By Nicola Dempsey

Bestival is the closer to the summer music festival season in the UK. The final key change. The big finish before the dark knight falls, sorry, before the dark fall nights settle in. This year, for the first time outside of the UK it is coming to Toronto, and as a newly arrived Brit in Canada I am so happy that it is braving the runway at Billy Bishop Airport to hang out at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island, for a couple of days in June (12th -13th).

The sensibles among you will have bought your tickets on Thursday when they went on general sale. If you were not so smart, and still aren’t sure whether you should splurge on a weekend of awesome this June, maybe I can persuade you to reconsider…

Bestival is a boutique music festival from the brainchild of British Broadcaster and DJ Rob da Bank, and his wife Josie da Bank. Wanting to put on their vision of a modern day, independent music festival, it is the combination of Rob’s eclectic musical expertise and Josie’s creative genius that have birthed this award winning, quirky-cool love-fest that attracts over 50,000 people, and the best artists in the world every year. Where else could you see Snoop, Elton John, Fatboy Slim, the Wu-Tang Clan, Bastille and Jessie J all in one place? Bestival (2013).

The line-up this year should be enough to get you on a ferry at 9am in the middle of June in your finest fancy dress with a 2-4 in each hand. Bestival always promises a cool collection of artists, and the acts on this year’s bill so far (there are more to be announced) are an awesome bunch of musicians at the top of their game, people about to break, Indie artists, cool kids, just everything. Artists you already love, and those who you will discover a new love for at the festival. And it is a testament to how good Bestival is that Florence and the Machine are returning to headline in Toronto, having played in the UK back in 2009 and headlined alongside STEVIE WONDER in 2012.


But if THAT isn’t enough, what is wrong with you? You want MORE? What can you do if you want a break from the music (as if)? How about pop your head into a Bollywood temple? There are marching bands. Beach bars. A cocktail bus. An inflatable church where you can ACTUALLY GET MARRIED! The mother of all dressing-up boxes.

Let’s talk about the dressing-up briefly. At Bestival you go big or you hop on the ferry and go home. Go with the theme or go it alone, we take our dressing-up seriously. Become a different person for a whole weekend. How amazing does that sound? Yes, it does.

What I love about Bestival is the free-feel of it all and Toronto Island is the perfect location for it. In the UK, Bestival is held on the Isle of Wight, slightly bigger than Hanlan’s Point, off the mainland of Portsmouth (my hometown GIVE IT UP!) And this festival could only be held on an island. It makes you feel separate from the world for those four days, free of life, or whatever, on your own private cult-y dance party island. You cover yourself in face paint, embrace the hippy attitude, say thank you when people bump into you, and take in some amazing music in a beautiful location.

If that hasn’t convinced you then…well I don’t know. But I will be there holding up a lighter for Florence and Nas and Caribou and Rudimental, with flowers in my hair and an inflatable wedding ring on my finger.

Nicola Dempsey is a writer, musician and comedian from the UK, currently residing in Toronto. You can check our her blog at littlenibblers.tumblr.com