Music festival websites go on shutdown to campaign against sexual assault

Over 25 music festival sites are turning off for a day on Monday (8 May) as part of a zero-tolerance campaign highlighting sexual assaults at the events.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has told festivalgoers to be aware of on-site support services that are available to victims.

The hope is to raise awareness of sexual assault. Two women in 2016 were raped at Reading Festival, say police. Bestival, Parklife and Secret Garden Party are among the festivals that have signed up to the Safer Spaces Campaign.

“It’s raising awareness and letting audiences know that if something were to happen, they can report it on site,” said Renae Brown, campaign manager at the AIF. “This is something we should be talking about at festivals. We want people to look out for each other.”

“Festivals can be crazy spaces and we’re proud that they’re places to let off steam but there are limits and rules as there are in general society,” said Rob da Bank, the promoter of Bestival. “We just want everyone to be aware and it’s great that some of the UK’s biggest festivals have signed up to this.

The campaign is supported by Rape Crisis England & Wales, Girls Against and Safe Gigs For Women (SGFW).

“It’s a positive message and not a scary one. Everyone should be able to go to festivals and enjoy them,” added de Bank.

The websites will be black out for 24 hours from 9am on Monday.

“We’re launching a new chapter”: Bestival to move

Bestival has announced today (15 December) that it is moving from the Isle of Wight, its home for its 13-year history, to Dorset.

The September festival will take place from 2017 onwards at Lulworth Estate, where its spin-off, children’s festival Camp Bestival, takes place each July.

Founder Rob da Bank told BBC News that it was a difficult decision: “It’s been a bittersweet morning. Things have really stacked up against us in a really boring economic fashion.”

To find out more about what the move means for Bestival, Access spoke to Dave Grindle (below right), operations director at Loud Sound, who has worked at the fest since its inception in 2003.dave-grindle

Can you elaborate on what Rob meant by the ‘boring economics’?
Dave Grindle (DG): We’ve successfully operated the show on the island for 13 years, and like any show of this size that hasn’t been without its challenges. Rather than the Isle of Wight site being a particular logistical and economical nightmare, moving the show to Lulworth will allow us to streamline our operation across the two shows. Yes, it will save us money doing two shows on the same land, and that money will be ploughed into making Bestival an even better experience for the festival-loving public.

Does consolidating the festival onto one site make your job any easier?
DG: We have over 400 acres at Lulworth, which will allow us to deliver two unique shows. Bestival will be a totally different experience designed for a very different audience.

That said, there are advantages to operating two shows on one site and we plan to keep as much kit on-site as possible. The logistical challenge will be transforming the site from one show into another.

What benefits will the new site bring?
DG: The new site allows us to be even more creative and innovative, with wandering woods, the Jurassic coastline and a grand Castle centrepiece as its inspiration.

What is the capacity for the new site, and do you feel optimistic that it will be filled?
DG: We have a planning capacity of 40,000 for 2017. With the show launching into a new chapter at a new site and the strong line-up that is due to be announced, yes, we are feeling optimistic.

How do you and the team plan to avoid the challenges T in the Park faced when it moved in 2015?
DG: We’re in a very different situation here. We’ve operated Camp Bestival on this site for 10 years now and have invested in developing the site to suit our needs. While this is a different show, by and large the same principles will apply in delivering Bestival. We have the advantage of strong relationships with Purbeck District Council and all of the agencies locally together, with first-hand knowledge of the site and surrounding area.

What logistical aspects of the festival will be affected most by the move?
DG: The fact that we don’t have to schedule every single truck onto a ferry will be an advantage for us! We have already done the groundwork with the council, police, fire service and other agencies, all of whom are supportive.

Bestival wins top gong at UK Festival Awards

Bestival was anointed Best Major Festival at last night’s (26 November) UK Festival Awards, which took place at London’s Roundhouse.

“To win Best Major Festival in 2015 is a testament to our incredibly faithful Bestivalites who come back year in, year out, but also the likes of Missy Elliott, the Chemical Brothers and Duran Duran for lighting up the skies, and mostly our tirelessly devoted staff and crew who make it all come together.”

Other winners included Latitude for Line-Up of the Year, Liverpool International Music Festival for Best Festival for Emerging Talent and Eroica Britannia for Best Non-Music Festival. Peter Gabriel also picked up The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Use of Technology

Glastonbury Festival for Arcadia Spectacular

Concession of the Year

The Breakfast Club

Best Hospitality

Wilderness Festival

Best Toilets

Kendal Calling

The Brand Activation Award

Virgin Trains

Agency of the Year


Promoter of the Year

Lost Ventures

Anthem of the Summer

Mark Ronson – ‘Uptown Funk’

Headline Performance of the Year

Fleetwood Mac at Isle of Wight Festival

Line-Up of the Year


Best New Festival

Wild Life Festival

Best Festival for Emerging Talent

Liverpool International Music Festival

The Grass Roots Festival Award

Beautiful Days

Best Overseas Festival

Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found

Best Metropolitan Festival

Liverpool Sound City

Best Dance Event


Best Family Festival

Isle of Wight Festival

Best Non-Music Festival

Eroica Britannia

Best Small Festival

Festival No.6

Best Medium-Sized Festival

Y Not Festival

Best Major Festival


The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award

Peter Gabriel

Me Myself & I: Rob da Bank

Bestival’s arbiter of all things cool talks 12 years of festivals, tapping into his feminine side and introducing UK events into the North American market. 

AUDIENCE PROFILE: We aimed to get a slightly older audience this year, reflected in our headliners – the Jacksons, Duran Duran, and Missy Elliot. However, the likes of FKA Twigs and Tame Impala are popular with the younger indie crowd. You can change audience profiles successfully from year to year. Our crime rates are low and there’s always a really friendly atmosphere here.

GIRL POWER: A promoter once said to me that Bestival has a reputation as a ‘girly festival’ and I said, ‘thank you very much’. I really like that. Keeping a good proportion of the acts female is important to us, and providing an atmosphere where female audiences feel comfortable is great. 

SPIN OFF SUCCESS: Our spin-offs, including Bestival Toronto and Common People, taught us that the market is growing, so we may well set up other festivals internationally if the demand is right. A lot of UK festivals have failed to translate to foreign audiences. We loved how the Canadian audience embraced the event and elements like the Inflatable Church, where couples, gay and straight, got ‘married’ and really created an amazing vibe.

CANADIAN COUNTERCULTURE: Canadians, we heard, were quite conservative, but we found the opposite. Bestival Toronto had a nude beach area right outside and a hippy commune. It was a liberating experience.

PITCH INVADERS: I find that, in general, people are a bit more chilled out about brand presence at festivals. It’s part of everyday life walking down the high street and people understand the necessity of brands and how they help fund some really creative experiences. You don’t want a neon flashing Coca-Cola sign on the Port stage, but brands nowadays understand the modern festival scene better, and take tasteful branding into account in their pitches.

IDEA FACTORY: My wife Josie is very creative and pitches a lot of ideas. I chip in too, but we have a team of 20 people who are responsible for what Bestival is. We’re well known for our memorable set pieces, like the mirror ball. Some festival audiences are happy to have the same thing each year, and that’s cool, but ours is an audience that likes to be surprised.

ELECTRIC DREAMS: Bestival has a lot of electronic music played here, but while around 65 per cent is like this, and it’s like a big rave, there is plenty of other music, indie, world music, hip-hop. We have exciting plans for next year we will reveal soon, but I guess the spread of genres is roughly the same, although the headliners will be more indie-orientated.

BUGBEAR: Artist exclusivity is really bad for acts. Certain promoters are responsible and there’s a lot of frustration in the independent festival sector with acts being pulled at the last moment. It’s bad for the music industry in general.

CONGRESS: The AIF was a really exciting project to set up and it’s tackling some really important issues. It’s now become more professional in its approach and the Festival Congress rallies the industry together. It’s about the underdogs coming together and celebrating the fact that we have stayed true to our visions and not sold out.

This feature originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Access All Areas, out now.

Peachy Productions on working with Jägermeister at five festivals

Peachy Productions’ Beverley Dormand reveals the build challenges and creative vision behind Jägermeister’s pop-up at five festivals including Bestival.

The Brief

Our challenge was to demonstrate and cost how we would take a concept and bring it to reality using a portable structure, clad inside and out with custom sets then enhance using sound and lighting.


Initially, we produced a combination of mood boards, showing its interpretation of the concept, with technical drawings on how we would build a custom structure and a detailed costing budget.

A second process was a collaboration with Frukt, the experiential agency, and Jaegermeister in which we explained in more technical detail how we would build and deliver this two-tiered ‘Jäger Hause’. We also detailed how to overcome any logistical issues of transporting such an ambitious build across five festivals.


Being a brand activation job, we had to collaborate tightly with Frukt and Firecracker, our set design company, to get every panel and every piece signed off throughout the whole structure. Then, working hard with Mar-Key to finalise the design of this double decker build.

Lead-times were short due to the detail and complexity of the structure, and travelling to five festivals up and down the UK. Military precision and tight collaboration with all parties was a must.

Hurdles and achievements

The locations at most of the festivals were not ideal, being in the middle of forestry. The logistics of coordinating the crews and trucks to install and dismantle at back to back festivals starting at Beatherder, moving up to Kendall Calling and ending up at Bestival required detailed preparation and co-ordination. And we are pleased to say that the entire tour was a huge success.

Showsec closes summer with Bestival

This year’s Bestival, which was themed the Summer of Love, saw Duran Duran, the Chemical Brothers and Missy Elliott headline the main stage on each of the festival’s three show days.

Showsec’s summer programme drew to a close at the festival.

“We are continually exploring ways to raise the bar higher by delivering very special festival experiences for the enjoyment of everyone, ones which are particularly creative and innovative,” commented Dave Grindle, the Festival Manager from Loudsound Productions.

“To have the confidence to be that bold and ambitious with your plans, you need to have strong backing from the teams who provide essential parts of the whole operation.

“In that sense, we’ve developed a long-standing working relationship with Showsec and it is very important to us to have the support of such a strong team of managers and supervisors.”

A prominent feature of Showsec’s operation was the strong presence of senior management heading up the team throughout the event at Robin Hill Country Park.

While Director Mark Logan acted as head of security, three of the company’s regional managers, Steve Reynolds, Scott Anderson and Richard Church, took on key responsibilities and five area managers provided further support across the whole operation.

As well as directing their own operations, Showsec also played an important part in the co-ordination of an army of Oxfam volunteers providing stewarding support.

“The benchmark is set very high by Bestival in terms of customer experience, so it is important we match that commitment with our level of service,” commented Reynolds, who was the security operations manager within that team for this particular occasion.

The police have reported a 26 per cent drop in the number of reported criminal incidents, while enhanced searches involving Showsec staff, private detection dogs and police advisors ensured that substantial quantities of drugs were confiscated at the entrances.

“The reduction in crime is a satisfying reflection of the emphasis which we place on this element of our operation and indeed the standardised training many staff have completed recently to enhance their skills and knowledge in that respect,” added Reynolds.

Among the many attractions at Bestival, the world’s largest disco ball was back after successfully achieving an entry into the Guinness Book of Records in 2014, while the unofficial record bid on this occasion saw 446 people become the largest number of buskers to sing a song in one place.


Rob da Bank has posted some great production pictures

Bestival founder Rob da Bank’s Instagram account has been the source of some innovative production pictures of late. Here are our favourites.


Camp Bestival takes place 30 July – 2 August. The inaugural Bestival Toronto took place in Toronto Island from 12-13 June. Meanwhile, Common People – also on its first outing – took place in May.

Bestival takes place 10-13 September.

Bestival co-promoters launch event consultancy

The co-promoters of Bestival have launched House of Bestival, it was announced today.

Ziggy Gilsenan and Josie da Bank have come together to create the new event consultancy, creative production company, and prop hire agency. House of Bestival will give promoters access to unique, cutting edge event expertise.

House of Bestival will combine consultation services for marketing, experiential and live event briefs. The company will also use Bestival’s own handcrafted themes, including Bollywood, Desert Island Disco and Reggae Roots, plus a selection of micro-venues, bars, hand-painted signage, furniture and props.

“Our ethos is about developing an original, killer concept and turning it into an epic consumer experience that becomes the centerpiece to a truly effective marketing campaign or an unforgettable event,” Gilsenan said.

Since launching, House of Bestival has already worked on BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Nile Rodgers’ Chic album launch party at the Roundhouse, and Kylie Minogue’s British Summer Time gig in Hyde Park.