Bestival Part II

UK: In our second and final instalment of this year’s Bestival coverage, we discuss the ways some of the festival’s sponsors integrated their brands – from concept-driven paint parties to a gig atop a food truck. Bestival’s co-promoters Get Involved deservedly receive some shine too, having played a major role in what organiser Rob da Bank referred to as ‘probably the best Bestival we’ve ever done’.

With a palette composed of the most common teeth-staining colours – such as red for [red] wine and orange for sports drinks – Listerine’s dual paint parties aimed to exemplify the effectiveness of its whitening mouthwash. But essentially it was an excuse to throw morally reprehensible shapes amidst a miasma of powdered pigments and unrepentant bangers. Supplied in the area were complimentary bottles of mouthwash and protective ponchos, the latter of which I didn’t wear the first time because I’m a Solid Gold Nutter with nothing to lose.

Listerine PP GIF

Oliver Adams, Business Director at LIGHTBLUE, oversaw construction of the Aperol Spritz area. Fresh from residencies in Brighton, Manchester, and London’s Southbank Udderbelly, the Glasgow-based agency focussed on cultivating a warmer, more intimate space at this year’s Bestival and Lovebox festivals. Even from afar – as the world’s largest disco ball threatened to distract from the periphery – the Aperol Spritz stage remained striking with its incandescent orange aura. The area comprised three reinforced shipping containers, decked out with a mezzanine up top and wooden floors to provide some premium décor and even ground to dance on.

Left to right: Oliver Adams of LIGHTBLUE, Michael Baker of Festival Insights/the Illuminati
Left to right: Oliver Adams of LIGHTBLUE, Michael Baker of Festival Insights/the Illuminati

“Aperol is a social brand,” said Adams. “We wanted festival goers to have a cosy, intimate place to have fun. Some of the past areas we’ve worked on have felt a little cavernous, so we kept the capacity at 500 and placed the DJs very close to the crowd.”

One of the headlining DJs was Craig Charles, who spent the majority of the time hanging from the rafters and shouting unheard incantations into the abyss, presumably owing to PTSD-related flashbacks to his time served in the incomprehensibly brutal Robot Wars.

In 2015 LIGHTBLUE is looking to expand upon its photobooth feature, which utilises facial recognition technology to determine if participants enter alone or in groups. If it’s the former, a timer begins ticking and the lonesome soul is encouraged to go out and find enough people to take a group picture with. Oliver didn’t comment on what incentive is given to do so – aside from making friends – so I like to think that if the loner fails he or she will be hunted down and rapidly eviscerated by a battalion of bipedal cyborg lizardmen.

Photo credit: Alex Oxborough
Photo credit: Alex Oxborough

Bestival is about as colourful and zesty as festivals come, so its sponsorship from Nando’s chicken restaurant seemed like a natural fit.

A spokesperson for Nando’s commented: “Everything here is fun, vibrant and for the fans – which is exactly how we do things. We thought it would be fun to build a stage on top of the Cock o’ Van and surprise festival-goers with pop-up performances, so we did.”

At the time I spoke to Nando’s, the acts gracing said rooftop stage were yet to be announced, but they turned out to be Professor Green, JME and Skepta. Pretty big names considering that the venue was a food truck. The restaurant’s integration with the event centred on this impressive focal point, and Nando’s is still keen to ramp things up next year.

“We wanted our fans to enjoy their favourite artists at festivals whilst tucking into PERi-PERi chicken, and we’re excited to heat things up again in 2015.”

I don't have a relevant photo to put here so this will have to suffice. [Photo credit: Alex Oxborough] [Modelling credit: me]
I don’t have a relevant photo to put here so this will have to suffice. [Photo credit: Alex Oxborough] [Modelling credit: me]

On the promotion side of things, I spoke to Get Involved – co-promoter of both Bestival and Camp Bestival, and in charge of all the PR, marketing, digital and sponsorship divisions in-house. As well as generating year-round national, online, regional PR and broadcast promotion, Bestival’s already strong digital dynamics continue to build through Get Involved’s social media platforms, allowing it to curate its own stories and mobilise fans to feel part of the narrative.

“While we keep on nurturing our direct relationships and partnerships with media across the board, we also work hard to bring Bestival’s iconic identity to life,” said Ziggy Gilsenan, Managing Director of Get Involved. “We’ve always got great themes, which spark a lot of creativity and we’ve had a lot of fun with that again this year, using Desert Island Disco as a catalyst for content creation, producing some unique ideas and innovative campaign tools.

“This year we broke a Guinness World Record for the largest disco ball ever, encapsulating our theme with gusto and generating international coverage and endorsement from artists across the board.

“We’re one of the most experienced festival press and marketing teams around with collectively over 30 years of green field action under our belts and we continue to thrive on bringing creative ideas to life that inspire music fans to get involved on a deeper lever.”