Genre Indie/Dance
Dates Late Summer, September (4 days)
Location(s) Isle of Wight, England
Years active 2004 - present

Bestival is a four-day music festival held at the Robin Hill country park on the Isle of Wight, England. It has been held annually in late summer since 2004. The event is organized by DJ and record producer Rob da Bank along with his wife Josie and is an offshoot of his Sunday Best record label and club nights.[1] The initial Bestival attracted 10,000 people, growing to 55,000 in 2010. Bestival won 'Best Major Festival' at the 2015 UK Festival Awards, having won 'Best Medium-Sized Festival' in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, 'Best Major Festival' in 2010, 2012 and in 2015, 'Fan's Favourite' in 2011 and 'Best Innovation' in 2005.[2]


The festival has been held annually in late summer since 2004, in a small country park called 'Robin Hill'. The event is organized by Rob da Bank and is an offshoot of his Sunday Best record label and club nights.[1] Creative Director and wife Josie da Bank and co founders / partners John Hughes, Ziggy Gilsenan and Ben Turner are also involved in organising the event. The Isle of Wight was chosen for many reasons as the site of the Bestival, primarily due to its notable natural beauty. It is also known that the Isle of Wight holds more carnivals per capita than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.[3]

In 2004, the festival was attended by 10,000 people, a figure which has since increased to 43,000 in 2009[1] and 55,000 in 2010.

A family-friendly sister festival "Camp Bestival" launched in 2008.

Festival ethos

Bestival 2008 at Robin Hill Country Park

There are several qualities that make the Bestival different from the Isle of Wight Festival. It is considered more alternative and diverse, offering a large selection of vegetarian foods; a dressing up tent and a 'secret stage'.

Bestival is well known for its fancy dress themed days (usually the Saturday of the festival). In 2005, an attempt was made to set the Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress at any one event. By 2010 this was achieved, when 55,000 festival goers set a new Guinness World Record.

The festival is also heavily involved in supporting social and environmental causes. Rob da Bank and Bestival support several Isle of Wight-based charities and youth organisations; for example Rob da Bank's Music Club, Isle of Wight Toy Appeal, Isle of Wight Youth Trust, St Catherines School and Barter For Bestival. On site at the festival, Bestival supports Oxfam, RSPB, Amnesty International, Water Aid and the Legacy Project. Bestival actively reduces its carbon emissions and impact on the environment; for example schemes such as Bike to Bestival, Swim to Bestival, LiftShare, exchanging recycling at the campsites for cups of tea, recycling and waste management, commissioning Environmental Impact Assessments, monitoring power usage and limiting water usage with push button taps.

Bestival is a founding member of the Greener Festival Alliance.

Bestival is often described as a "boutique festival" due to its non-corporate feel. It is also known for piloting odd and innovative ideas, including an inflatable church where people can get married. Other features include the "Breastival", a quiet Yurt designated for mothers and their breast-feeding children. The local Women's Institute has also been involved by providing refreshments for a minimal price.

Performance venues

The main venues in 2014 were:


Bestival has received the following awards:

Bestival 2004

2004 - The Bees, Basement Jaxx, Zero 7, Fatboy Slim, Mylo, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Mista Mushroom and Subgiant.

Bestival 2005

Attendance - 15,000

2005 - Röyksopp, The Magic Numbers, Super Furry Animals, 2manydjs, The Go! Team, Soulwax and Saint Etienne.

Bestival 2006

Main article: Bestival 2006

Attendance - 17,000

2006 - Gogol Bordello, Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters, Amadou & Mariam, Man-Machine, Brakes, Devendra Banhart, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Good Shoes, Hot Chip, iLiKETRAiNS, Jim Noir, John Martyn, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Klaxons, Lily Allen, Mystery Jets, Scritti Politti, The Cuban Brothers, The Fall, The Long Blondes, The Pipettes, The Stranglers and The Sunshine Underground.

Bestival 2007

Main article: Bestival 2007

Attendance - 29,000

7 September - 9 September

2007 - Beastie Boys, The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Madness, Gregory Isaacs, The Levellers, The Orb, The Gossip, Kate Nash, Jack Peñate, Patrick Wolf, Billy Bragg, Easy Star All Stars, The Maccabees, Dub Pistols, Calvin Harris, Friendly Fires and The Shakes.

Bestival 2008

Main article: Bestival 2008

Attendance - 30,000

5 September - 7 September

2008 - My Bloody Valentine, Amy Winehouse, Underworld, Aphex Twin, CSS, Hot Chip, Will Young, The Coral, Sam Sparro, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Alphabeat, Black Kids, Sugarhill Gang, The Breeders, George Clinton, Gary Numan, The Human League, Grace Jones, The Specials, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip and 808 State.

Bestival 2009

Main article: Bestival 2009

Attendance - 43,000

11 September - 13 September

2009 - Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, Elbow, MGMT, 65daysofstatic, Fleet Foxes, Little Boots, Mika, Klaxons, Soulwax, 2manydjs, Seasick Steve, Friendly Fires, Bat for Lashes, Florence and the Machine, Zane Lowe, Diplo, Annie Mac, Skream, DJ Yoda, Erol Alkan, The Bloody Beetroots, Lily Allen, Carl Cox, Michael Nyman, Squarepusher, Björn Again, Rob da Bank, Fujiya & Miyagi, La Roux, Krafty Kuts, Jack Penate, Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos.

Bestival 2010

Main article: Bestival 2010

Attendance: 50,000

9–12 September

The Prodigy, The Flaming Lips, Dizzee Rascal, Rolf Harris, Gil Scott-Heron, Roxy Music, Marc Almond, Level 42, Echo & The Bunnymen, The XX, Howard Jones, Heaven 17, Chase & Status, Tinie Tempah, Rox, Simian Mobile Disco, Stornoway, Hot Chip, The Wailers, Lucky Elephant, Ellie Goulding, Barry Peters.

2010 also saw Bestival win 'best major festival' beating Glastonbury and Reading in a public vote; sister festival Camp Bestival picked up 'best family festival' as well.

Bestival 2011

Attendance: 45,000

8–11 September

Pendulum, The Cure, Björk, Primal Scream, Brian Wilson, P J Harvey, The Maccabees, Los Campesinos!, Fatboy Slim, Public Enemy, Big Audio Dynamite, Kelis, Chromeo, The Drums, Village People, Grandmaster Flash. Noah And The Whale, Groove Armada, Annie Mac, Magnetic Man, Robyn, Crystal Castles, DJ Shadow, Katy B, LFO, Cranes, A-Trak.

Ben Howard and Benjamin Francis Leftwich both performed on The Bandstand which is hosted every year by Isle of Wight Comedian Scott Anderson.

2011 saw Bestival win "Fans' favourite festival award" in the UK Festival Awards.

Bestival 2012

The main stage headliners were Florence and the Machine on Friday, New Order on Saturday and Stevie Wonder who closed the main stage on Sunday, playing as a UK festival exclusive. Sigur Rós and The XX both performed UK festival exclusives on the main stage. The following also performed (this is not a complete list):

Azealia Banks and Frank Ocean were among a few artists who cancelled their performances. Wiley was announced as a special guest.

Bestival 2012 was awarded 'Best Major Festival' at the UK Festival Awards,[4] 'Best Festival' at DJ Mag's Best of British Awards [5] and 'Festival of the Year' at the Artrocker Awards.

Three people were killed in a road crash returning from Bestival by coach.[6] A fundraising night was set up to remember those who lost their lives in the A3 coach crash, taking place at Nation in Liverpool on Saturday 30 March 2013.[7]

Bestival 2013

Headline acts were the Bestival Birthday Bash with Fatboy Slim on Friday, Snoop Dogg on Saturday and Elton John on Sunday, who was playing as a UK festival exclusive. The following also played (this is not a complete list): MIA, Franz Ferdinand, Flaming Lips, The Knife, Wu-Tang Clan, Bombay Bicycle Club, DJ Fresh, Bastille, The Roots, Belle and Sebastian, Disclosure, Jessie Ware, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Annie Mac, Seth Troxler, Knife Party, While She Sleeps and more.

For 2013, Bestival introduced a weekly payment plan for tickets, the first music festival to offer this.[8]

Bestival 2014

Bestival 2014's theme was Desert Island Disco. The headline acts were Outkast, Foals, Beck and Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers; Nile Rodgers also challenged Bestival to create the world's largest disco ball for Bestival 2014, in which they succeeded with a disco ball of 10.33m. The previous record was 9.98 metres.

The following acts also appeared at Bestival 2014 (Not a complete list): Disclosure, Major Lazer, SpandyAndy, Paloma Faith, Basement Jaxx, London Grammar, Sam Smith, Candi Staton, Wild Beasts, Clean Bandit, La Roux, Bonobo and Skindred

Bestival 2014 was awarded 'Best Festival' at the Live Music Business Awards[9] and 'Smart Marketing Campaign of the Year' at the AIF Festival Congress Awards for the record breaking Disco Ball.[10]

Bestival 2015

The 2015 theme was 'Summer of Love' and the headline acts were Duran Duran on Friday,The Chemical Brothers on Saturday and Missy Elliott on the Sunday night. Other acts included Underworld, Tame Impala, The Jacksons, Jungle, Jurassic 5, Rudimental, Flying Lotus, Skrillex, Mark Ronson, Róisín Murphy, Charli XCX and Ella Eyre

Bestival Toronto 2015

It was announced in February 2015 that for the first time, Bestival would be heading to North America.[11] It was held at Toronto Islands and co-organized by SFX Entertainment and Toronto promoter Embrace. The headliners were Florence + The Machine and Nas performing "Illmatic". Other performers included Flume, Caribou, SBTRKT, Flosstradamus and Jamie xx.

Bestival Toronto 2016

On 29 February 2016 the dates for the second Bestival Toronto were confirmed to be June 11 and 12 and the new location announced was Woodbine Park.[12] The headliners were announced on 11 March 2016 to be The Cure and Tame Impala. Other performers will include Odesza, Grimes, Jamie xx, Porter Robinson, Madeon, Tchami and Daughter.

Official ticket outlet


  1. 1 2 3 "What is Bestival?". Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  2. "Festival Awards". Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  3. Isle of Wight Carnival 2006 Archived 5 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "2012's winners unravelled". UK Festival Awards. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  5. "Best of British". Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  6. Mark Sanders (2012-09-11). "Bestival coach crash near Hindhead Tunnel kills three". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  7. "News: Liverpool and Merseyside news". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  8. Virtual Festivals. "Bestival 2013 Early Bird tickets onsale now". Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  9. "Winners 2014".
  10. "The Festival Congress". Storify.
  11. "We're International! Bestival Going to Toronto". Bestival. 18 February 2015.
  12. "SAVE THE DATE! BESTIVAL RETURNS TO TORONTO IN 2016". Bestival. 29 February 2016.

External links

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