The verdict is in: Bestival was a hit! With a lot riding on this year’s festival, the promoters really knocked it out of the park. While the lineup was noticeably trimmer than the previous year, there were good times to be had by all, artists and visitors alike.
To the delight of many, mother nature was in good spirits this past weekend. Saturday was favourably warm, with clear skies and some mild humidity. Apart from a cool breeze and a few lingering clouds, Sunday was a small win for organizers as well.
Saturday began with a predictably bizarre performance by Toronto native Elliott Vincent Jones and a techno-heavy set from Maddmon, which surely gave the first round of visitors a wake up call. On the far side of the grounds, at the appropriately title “Bollywood” stage, part-time DJ and festival organizer Rob da Bank put on one of his legendary performances, which included a mix of deep cuts and the occasional classic.
Later that day, we made our way back to the main stage to watch performances by Rationale, Swim Deep and Jamie xx. However, it was Seattle duo ODESZA that stole the show. Playing for a packed crowd of lively festivalgoers, the pair’s performance was as much a party as it was a spectacle. While their set primarily consisted of tracks from their most recent album, In Return, there was a healthy batch of new material thrown into the mix as well.
As the sun began to set, ODESZA began wrapping up their performance to make way for indie-rock behemoths, Tame Impala. While there was lots of commotion onstage in preparation for their performance, there was a relatively quick turn around time (to the credit of the festival’s staff and stagehands). As thousands of visitors continued to pour in from the surrounding stages, the band kicked off their performance with the appropriately dreamy “Nangs” and their latest hit single, “Let It Happen.” From there, they fell into a more comfortable groove with a mix of both new and old material.
On the second day of Bestival, we arrived just in time to watch indie darlings The Wombats tear up the main stage. From there, we made our way to The Big Top to watch Toronto resident and recent Black Butter Records signee, Pusher, work his magic on the laptop. For the remainder of the day, we split our time between the two aforementioned stages, so as to see performances by Skylar Spence, Daughter, Grimes and Classixx.
Although our weekend primarily consisted of listening to music, there seemed to be plenty of activities and attractions on-site for visitors not so strung up on the artists. Between trips to- and from the water station, we encountered a number of strange and brightly-coloured floats. One, if I recall, was in the shape of unicorn, while another was fitted with drums and pans, which visitors were encouraged to play with.
Given some more time, we would’ve liked to explore the grounds more extensively. But, as far as complaints go, I have not one. From the exceptional sound quality to the wide array of vendors, every little detail seemed to have been taken care of. The decision to move the festival to Woodbine Park was a wise one, as well, with plenty of greenspace to frolic around or hunker down and enjoy a snack. While it may be a little too early to tell, I’d say Bestival has found a permanent home in the Six.
Additional coverage provided by Eoin Anderson.