Portsmouth’s Kassassin Street are heading straight to the Top at Bestival

Kassassin Street
Kassassin Street
The Darkness. Picture by

Simon Emmett

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At last year’s Bestival Kassassin Street played on the humble Bandstand.

This year, the Southsea-based psych-rockers have been invited back and are stepping up to play in The Big Top – the event’s second stage.

The festival, at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight, is expecting to welcome 50,000 revellers this weekend for an event themed on The Summer of Love. And the lads are thrilled to be returning.

‘It’s all come around very last minute, but it is very exciting’ explains frontman Rowan Bastable. ‘I think I’ve only missed one last Bestival in the last six years or so, and last year of course we played there for the first time on the Bandstand.

‘We seemed to get a good link with (organiser) Rob Da Bank, he’s remained in contact ever since and he’s said very nice things about the singles when they’ve come out, so we were hoping we would be invited back, but it was getting later and later.

‘And then lo and behold he came out of the woodwork the week before.’

We’ve been away every single weekend since the Isle of Wight Festival in June, doing a festival of some sort somewhere

Rowan Bastable, Kassassin Street frontman

Other acts lined up to play in the Big Top this weekend include today’s Big Interview stars Tame Impala, 2015 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers, and drum and bass legend Roni Size.

‘It’s a bit crazy to play on that stage,’ says Rowan. ‘Most of the highlights from my Bestivals have been on that stage, like Caribou last year and Spiritualized the year before that, I’ve seen so many great bands on that stage.’

The five-piece have had a busy summer, as Rowan says, he’s ‘lost count’ of how many festivals they’ve played at.

‘We’ve been away every single weekend since the Isle of Wight Festival in June, doing a festival of some sort somewhere.

‘In between that we’ve been recording our next EP – that’s off for mastering at the moment, and that’s pencilled in for release at the start of October. We’re excited to get that out.’

But there’s no resting yet for the band. From October 2, they’re off on their first headlining UK tour with Leeds act Clay, taking in 11 dates and finishing back at The Wedgewood Rooms on October 17.

‘You always worry when you go somewhere for the first time you’re going to be playing to four people, but from what we’ve been told they’re selling all right.

‘It’s a great chance for us to play in front of new people. We love winning people over live, and festivals have been good for that because we can just go for it, but this will be something new for us.

‘It’s amazing playing to the home crowd, but it’s good to have a challenge.’

They play the Big Top at 1.20pm on Sunday. For more details go to bestival.net
For Wedgewood Rooms tickets go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk