Bestival 2015: Summer of Love

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Bestival. It’s powerful stuff.

Bestival is, hands down, my favourite UK festival.

And although it’s dangerously close to London Fashion Week, which means every time I go I’m risking working through five of the busiest days of my professional year suffering from tiredness and possibly a cold, it’s simply too good to miss.

So once again, in mid-September, I jumped on a ferry to set over to the Isle of Wight with the assignment to hunt for festival street style. Or should I say field style?

And we're off! Leaving Southampton port in glorious sunshine and an even better mood...

And we’re off! Leaving Southampton port in glorious sunshine and an even better mood…

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Me. Excited much.

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It doesn’t get much better than this.

My photographer friend Ben came along to take pictures, so we packed our Duran Duran band shirts, an inflatable parrot and some canned mixers and left the city behind us.

While there is a lot to be said for London festivals – mainly that you don’t have to camp – going to Bestival always feels like mini adventure because you actually have to leave England and cross the waters to get there.

Arriving in Ryde with hordes of other festival goers, we decided to make the most of our mini break and headed straight to the beach to watch the sun go down instead of scrambling for the tube. Yes, you read that correctly!

The rail service that runs between the port and several of the most popular resorts on the Isle of Wight is actually a vintage underground carriage. And as we watched the huge Bestival flock make their way down the pier, we thought we’d ditch yet another rush hour and sit it out over the remnants of our drinks instead.

Magic hour. The perfect time for a sundowner.

Magic hour. My favourite part of the day, wherever I am.

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If you look closely, you can see the Bestival gang rolling into Ryde. And the tube train.

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Beach times are the best of times.

In an attempt to dodge a post-festival cold, Ben and I had decided to stay in a nearby hotel and only head into the festival a couple of hours before our favourite acts were performing so we could do some work before the fun starts.

For anyone thinking about ditching the camping situation in the future, do it. Unless you can go boutique. Always go boutique if you have the option.

The taxi fare from Shanklin, where we stayed, was only around £15 during the day and £25 ‘after hours’. I had visions of Ben and myself stumbling back to the hotel in the dark through fields and woods because we couldn’t get a cab, but I needn’t have worried. Whenever we left the site in the evening/night/morning, there was always a fleet of cars ready to take us home.

It's time! Clearly.

It’s time! Clearly.

Presstival! I was reporting on street style for Glam UK and Tribe.

Presstival! I was reporting on ‘street’ style at the festival for Glam UK and Tribe.

Getting to work on Friday afternoon, we shot some great festival fashion. One of the many reasons I love Bestival is that it attracts a really cool, chilled crowd; which makes not only for a great atmosphere but also some unique and creative festival looks.

Maybe it’s because the eclectic, genre-spanning line-up of all time greats and hot new talent brings together fans of all ages and cultures, or because the quirky mix of music, fancy dress, theatre, wellness and food keeps the crowds happy and entertained at all times… But whatever it is, it just works.

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When the sun goes down, Bestival really comes into its own.

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Lantern-lit views on the main stage from the VIP bar. Lucky sods that we are!

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Premium festival vibes.

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Ben takes a break to get ready for Duran Duran…

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I’m just there to pose.

After refuelling over a cocktail or two in the VIP bar, Ben and I excitedly headed into the crowds to watch Duran Duran on the main stage. The set was great: the hill was packed with fans singing and dancing along, Simon Le Bon looked hot and there were more pyrotechnics and confetti explosions than you could ever ask for.

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The main man on the main stage.

Loving it. So much.

Loving it. So much.

The only rain we saw at Bestival 2015 was heaps of confetti.

The only rain we saw at Bestival 2015 was heaps of confetti.

More confetti?

More confetti?

Did I mentioned confetti?

Did I mentioned confetti?

Little did we know that we’d be left randomly bursting out lines from aaaaaalllllll the band’s greatest hits for the rest of the weekend. I couldn’t even tell you how many times Ben and I shouted, “Freeeeeeeeze! Raaaawk!” at each other…

All that jumping around to Duran Duran left us hungry, so we set off to explore the Bestival street food area. This is where the festival scores another massive point because founder Rob da Bank and his team clearly put as much effort into curating a solid selection of delicious meal options as they did with the musical line-up.

From burritos to posh burgers, jerk chicken to the Robin Collective‘s ‘medicinal marshmallows’ and a whole van dedicated to Mac ‘n’ Cheese, we were in foodie heaven. In the end, I couldn’t resist Anna Mae’s Kanye Western pasta pot, while Ben almost fell over himself with joy when he scored fried halloumi from the Nandos stall.

And that was a wrap for day one! If you prefer to get your updates in real time, make sure you follow myself and Tribe on Instagram @livebe and @tribethemag!

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You know it.

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Mac ‘n’ Cheese bae…

Despite happening right at the end of festival season, to give Bestival further credit – I swear I don’t secretly work for them –  the weather has never let me down thus far and every time I have been, we’ve been spoilt with beautiful Indian Summer sunshine and mild temperatures.

The forecast had been rather mixed for this year, but again, while it got a little chilly and overcast, the waterworks held back right until the final night. But hey, that’s what layers and boots are for, right?

And with the help of piña coladas straight from the pineapple and my water (and cocktail spillage) proof wireless Monster speakers, we managed to stay warm and in high spirits!

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Wrapped up warm and ready for another day at Bestival.

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Pineapple cocktails and splash proof speakers = essentials.

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Let’s get tropical!

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Yep, those cocktails did the job.

In between shooting some more festival style, we also took the time to explore the site a bit more.

To honour the 2015 Summer of Love theme, Bestival had been given a hippy makeover this year, embracing Flower Power with a ‘commune’ chill out area and a giant floral fire shape that burnt brightly into the small hours of the night.

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The commune. Better than back in the day, I imagine.

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Peace out.

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Burning bright.

Like I mentioned, there is always so much randomness to see and get involved in at Bestival, it’s impossible to get bored.

Over the next couple of days we watched circus acrobatics on the tightrope in the Caravan Serai gipsy village, listened to rock band karaoke and stumbled across a spoken word performance in the Ambient Forest. And while we couldn’t check out all the events on offer, other intriguing activities on the schedule included Silent Speed Dating and Hip Hop Yoga. Maybe next year…

Four stars for Bestival. As ever.

Four stars for Bestival. As ever.

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Looking for mischief.

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Mark Ronson played the famous Bollywood tent.

On Saturday, I was very happy to finally see one of my favourite bands, Future Islands, live. Playing in the High Top tent, frontman Samuel T. Herring gave his all on stage as we danced along to his roaring vocals and the dirty guitars. We also caught up with Mark Ronson, who took over the famous Bollywood stage, had a casual boogie to The Jacksons and embraced full on ’90s greatness with Neneh Cherry.

Way too soon, Sunday came around and as we waited for Róisín Murphy to take to the stage, I saw a giant firework display lighting up the night sky over Robin Hill; marking the end of the weekend. Doom!

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The iconic Helter Skelter.

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Going out with a bang…

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Bye bye Bestival!

One of my friends recently described Bestival as ‘Disneyland for adults’, and, really, they aren’t that far off the mark. For me, it had been another magical weekend, for sure. See ya in 2016!

I’m wearing:

Day One:

& Other Stories sweater
Zara fringed suede dress
Adidas Gazelle trainers in lilac

Day Two:

Zara scarf
Topshop leather jacket
Duran Duran t-shirt
Topshop jeans
H&M biker boots
Rose ring bought at Purnima in Ibiza Town
Stone ring bought at St Kilda Twilight Market in Melbourne

Day Three:

Obey sweater
H&M men’s bomber jacket
Zara leather skirt
Adidas Gazelle trainers in lilac
Rose ring bought at Purnima in Ibiza Town
Stone ring bought at St Kilda Twilight Market in Melbourne

For more information on Bestival and to book your tickets for 2016 head to www.bestival.net.

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