Festival review: Bestival 2018
When: 2nd – 4th August
Where: Dorset, UK
Who: Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), London Grammar, MIA
Price: £190 (weekend, incl. camping)
Bestival, one of the country’s most cherished festivals, celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, in an event promoted with a 2018 theme surrounding colour and circus. The second event taking place at its new home in Dorset, this year’s instalment played host to headliners Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), London Grammar and MIA, alongside Grace Jones, Chaka Kahn, Mura Masa and more.
With past editions of Bestival boasting headliners of Outkast, Elton John, The Prodigy, New Order, Massive Attack and A Tribe Called Quest’s caliber, anticipation and excitement for Bestival 2018 was at an understandable low. The lineup is simply far below standard for such a previously well-programmed and well-curated event.
And this unfortunately transferred across into the event, with a glaringly obvious lack of attendance throughout. With thin crowds and a timid atmosphere clouding the entirety of the event, it shows that a music festival is really only as good as its attendees, from both the musicians and the crowd.
Having gradually but notably downsized since its peak 2015 event, the signs of Bestival’s unfortunate demise were brewing. Despite the rain and teething problems with its move, I still called Bestival 2017 a roaring success, but even with oppositional blazing sunshine this year, unfortunately Bestival 2018 was not to follow in suite.
Despite Bestival’s production being as strong as ever, with a powerful Big Top soundsystem, or one of the circuit’s best stages – The Temple Stage, being turbocharged for this year. Bestival 2018 is proof that if the talent isn’t on the stage, nor is the crowd in front of it, the rest can be seemingly irrelevant.
The magic and easy-going lifeblood of Bestival still flowed throughout its 2018 edition, and the touching firework displays and extravagant lightshow ceremonies were heart-warming moments, alongside standout performances from Grace Jones and Mura Masa. But it was all still a shadow on what we’ve all come to know and love at Bestival – one can only hope one of the country’s most important festival institutions can recover.