Bestival 2008

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Features - Reviews


bestivalWith four consecutive years of blissful early September sunshine on the Isle of Wight having sealed Bestival's reputation as the perfect end-of-season party, we set out in hope rather than expectation. Bestival offers something for everybody, big names as well as the hidden musical gems and despite the line up changes there were still lots worth seeing.

Amongst the bands, I discovered Kitty Daisy and Lewis who are an energetic 50s style trio. Their songs were a perfect reportoire of rythmn and blues and rock ‘n' roll covers. Lewis looking like a young Elvis and his rockabilly sisters brought much needed sunshine to the main stage.

I also watched a gypsy punk band called Urban Voodoo Machine who gave the performance of their lives, it's hard to imagine how energetic this band really were. The front man didn't just give off stage presence he demanded it, even at one point inviting a man in the crowd to a fist fight. Sounding as though they might collapse into a drunken heap at any moment, yet like a more raucous rock ‘n' roll Gogol Bordello - this band are exciting to watch in a theatrical way.

Bestival also had some suprises up its sleeve. Two very ‘special secret guests', one was Grace Jones who I unfortunately missed and the other was none other than Ska legends, The Specials.

After 20 years of being out of the spotlight I was excited to watch a brilliant band that I thought I may never ever see live and proud to stand witness to a small part of musical history.

The crowd and the band celebrated their long-awaited comeback with all the classics including ‘Monkey Man', ‘Too Much Too Young' and ‘A Message to You Rudy'.

The Foals didn't disappoint despite the biggest downpour during their set which resulted in me being able to pour pints of rainwater out of my wellies. I danced like a mad woman in the rain to their bleeping, throbbing sound with yelpy vocals.

Hot Chip got the party started dressed as "knight of the realm of soul" (Alexis) and a "techno viking" (Felix). Their set included the hits ‘Over and Over' and Boy From School' remixed and rejigged. The crowd could not stop dancing, so perhaps the next artist never stood a chance, but let's face it we weren't really expecting a lot from her anyway.  

Amy Winehouse didn't fail to disappoint, after keeping the crowd waiting 80 minutes before making a nervy appearance. Singing only random words from her best known songs - which were barely decipherable, had it not been for her band playing like they did, I don't think any of the crowd could have guessed her songs. Continually missing vocal cues and staring at the crowd like a rabbit caught in headlights made her act uncomfortable to watch at times. Bestival didn't ever really catch a glimmer of the truly talented Amy Winehouse only a poor impersonator who struggled to stand upright on stage.

Bestival 2008 wasn't a complete wash out. I can't lie, at times it was hard with the weather but it was worth it. The dampness, the cold and falling over in the dark in the mud seemed a small price to pay for such a brilliant time.

Same time next year? Of course!