As 2012's festival season draws to a close, the traditional final curtain falls every year on the Isle Of Wight. Bestival, curated by Radio 1's Rob De Bank, has firmly established itself as one of the UK's - if not Europe - most prestigious festivals. Having first opened its doors in 2004 enticing a capacity crowd of 10,000 excitable punters, Bestival has grown in stature and size at an alarming rate of knots since, last year's event drawing approximately 55,000 customers through its gates.
As with previous years, 2012's event is once again a complete sell-out, something of an all too rare occurrence in the current saturated festival market. Situated on the Robin Hill Country Park in Downend, it's a four-day extravaganza of musical delights that can best be described as a mini-Glastonbury. Alongside the main stages are numerous hidden tents and fields such as the Psychedelic Worm, Bollywood and the Ambient Forest. Every year also features a theme with Saturday traditionally being "fancy dress day". This year Bestival has a Wildlife theme, so expect to see an assortment of lions, tigers and various types of woodland wandering intently around the site.
Last year's event saw a host of memorable highlights; The Cure's three-hour set on Saturday night, Village People persuading 55,000 people to perform the 'YMCA' dance and Health's early morning wake-up call in the Psychedelic Worm tent being three that spring to mind. This year, over 300 artists are lined up to play ranging from just about every genre known to man. While clashes are inevitable, we've chosen ten acts that Contactmusic are looking forward to seeing over the course of the weekend.
Getting the Icelandic four-piece to play at this year's event represents something of an exclusive coup for Bestival. Playing their only UK festival date of 2012, expect a career-spanning set complete with orchestral arrangements and visual delights emphasising why Sigur Ros are still held in such high esteem. Current long player 'Valtari' - their ninth in all - has received a wealth of critical acclaim since its release in May. Hear and see why for yourselves. We literally cannot wait!
(Main Stage: Sunday 8:30pm)
Rising from the ashes of the legendary Joy Division, New Order are undoubtedly one of the most influential bands ever to grace the UK music scene. Landmark single 'Blue Monday', released in 1983 yet still the biggest selling twelve-inch single of all time, fusing disco beats with post-punk in an era where cross-genre pollination had previously been winced at. Recent live shows such as the one last month with Blur in Hyde Park being well received, their headline slot on Saturday should be nothing short of sensational, even without founding member Peter Hook on bass duties.
(Main Stage: Saturday 9:30pm)
Let me take you to a place I know you want to go it's a good life. Arguably one of the catalysts behind the original acid house and rave scenes, Inner City's influence can be heard ever since from Massive Attack's tales of dark suburbia through to the dubstep craze still filling dancefloors worldwide. Formed in Detroit by Kevin Saunderson at the tail end of the 1980s before going their separate ways almost a decade later, last year's reformation brought about the 'Future' single. Get ready to party like its 1987!
(Stage, time & day to be confirmed)
As one of Motown's earliest signings, Stevie Wonder should need no introduction. The sixty-two year old has had a stream of hits spanning five decades, his music having been covered by a string of artists ranging from Deep Purple's Ian Gillan and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to current soul sensation John Legend. While his classic era is mainly claimed to have been from 1972's 'Talking Back' to his 1976 opus 'Songs In The Key Of Life', the prospect of hearing THAT voice perform THOSE songs is just too good an opportunity to miss. Prepare to be enraptured in the presence of genius.
(Main Stage: Sunday 9:15pm)
This might come as a surprise but Hot Chip have actually been making music for twelve years now. Surprising because it wasn't until 2006 and second album 'The Warning' that their wares attracted widespread attention. Since then however, they've firmly established themselves as one of the UK's most pivotal electronic outfits, combining the methodical structures of Kraftwerk with an alluring playfulness best at home on the dancefloor. What's more, this year's fifth long player 'In Our Heads' marked an exciting return to form, and their set just after midnight on the first day of Bestival has the potential to be one of the weekend's main highlights.
(Big Top: Friday 00:10am)
As cult bands go, Soulwax have to go down as one of the most revered in recent times. And sought after too. Having been formed in their native Ghent some twenty years ago by brothers Stephen and David Dewaele, the Belgian outfit had to wait almost a decade for anyone to take notice of their electro/rock mash-ups but when they did courtesy of the timeless 'Much Against Everyone's Advice', their legacy was pretty much signed and sealed. 2004's 'Any Minute Now' pre-dated the so-called "nu rave" scene by a good year or more, some would say even paving the way for a lot of those bands. Since then, having all but retired from playing live, the brothers Dewaele are perhaps better known these days as 2 Many DJs. Be prepared then for this rare live band performance. We promise you won't be disappointed.
(Main Stage: Saturday 5:35pm)
London trio Factory Floor are arguably the most original, forward-thinking combo on the planet at this moment in time. Mixing rabid post-punk textures with heavily deconstructed beats and shards of noise Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV would have been proud of back in the day, it's little wonder last year's epic 'R E A L L O V E' single saw them promptly signed by esteemed New York label DAF. Although not ones to play the live circuit; the band themselves have always stated they'd rather do one-off events than follow the herd, their performances always rank among the most intense yet thoroughly danceable. With an album in the pipeline, expect to hear a mix of old and new material.
(Psychedelic Worm: Sunday 8:20pm)
As a leading light of the raga and drum'n'bass scenes from the early 1990s, General Levy is something of a pioneering figure. 1994's 'Incredible', recorded with M-Beat is perhaps best known for its "Booyaka! Booyaka!" refrain that accentuated the fledgling UK grime underground scene for several years after. Since then, he's collaborated with numerous DJs and soundsystems such as Shy FX and Tippatone while guaranteed to bring the party wherever he's booked to play.
(Stage, time & day to be confirmed)
In combining the chameleonic wisdom of David Bowie with the sparse electronica of Kraftwerk, Gary Numan was perhaps the most unlikeliest of pop icons back in the day. However, turn the clock back three decades to 1980 and that's exactly what he was, arguably the biggest male pop star in the UK. Having achieved a number one single with 'Are Friends Electric?' followed by three chart topping albums, the hits may have started to dry up by the end of the decade but his live following and influence haven't. Last year's 'Dead Son Rising' LP - his sixteenth to date - was arguably his most consistent body of work in years. Bestival, prepare to be Numanized!
(Big Top: Thursday 11:05pm)
Formed in the Hollywood hills some eight years ago, their first EP 'Exquisite Corpse' still stands proud as one of the finest debut releases by a new band since the Millennium. It's their live shows though that really transcended Warpaint to a wider audience, having spent the majority of 2010 and 2011 playing every town and city across the world that would give them a show. Rarely disappointing in the flesh it has to be said, long awaited first album 'The Fool' finally dropping in the midst of their never-ending road trip at the back end of October 2010. Now, with a handful of new songs ready to be aired, their first UK festival appearance of the summer promises to be one of the most tentative, mouth-watering spectacles of the weekend. We await their set with baited breath.
(Main Stage: Friday 3:50pm)
This year's Bestival takes place between Thursday 6th and Monday 10th September.