Preview: Bestival 2014

Bestival has always been a longtime favourite of SOTONIGHT readers and writers alike, what with it being one of the closest festivals to Southampton and due to both its scale and variety of lineup. The outstanding range and quality of underground acts has always been a big draw, with the lineup nicely balancing the live acts with the DJs, stadium filling headliners with the unknown bands of the future and the deepest deep house with the folkiest folktronica.

Bestival isn’t one to let the site get stale either, year on year there’s always something new, this year bringing us the Reggae Roots stage featuring Prince Fatty and Congo Natty, among others (yay rhyming). Last year’s introduction was the impressive and possibly the most elaborate DJ booth ever to exist; HMS Bestival’s The Port. The Port will return this year with Sven Väth headlining and James Blake’s 1-800 dinosaur crew gracing the decks (pun intended), complimenting all the old favourite stages such as The Big Top, and the myriad of small, weird, and wonderful stages/tents scattered across the site.

Bestival sets itself apart from other festivals with its keen attention on the general aesthetic of the weekend’s experience. Whilst Radio One’s Rob da Bank takes care of the auditory treats, its his wife Josie (the creative director) who’s responsible for the decorative aspects, brand image, and new venues each year.

Continuing the theme of alternatives to the music, Bestival offers a plethora of other entertainment. The Desert Island Flicks cinema will have two cult classic and vintage films per night, situated in the beautiful amphitheatre. Mr Motivator will be leading the wake up call and helping you work off that hangover, and there will be no end of comedy and cabaret to be enjoyed in the Spiegeltent and Grand Palace of Entertainment respectively. Add to that the Wishing Tree field, best known for its late night disco but also featuring knitting and crafts, and noneother than Countskylarkin’s Disco Shed, there is absolutely no way you’re going to have a bad time at Bestival 2014.

SOTONIGHT Recommends:

OutKast: 2014 brings us OutKast’s much anticipated reunion tour following a seven year break from live shows. Andre 3000 and Big Boi are celebrating 20 years since the 1994 release of their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmusik, and as such expect a full greatest hitsory lesson from the Atlanta duo. These two have almost a decade long history of hip-hop records that precedes their most recent Speakerboxxx/The Love Below double album, which will be best known by the current generation of Bestival attendees for the likes of Hey Ya and Roses. Even putting aside their important place in the history of hip-hop, and the socio-politically motivated themes such as in Rosa Parks and BoB, their the wide range of genres and other types of music that evidently influences them is to be admired, from the southern funk and soul sounds heard throughout their records to the weirder leftfield sounds such as a breakbeat-jazz cover of The Sound of Music’s Favourite Things. Granted, that track may not make it into a Bestival headline set but you know those that do, will be a truly entertaining and enlightening string of hit records both old and new.

1-800 Dinosaur: James Blake’s monthly Radio 1 shows are probably the best things that have ever happened. Why? Well, for two main reasons: Firstly, he’s joined each month by label mates and real mates to play a sublime selection of music spanning decades and genres alike. It’s not often you get to hear Bill Withers, Ruff Squad, and Moodyman all within 10 minutes of each other. Secondly, James and his 1-800 mates are pretty atrocious hosts and their painful links and dubious crossfades really make for a great listen (seriously). We’re definitely gonna catch them at Bestival, here’s hoping for a DJ Badger guest appearance.

Trippy Turtle (HA!): This isn’t as much a recommendation as much as a statement of curiosity, but who wouldn’t want to see a cartoon turtle DJ!? Especially since it’s essentially an R&B alias of Cashmere Cat (who we always took seriously but who’s to say Magnus Høiberg isn’t just a really convincing animation…). There are a bunch of other cartoon animals in Trippy Turtle’s FoFoFadi crew such as Drippy Dolphin and Booty Beaver. We can only hope they’ll be making surprise appearances!



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Dunstan is an Acoustical Engineering graduate from the University of Southampton. Whilst he's not helping get Wind Farms through planning applications, managing a band or snowboarding, he takes care of Press matters for SOTONIGHT.