Leading up to Bestival 2017, the main talking point for everyone (whether they were going or not) was the new site. Yes, it had an impact on the festival, but the big stories were the performances; Jamie T, Dizze Rascal and Little Dragon all brought incredible energy.
The atmosphere was charged leading up to A Tribe Called Quest, which they capitalised on with a raw performance; genuine, passionate and a fitting tribute to the Phife Dawg. Q-Tip announced that it would be their last performance as Tribe and I'm privileged to have experienced it.
The XX were nothing short of amazing. From the moment each member walked on stage, the crowd were in their hands (to the point that even when they fumbled and missed queues, the applause got louder) and built the perfect set, from the dramatic Intro until the ethereal performance of Loud Places. Romy thanked Bestival for having them back and for the glorious reception, and it was clear she meant it. They stole the show and were the perfect headliner for 2017.
Other stand out moments were Romare, Ray Blk, The House Gospel Choir and (surprisingly) Charlotte Church's Pop Dungeon - her band of funk-soul misfits go for it, whilst she herself seduces the crowd.
Lulworth Estate suited the Festival perfectly - the main stage faces the beautiful castle, the Ambient Forrest is better than ever and the entire event felt like just the right balance between bustling and spacious. The only criticism I have is one dodgy hill to get to the campsite - the rain made it muddy early on, but no little to no effort was made to sort it.
The 'Keep Bestival Tidy' team were another nice touch - their overalls alone were enough to make recycling cool and, along with the cash reward for giving in two bags of rubbish and messaging around the site, I was genuinely more conscious of disposing of everything responsibly.
Lastly, The Fest Collective tent did it again - incredible food at every turn. Dumplings, fried chicken, Vietnamese curry, coffee and smoothies, all delicious, but the best of all was the bao - I had fried chicken and pork belly and both were out of this world.
I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to Bestival - I've been in love with it since my first trip in 2011, but I have to say that they pulled it off. Moving the festival cant have been an easy decision but it seemed to pay off. Getting there was most definitely the easiest it's ever been and we didn't actually have to queue to enter.
Same as always - I can't wait for next year
Review by: Jon Rowntree
Photos: Courtesy of Bestival