If the festival period really is the pinnacle of any summer, then surely there is a lot of pressure on Bestival and its organisers to ensure that the last great event of the holiday period is a success, no? Not only does Bestival, a once relatively underground alternative to the corporate affairs of Reading and Leeds and even, dare I say it, Glastonbury, offer the last true party experience of the summer, this last hurrah of sorts has to cope with the pressure of offering the same quirky charm for which it has become renowned whilst coping with an ever increasing turn-out. I suppose the big question is, did Bestival manage to live up to these high expectations again is 2011?
Like every good success story, this year’s Bestival had its highs and lows. Though the unusual nature of the festival is undoubtedly part of its charm, a variety of acts seemed to get carried away in this left-field environment with bands taking it upon themselves to ditch the songs and don monkey masks whilst improvising lap-top electronica. Still, for every act who seemed to strain in a bid to confuse, there were wondrous performances which left festival goers’ spines tingling. The mighty Mogwai for example pulled out all the stops with their own brand of largely instrumental noise whilst even the likes of Pendulum, whose near-comedic mix of drum, bass and Cradle-of-Filth-inspired attire managed to win round the punters.
If there was any doubt that Bestival would live up to expectations, a marvellous greatest-hits LP of a set from Gothic new-wave legends The Cure ensured that 2011 was another success story for festival organisers and fans alike. With hits such as Lullaby and Boys Don’t Cry ending the event on a high, there is little doubt that once again, Bestival saw out the summer in style.