Build Your UK Vacation Around the Bestival Music Festival

A four day indie music festival held on the Isle of Wight in England in a small country park called Robin Hill, Bestival was first organized by Rob da Bank in 2004. Set on the largest island in England, Bestival just keeps increasing in size over the years, with a focus on music and whimsy. They famously set a Guinness World Record for the number of people in party dress in 2010 and have goals this year for getting more festival-goers involved in their antics. This year they have hopes to create the largest disco ball because, why not? Bestival also provided an inflatable church where people could get married, just in case a certain song moved you to propose. This festival also supports local environmental and social causes for the Isle of Wight and has been nominated for multiple awards. This year they have fantastic established and up-and-coming artists like Outkast, Foals, Beck, Jenny Lewis, La Roux, Wild Beasts, and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers. Last year Bestival hosted Snoop Dogg and Elton John, so feel free to set your standards high when visiting this festival.



2014 LineUp

besti a5 single side

So…Where is it?

The Isle of Wight is located just off the coast of Hampshire in the English Channel. It’s been a famous holiday spot since the Victorian era, although I don’t think Queen Victoria ever could have imagined a man named Snoop Dogg rapping where she took tea. In the very south of England, the Isle of Wight is going to be a warmer spot than most places in England (hence the vacation spot appeal).


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How Do I Get There?

Although the Isle of Wight has its own history and warm appeal, it’s only an hour and a half away from London by train and boat. The best way to get to this isle from London is by their ferry, Isle of Wight Ferry, which departs from Portsmouth, Southampton, and Lymington. If you happen to have an extra day or two in London, or even just a night, I highly recommend the London Walks Tours, which provide excellent tour guides that whisk you into the history of London with stops in local pubs across the area of London you’re exploring. Make sure you bring your student card, because this amazing deal gets you up to two and a half hours of blissful entertainment and culture in a quite expensive city. Also make sure you book your train and ferry transport in advance, because the crowds journeying from London can be pretty large.

Wightlink Ferry off Southsea

If you’re a bit more adventurous, there is also Swim2Bestival…which is exactly what it sounds like. A charity event for mostly youth organizations, this mode of transportation allows festival-goers to swim 1.3 miles in cold and choppy water to the Isle of Wight and avoid the long line at the ferry. You have to register for this option in advance, so when you get to the ferry, I highly advise against jumping into the water without approval.



When is it?

Bestival runs from September 4-7, with artists performing from 11 am to 5 am. This gives you just the right amount of sleeping time to recharge for the next day.

When I get There, is There Anything Weird I Need to Know?

Make sure you hold onto your wristband, as well as carry some kind of identification with you at all times–security can ask you for it at anytime. If you’re under 18, then you must have a legal guardian with you, so start convincing your “cool” aunt to go with you. There is a shuttle bus that drops you off near the festival site, but be sure to book campground spots beforehand. You are allowed to bring your own alcohol, but Bestival is pretty strict on just where that alcohol can go, so I would pregame to save money before you go to your favorite artist’s show. They also provide phone chargers throughout the site for you to charge your phones, so if you’re lost and looking for your friend during Beck don’t panic. They also have showers available, but do expect a long line. Wait, in England they say “queue” instead of “line,” so add that to your local vocab. Also make sure you get into the festival site before midnight, because security closes it off around then.

Any More Details I Need to Know?

  • If you want to sound like a local, call yourself a “grockle,” which means “tourist” or “visitor.” Example: “Excuse me sir, could you help this lost grockle find where the ferry drops off?”
  • The Isle of Wight is famous for its rowing, cycling, and sailing, so make sure you take this scenic route when exploring the island.
  • Check with Southern Victis before you make your bus travel plans, so all your times and fares are up-to-date. You can also pay on the bus if need be.

I loved it! Now what?

If you can’t get enough of the beautiful Isle of Wight, look out for the International Jazz Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival, which are held there as well. They’re also planning on expanding to the United States and other territories in Europe, so keep an eye out for those in the next few years. Yeah this group of artists can feel a bit random, but the beautiful setting of Robin Park brings them all together in four days in an unforgettable way.




By  Lauren Rogers, FestPop Associate Publisher/Editor
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