THE Isle of Wight’s most glittery music festival gets under way today with thousands of people heading through Portsmouth on their way to Bestival.
The four-day event has sold all 55,000 of its tickets, and the weather forecast is looking good, with temperatures expected to rise above 20C and no rain on the horizon.
The festival is famed for its fancy dress, which sees many of the revellers get involved in a giant parade on Saturday afternoon. This year’s theme is Desert Island Disco.
And as part of that theme, the organisers have created what they believe is the world’s largest disco ball – which measures more than 10m across and will be hoisted above the crowds on the final night.
Judges from Guinness World Records will be coming along to verify whether the attempt has succeeded.
Tonight will see quirky performer Beck headline, with American hip-hop stars Outkast topping the bill tomorrow, Oxford indie-rockers Foals on Saturday and Chic bring things to a climax on Sunday night.
Rob da Bank, founder of the event, which is now in its 11th year, has been on site at Robin Hill Country Park, near Newport, for the past week overseeing work to create the festival’s numerous different areas.
Rob, who is originally from Warsash said: ‘The disco ball has arrived on site now and it’s looking good.
‘We’re going to keep it over in the Magic Meadow, behind the mainstage, during the weekend, so people will be able to come and have a look at it before it gets raised up on Sunday night.
‘It’s 10.2m, to be precise, and I think the current world record is 9.8m.’
And he’s looking forward to catching a lot of the acts too – his picks include Beck, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Amazing Snakeheads.
‘I spend the weekend watching bands – that’s my job over the weekend, I booked them so I want to see them,’ he said.
But it’s not all easy for Rob. He added: ‘From the moment I get up, I’m checking the toilets and showers and making sure people are alright in the campsites.
‘I don’t get a lot of sleep at Bestival, but I get through it – it’s a lot of fun.’
And if you get tired of the music, there are poetry readings, talks, comedy and much more.
‘We like to have people think about things as well,’ said Rob.
‘The arts side of things is very important to me.
‘There’s a lot of stuff to stimulate the mind, but if you just want to come and dance that’s fine too.
‘We have 50,000 tickets and another 15,000 crew and artists. We’re the second biggest independent festival in this country after Glastonbury.’
Official Guinness World Records adjudicator Mark McKinley said: ‘I’m looking forward to coming down to Bestival to see the largest disco ball – there’s a lot of hype that this is the biggest in the world, but I’ll be the judge of that when I see and measure it for myself.
‘Good luck to the organisers on their record-breaking challenge.’
n Follow @portsmouthguide on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend. See tomorrow’s Guide to find out who’s on when.