Bestival 2017's 'Year of Colour'
Year after year, Bestival seek to address a new theme or design aesthetic, tending to follow up their annual settlement with a backstory that unearths all sort of ideas and inspirations.
This year, the festival will for the first time see a change of scenery; from it's home turf in the Isle of Wight to the sunny estate of Lulworth in Dorset. And while a number of the festival's main attractions - including the Ambient Forest and, of course, HMS Bestival (making it's return for 2017) - remain the same, there are a handful of exciting new additions to fit the latest design brief.
If you hadn't already guessed by now, Bestival will this year focus on a 'Colour' design aesthetic for their 'Year of Colour' - a dramatic shift from last year's 'Future' theme. Speaking to TAO, Bestival's Marketing Manager Joe Elkins explained:
Joe: "This year was all about going back to our roots. In the early years, all of our creative designs were done by Josie da Bank. In recent years we’ve moved away from that aesthetic as the show has grown. This year Josie has been working closely with our designers and her unique illustrative style can be seen across our communications once again".
Da Bank's illustrations reach across all areas of the festival's colourful new identity; from the lineup poster, to the festival camp site map and sticker collections. These playful illustrations aren't too heavily reliant on detail or intricacy either. Instead, they are brought to life through a palette of vivid colours and shades, testament to this year's brief.
This years selected theme won't however be restricted to promotional content. In typical Bestival style, the main arena will be inundated with all sorts of vibrant subject matter: described as Bestival's "hands in the air nirvana", the new Temple stage will feature the "cream of the club scene" on the decks, while hi-tech lasers and "properly insane" pyrotechnics will serve to make your festival experience a memorable one. This will feature alongside the 'World's Biggest Confetti Cannon', the renowned Bollywood Tent, and the 'World's Biggest Bouncy Castle' as part of the brand new 'Colour Field' attraction for 2017.
Joe: "You’ll see a snapshot of various stage identities within the poster. These identities all reference an immersive experience that you’ll discover alongside watching grand bands and DJ’s. Alongside the core creative element, we produce bespoke concepts that delve into each area of the festival, and give the stages within it in more depth...
This has been at the heart of Bestival's production since their beginning in 2004; ensuring that all elements of the festival, from the stages to the individual 'areas', adhere strictly to its theme in more ways than just lights and banners.
Joe: ...the consumer will see the individual identities build and evolve throughout the campaign before they ultimately experience them on site. That idea of starting the festival journey way back in March is really important to us, it really drives the investment that goes in to our creative campaign"
Choosing a theme might seem relatively straight forward, but collectively agreeing poses its own problems; Elkins revealed: "We always deliver a very open brief to our designers; we’ll share the backstory of that years theme, what inspires us about it, whether there is a message behind it etc", adding, "there might be a big installation we’ll be building on site at the festival that might provide a good source of inspiration".
Bestival was born in India while the four directors were there on holiday, and it was in the festival's inaugural year that a Bollywood concept was debuted: "Our original rave venue was draped in beautiful fabrics, and surrounded by day beds and parasols... this Indian aesthetic, alongside a peace and love philosophy has always sat at the heart of our brand values". The aforementioned Bollywood Tent, the brainchild of Creative Director Josie da Bank and best friend Natasha Hill, is a special venue that remains the beating heart of the festival. Even despite outgrowing its capacity, big DJ acts like Fatboy Slim and Chase & Status request to play there because of the importance it holds.
Music, dance, and gesture are at the heart of Bollywood culture, with vibrant artistic units serving only to strengthen the dramatic experience it provides. Even the Parsi Theatre influences of fantasy and stagecraft are present in Bollywood culture, but moreso, for the Bestival identity that has been present since its formation.