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Virgin's Guide: Bestival

First time at Bestival this year? Let us guide you through the stuff you need to know ahead of hitting the festival.

Mike Warburton

Last updated: 19th Jul 2017

Photo: Bestival (BCredit)

If you're about to embark on your first Bestival voyage in September, we're jealous of you. As one of the friendliest and most eye-catching festivals we've had the pleasure of attending, Bestival is a party that you'll never want to leave, a cocoon of free-spirited positivity in a dreary world. And if it wasn't bright enough this year's theme (more on what that means below) is about colour - wow.

There's little to prepare yourself for what to expect, which makes your first time a unique experience you'll treasure for a very long time indeed. However, we'll try our best to throw in some tips and advice from our previous experiences of Rob and Josie Da Bank's festival extravaganza.

This year the most difficult part of getting there, the ferry, is negated by a change of venue. For 99.99% of the country that means a much easier commute than the adventure/soul-destroying excursion that was getting to the Isle of Wight, with Lulworth Castle easily accessible via road or rail (head to Wareham or Wool station)


The first thing that will hit you is the sheer magnitude of what's on offer - the site is enormous, so put plenty of time aside to explore because there is just so much awesome stuff to get involved with.

The Ambient Forest in particular is crammed with cool places to just chill out, so don't just stay getting pissed in the camping area waiting for the headliners to come on, get up and get exploring - there's a myriad of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. 

An area that unites physical, mental and spiritual states of well-being awaits you at Slow Motion where you can enjoy healthy programmes that include spin class raving, euphoric yoga, hot tubs, body art and loads more - all sounding like the ideal hangover cure.

The Main Stage isn't the most essential thing to see all weekend. Yes the line up is impressive, but for us, we can't wait to test out new venue Stacey's. The disco vibe is set to be unrelentingly brilliant, and we're expecting festival-goers to be sporting daft grins as far as the eye can see.

You also need to check out LoveBot park, it sums up how adventurous and dedicated to creating new festival experiences the Bestival organisers are, with a giant robot looming overhead delviering good vibes. HMS Bestival returns this summer with dancers, pyrotechnics a blazing and a hefty line up of DJs punching out gloriously tough beats to a sea of ravers. 

You'll no doubt notice that the attention to detail throughout the enlarged boutique festival is outstanding, each part lovingly looked over and curated - that attitude is present from the smallest things, such as the smiling Kanye that will sit at the epicentre of Cuckoo Clump, to the world's largest mirrorball and world's largest bouncy castle and the aforementioned HMS Bestival. 

Whilst we're on the subject of the world's largest, there's now a confetti cannon at Bestival that holds that title and will kick off the party each and every day of he festival over at the Temple stage, where the likes of Annie Mac, Jackmaster, Andy C presents 25 years of RAM and more will all play.

Then there's the annual themes. We've all been there - your mate announces they're having a fancy dress party, you spend some time throwing something together, then when you finally turn up to the party you and the host are the only two people to have bothered, and the whole night just kind of sucks - well imagine the exact opposite, and you've got the Bestival-goer's attitude towards fancy dress.

Virtually everyone puts in an effort; in fact you look out of place if you don't bother. The official day is the Saturday but it's a complete free for all with fashion across the whole weekend.

Bringing things back to a practical level - bring decent boots with you, the way you have to exit on the last day is pretty bloody steep, and can be a killer if you're ill equipped in the footwear department.

Oh and prepare to have one of the heaviest festival comedowns going - even if you've been well behaved and not had a drink all weekend, you'll be devastated when it's all over - getting back into normal life will be one huge chore, but the joy you experience whilst you're there makes it all worth while. Plus you're guaranteed to have some incredible memories that'll stay with you for many years to come.

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