, Rev Milo Speedwagon, Pathann, DJ Cable, Foamo, George B, and Sink The Pink who will be taking things late into the night at the Grand Palace of Entertainment.
Live sets will come courtesy of Barcelona’s, Pitchfork approved, John Talabot, wistful elfin singer-songwriter Lucy Rose, Bristolian, by way of Chicago, bluesman Jamie N Commons, woozy Warp signing Kwes, and erstwhile Tuung man Sam Genders in his Diagrams guise. There will also be appearances from Clock Opera, Stealing Sheep, Mary Epworth, Wet Nuns, Dingus Khan, Anothers Blood, Tom Williams And The Boat, Valentine Gray, Cherishport, The Widowmaker and back by popular demand is living legend Mr Motivator who will be helping Bestivalites shake off those fuzzy heads ready for another day of adventure!
Published on 04 April 2012 by Wayne Feltham