5 Favourite Musical Acts at Festivals 2017

Here’s a list of my favourite musical discoveries and sets – consisting of bands, artists and DJs of lots of different genres – that I saw during festival season this summer! Those festivals included BoomTown Fair, South West Four and Bestival.

1. DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow was a completely new musical discovery for me – I’d never heard of him before Bestival, and only gave him a listen a week or so before going when someone recommended him to me. On first listen I was a bit unsure – it seemed kind of too hip-hop for me, as that’s a new genre for me and was even newer at the time of listening (as I’ll talk about in the next artist in this list), but I gave it a fair chance. Then I tried a different song – and was plunged even further into confusion as this song felt like a completely different genre than the one before, and I started to get into it. And then I listened to his album Entroducing all the way through and really started to enjoy it. He was on our mental list of acts to see at Bestival, not really somebody we were dying to see, but someone we thought we’d enjoy. And while wandering around looking for some music, me and another person fell upon his set and I was blown away. You know you get those live musical experiences – the ones that make you think “music is amazing”, and you’re so happy to be in the right place at the right time, and don’t want the set to end? That was DJ Shadow. He absolutely killed it, and I just wish I could relive it again. Safe to say I’m a fan now, hah!

2. Loyle Carner

The first I heard of Loyle Carner was on the way to his set at Boomtown, where it was so packed people were spilling out of the tent and we didn’t even get inside. But from what I did hear my interest was piqued. In the time between Boomtown and Bestival, I listened to him more, knowing he was at Bestival and I started to want to see him more and more. And then, Sunday of Bestival, the weather was so bad the arena was shut for an hour or so, at exactly the time Loyle Carner was supposed to be performing, and he wasn’t rescheduled. So I still haven’t seen him, but would like to! He’s the first hip hop artist I’ve ever enjoyed, and I’m still exploring the genre at the moment.

3. Midland

Midland is a DJ that set my Bestival off to a very good start. My friends had gone to see an act I wasn’t that interested in, and rather than stand through it I got myself a drink from someone I knew working the bar, wandered into the Bollywood tent and stayed there for 2 hours haha. I see quite a lot of DJs, but this was my first time seeing Midland, and he was really, really good. Really knew how to deliver an energetic set, an awesome selection of tracks that I wish had been recorded so I could listen to again!

4. Camelphat

While on an excursion to find some food while the rest of my friends were still dancing away to something on main stage at South West Four (I’m not a big fan of main stage acts, and my belly was rumbling), I was looking for somewhere to relax while I ate my big, classic festival dinner of paella. I sat and watched Camelphat and really, really enjoyed it – adding them to the list of DJs/acts I’ve seen by myself through wandering aimlessly at a festival haha (alongside Odesza at Bestival last year, and Midland this year, although I had some sort of intention of Midland despite being by myself!). I want to see them again when I’m not stuffing my face with food, and will drag my friends along next time – just like I will to Midland, hah.

5. The Specials

Not a new musical discovery, but I only really knew a few of their songs before seeing them at Boomtown, and I wanted to include them in this list because they delivered such a fun and energetic set! They performed at Lion’s Den at Boomtown, and it really set the fun vibe that followed for the rest of the weekend. The perfect start to the evening before we started wandering around Boomtown’s psy forests, into the craziness of downtown, and getting lost in the microvenues!

Summer 2017 has been good for seeing live music! 🙂

The only downside to music this summer is I don’t feel like I really got my garage fix – although there was a tonne at Boomtown, somehow we kept missing it all, and the hunt for garage each night became elusive and crazy, as we started off the evening looking for it and got distracted by something else (easily, easily done at Boomtown). (Guess I’ll just have to go again next year to get my fix, hah.) I had some fun at Bestival listening to some garage, just not enough for my fix! We also tried Kurupt FM but their set was a bit too grime for me. I’m going to Boundary festival in Brighton soon as the last day festival of the ‘summer’, and TQD are there, so maybe I’ll get it then! The other disappointment was of course Loyle Carner, which couldn’t be helped, but he’s on my music bucket list to make sure I see him at some point.

Who did you enjoy this summer?

Bestival 2017

Bestival 2017 is sadly over and with it marks the last weekend festival of the summer. Last year was my first time going to Bestival, and because we had such a great time, my friends and I decided to go again. Here’s the recap!

What did I do at Bestival this year? I listened to some great, great techno (here’s looking at you Midland, where I spent almost 2 hours by myself in the Bollywood tent and heard Nous Sommes MMM which is one of my top five favourite techno tracks ever), I fell in the mud (A LOT. Got mud on my clothes, all over my tent – even on my face – and managed to get the nickname Bambi from my friends for my lack of coordination), went in a hot tub, ate a lot of falafel, had an amazing, amazing musical experience at DJ Shadow, sadly missed out on seeing Loyle Carner and Hackney Colliery Band as they were cancelled due to the weather, ate vegan vodka jelly shots, bumped into some of the cast of Kurupt FM at Jagerhaus, did hop hop yoga, enjoyed the festival with my lovely friends, enjoyed the festival with a lovely person I hadn’t seen in a month who I met at Boomtown this summer, lost my phone (as per usual for me at a festival, and thankfully it was only my £10 Nokia, but I’m looking at getting some sort of phone leash for the future!).

The site this year was on the Lulworth Estate in Dorset rather than the Isle of Wight, which had its pros and cons. I personally preferred the IOW site, but as the Dorset site is smaller it meant everything was a lot closer and easier to get to. The walk from the car park to the gate and then to the campsites was SO CLOSE it was actually crazy, and we camped in Emerald camping, opposite Slow Motion (where the relaxing activities are such as hot tubs, meditation and yoga, and a plant-based cafe called Milgi could be found). I couldn’t believe how short the queue was to get in, it literally took less than 5 minutes, which is a huge contrast to the 9 hours I queued for Boomtown this year haha. I always use pop up tents because I’m not good at putting up tents, so it wasn’t long before we were all getting set up and ready to start the weekend. I also met up with someone who I met at Boomtown this summer who was going to be camping with us, and helped him carry his tent from staff camping still fully set up to our campsite in the wind and rain, which was a fun little adventure!

The weather was a little bit hit and miss this year! I slipped over about 5 times in the mud on the Sunday, and for an hour or so the main arena was closed because the weather was so bad. The little amount of hay the Bestival team put down really helped, but I definitely think they should have done that sooner / all over the site so my clumsy, bambi legs didn’t slip and slide all over the place so much. The toilets were (as you’d expect) not so great either – last year the campsite portaloos were hosed down every day but that didn’t seem to happen this year! Since discovering compost toilets at Boomtown where you put in sawdust after going to the loo, I really realised how much I missed them haha.

Lots of mud!

Like at the IOW site, the Dorset site had Ambient Forest which is always my favourite, but sadly it was smaller at this site! Still – I had a lot of fun this weekend, and I’m really glad I went again. Here some more photos:

Me and Joy looking very glittery.

Giant happy Kanye!

I’m already scouting out what festivals to go to next summer, and I’ve got one day festival left of this year as I’m going to Brighton Boundary festival, and then I’ll be counting down the days til festie season starts again! Look out for some upcoming posts soon on who my favourite musical acts and discoveries were of this summer at Bestival and Boomtown, eating vegan at music festivals, and a guide on how to survive those festival blues in the tiring days following a festie, as well as the festivals I’m looking at for 2018.

Did you go to Bestival this year? If so – what did you think? 🙂