Review: Bestival 2016

When Bestival came back to Toronto for a second year, Bestfan was there to take in the sights and sounds.


There’s a unique history behind Bestival in Toronto. The festival was born out of Rob Da Bank‘s 10 year run of his ‘Sunday Best‘ empire. Bestival originated from a dream Rob Da BankJohn and Ziggy (from ‘Get Involved’) had to create the perfect music festival.


Last year, the festival had received rave reviews due to the stellar lineup of artists and DJs.  Naturally, we were excited to see what the festival would deliver this year, and as expected it didn’t disappoint. This year, Bestival had a line up of great talent including Tame Impala, Odesza, Jamie XX, The Cure, Grimes to list a few. But what makes Bestival that much more unique is the combination of an all-star musical lineup together with the creative execution of the festival itself. Two stages, a Bollywood Cocktail Bar, a decked out inflatable church, numerous food trucks all tucked away inside Woodbine Park, where people were free to come as they are and leave the bustling city behind.   


It was beautiful to see thousands of Torontonians and foreigners make their way into the festival grounds to check out what the Bestival had to offer, vibe out to the sounds, experience the local Toronto tastes and come together to feel the love. The festival truly created an atmosphere that made you feel like you were stepping away from your 9-5 for a little ‘vacation’ close to home… all with some dope background music.

Here are some of my favourite musical acts from this year’s Bestival:


After a long trek from the subway, I made my way to the festival grounds just in time to catch English record producer and DJ, Jamie XX. He hit the stage with full force late afternoon with an hour set. The summer vibes were in the air as he remixed Drake’s “Take Care” and “One Dance” to his single, “I Know There’s Going To Be (Good Times)”. The music, the sights of the festival, and the smell of the smoking grills from “Come and Get It” food truck was the perfect way to kick off the festival.

DSC_0073Off the bat I want to say that I’m not a huge fan of EDM. But, there’s no better feeling than discovering new and interesting artists – especially at festivals like Bestival. I happened to stumble on Shaun Frank’s set and got to listen to his mix and was pretty impressed. I am by no means an expert on the genre, but there’s nothing I enjoy more than having a great time. Looking to my left and right, I saw people huddling in a large groups dancing and jumping around with their hands in the air. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters, that you as an audience can let loose and feel free, and I can respect an artist that can create that vibe for everyone there, fan or not a fan.


Hailing from Seattle, Odesza which consists of production duo, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, were one of the biggest performers this year at Bestival. These two have been known to have a memorable stage presence and they did not disappoint that night. They worked the crowd with favourites like, “Say My Name”, “How Did I Get Here”, “Sun Model” to name a few. Their performance was meshed together with rhythmic drumming and skillful spinning.


To close out day one at Bestival, Australian-born Tame Impala hit the stage a little after the sunset to give fans one psychedelic rock performance. They played numerous hits including, “Disciples”, “Let It Happen”, “The Moment”, “The Less I Know The Better” and much more. During their set, the dry heat picked up to which the leader singer, Kevin Parker commented, “I didn’t know Canada could get this hot“, which had the crowd roaring. Along with their set, they had cued pyro, which lit up the faces in the crowd, which the band seemed to dig. The warm and rich sounds of Tame Impala was the perfect ending to day one of Bestival after a long, heated day in the sun.

Photos by: Jonathan Joseph

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