Toronto has played host to a number of incredible festivals over the years (many of which I’ve been fortunate enough to attend), but the second day at Bestival was perhaps the most exciting and unique event I’ve ever come to witness. Save for a few ferry troubles, the day went off without a hitch. With the sun shining down and a gentle breeze blowing through the air, the day began with a playful set from Wesley Marsh, aka Kill Them With Colour, that included a wobbly remix of George Maple and a clutch of original material from the producer’s back catalogue. Although Marsh had the difficult task of performing for a crowd of tired and possibly hungover festivalgoers, it didn’t take long for him to win over the audience.
On the opposite end of the island, a small strip of the beach was sectioned off for Rob da Bank and a handful of artists from his esteemed label, Sunday Best. Following a mellow, downtempo set from Isaac Ferry, the man himself approached the small, tiki-themed stage with a sheepish smile and a humble attitude. Having never listened to the fabled BBC Radio 1 presenter, I didn’t know what to expect from his hour and a half set, but I can say I was pleasantly surprised. After I was won over with a shortened version of Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You,” da Bank proceeded to play a mix of hip-hop and tropical beats—the perfect backdrop for a stage such as this.
After trekking back to Bacardi’s spacious tent, I wiggled my way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of my most eagerly anticipated act of the day, Cashmere Cat. His set began with a lengthy interlude but slowly evolved into a crowd-pleasing mix of hip-hop anthems and trap-heavy concoctions pulled straight from his most recent EP, Wedding Bells. Before exiting the stage, Høiberg slipped back into reality, slinging his satchel over the shoulder before sending a peace sign out to the crowd.
With my appetite properly satiated, I made my way back to the media tent to watch BANKS lay it down on the main stage. Covered from head-to-toe in an all-black outfit, she worked her way through her latest album, Goddess, performing every one of her sinister pop anthems. Shortly after, Caribou brought their glitchy, celestial sounds to the stage. Their performance was as eclectic as I had expected, but proved far more energetic than their latest album would suggest. With a little help from Owen Pallett, one of the day’s earlier performers, the group successfully adapted their music to a live setting.
All in all, Bestival was a massive success! Although the bill was primarily aimed at electronic listeners, there was something for everyone. Whether your day was spent indulging in one of the festival’s many attractions or spent loosing your mind amongst a crowd of sweaty bodies, you’ll likely remember the day Bestival descended upon Toronto.
Photos by Stevie Gedge