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.
2014 introduced Caravanserai and a giant glitter ball to the Bestival scene. Caravanserai was a great addition and featured a stage in a carousel and seating within modified caravans. The giant glitter ball (the World’s largest and Nile Roger’s idea apparently) was lifted high above the site during the firework finale. We checked out the unbelievably brave souls riding the wall of Death and came across a gang of sofa thieves on the woods after dark. This was the year that we decided that we wanted to create a documentary photobook about Bestival, Chic played and as we walked about to their soundtrack, the book became ‘Clap your Hands’.