We’ve rounded up our top five acts from this year’s Bestival. Warning: may contain amazing pop music.
01 PALOMA FAITH SUNDAY // BIG TOP
Bringing the weekend to a close (or, as she called it, ‘performing in the graveyard slot’), Paloma Faith’s set was all you could ask for and more from someone who has slowly grown to become one of the best British pop acts around. No one else at the festival came close to beating her in terms of stage presence and charisma, and while the setlist missed off some obvious hits like New York and Upside Down, it did allow some of the new album’s less memorable songs to come alive a bit more. Only Love Can Hurt Like This was quite obviously incredible, but the biggest surprise of the whole weekend was how well the previously underwhelming Can’t Rely On You worked in a live setting, with the entire crowd going absolutely wild for it. A stunning set.
02 CHIC FEATURING NILE RODGERS SUNDAY // MAIN STAGE
Accompanied by the world’s largest disco ball, this was a set that was never going to disappoint. It started out in a sombre mood, as Rodgers announced the recent passing of longtime friend Terry Brauer and emotionally paid tribute to him from the stage, yet he still managed to deliver a stellar performance that couldn’t be faulted. From Chic’s own material to Diana Ross and Bowie covers, a list of highlights could easily cover most of the two hour set, yet the rendition of Madonna’s Like A Virgin (and of course Everybody Dance and Le Freak) stood out in particular.
03 LA ROUX FRIDAY // BIG TOP
It’s hard to think of an album better suited to this year’s Bestival theme of Desert Island Disco than La Roux’s Trouble In Paradise. The record is so warm and immersive that there was never any risk of the new material failing to connect to a crowd that may have been largely unfamiliar with the music. Each new track (bar one) was performed, with older hits In For The Kill and Bulletproof thrown in for good measure. The formidable Silent Partner wasn’t even cut down from its original eight-minute form, and with Elly’s voice being so strong, Bestival’s first half belonged to La Roux.
04 OUTKAST FRIDAY // MAIN STAGE
It’s easy to imagine Outkast receiving some mixed reviews for their Friday headlining set. Andre and Big Boi concentrated more on playing to their musical strengths and displaying their back catalogue in all its glories than in putting on a theatrical festival set, and those who were only really there for Hey Ya! may have been left bored, but the risk worked, with the end product being a great and rather unique success.
05 CHVRCHES SUNDAY // BIG TOP
Just as The Bones Of What You Believe proved to be one of last year’s most surprisingly varied albums, Chvrches’ live set gives a lot more than what you’d expect. They certainly provided one of the weekend’s most spectacular light shows, and lead singer Lauren Mayberry has a feistier stage presence than her vulnerable vocal tone would sometimes suggest. The Mother We Share was an obvious highlight, but Science/Visions also managed to stand out in a way it never could in studio form.
SELECTED OTHERS: SAY LOU LOU performed a short but sweet set that may have missed out a lot of their essential tracks, but still made it clear that if their album ever gets released it will probably be incredible. SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR yet again proved why her recent win of Best Live Act at the AIM awards was so deserved, with her Modjo and Moloko covers working much better in a festival atmosphere. BASEMENT JAXX really should have been on the main stage, as the Big Top tent was horribly overcrowded for their otherwise technically brilliant set. The FOALS set felt a little self-indulgent, even if the band itself was on top form. DISCLOSURE were a mixed bag – yes, the highlights of Settle really shine in a live atmosphere (You & Me in particular – Eliza Doolittle’s own material does not do her justice), but their set also contained a lot of… Well, filler.