Bestival 2011 review: Stunning sets from The Cure and Primal Scream

The scene in Highams Hill, Gossops Green, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday after a woman in her 20s was found dead in a bed in a flat. Picture: Flora Thompson/PA Wire

REGIONAL: Father of woman feared murdered went looking for his daughter, neighbours say

Have your say

AS 50,000 people crammed round the enormous main stage of Bestival last night, Rob Da Bank must have been grinning like a Cheshire cat.

The Isle of Wight Festival curator has been trying for the past eight years to persuade his heroes, The Cure, to play the Robin Hill Country Park festival.

His perseverance paid off with an epic performance which justified why some of the crowd had travelled from as far away as Sweden just to see them.

Robert Smith and co took to the stage at 9.30pm, launching into a faultless version of Plainsong.

For two and a half hours the iconic band, who evoked such passion among their devoted fans and even the youngest generations at Bestival this weekend, peppered their set with hits such as Inbetween Days, Just Like Heaven and Friday I’m In love.

A Forest was simply amazing and The Lovecats had the crowd dancing wildly.

The Cure followed a stunning set from PJ Harvey fresh from her second Mercury music award for Let England Shake.

Wearing a gloriously gothic black feather headdress, Polly leant heavily on the album, opening with the titular track and then launching straight into Words That Maketh Murder.

Last Living Rose and Angeline were spine-tingling, while the closing Meet Ze Monsta from 1995’s To Bring You My Love demonstrated how as an artist she has honed her craft to perfection but has always had the power to create songs which are by turns provocative, powerful and just downright sexy.

On Saturday afternoon, Grandmaster Flash was great fun, spinning tunes and talking non-stop over classic hits from Bowie to Blur, Run DMC to Nirvana on the main stage.

It was an absolute treat to catch American folk/blues singer Willy Mason on the bandstand.

Even though his performance was beset by technical problems and at times he was clearly frustrated, the intimacy between him and the delighted audience of just a few hundred carried him through.

He played Save Myself from 2007’s If The Ocean Gets Rough but most there wanted to hear Where The Humans Eat and he played Hard Hand To Hold, Gotta Keep Moving and a glorious version of Oxygen.

But the defining moment for this festival-goer was Primal Scream’s awesome show at 1am in the Big Top.

They played the complete version of their iconic album Screamadelica, which was the soundtrack to the lives of so many people of a certain generation in the early 90s.

Higher Than The Sun was blissed out, intense yet utterly uplifting.

But the most perfect moment was when the dandyish Bobby Gillespie, Mani and co, performed Loaded with the relentless chorus ‘I don’t want to lose your love,’ which was a hug-inducing epic.

On Friday night, Pendulum took up where The Prodigy left off last year and even to those who did not quite fancy it, you could not help but dance to their drum and bass crossover.