PRIDE’s Bestival Weekend
Bestival Review by Ani Saakana
Pride got festival-ready this weekend at Bestival, a little out of comfort zone with camping; we survived the ram-packed eventful weekend!
I never imaged I’d be pitching a tent, but here I was in the isle of white doing the unimaginable. I was totally in awe of the community, the vibes and the music that surrounded my guest and me. We arrived mid afternoon on the cloudy but scenic Isle of White, from the short but pleasant ferry ride; we made our way down to the Bestival shuttle buses.
As the shuttle grew nearer to the festival I could hear the booming bass of the main stage and ‘woos’ and ‘ahhs’ of all festivalgoers. Hitting base was a sigh of relief, but also the excitement of what myself and my guest had planned started to kick in.
‘We’re here!’ We both chimed. The first destination, was the conveniently located ‘Charge and Store’ service, where people can charge their mobiles devices and leave any valuables, a very handy idea when you’re trying to get your bearings.
Pitching the tent was…shall I say an event; (Youtube tutorials are essential and absolutely necessary) just because the instructions tells you 10-15 minutes you’re more likely going to take half an hour! As we finally put it together, we saw two men who looked rather amused by our pitching skills, they later asked us if we were ok and if we needed any help we could ask them. As small as the gesture was, it was this sense of community that is testament to the Bestival atmosphere and why it’s such a family friendly affair.
Free from looking like an extra from a Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles movie, our festival fun finally began. One of the many highlights of the evening was of course seeing Skepta’s high-voltage performance; the main stage area was packed to the brim, as both he and Boy Better Know filled the stage.We also got to witness a theatrical show delivered by pop band Years and Years, where there was a mixture of exploding confetti and intricate dance routines performed by bunch of contemporary dancers. Another performance, which was gladly welcomed, was seeing Damian Marley, whom I’ve always wanted to see live. I found myself bopping my head and swaying my hips as he performed his set, and it seemed I wasn’t the only one entranced, as the crowd waved their hands on beat to ‘More Justice’, with him encouraging us to sing along with the lyrics. There wasn’t a low moment in regards to music performances; and nearly all music genres were catered for, so you could definitely find someone you’d want to see!
As the evening was winding down we made our way to Jagerhaus (Jagermister’s official bar and dance on site), where we enjoyed cocktails in the exclusive VIP section named ‘The Loft’, we’d highly recommend Root 56, a sweet and spicy mixture, you can barely tell you’re drinking alcohol!
Moving on to some low-key but rather jubilant events, which include; checking out Nando’s Rule the Roost food and music event, where you’d grab a bite by the bottom of their structure and on the top section listen to live performances, where rapper Footsie was part of the line-up. Bestival is renowned for their great food selection and we were spoilt for choice, as at every corner there were food and drink stalls. There was something for everyone, from extreme meat lovers to all green vegans and all in-between. We ate a flavourful Mexican vegetarian burgers toped with melted halloumi cheese at Vegan and Vegetarian; it was as delicious as it sounds.
The next morning the weather took a change for the worse, and the sun had truly disappeared and was replaced by torrential rain. However, the downcast in weather did not overshadow the festival goer’s spirits; in fact we’d never seen happier faces. We watched as a crowd began a morning workout with Dr Sid, in the rain and mud and still smiled and laughed. We even saw The Chuckle Brothers perform, something I never thought I’d ever witness.
With a variety of things to do, it was hard to pick just one, as the grounds were very large to cover and it took almost 10 minutes to get to everything. Though, we didn’t miss the educational talk hosted by The Huffington Post about the rise of anxiety of girls in their 20s; where we learnt the affects of peer pressure and the impacts of social media on young women. Not only was the talk informative and educational, it also offered solutions to the problem, like ways for women to stand up for each other in solidarity and the power of saying no to things when given too many choices. It was a great talk delivered by a great panel of women like: Persia Lawson, co-founder of Addictive Daughter and Jo Duncombe, who’s co-founder of The Quarter Club and chaired by Poorna Bell the executive editor at Huffington Post.
Although I was slightly out of my element and comfort zone with camping, I’ve learned that Bestival, isn’t just a music festival, it’s about the community; like those guys offering to help us, or the staff who worked diligently to make sure everyone was having a good time. It was amazing to see people come together and enjoy the phenomenal music supplied by an amazing line-up. Bestival, is one the festivals to put on your bucket list, we truly had a memorable and enjoyable time!