Fresh from a slew of summer travels that saw me visit Hong Kong, Singapore, Ibiza and Croatia – Bestival was the last stop on my ‘summer tour’. I haven’t stepped foot on the Isle of Wight since I was 16, so to be back over a decade later and to be back on a chilled out island was really quite refreshing. There is something very liberating about nailing tins of Heineken on the ferry to the island with hundreds of other eager festival goers after a particularly gruelling week.
Our quarters for the weekend were really something – STA Travel, our glorious hosts, had built near enough an actual hostel in the festival and we were some of the lucky few invited to take full advantage. It was amazing to spend every night in an actual bed (and trust me, I’ve paid my festival dues, I deserve this), but I fear STA may have ruined festivals for me forever – how can I possibly go back to a tent after this?
My partner in crime for the weekend was good friend, long time Breaks affiliate and trusted photographer James Clothier – both of us knowing full well that this was our last proper summer weekend, we were definitely out to have a lovely time.
Each of our evenings started with STA’s Hostel, far from just a buildout and a double decker bus, this became the hub and nightly starting point for what seemed like the entire campsite – bands followed by DJs brought the night to a euphoric crescendo, before revellers headed off into the night to explore the festival and it’s many delights in whatever way they saw fit. As, of course, did we.
This was my first Bestival experience and even after experiencing a great deal of different and varied UK festivals, it’s definitely up there as one of the best. Unparalleled atmosphere, camaraderie and a vibe that is difficult to beat, I could well see myself returning in years to come.
Sometimes pictures are better than words and above is a collection of photographs, shot by James, that perfectly capture what was a absolute belter of a weekend.
Words: Tom Kirkby
Photos: James Clothier