Bestival was a Festival that was held on the Isle of Wight until 2016. Once a year Brading Down was transformed into a musical, magical Wonderland. It was a delight even before the Festival started, driving past the site and seeing stages and circus tents appearing where once there was only fields.
I was lucky enough to be able to photograph Bestival from it’s second year, then when Chris and I met, he joined me. Over the years we documented everything from huge international acts and vast groups dancing to quiet moments in the woods to a huge robotic spider. There was never a moment at Bestival where there was nothing to photograph and the September light was always glorious.
As well as collections of photos from different years, we have collated a documentary photobook called Clap your Hands. The photos from this book do not appear in these Bestival blogs, but more about the book can be found on our personal page.
It is hard to express how lucky we were to photograph this evening, we were able to experience so much amazing music and revelry surrounded by our friends and family. Every year at the beginning of September, when we drive along Brading Down, we look down at the empty fields and we wish for Bestival.
2010 to 2012
Between 2010 and 2012 Bestival became a much bigger festival. 2012 was the year of Pants to Poverty and Stevie Wonder. Bestival is famous for being the biggest fancy dress party in the World. Every year on the Saturday, the fancy dressers parade around the Festival. Along the route they are joined by carnival groups in huge costumes, by the Rajasthani Marching band and by a giant mechanical spider. The Bestival sign is a popular gathering point. At night the woods are lit with ethereal light and become enchanted. As you wander through them they open up into tiny stages and intimate sitting areas. It’s quite simply magical.