Since its launch in 2004, Bestival has grown to become a major festival on the UK scene, and has managed to keep a non-corporate feel. This year’s summer of love theme created a vibe so strong, we’re convinced Rob da Bank hired Cupid himself to sprinkle love into the magical air above Robin Hill Country Park.
Bestival’s love-inspired theme became summer 2015’s ending of all endings. One for making memories, freeing the imagination, and, ultimately – falling in love. We fell in love with the genre-crossing music, the smiles on the faces of beautiful people, the naturally stunning surroundings and the fleeting feeling that anything is possible.
Lianne La Havas warms up the crowd on Friday afternoon underneath a cloudy September sky. The singer’s graceful stage presence and soulful vocals are the perfect match for a crowd exploring the theme of love. Unfortunately Lianne is one of two few women on the line up.
It’s the summer of love, but hey, let’s put our middle fingers up. Charli XCX and Action Bronson draw out a passionate flavour of love from the crowd. Later, Ella Eyre performs an energetic set of sound-a-like songs. After a summer full of festivals, we’re ready to see Ella grow into her own more as an artist now that she’s done breaking the mainstream.
Later TCTS packs out Temple Island getting the electronic dance party started. Closing Friday’s main-stage it’s back to the 80s with a moving, dreamy and emotional headline set as Duran Duran declare Bestival the most important gig of their lives.
The sun graces us with its delightful warm presence on Saturday, as if for the last time, and we take the opportunity to explore more of what Bestival has to offer. Summer of love is completely immersive and it’s almost impossible to experience everything in one weekend. The inflatable church and everyone’s new best friend Love-bot, were just two of many brilliant touches.
Unique to Bestival, Bestiversity educated us on how the how the journey isn’t always easy, but totally worth it, and how missing out can actually lead to bigger and better opportunities. Special thanks and lots of love to Executive Editor of The HuffingtonPost UK, Poorna Bell and CEO of Mind Candy and Moshi Monsters creator, Michael Acton Smith.
Elsewhere, our favourite feature of the weekend, designed by Josie da Bank, brand new area the Commune featured a jaw-dropping Flower of Fire, a nine-petalled 15 and half metre pyro-installation radiating peace and love from the centre of the Magic Meadow.
Saturday night is all about euphoria. Old school headliners Chemical Brothers satisfy the die-hard ravers. And long-time Bestival resident and supporter Annie Mac declares Bestival the best festival ever, saying there’s a good reason for its name. Annie Mac tears up the port playing B2B with festival founder Rob da Bank. Elsewhere, Stormzy proves himself as the only relevant invader of the future, with his set pulling in the tent’s biggest crowd of the weekend. A historical moment for grime culture.
Sunday arrives too soon, ready for the summer of love to reach its explosive end, and it’s all about one leading superstar lady. Missy Elliott smashes her first UK show in six years, showing the world, Glastonbury and Kanye West how an iconic headline performance should be done.
It’s not only the artists and organisers who deserve our praise. Bestival goers embraced the summer of love theme with open arms. Costumes, energy and attitudes blurred the lines between the production and the punter making Bestival 2015 the happiest place on Earth.
Summer of love certainly shed light on Bestival’s original muses Music, Freedom, Peace, Love and Euphoria. A true contender next to Glastonbury for the UK’s Best Major Festival 2015.