This year’s circus themed edition of Bestival is littered with a wide range of talents, from soul to indie to rap. So, as we head into the festival season, it is surely the perfect time to drum up some anticipation for one of the county’s most recognised festivals. As per usual, curator Rob Da Bank has grabbed a hoard of intriguing names, and here are just a few that stand out.
Stephen Bruner, a prodigious bassist from L.A. and producer of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, made strides in the music world behind the scenes before taking centre stage himself. An expertise in ability to assimilate seamlessly into the modern funk and soul world made Bruner a long sought after collaborator, working with the likes of Erykah Badu, Childish Gambino, and N.E.R.D. However, since the release of his 2017 album Drunk, under the name Thundercat, the proprietor of psychedelic funk has shot to stardom, finally grabbing the limelight that he so deserves. Incorporating his groove-heavy basslines into his distinct genre-mashing style, Thundercat is one of the most appealing acts on this year’s Bestival line-up.
Arguably just as concerned with performance art as mere musical rendition, Grace Jones is a truly incomparable. With over half a century of experience, the Jamaican born singer has a unique tendency for the theatrical that makes her one of the most unforgettable performers that Bestival has ever had the pleasure of hosting, with her secret set in 2008 becoming one of the most iconic in the festival’s history. Drawing from her Jamaican roots, Jones has always been ambitious in her explorative soul, R&B, and disco sound, making for the perfect back catalogue to enshroud Lulworth Cove with an eccentric display that will be an audio-visual extravaganza.
The Big Moon
Adding a dosage of grungy pop punk to this year’s line-up in unapologetic, raucous style will be the up-and-coming all female band The Big Moon. The London based four piece will arrive at Bestival surfing their own wave of new found fame since the release of last year’s debut album Love In The 4th Dimension. Having supported the likes of The Maccabees and The Vaccines, The Big Moon are no strangers to the live stage, and even in their fledgling career have already built up a notoriety for unpredictability and an undeniable high energy in their performances; a perfect fit for one of the UK’s leading festivals.
Bristolian indie-punk rockers Idles are quite probably the most antagonistic live performers to hit Bestival this year, and I mean that in all the best ways. Taking performance intensity to the extreme, expect much more than your average mosh-pits. Idles are renowned for their commitment to putting on a display that will undoubtedly be etched into the remnants of your memory, and with the band’s second album just about finalised after releasing their debut album Brutalism only earlier this year, there will be an abundance of new music for you to get your teeth into.
Shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2017, Stefflon Don is one of the leading rising stars of the UK rap scene. Incorporating dancehall and grime influences from her Jamaican ancestry and Clapton upbringing, the rapper earned recognition from the likes of Wretch 32, Jeremih, and Lethal Bizzle, propelling her into the public eye with a series of collaborations. The twenty-six-year-old has rapidly burst onto the scenes in the past year with her hit single ‘Hurtin’ Me’ and her collaboration with the likes of Future on ‘Bum Bum Tam Tam’. Oozing in confidence and maturity, Stefflon Don will undoubtedly provide a dextrous performance even despite being in the adolescence of her career.
Arguably the biggest name on the bill, London Grammar, fronted by Hannah Reid, are making strides for female representation at UK festivals with their upcoming headline set. Boasting one of the most technically impeccable voices in the current music scene, the English trio have perfected their blend of electronic pop that has seen a meteoric rise since last year’s return from a four year hiatus, with their second studio album Truth is a Beautiful Thing. The band’s profoundly emotive ballads and haunting vocals are entirely unique, ensuring that their live performances are as deeply immersive and captivating as the music itself deserves. Ultimately, if you are to see only one act at Bestival this year, make sure it’s them.
Bestival takes place Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th of August at the Lulworth Estate, Dorset. Tickets are available here.