Grimes, The Cure, Daughter, The Wombats & More @ Bestival 2016

This past weekend, Bestival took place at Woodbine Park for it’s second Toronto festival. The inaugural edition had happened on the Toronto Island, but after some logistical nightmares, Woodbine Park proved to be an improvement in venue. The space was large enough for the audience and provided ample space for vendors and a shaded VIP area.

Bestival is one of those places where people like to showcase their weirdness, like a mini burning man. There’s people dressed up (or hardly dressed) as animals, super heroes, wacky colours, anything they wanted to really. Everyone was very accepting of each other and it felt like a super chill place to be. I spent less time photographing, and more exploring, dancing and listening among the crowd.

Inside the big top the two days saw many DJs like Porter Robinson, Madeon, Shaun Frank, Classixx. I particularly liked the glitchy sounds of Giraffage and his internet-meme inspired visuals.

At the colourful Bollywood stage which had a much bigger dance floor this year acts like Art Department, Dubfire, Joris Voorn led the outdoor dance party in beautiful sunshine. The stage occasionally erupted in flames.

Really, there were mini dance parties or strange happenings all around the Bestival grounds. There were people dancing on top of a giant truck, above the trees, in a cosmic space tent. Bestival is where you come to let your body run free, in whatever way you choose to, including eating food as there was some of the hugest selection of food trucks I have ever seen.

What I had really come to the festival to see were all the acts on the main stage. There were a lot of UK acts that I had never seen live before like a super fun set from The Wombats, haunting tunes in the sun from Daughter, Swim Deep and of course Sunday’s headliner The Cure. The latter was a bit out of place (come on, kids under 25 have no idea who they were) but dedicated fans had their own intimate concert.

Closing the first night, Tame Impala played their psych-rock back catalogue as well as more electronic-based tunes from Currents. The band had cross-over appeal to those who came to dance and packed the entire field full of music lovers.

The highlight was of course was the Sunday set of goth queen Grimes (and a personal hero). Even with a cold, she still delivered a stellar performance with synchronized dancing. There were old favourites “Go”, “Genesis” but the highlight was Claire Boucher delivering a Russian rendition of “SCREAM” because Aristophanes was not in attendance. Boucher embodied everything that Bestival was about, a kind accepting weirdo, who just wanted to make you dance.