Bestival – part 1

After wandering round a field for an hour and a half on Thursday night trying to find a pitch for our tent, Bestival would have to have some cracking music to get me out of my monk

It's a big old festival and it's a long way from the car park. But even so I kinda thought that come Thursday evening there'd still be a bit of space in the camping fields. There was, but it was a long way away from the car. A long long way.

So by the time we'd pitched and I'd opened a first beer I was having a right sad on. I'd already decided it was a shit festival and there was nothing that could talk me round. More beer and crisps didn't help.

The next day dawned and it was sunny and dry. There were a large amount of bleary eyed teenagers wandering round which gave me a laugh and actually I sort of thought that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

A leisurely breakfast was followed by a tab to the site and looking up some old friends in the press tent. Random press tent freebie of the weekend - Apples. Very nice ones too!

We set off to investigate the site and its many and varied delights.There was some interesting stuff going on, from a uni (Besti) versity to the 'Peoples' front room' that we enjoyed so much at Common People. In fact we spent so long wandering that I managed to miss the first three Drenge songs, meaning that my photos were a bit rubbish. Drenge, apart from being one of my favourite acts of recent years are also a bit of a bogey band for me and I still haven't got any decent photos of them yet.

Oddly the boys seemed a bit out of sorts. The music was a bit more mature, but seemed to lack the edge of other times I've seen them. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in that they've had a long festival season.

Next up in The Big Top was the excellent George the Poet. I always like his stuff and he was damned fine and well received.

We thought it would be nice to take in a bit of 'culture' so thought it a good idea to take in 'shit faced shakespeare', a troupe of actors doing a play by the bard but featuring a drunken cast member. Some hope. The queue for the Amphitheatre was huge but the shortest we saw it all weekend. We didn't get in to any show at any point!

I'd made up my mind not to go to the main stage too much this time round and spent most of my time shuttling between the Big Top, The Invaders of The Future stages and the over priced bars. This yielded some good results, one of which was Aussie band Pond. With Former Tame Impala member Nick Allbrook as frontman (and wearing a dress), they were particularly good and the smallish crowd gave them a great reception.

Similarly impressive were Fat White Family in the same location. I've enjoyed their recorded stuff very much but they were much better live. We went off in search of some of the excellent food on offer then the quality music was resumed with a new band to me; Honne.

The Duo, Andy and James (who never reveal their surnames) are responsible for a chilled electronic soul type vibe and despite only being formed last year have garnered a huge following.

Young Fathers are a band I've been wanting to see for a while and I wasn't disappointed. Energy twinned with superb sounds filled the Big Top and a huge crowd ensued. They're great to photograph too.

I relented on the main stage rule and gathered with what seemed like 400 other photographers in the pit for Duran Duran. The headliners had drawn a massive audience and had brought lights, pyrotechnics and confetti canons. Now, being old enough to have seen them first time round I can say that I didn't rate them much then and I don't now.

What I can say is that I was in awe of their stagecraft. It's interesting to see older bands that have got the t-shirt doing what they do so professionally. Some half decent photos for me but the music left me feeling a bit meh. The crowd liked them though so job done on that score.

The crowd started to do that strange crossover thing that you get at a mixed live and dance festival. There is a point where the live band crowd start to exit the site whilst the dance lot make their way to the party having just got up.

Having had a long day we decided to head back to the tent and eat biscuits and drink tea. Wooo rock n' roll!

Bored yet? no? Check back tomorrow for the next harrowing instalment in the life of an itinerant photographer.

Drenge at Bestival
George the Poet at Bestival
Pond at Bestival
Fat White Family at Bestival
Honne at Bestival
Young Fathers at Bestival
Duran Duran at Bestival

The picture gallery

Shots from Friday at Bestival

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