Bestival, the UK music fest known for being crazy-fun while not taking itself too seriously, ran September 4-7 at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight. The desert island disco-themed festival boasted some of the most decked-out attendees (shark, palm tree, and ice cream costumes were spotted). They turned up in droves to see Chic, Foals, Beck, Disclosure, La Roux, Caribou, and dozens more. It goes without saying that peak moments included Outkast’s performance of “Hey Ya!” and an energetic set by Major Lazer. A few unique events caused a stir; for those of you who weren’t able to make it, we have those highlights.
1. Fans were frustrated as Busta Rhymes pulled out of Bestival at the last minute (on the day of), citing changes to his tour schedule. The official statement from his management team declared that the cancelations of several other performances across Europe made him unable to make it to this one. The statement also read, “Busta’s team and Bestival are now working directly to try to bring him to Bestival 2015.” We’ll see.
2. Headliner Nile Rodgers of Chic challenged festival organizer Rob Da Bank to bring the world’s biggest disco ball to Bestival 2014. Turns out it really happened, and it was even hoisted in the air to spin over Chic’s performance, marking the last night. A team of specialists from Guinness World Records arrived onsite to measure the mirrorball – they made it official, declaring it to be more than 10 metres in diameter.
3. When Nile Rodgers came onstage, he announced, “This is the hardest show of my life.” Not even a full day before Chic’s performance, his guitar tech and friend, Terry Brauer, passed away. “I would like to dedicate the first single I ever wrote to Terry,” he announced. Near the end of a killer performance (featuring songs Rodgers penned such as Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”), the crowd joined together and chanted Terry’s name. There was only a smattering handful of dry eyes in the crowd (and onstage) after that.
4. Sam Smith was a huge hit on Friday. The soulful singer played crowd-pleasers such as “Stay With Me” and “Money On My Mind” off In The Lonely Hour. But fans went wild for his surprise rendition of “Do I Wanna Know?” by the Arctic Monkeys. An ecstatic sing-along ensued.
5. “This is our last show for about eighteen months” Yannis Philippakis, lead singer of Foals, announced during the set. Starting with a cry of “Let’s get dirty, Bestival!” the band played a mixed set of wilder numbers and bluesy instrumental pieces before Philippakis threw himself into the masses, still playing “Two Steps Twice” on his guitar.