This past weekend, Rob Da Bank gifted Toronto with Bestival. Typically held in the UK, it crossed the North Atlantic Ocean and graced North American soil for the first time in its history. The two-day festival was packed with a talented lineup of both local and international musicians with recognizable names such as Florence + Machine, Nas, Caribou and Banks. The weather on Friday was a little rough but the people who braved the storm and travelled to Hanlan’s Point Beach, did so with purpose. The island was broken up into different themes. Each section bringing its own aura. You had the Big Top Presented By Bacardi, Bollywood, Sunday Best Balearic Beach Club the Perrier Greenhouse and my personal favourite, the inflatable church. Actually, I just changed my mind. The Bollywood stage was clearly the dopest. We had belly dancers gyrating to the beat of the drums as flames occasionally burst from the sides of the palace. An honourable mention also goes out to Mexico De Noche for putting together the Day of the Dead Mariachi. Their area included awesome face painting while jamming to the sweet sounds of Mexico.
In regards to the show, there was something for everyone to enjoy. We all knew Florence was going to rock the stage, there’s no doubt about that. She killed it. We all knew that Nas’ impressive lyrical prowess and old school flow would evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst all those in attendance. He killed it. But here is a quick list of my personal favourites from Bestival.
The Best of the Rest:
The most unphotographable (Yep, just made that word up) DJ on planet earth. He performs behind this veil, which separates him from the crowd because for him, it’s all about the music. Prior to this, I had never seen him perform so this little surprise was definitely quite enjoyable. It intensified the artistic aspects if his set because he was able to incorporate multiple visual elements by projecting images and graphics onto the veil. His tunes were tight and he had the entire place jumping and tripping out on life and good times.
As a fan of dancing/ aggressive (fake) krumping moves, it was impossible for me to miss Flosstradamus! Their stage presence was unreal. Seeing the duo bounce around on stage while playing some of their trap style goodness was very infectious. It’s hard to stay still and take photos when all that madness is happening around you. We couldn’t spend too much time in the photo pit because we needed time to bust a move/ the security lady kicked us out prematurely. But we snapped a few good pictures before that happened so I think we all know who the real winners were.
I’ve seen him perform several times and absolutely love everything about his hypnotic sets. It amazes me the way he gets his audience to embody his spirit when he plays his crowd pleasers. Everyone went nuts when he started playing "Wildfire."
Ohh and special shoutout to Alessia Cara! I assumed I had no idea who she was but once “Here” started playing, I went “Hey, that’s that awesome song from those Rdio commercials!” Besides, anyone who samples Portishead is a badass in my books.
Overall, the festival was fine and dandy. Getting off the island though, that was a different story. At the end of the first night, I was lucky enough have gotten escorted to the front after about 30minutes of waiting. On the second night, I decided to play it smart and strategic. In order to avoid the rush, I left slightly early. Clearly the island was full of geniuses because we all had the same idea. Madness I tell you! So instead of fighting with a vey angry mob, trying to claw their way onto the boat, I sat down on a very comfortable park bench and just lived my life. I eventually got onto the ferry at 1am but I was at complete peace, which to me, was the most important thing. All and all, great festival. Looking forward to next year’s and looking forward to bringing my own boat.