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Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Pet Shop Boys, Dizzee Rascal and A Tribe Called Quest’s last ever gig all added to a gloriously vibrant weekend that kept the boutique festival in a glittering mood
With Secret Garden Party packing away its tit-glitter for good, is the wasted White Rabbit calling time on the boutique festival? Last year Bestival, at its original Isle of Wight site, carried a faintly withered air: Britain’s wildest costume party gauging the sour national mood and winding down, with fields once full of techno trees, rum shacks and underground pirate restaurants abandoned to camping.
Transferred to a smaller site at Lulworth Castle, this year’s event feels at first like a V&A exhibition about Bestival. Previous years’ centrepieces such as the world’s largest mirrorball, the clockwork robot and two giant astronauts are displayed like monuments, and a miniature replica of the once-mighty Wishing Tree stands by the campsite entrance, forlornly whispering reggae remixes. All that’s missing is an audio tour in which the Cuban Brothers inform you how many breaths it took to blow up the world’s biggest bouncy castle.