Bestival has had some of the biggest lineups in the past. But it’s not really about the music. The vibe lies in their unique dress themes every year, and how their loyal fans love to play by the rules.
Yes, Bestival is exactly what we’re suggesting in the title; a giant masquerade party with musicians to get the party started.
Bestival has always aimed to stand out from its other counterparts by having outrageous themes every year, attempting to break Guinness World Records and all that. It’s like a music festival version of, say, Halloween. You’ll find some of the strangest costumes, cosplay and makeup on attendees, because they love the festival that much.
Here’s an overview of Bestival’s wild themes in the past. The 2006 edition’s theme was Circus, and attendees were supposed to dress up as clowns. But those bordering on clown paranoia began to ask for a refund which led to the theme being scrapped altogether. However in 2007, the fest had a fancy dress parade and Club Dada, a cabaret/circus themed tent. Bestival 2008’s theme was ‘30,000 freaks under the sea’. Coincidentally, that day saw a heavy downpour. Lucky them!
In 2009, Bestival had a theme related to outer space, called Space Oddity. The festival embraced ‘The Year of the Fantastic’ in 2010, and attendees were asked to dress themselves up in their favourite fantasy avatars. ‘Rock Stars, Pop Stars and Divas’ was the theme for Bestival 2011, a pretty self-explanatory concept. 2012’s theme was ‘Wildlife’; 2013 saw HMS Bestival (A nautical theme. Think sailors, mermaids and Titanic), 2014’s was Desert Island Disco, and 2015 was Summer Of Love, a much simpler theme compared to its predecessors.
2010 was also a special year in the Bestival calendar, as they broke the Guinness World Record for the most people in a fancy dress at an event.
With such a loyal adherence to the years’ themes, it’s the attendees that create the masquerade-y vibe that Bestival is oh-so-well known for. Its offshoot, Camp Bestival, is not far behind on this, but the Isle Of Wight is the place where the real deal happens.
It’s safe to say that when it comes to music festivals, nobody captures themes better than Bestival. But then, the festival itself was built on this very premise. It’s not without reason that Bestival has swept the UK Festival Awards repeatedly.