This year’s Bestival, which took place over the weekend (September 10-13) was dominated by grime acts, despite being called ‘Summer Of Love’ and featuring a peace-out zone called The Commune. Everyone from Charli XCX and The Jacksons to Ratboy and Fat White Family were there – here’s a look at them all and more in action…
Tame Impala were in fine form and drew a gargantuan crowd for their midnight set at the Big Top, tearing through anthems like ‘Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?' and ‘Elephant’.
Charli XCX was every inch the pop superstar in her Main Stage slot. She didn't quite take her performance to the confrontational, tampon-baring heights of her London show last week, but still brought a feminist twist to proceedings, encouraging the crowd to repeatedly shout “pussy power” as she took them on a high-thrills joyride through her fierce, neon-pop repertoire.
New York rapper Action Bronson packed out the Big Top with an impassioned set showcasing his seemingly effortless flow. Proudly smoking on stage and encouraging the crowd to follow suit, the popular Queens artist whipped the crowd up into a frenzy with tunes like ‘Actin Crazy’ from his new album 'Mr Wonderful'.
FKA Twigs ended Saturday night on an artistic high with her display of choreography and atmospheric vocals, treating a receptive audience to gems like ‘Two Weeks’ and ‘Give Up’, and thanking "the Isle of Wight” for having her.
Duran Duran fired off hit singles such as ‘The Wild Boys’, ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’, and ‘The Reflex’. Accompanied by a backdrop of erotic-themed visuals, with lead singer Simon Le Bon and guitarist Dom Brown both wearing leather, Le Bon shouted, "I've got two words for you - electric guitar!" before the band performed a cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’.
Earlier in the day Australian band Pond looked like they had taken this year’s festival theme - Summer of Love – to heart, as frontman Nick Allbrook sported a vintage kaftan and his fellow band members modelled ornate silver jewellery. “Thanks a shitting load for coming to see us,” enthused Allbrook, before tripping through tracks like ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’ and ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’.
Birmingham duo Ekkah brought their smooth jams to the Invaders Of The Future Stage.
Rudimental collaborator and BBC Sound of 2014 nominee Ella Eyre proves perfect fodder for the Bestival demographic, belting out crowd-pleasers like ‘Gratitude’ with all the confidence and prowess of someone set to go the distance.
Fat White Family appeared more restrained than usual as they entertained the early evening revelers at the Big Top. Having begun his set wearing a khaki parka jacket, by the end of ‘I'm Mark E Smith’, frontman Lias Saoudi was completely topless, and had traded his lager for a can of Guinness, whilst swinging the mic stand high above his head.
This is the flower of fire, one of the attractions in Bestival's new Commune section, which was created to celebrate this year's 'Summer of Love' theme. Nice, isn't it?
Nottingham’s Sleaford Mods brought their punk poetry to the Big Top. Jason Williamson spat out a torrent of impassioned rhymes from 2015’s acclaimed album 'Key Markets', including ‘Live Tonight’ and ‘No One’s Bothered’, as well as ‘Tied Up In Notz’ – from 2014’s 'Divide and Exit' – about which Williamson said: “that song was written for my mum and grandma.”
Stormzy drew in one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to the Invaders Of The Future stage, with hundreds of people spilling out of the sides and some sitting on friends’ shoulders in order to try and catch a glimpse of the 22-year-old Croydon grime MC. He tore through tracks like ‘Know Me From’ and ‘Not That Deep’, requesting his audience to “make some fucking noise!”.
“Let’s have a very fucking stupid time together!” urged the drumming half of Slaves, Isaac Holman, and the crowd paid heed to his command, rapidly turning the Big Top into a slurry of moshing bodies. Holman managed to encourage a group of fancy-dress elves to crowdsurf, and asked “is anyone on a devastating comedown?” as red-faced people chanted ‘Cheer Up London’ lyrics at the top of their lungs.
"Thank you for watching us," laughed Holman at the end of the set. "Have a good night look after each other don't do anything we wouldn't do." Here they are caught backstage.
Making their return to Robin Hill Country Park eight years after they performed in 2007, The Chemical Brothers treated the Saturday night crowd to a 90-minute audio-visual extravaganza complete with green lasers, towering clockwork robots and terror-inducing animation.
Were grime crew Boy Better Know ever not going to smash their set on the Main Stage? No, probably not.
Kate Tempest, a Bestival stalwart, here takes a little time out from performing tracks from her Mercury-nominated album, 'Everybody Down'. She's been linked to the festival since she signed to Rob da Bank's label, Sunday Best, along with her group Sound of Rum, which was formed in 2008.
After this year's festival, Rat Boy tweeted, "Don't you hate it when your piss sprays back on you and you look like you pissed yourself but you didn't - thank you Bestival 2017". Er.. yeah? As you can imagine, he was in the perfect frame of mind for his late slot on the Invaders Of The Future Stage on Sunday night, and nailed it.
He's jumping here, look. Classic Rat Boy.
The Jacksons puledl out all the stops for a touching tribute to their late brother and the early years of the band, while ‘I’ll Be There’ induced a rare moment of mawkishness among the party crowd.
Look how full of joy they all are! Well, almost all of them, anyway.
Missy Elliott’s first UK performance in six years was a UK exclusive for Bestival. As the star imbued her set with club-ready jams, she sent out a series of tributes – from gushing over her UK fans, to thanking the “diligence” of her wow-factor dancers, and expressing her pain over loss of friends and peers like Biggie and Aaliyah.