Bestival’s Rob da Bank on Stevie Wonder: ‘It’s a curveball booking’

Festival organiser also speaks about booking New Order for the Isle Of Wight event

Bestival organiser Rob da Bank has spoken about how pleased he is to have snared Stevie Wonder to headline the event and has securing the soul legend described as a “curveball booking.”

The soul singer, who released his 23rd studio album in 2005 and who headlined Glastonbury in 2010, will top the bill on the festival’s final night (September 9).

Speaking to NME about the booking and why he’d chosen Wonder, da Bank said: “I’ve been thinking about booking him for a while, maybe even a couple of years. We’ve been talking on and off for about a year and in the last six months the correspondence has been pretty steady. He’s an iconic act and there were a lot of hoops to jump through, but we’re dead chuffed to get him. I’ve always been a huge fan, I grew up listening to him.”

Da Bank also spoke about how pleased he was with the reaction to the announcement, adding: “I think it’s a bit of a curveball, miraculously until we announced it yesterday (March 22), I don’t know anyone had found out. It’s come as a bit of a surprise to people. It’s nice to announce something unexpected. The reaction has been great, better than I thought it was going to be actually. I knew it was a good booking, but it seems like the Bestival faithful have really taken to it.”

The organiser also spoke about Bestival’s other headliner New Order and said that he was equally happy to have secured such “an iconic act” to top the bill.

Asked why he’d gone after New Order, da Bank replied: “I’m a huge fan of New Order. I’m a huge fan of the Manchester scene they kick-started and they’re still going strong. The reaction to their comeback shows has been amazing and they’re an iconic act. I think they fit the Saturday headline slot perfectly. They’ve got so many hits, it’ll be great.”

The organiser also admitted that he had doubts about booking the band when it became clear that Peter Hook would not be part of their line-up and revealed that he’d avoided booking bands in the past if they were touring without key members.

Asked if it bothered him that Hook wasn’t part of New Order‘s line-up, he replied: “Yeah it does. I’ve not booked bands before on the strength of them not being the original line-up, but it’s not like the band’s called ‘The Real New Order’ or something. It’s the name, it’s the singer. It isn’t perfect, but there are so many bands now that haven’t got a member. Look at The Cure; Robert Smith is the only original member. I swallowed that early on because I knew sonically it would be OK.”

Other artists confirmed for this year’s Bestival include Friendly Fires, Death In Vegas, Django Django, The xx, Sigur Ros, The Horrors. Two Door Cinema Club, Azealia Banks, Soulwax, Nero, Emeli Sande, Warpaint, Spiritualized, Gary Numan, Charli XCX, First Aid Kit, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Turbowolf, De La Soul, Major Lazer, Justice and Gallows.

Bestival will take place from September 6–9 at Robin Hill Park on the Isle Of Wight. For more information about the event, see

To check the availability of Bestival tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.