Bestival Toronto returned for its second year in the city in a new home, Woodbine Park in Toronto’s east end. A big change from Hanlan’s Point of last year, the move eased logistical issues that the Island always brings and offered new ways to showcase all of Bestival’s unique and special offerings which exist both on and off their stages (and tents).
The new site was utilized very well, including the placement of the all-important I love Bestival sign above a perfect hilltop viewing area for those who like their crowd scenes slower and more comfy, with full view of the main stage and most of the main food & bev areas. Returning Bestival-ers got to have the warm fuzzies seeing the iconic Bollywood tent and the special homey touches that Bestival is known for. This festival is singularly great among those in the area in recent years, leading the charge in putting attendee experience first, from walkability to seating areas (that go far beyond picnic tables or VIP-only offerings of other events in town.) This is not an ad, but a real observation from someone who loves the little details and furniture and has spent years carrying around various versions of a blanket/raincoat/etc.
There was an intimacy to the new setting that was interesting and made for great conversation and people watching. Families came with children decked out in their protective ear covers, and all seemed to enjoy the open spaces, relaxed vibes and hot, beautiful weather. The now-customary strong variety of food trucks was present, and we decided to stick to cool cider and a chicken burrito along with water. Stages were a quick hop making the circuit easy to map and cover, and along the way to the Inflatable Church and the Bollywood Stage sprung up the Summer of Love Costume Party & Parade full of unicorns and musicians and followed by a surprising and beautiful pooch (on staff) riding in a golf cart. And that was all before 6:00 p.m.
With Rob da Bank, Maddmon, Smalltown DJs, Thugli, 4B, Giraffage, Shaun Frank, Madeon, Porter Robinson, Elliot Vincent Jones, Rationale, Swim Deep, Jamie XX, Odesza, Tame Impala.
Plus, all the beautiful people, one beautiful dog, the most beautiful handmade headdress of all, a moose-icorn? A lovely dancer we think outta go by Bust A Move, new friends, the most chilled out tent ever to be staked in this city (complete with twinkly chandelier) the most delightful green apple glasses filled with Jim Beam bourbon, sun, and even the Isle of Wight made an appearance.
Day two artist gallery /write up to follow.
With thanks to Bestival Toronto and all the featured artists and the people.
Words by Jacqueline Howell. Photos by Dave MacIntyre