After a lengthy journey across the pond, Bestival made their North American debut this past weekend at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island. The two-day event began on Friday afternoon under some very ominous looking clouds, which seemed to linger over the island for the majority of the day. Although the afternoon brought some showers, the day’s performances were seemingly unaffected. Jamie xx, one of the day’s main attractions, put on a wildly eclectic performance that took more than a few unexpected turns. His set began with “I Know (There’s Gonna Be Good Times),” but quickly slipped into a funkier groove. By the time his set reached its end, the producer had come full circle.
Later that day, I found myself at the fringe of the main stage, where I caught a rather uninspired performance by Clean Bandit. Although they brought their enthusiasm to the stage, the performance itself felt a little too straightforward; that is to say, nothing stood-out as “memorable.” On the opposite end of the island, things were a little different. Under Bacardi’s modestly adorned tent, a large group of festival-goers gathered to see Flosstradamus, a boisterous DJ duo from the Windy City. When they weren’t encouraging the crowd to light up their joints or urging all the “bad bitches” to stand up, the pair was spinning some of the grimiest beats this side of the 6 has seen in some time.
Not to be outdone, Flume closed out the night with a spellbinding set that, as far as I could tell, was entirely comprised of original material. It was hard not to marvel at the producer’s ability to work the crowd without succumbing to the same old bag of tricks like some of the day’s performers. There’s also something to be said about Streten’s lightshow, which was just as much of a spectacle as the performance itself. If you weren’t bobbing your head or shaking your hips by the end of the night, there’s a good chance you weren’t within earshot of this mind blowing performance.
Photos by Stevie Gedge