Highlights from Bestival 2012

Oh dear, readers. It would seem I’ve been neglecting you for the past couple of weeks. That’s what happens when you leave the creation of an elaborate bird costume to the last minute! Excuses aside, this weekend’s wildlife themed Bestival was a scorching success, and not just because of the glorious sunshine.

Situated deep in the Isle of Wight countryside, Bestival has been running since 2004 as an offshoot of DJ and record producer Rob da Bank’s Sunday Best record label and club night. Always a colourful and exotic affair, it has a different fancy dress theme each year to allow festival goers to get their creative juices flowing and dress as outlandish as they please. This year wildlife was the motif, which lead the way for a stampede of spots, stripes, feathers and even shells.

However, it’s not all about the attire, of course, and Bestival 2012 boasted a very impressive and eclectic line-up. So who came top of the festival food chain this weekend? Here’s a list of highlights for you lovely people.

Adam Ant & The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse

As a girl brought up listening to Adam Ant‘s back catalogue, I was excited yet apprehensive about the dandy highwayman’s set on Friday. From the chat around the campsites it was clear that I was not alone. Would he be performing his hits? Would he be kitted up in military clothing like his glory days? And would he be able to hold his own on the main stage, potentially performing to thousands of onlookers? I’m very happy to say he did not disappoint. Every bit the showman, he commanded the audience’s attention with minimal effort, dancing around the stage, dressed up to the nines. Great vocals and obvious spirit has left me keen to hear his upcoming new studio album, the first to be released in 17 years.

Stevie Wonder

After a spellbinding performance at Glastonbury 2010, the living musical legend that is Stevie Wonder graced the UK festival scene once again, headlining the last night of Bestival. The astonishing two hour set was packed with recognisable hits and encapsulated the joyous atmosphere of the entire weekend. Alongside timeless classics such as ‘Superstition’, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and ‘For Once In My Life’, the Motown star covered tracks by Michael Jackson, John Lennon and The Beatles. Full of life, full of soul — Stevie Wonder was a majestic climax to the festival.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Orlando Higginbottom aka TEED is a young lad from Oxford who, after dabbling in the classical music realm, is becoming an increasingly prominent figure on the UK electronic scene. His debut album Trouble garnered positive reviews across the board upon its release in June and it’s no surprise that this great collection of tracks translates well to a live setting. Every beat was perfectly timed, as were the backing dancers who were appropiately dressed as animals. Being restricted to his decks didn’t stop TEED putting on a phenomenally fun festival show.

Michael Kiwanuka

After winning the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll back in January, Michael Kiwanuka lived up to the reputation that preceded him by delivering the ideal soundtrack to the last day of Bestival. The British soul singer was consistantly on-key and his laidback rhythms went down as smooth as a chilled fruit cocktail in the sunshine. A quick glance around the Big Top tent revealed that the crowd were having a constant head-nodding session with transfixed smiles. It was a real treat to hear a Jimi Hendrix cover inbetween a collections of songs taken from his Mercury Prize nominated album, Home Again.

First Aid Kit

Swedish duo First Aid Kit are clearly influenced by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash. It’s so clear in fact that, upon watching their set on Friday, it was almost like being transported back in time to the heyday of contempory folk music. They showcased truly beautiful, seemingly classic songs with soaring vocals and a hint of youthful inncence. Whilst one sister stood boldy and stoicly behind a microphone and guitar, the other danced, relatively childlike, behind a keyboard. Their album The Lion’s Roar, produced by Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, is one of this year’s best releases, go and give it a listen.

Honorable mentions go to Justice, Two Door Cinema Club and Alabama Shakes who were also fantastic this weekend. A nod also goes to comedian Eric Lampaert who, whilst dressed as a lizard, made a baby called Albert do stand up.

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