UK’s Bestival takes over Toronto Islands


UK’s Bestival is more than just a music fest, it’s an extravaganza of art and culture. This weekend, it arrives in Toronto for the first time. (Photo Courtesy of Bestival)

Story by Ofelia Legaspi Music Columnist

TORONTO, ONTARIO — So, some dude named DJ Rob Da Bank wants you to spend good money on yet another music festival that’s come to Toronto. This Friday and Saturday, the Toronto Islands will host UK-beloved Bestival, a quirky arts and music shindig where you can knit, get married, get costumed, meditate, see a hip-hop legend, go to a rave and drink peanut butter bacon milk shakes, all in the same day. But whatever you do in this festival or this rip in the spacetime continuum, let it not to distract you from the crazy lineup. Don’t miss:

GrandtheftYou can attribute mild seismic events at Bestival to this Toronto-born DJ. When not busy making trap music for the new “Minions” movie with fellow “electrontonian” Keys N Krates, Grandtheft is stealing the limelight from Rihanna. Watch yourself inexplicably dancing to the strangest lyrics about debt collection set to the throbbing bass drops of Grandtheft and Diplo. I mean, this is a remix so commanding that you are wishing, praying to all that is holy, that this unnamed debtor has Bad Gal Riri’s money.

Keys N KratesKeys N Krates, ‘n Kanye in a remix best showcases KNK’s work. They take something like Kanye’s laid-back hip-hop “Clique,” distill moments from it and curate a soundscape of trap, forgoing the typical manic treatment of the genre. Festivals can use more live electronic acts like this group, manipulating the dancefloor with their drum, synths and turntable.

WavvesWanna hear something different? Dive into Wavves: surf-y, grungy low-fi experiments in noise and distortion. His lyrics, what you can make of it anyway, are the barely-audible barebones of angst. “I’m so booooored,” echoes metallic, wrapped in fuzz.

Omar SouleymanHe’s a festival circuit favourite who’s had a lot of practice performing at weddings in Syria. His voice emerges like a velvety brush stroke of sustained Arabic vocalization against the warm, melodic electro accompaniment of big bass, wailing synths and maniacal fingers on the keyboard. He put dabke on the map in 2011 when he began doing festival circuits and made the rave crowds go wild to Arabic folk techno.

NasHe was the teenager who put out the seminal, prodigious hip-hop album Illmatic in 1994, a success he’ll continue having a hard time replicating. Illmatic is a story first (life in the Queensbridge projects in New York) that breathes to the backdrop of laid-back boom bap. Nas’s rapping soars with lyricism and a delivery that is never overwrought.



Location: Hanlan’s Point Beach, Toronto Islands, June 12-13. Gates open at noon. Bestival is a 16 years and older event. Under 16s can attend if with an adult who is older than 30.

Getting There: Ferries to the Toronto Islands leave from the Toronto Ferry Docks at 9 Queens Quay West, located South of Queens Quay between Yonge Street and Bay Street. You need to take the Hanlan’s Point ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Ferries will be operating on an extended schedule, and running several times per hour until after the festival ends. Full schedule available at the ferry terminal.

Tickets: Click here to buy tickets.

Weekend Tickets:
1st Tier $129.50 / 2nd Tier $149.50 / 3rd Tier $189.50

The Lucky Lounge (VIP Area) Weekend Tickets:
1st Tier $249.50 / 2nd Tier $299.50
more info here

Day Tickets:

Tickets also available in person at Soundscapes, Rotate This & Tiny Record Shop.


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