Sunday morning went off to an understandably sluggish start, with everyone looking as pained as expected on day four of a four day festival. Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, however, managed to rouse a sizable bundle of people from their tents with his rapid banjolele strumming. The parody artist produces what he terms ‘chap-hop’; hip hop and rap music performed in a hyperbolically posh accent. Although the novelty wore a little thin after more than a few songs in a row, Mr B’s affable stage manor stopped the act from grating, and the handful of people who’d manage to force down a bacon bap in time to be there sung along enthusiastically to crowd participation number ‘Just Like A Chap’.
Rockabilly family band Kitty Daisy & Lewis had a tough act to follow, taking to the Main Stage just after Bestival regular Mr Motivator, who called on the crowd to get up, jump around and copy his moves to get Sunday off to a dancing start. The trio of siblings showcased their rather extensive talents through their rather clever instrument-swapping gimmick. At the end of each song, the brothers and sisters would round, taking it in turns to drum, sing, play piano and guitar and even stretch to beatboxing, to show off their impressive range of musical skills. The girls eschewed their normal fifties’ stylings and quiffs in favour of head to toe metallic cat suits that nodded towards the festival theme and while they looked fantastic, the style didn’t quite fit with their swing-rock music style, and the sisters seemed a bit uncomfortable as they walked on stage.
As the sun came out, the giant 10-metre disco ball created at Nile Rodgers’ request was walked around, poked at and measured by Guinness World Record officials, who confirmed that at 10.3 metres the structure would be a record-breaker if it could spin on its own (a feat saved for the appearance of Chic ft. Nile Rodgers themselves). The story goes that Rodgers agreed to headline the festival this year under the condition that he could perform alongside the world’s biggest disco ball, and so Josie and Rob Da Bank went about making it so, employing design collective NEWSUBSTANCE to attempt the impressive feat. Providing the soundtrack for the afternoon sunshine were Clean Bandit, whose strange mix of electronic pop and classical music somehow just works. Their upbeat tunes provided perfect ‘sitting around smiling with a pint’ music, which seemed to be all most of the festival were capable of by the time Sunday rolled round.
The evening phase of the festivities began in earnest with an excellent set from CHVRCHES. Lauren Mayberry’s pure high voice floated effortlessly over the deep, driving synthesiser beats, and the whole tent danced non-stop. All the favourites: ‘Lies’, ‘We Sink’, the soaring ‘Recover’ ,were there, and the set ended with a rousing version of ‘The Mother We Share’ that saw all arms in the air and heads bobbing wildly.
Chic featuring Nile Rodgers were, of course, the ultimate headliners to a disco themed weekend. As the disco veterans took to the stage, the record breaking disco ball was lifted and confirmed as the world’s biggest ever, throwing shards of light across the whole festival. Following the last-minute cancellation of Busta Rhymes, Rodgers’ professionalism and talent seemed even more commendable as he explained to the crowd why it was the hardest show he’d ever had to play, following the death of his guitar technician and close friend Terry Brauer not long before the event.
Though visibly emotional, the disco legends continued to play an incredible set spanning over two hours crammed with hits like ‘I’m Coming Out’, ‘Like A Virgin’ and ‘Le Freak’ as well as their very own version of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, which Rodgers co-wrote. The swelling crowd danced with all they had to each song from start to finish and hopefully appreciated the once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere created by the emotionally charged music, the enthusiastic fervour of a festival crowd in staunch denial of Monday morning and the literally record breakingly beautiful setting.
Because it was Bestival’s final night, festivities were to end early – well, the Bestival definition of ‘early’: around 2am. Wrapping the evening up, among others, was Paloma Faith. Paloma was as energetic and vivacious as ever, contorting herself into all sorts of shapes as she pranced around the stage, always moving but never out of breath and the infectious rhythms had the whole crowd moving. It was a shame to leave her set early, but it had to be done if Wolf Alice were to be seen.
And it was well worth the trip over to the Invaders of the Future Stage for Wolf Alice. Normally demure – in looks, at least: she shreds and headbangs with the best of ‘em – brunette Ellie Rowsell was resplendent in golden harem pants and a bleach blonde wig. Bassist Theo Ellis was sporting a matching golden dress, and guitarist Joff Oddie, as ever, was hardly wearing anything.
Opening with the grimy, buzzy ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, the band ran through all of their own material – they’ve yet to produce an album, so this is easily done – along with an extended cover of ‘Wicked Game’. It’s great to see a band enjoy themselves so openly on stage – see the Arctic Monkeys for a comparison. Set-closer ‘Fluffy’ was made for moshing, and the entire crowd duly obliged, a seething mass of bodies into which Joff hurled himself gleefully. As the final chords crashed out, the rest of band closed their festival season, and our festival, by leaping into the crowd together. A perfect end to a near-perfect festival.
As the crowds trudged reluctantly back to their tents, reflecting on the incredible sights, amazing sounds and fantastic experience of what seemed like so much more than 4 days, the same sentiment was on many lips: “See you next year”.
Bestival, we will be back.