There is circus magic to be found behind the walls of Caravanserai, and this year we will have more than ever! Celebrating 250 years of circus, Cirque Bijou will be out in full force, bringing the downright bizarre and the utmost brilliance to Bestival as always.
During the daytime, indulge in some unique circus flavours by trying out some dishes at the Circus Cafe. Cooked up in Caravanserai by acrobats, jugglers and jokers, and served on a spinning plate, you never quite know what you are going to get when you order from this offbeat menu…
Then as the sun begins to set, Cirque Bijou will present an array of magnificent aerial shows. Shimmering trapeze artists will fly high above the waltzers and caravans, a high line walker will dance with danger amongst the tree tops, and as the clock hits midnight the Camionette stage will explode with sizzle and sass as Cirque Bijou present their midnight cabaret.
Cirque Bijou are Bristol based show makers, pushing the boundaries of contemporary circus, street theatre and spectacle, seeking out the new, unexpected and extraordinary. From shows for stadiums and festivals to intimate spaces, their work is always an unforgettable and exquisitely-crafted experience.
Behold the most audacious performers to ever have graced Bestival’s green fields. From UK festival exclusive headliners, soul divas and sonic heroes to the ‘must see’ acts of 2018, these are the sights and sounds that will define four days of mind-altering music and circus trickery on over 20 stages and micro-venues in eight unique arenas, at the most colourful show on Earth, now in the heart of the summer, on the Lulworth Estate, Dorset.
Rob da Bank says: “Here come the girls…and a few boys too! Yes, it’s Bestival 2018 and we’re here with the first wave of our all-singing all-dancing line-up. With UK festival exclusive headliners London Grammar and Jorja Smith to legends in the game Chaka Khan, Jimmy Cliff and Grace Jones, and always representing the new blood from Mura Masa and IAMDDB to Mabel and Idles, we’re covering all bases. As any Bestival veteran knows we don’t just do music, so come and check our Hot Yoga, Dubstep Dodgem rides, wood-fired hot tubs, AmbientLand craft tent, East 17’s Christmas Party!, and loads of circus-based trickery, including a Human Cannonball, high wire fire walking and a pretty buff strongman popping up on the Main Stage.”
Commenting on their exclusive headline set, London Grammar’s Dot Major said: “We are so excited to be coming back to Bestival this year! Our show there back in 2014 was one of our favourite shows we have done on home shores. I’ve been going along for years as it’s such a magical festival and this time we get to headline! Can’t wait to see you all there.”
Bestival 2018 will see UK festival exclusive headline sets from London Grammar on Saturday night, Jorja Smith on Thursday in the Big Top, and a huge and very special Friday headliner still to announce, with M.I.A. closing the show before our fireworks finale on Sunday evening.
There’s no shortage of heroes, legends and bona fide superstars full of circus-themed swagger with standout sets from Grace Jones, Plan B, Chaka Khan and First Aid Kit plus Mura Masa, Sundara Karma, Thundercat, Jimmy Cliff, David Rodigan & The Outlook Orchestra and Stefflon Don among many others confirmed to appear on the Castle Stage. And our gargantuan and all-embracing Big Top line-up features Django Django, IAMDDB, Kelela, Mike Skinner & Murkage present Tonga and many, many more.
DJ sets and outlandish PAs include, in alphabetical order, The 2 Bears, Amelie Lens, Bez’s Acid House, Bicep (DJ Set), Billy Daniel Bunter & Raindance, Chali 2na & Krafty Kuts, Craig Charles, Denis Sulta, East 17’s Christmas Party, Faithless (DJ set), Gilles Peterson, Goldie presents Metalheadz, Honey Dijon, Hot Chip Mega Mix (DJ set), Jaguar Skills, Norman Jay, Ram Records, Rodigan presents Ram Jam, Rudimental (DJ Set), Sink the Pink, So Solid Crew, a Vic Reeves reggae set and Wookie & Matt Jam Lamont, with many more selectors signed up to our unholy order of rhythm.
And there are psychedelic sideshows and extraordinary attractions to satisfy the soul in eye-popping venues including Temple, Bollywood, HMS Bestival (AKA The Port), Stacey’s, AmbientLand, Caravanserai, Club Dada and a magnificent charm of stages and immersive micro-venues scattered across our boutique campsite wonderland.
As ever Bestival goes far beyond the music, and this year’s circus-themed arcadia is no exception featuring an array of tableau and temptation with Fat Gay Vegan, Feast Collective, Free Haircuts, Slam Poetry Yurt, Gong Healing, 5k Campsite Run, Dubstep Dodgems, Black Light Forest Party, Yoga Nidra With Rob da Bank, Human Ball Pit, Musical Vegetable Orchestra, Wood Fired Hot Tubs, the WI, the World’s Largest Confetti Cannon & Disco Ball, Fireworks, Witness The Fitness Tent, Lit Tent, Loop Sessions, the Love Bot, Rainbow Astronauts and much more.
Listen to our Bestival 2018 Spotify playlist now:
Here at Bestival we are fiercely independent and incredibly proud of our roots. We stand alongside so many phenomenal independent musical organisations in the UK, which is why we’re so excited to celebrate Independent Venue Week this week.
The Bestival team come from all corners of the UK, so we’ve quizzed them about their favourite memories at their top independent venues – some of which may have inspired them to pursue the path that brought them to us. So, remember, share the love with your local venues!
Head Honcho Rob da Bank on his musical memories: “I’ve got so many favourite Independent venues from when I was growing up, with the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth and the Joiners Arms in Southampton, through my raving days in London and life as a music journalist touring round the UK checking out bands and DJs in so many cool clubs and venues. But I’ll always come back to seeing the Penguin Cafe Orchestra in the Union Chapel as a life changing experience. One of my all-time favourite bands, and an unusual one who don’t fit in any particular box but have their own unique standalone spot in the musical universe… just like the incredible Union Chapel”
Team Bestival’s picks of their most memorable shows ever at Indie Venues:
Chloe – Drones Club at Birthdays, London
Aaron– Carnival Youth at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
Heather – Sam Fender at The Cluny, Newcastle
Bruce – Villagers at Village Underground, London
Stevie– Crystal Antlers at Norwich Arts Centre
Emma – Dutch Uncles at The Joiners, Southampton
Jo – The Killers at Bush Hall, London
Aidan – Prolapse at the Roundhouse, Manchester
Learn to fly at Bestival! Prove your nerves of steel and take part in The Gorilla Circus & Flying Trapeze School ‘Have a Swing’ sessions. Join the finest purveyors of primal circus when they come to Bestival this August and learn the death defying skills of a trapeze artist. Set to enchant and astonish one and all with intrepid highflying feats at their hair-raising evening shows, these superfly guys will be running trapeze school sessions by day for anyone brave enough to run away to our circus. Adding even more thrills to the most colourful show on Earth do not miss The Gorilla Circus & Flying Trapeze School and their jaw-dropping displays of mind-blowing aerial trickery.
Ever seen a man shoot lightning bolts from his fingers? Come to Bestival and witness that very thing and more when the uniquely electrifying spectacle that is Lords of Lightning – Frequency Riders join the most colourful show on Earth! Stirring primitive urges with high-tech craft, these inconceivable frequency riders fuse kung fu-style capers with dancefloor moves and the magic of resonant electricity, manipulating lightning and music before your very eyes. Firing electricity not only from their fingers but also their heads, legs and magnificent staffs, it’s a flash of brilliance guaranteed to be the hot stuff that lights up your life…
No circus could be complete without the muscular magnificence of a real strongman. So, we are delighted to present Sir Leopold Aleksander, artist, adventurer and all-round gentleman. Luxuriant of moustache and chiselled in the image of a classic Victorian strongman, Leopold will astound and astonish with Atlantean feats of power, poise and politeness.
A self-described ‘gentleman strongman’, Leopold prides himself on his impeccable manners as well as his dizzying displays of greatness and might. Set to host a multitude of stages across the Lulworth Estate do not miss Bestival’s burliest and brawniest being as he showcases the really big guns with grace and good nature…