On June 12 and 13, Toronto got a taste of U.K.’s award-winning music and arts festival, Bestival, which first originated in 2004. DJ/Producer Rob Da Bank (the mastermind of this festival) brought Bestival over-seas for the first time ever for a two day extravaganza at Hanlan’s Point Beach. Bestival debuted with over 30,000 fans surrounding the Toronto Islands with headlining acts such as Florence & The Machine, Clean Bandit, Nas, Banks, Robin Schulz, Flume and more.
With five different stages, each with their own unique theme and strong line up is what sets Bestival apart from many other different festivals. Bestival’s main stage is all about sharing the love and welcoming headliners Florence & The Machine and Nas. The Big Top stage presented by Bacardi had some of the top DJs in the world such as Flume and Robin Schulz. The Bollywood Stage, inspired by an indian colossal temple brought neon monkeys and shooting flames with headliners Nicole Moudaber and Jamie Jones. The Sunday Best Balearic Beach Club was the place to relax on the beach with family & friends and headliners Big Swing Soundsystem and Bestival All-Stars. The Perrier Greenhouse stage escapes mother nature and showcases emerging Canadian acts such as Ardalan and Matoma.
Bestival is truly a festival that goes beyond the music. With loads of different attractions such as the legendary Bestival inflatable church, ; The Mystical Eclipse Clan held court at the Bollywood Temple, Day of Dead Cocktail bus with mariachi, bingo tournaments, and Sugarskull face painting. An amazing Carnival parade which took place on Saturday at 5pm featuring a marching band and more crazy colourful amazingness. A whole variety of costume shops where fancy dress and dressing up creates the heart of everything at Bestival. The Wellness area where fans can enjoy a holistic massage and beauty services performed by handpicked local therapists. These are only a few of the many great attractions at Bestival. Never a dull moment!
Back to the music, day one of the festival started off right with Rob da Bank at the Bollywood stage. With lasers, lights and the mystical eclipse crew, this was the perfect way to start the day.
The main stage consisted of acts such as electronic musician Robert Delong who pumped up the crowd before Wavves hit the stage. Following Wavves, Clean Bandit performed many of their hit songs, including fan favourite “Rather Be”.
The whole crowd filled up as Florence & The Machine took the stage at 9:45 p.m. Lights, and singing everywhere, Florence Welch made sure everyone in the audience ended the night with smiles everywhere. She even sang a slower rendition of Calvin Harris’ “Sweet Nothing” and it was a truly beautiful moment.
Day two started off with the same energy as the night before. Born Ruffians graced the main stage with singles “Needle” “Hummingbird” and “Oh Cecilia”.
Once American singer-songwriter Banks hit the stage, fans started going wild. The whole audience was singing along to “Drowning” and “Waiting Game.” Finally, closing her set with hit single “Begging for Thread” , leaving the audience was begging for more.
At 8:15 p.m. Caribou took the stage and got the audience back on their feet dancing. Playing an hour long set, this is exactly what the crowd needed before headliner Nas takes the stage.
Once Nas came on at 9:45p.m. all the hip-hop fans united and went back to 2000s. Nas sang some of his old and new hits, making it the perfect way to end an amazing weekend.
This is exactly what Toronto needed. A festival that isn’t just about the music, but a special night to gather everyone together and truly experience arts and music. Ending with fireworks everywhere, Bestival proves why it is the greatest festival in the world.