Bestival curator Rob Da Bank has spoken to Music Week about plans for the annual festival to relocate from the Isle of Wight, where it has spent the past 13 years, to Dorset in 2017.
The festival’s organisers have applied for a license to stage the four-day event at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset - the same site as its family-oriented sister show Camp Bestival – in a bid to cut costs and ensure its commercial prosperity for years to come. Both festivals will remain distinct and separate events.
“It’s bittersweet for us after 13 years on the Isle of Wight, our spiritual home,” Da Bank told Music Week. “It’s not a decision that’s been taken lightly. We started Bestival as fun, hobby thing that has turned into a business, and commercial aspects have taken over, so with fierce competition we felt we needed to move to keep ahead of the game and to keep our spot as one of the leading independent festivals in the UK if not the world. It’s a big move for us.
“But as well as being sad to leave the island it’s also incredibly exciting for us. The Lulworth Estate is a beautiful site and hopefully from the customers’ point of view a lot of other people will find it exciting too.”
Despite moving to the site of Camp Bestival, Da Bank has also told Music Week that the change of location will not impact upon Bestival’s own unique identity.
“The Lulworth Estate is absolutely huge and we will not simply be using the blueprint of the Camp Bestival site,” he continued. “We’re not plonking a main stage there and leaving it until September. Everything, apart from a couple of smaller stages, everything is going down then coming back up again. It will be a very different looking festival, different feel, different castle, so it’s very exciting. We won’t be reducing the size of Bestival in any way. We are aiming for a 40,000 capacity festival.”
Furthermore, in a bid to retain the spirit of Bestival in its new surroundings, Da Bank says that next year’s event will celebrate and reflect upon some of Bestival’s best loved features.
“We are bringing back a lot of our key venues, like the Space Port and the Port and the Swamp Shack and all these innovative stages. It’s going to be a bit of a retrospective of the past 13 years. Not in a nostalgic way but brigning back all the best bits and going back to our roots and what we stand for – good fun, amazing stages, big headliners and a lot of new music.”
Dave Grindle, operations director, Loud Sound, also commented on the move: “Taking Bestival to a new site is an exciting undertaking for everybody involved. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Loud Sound to manage the logistics of two different shows at the Lulworth Estate. The extensive knowledge we’ve gained of the site and the surrounding area over the past decade will help us deliver two unique events while minimising any disturbance to local residents.”