HMS Bestival sails towards barnstorming finale

Richard Digance

A close encounter puts Richard’s career back on the musical path

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The mean streets of California’s ghettos, Bestival ain’t. The 80,000 people enjoying this year’s antics at Robin Hill Country Park are far too nice to be involved in any of that gangster business either.

But that didn’t stop rap legend and king of the G Funk Era himself Snoop Dogg ripping up Saturday night as Besti continued to underline itself as the festival connoisseurs’ event of choice.

Perhaps his new alias as Snoop Lion, and all the Rastafarian connections that come with it, is more in keeping with the laid-back party ambience of the festival, which is the creation of Portsmouth-born DJ Rob Da Bank and his wife Josie.

There would have been a few who questioned affording a rapper Saturday night’s headline slot.

How hip-hop translates to an English festival audience is a thorny issue which was famously raised by Noel Gallagher when Jay-Z headlined Glastonbury in 2008.

What isn’t in doubt, however, it that Snoop and Bestival worked.

A performer with the clout of one of the biggest names in the music business was never going to leave the crowd disappointed on fancy dress day at this year’s HMS Bestival-themed event.

From the moment he delivered the calypso-licked P.I.M.P and threw out commercial hit Signs and old school favourite Gin and Juice in quick succession the game was won.

Katy Perry and Calvin Harris had their moments before Still D.R.E and a cover of House of Pain took the set to its best moments.

Saturday afternoon at Bestival belonged to the superstar DJs delivering in the slipstream of Fatboy Slim’s barnstorming Friday night set.

First up was Zane Lowe and Mark Ronson in their A-Yo! guise before Jaguar Skills sent a packed crowd at Bestival’s new The Port stage into delirium.

Acrobats strung from a crane high above the revellers and flames emerging from the stage’s funnel were all typically Bestival as the mash-up king did his business.

But best of the bunch was DJ Yoda who introduced a full brass brand to the big top for a rousing late afternoon slot.

That ensured sampling the Rocky theme had a real impact as did mixing Chad Jackson’s Heat the Drummer (Get Wicked) with Dizzee Rascal’s Fix up Look Sharp.

But now the attention turns to the final day of a 10th birthday Bestival which has lived up to all expectations.

Today brings the curtain down on the event with Cuban Brothers, Carl Cox, Crystal Fighters, Musical Youth and Fake Blood as some of the eclectic musical mix to look out for.

Hopes are high Elton John will then deliver a fitting finale. The bar has been raised high after the first two headliners of another classy party.