Although the weather recently has been a bit grey, it won’t be long until the Island will be lit up by the whimsical escapism that is the four day long Bestival party. The magic of Bestival is that it’s not all about the music, so even if you’re not crazy about the headliners there is no shortage of exciting things to do and see. With Rob da Bank and Josie aiming every year to top the previous, even if you’re an experienced Bestival veteran, it is guaranteed there will be something new for you to enjoy. Here are a few of our favourites from Bestival’s wondrous world of discovery and adventure!
Pig’s Big Ballroom is certainly a Bestival institution, dedicated to the late Radio 1 DJ John Peel who, every night, used to play a ‘Pig’s Big’ 78. If you’re after a new experience then you should definitely go old. Trust us, once you venture inside you’ll be dancing to rhythm and blues, swing and rock-a-billy all night long!
Caravanserai is a relatively new Bestival installation, but once you step inside you’ll wonder where it has been all your life. Wander into the bri-a-brac camp built from old vehicles, amusement ride parts and other curious objects. Get comfy on an old Waltzer seat and sip a drink from the carnival themed bar. There is even a small stage decorated with vintage suitcases and lamps. Who knows what exciting circus acts Bestival will have planned for you this year?
If you’re after some down time, the Solace tent is Bestival’s best kept secret. Sat on top of a (very) steep hill you can free – that’s right, free – hot drinks and cakes. All the cakes are homemade and donated by churches across the Isle of Wight. Beware, that hill is pretty steep, they really make you work for it! However, you won’t be disappointed. Once you’re at the top you get an amazing view of the entire Festival; and when the sun starts to go down it’s the perfect place to take in the beauty of all the lights. The friendly people at the solace tent even lay out blankets, cushions and little tables on the grass so you can take a seat. They leave pens and pencils on the tables so you can scribble a message to the next weary Bestival-goer!
The Ambient Forest is by far the one of the best things about Bestival. It’s an idea that even the Isle of Wight Festival has started to copy – but no one does it as good as Rob and Josie da Bank. Venture in as soon as the sun goes down, you’ll discover that the whole forest has been illuminated with string lights and lamps of varying colours. It’s highly like that you will get lost among the trees, but that is all part of the fun! There are always curious things to find such as a hammocks, foosball tables and even a neon ping-pong shack. You may even come across a curious assortment of characters, dance troupes and actors. Somewhere deep in the forest is the Amphitheater. Here you can catch live acts and even a movie or two.
A new addition for 2014 is the Oberon’s Observatory. The Bestival website describes it a ‘ramshackle but beautiful edifice with a stargazer’s viewing platform’. Apparently there will be ‘bestiscopes’ and even a hidden old projection room. Whatever it is, we’re excited to explore it.
Come on then Bestival, we’re ready for you!