Bestival wasn’t the let down people are making it out to be

Seriously, calm your still glittery pretentious tits


In the light of the recent criticism of this year’s Bestival, I felt the need to defend the opinion of the people who had a fantastic time, despite the changes.

Yes, it was downsized. Yes, the ticket prices were raised near the end of the lead-up to the festival in hopes of earning more money to provide more for the festival-goers. Yes, there were queues, and yes, the bottlenecks and overwhelmingly shit crowd control added a slight dampener to what was otherwise, a bloody wonderful festival.

The festival site was downsized to accommodate for the lack of ticket sales. There were 40,000 people in attendance in comparison to the 50,000+ crowd of previous years. But this gave the festival a more personal, intimate feel. The crowd wasn’t rowdy, and, aside from one minor incident with a mosh pit on the first day, there was little pushing and shoving which meant you could enjoy dancing in the crowd without fear of falling in mud or injuring yourself. The atmosphere of the crowds was overwhelming – with a mix of die-hard fans and new listeners combining to create a close-knit setting. People were friendly and not intimidating – creating for a comfortable festival, not an intimidating experience.

OMG, a whole group of people, obviously having the worst time of their lives

OMG, a whole group of people, obviously having the worst time of their lives

My friends and I rocked up at the site, blessed with fast-track tickets, stormed through the entrance in a record 15 minutes. Our bags were barely checked, and the number of sniffer dogs was surprisingly few (which was probably great relief to the festival-goers).

To be fair, the different stages in the arena were designed quite badly. Spacetop, a fantastic stage development with one of the most amazing LED systems I have ever experienced, was designed in a crescent moon shape, which meant it was a nightmare getting from the entrance through the crowd to get space to dance. However, when you did manage to get through to the other side of the stage, you had plenty of space to dance, a great view, and a helter skelter to sit by and chill. There were bars situated all around the main stages, so it was always easy to get a drink.

People have complained about the lack of big-name acts and the line-up being “the worst it has ever been”. Acts did cancel and the scheduling was really badly organised – but the team did the best they could in a short-time period of having to change up crowd-control, accommodate for the crowds and make sure everyone had a comfortable experience, when their expectations of the festival were suddenly changed at the last minute. Whilst you’re sitting there complaining about how much the festival has changed, take a minute to realise that your still-bugged-out university student mind could probably never deal with that amount of pressure.

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Leon, who had never attended the festival before praised it: “It lives up to the name. Despite the downsizing it still had such good vibes, which isn’t common with other festivals.”

Conor, who had, commented: “It was defo smaller this year. So I didn’t like how they put the prices up closer to the time. Would have been so much better to put them down then loads more people would have been able to go… There was room at all the arenas and tents apart from on the last night… And the lack of bag checks and sniffer dogs was also good.” Conor is scared of dogs, that is obviously the reason for his glee.

The weather was great – except for the Saturday where the rain was awful for the first half of the day. But God, Vishnu, Allah and all the other space Gods were looking down on us Bestibabies and let the sun shine on. The glorious weather reappeared right in the middle of Craig David’s “7 Days” on the Saturday. Reaffirming that he, most definitely, is making love on a Saturday.

Seriously, if the phantom of the opera could have a good time, so could you

Seriously, if the phantom of the opera could have a good time, so could you

Whilst the scheduling of the acts was oddly spaced out, with the headliners like Sean Paul performing as early as 8pm, bigger acts like Craig David and Kano at 4pm, and then not-so-sought-after acts performing at peak times, it actually turned out to be a good thing. It got people out of their tents when the otherwise would have been suffering comedowns and hangovers until they had the courage to get up for the bigger acts. That means all through the day there was entertainment and motivation to keep the sesh going all the way to Seshlihem and back.

All in all, Bestival still had its characteristic charm, and anyone who didn’t think so probably wasn’t covered in enough glitter, not fucked up enough, and someone I wouldn’t want to be friends with.