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Jascribble’s Bestival Adventure September 11, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Poetry, Literature, and Performance.

We got to go to Bestival for free. Oh yes. I know that this is well jammy considering that performance status was mostly awarded for three poems each in a mini poetry slam in a yurt, but I’m not complaining.

So Yem and I drag ourselves into Waterloo at the ungodly hour of 7.30 and keep dragging ourselves from vehicle to vehicle until we reach the campsite on the small the beautiful Isle of Wight. Everyone is clad in costume, scrappy haired, beer doused, bubble blowing, and deliriously happy. It isn’t long before we join them- at least, in turning slowly porous to the atmosphere which is so thickly airborn it is infectious even to us, exhausted, lost, and slightly apprehensive. Both camping virgins, we set up our tent without too much confusion (oh yes! as a city dweller I do see this as a major acheivement) and go wandering.

It was an entirely different world. From the moment we arrived in Portsmouth Harbour and wandered around buying sweets and taking pictures of the poster for Blackface circus, I kid you not, it was clear that you definitely don’t need to leave the country to feel totally outside a situation. I don’t mean that in an alienative sense, more that London is cushioning in it’s nature when you are brought up here, and many things you take for granted, such as ethnic diversity. Around the campsite (which was absolutely HUGE, massive areas sprawling around the valley, loads of different stuff going on) we saw a few more people blacked up and blinged up, which was bizarre. They stopped for a picture for us. I wonder what they were thinking. It’s worth clarifying that Bestival holds a tradition of dress-up, so most people were pirates or wizards or fairies or squid (yes, squid) so it wasn’t that these guys were dressed up as brown people out of the context, but that that was their chosen facade..

 We meet Charlie and Sarah and find our way to the Restival area where the slam is taking place. As mentioned above, it turns out to be a smallish chilled affair, with sleepy hippies and plates of fruit being passed around, and I think, this is bizarre, but lovely. The slam moseyed through with little tension, and was generally chilled and lovely. Adriel was spectacular- Sanfrancisco Slam Champion, performing later this week at the Farrago Autumn Slam, where I will see him again because I will be featuring. Hooray Cooray! Anyway, after some eating and chat we all diverge slightly and Yem and I go and grab some (very dodgy) food (I won’t go into what it did to my digestive system, you can probably hazard a guess, but let’s not) and see Nathan FluteBox, who Yem knows from The Aftershock Project with Nitin Sawhney, and who has a 20 minute set on stage with another beatboxer and a double bassists. He is fantastic, but depressingly short lived in his set. That happened a lot, actually- the next day, Beardyman was only on in his glory for 2o minutes before Kate of the Nash came and staccatoed her way through the air waves. I was not pleased! Why do these fantastic people not get more airtime?! Yem plants the thought-seed of a collaboration and I wonder what it would be like to hear Beardyman and Nathan together. for an hour. mmmm.

The rest of the weekend passed in a sort of chilled haze, lots of waiting for showers and people watching and walking about and, sadly, tent collapsing. As we condensed our belongings into nylon in nylon in plastic, I felt a tug, not wanting to leave, or at least wishing to come back next year, and to see other festivals, and be part of more summer havens in years to come.




1. Yemisi Blake - September 11, 2007

Oh yeah!
Bestival was dope. I’ll send you the black face pics

2. brrnrrd - September 25, 2007

You must tell me what’s decent in Sussex… Fresher’s Week is a little too generic and the prospect of going to the ‘black student’s room’ is worrying.

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