Festival Frolics: Bestival, Friday.

For 2 weekends in 52 the remote landmass lurking beneath the south coast of Britain, the Isle Of Wight becomes infested by swarms of beat-hungry munchkins in search of thrills in every case, spills in fewer, and pills still in a fair few. Where the Isle Of Wight Festival attracts buzzing, bruised hordes all too hooked on the latter, this weekend saw Rob Da Bank's Bestival return for its sixth annual shebang, transforming the raw wood climbing frames and cardboard Giraffe cutouts of Robin Hill Country Park into a hedonistic haven for seemingly around half of those currently in possession of a valid NUS card.

This year's theme, fantasy and all things fantastical unveiled many a fascination with cellophane and sellotape, Alice in Wonderland frocks of varying quality and enough ponchos to recreate Sergio Leone's entire filmography, albeit employed to comparatively poxy effect. Yet undoubtedly the most fantastic element of this year's celebration of the demise of the festival season as Bestival has come to represent was provided by the incessantly excellent musical delectation offered up throughout. With pop diva as set for the big time as a ready meal is for the microwave Janelle MonĂ¡e and 80s tempters Heaven 17 churning out glammed out hits as La Roux spins equinumerous discs of synth joy, the dawning of Friday is as anxiously awaited as Katy On A Mission any and every time a nondescript DJ duo clog up the inter-band vacuum.

Renowned for concealing himself behind bobbing balloons, Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet isn't entirely disconnected with the realms of fancy dress, and his mid-afternoon set under the tumultuous Big Top tarpaulin is all rather otherworldly, as a myriad of genres collide and smoke envelopes eyes. Angel Echoes reverberates ethereally within the cavernous nooks and crannies of the outstretched blue overhead, and the ecstatic introversion of Hands is all but euphoric, although without the visual minimalism added by half a can of helium attention tends to wander to thoughts of glaring from empty train carriage windows, and the eye candy a certain Mr. Hawtin will be sapping half of the island's electricity with tonight. All a little more glamorous is Neon Indian, whose brand of daydream shoegaze owes more than a semiquaver to a quite different inert balloon filler, the murky, stodgy pop sheen of the likes of Laughing Gas and Deadbeat Summer sucking a ray or two from the ominous clouds hovering above the backyard of the Sailor Jerry's tattoo parlour. Now you probably couldn't get glasses scribbled permanently all over your beautiful face at the island's June mainstream mediocrity weekend now, could you? Over on the newly relocated Main Stage, veteran nuisance and adorable bumbler Gil Scott-Heron drawls endearingly for a fair old while, seeming as unlaxed and unwound as a Big Chill Sunday afternoon were it spent swaying in a forested hammock with Roy Ayers. Whether or not that's a fantasy of many, speculation suffices, although the hip hop blueprint The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a little special.
Whilst timewarp subgenre dance straddling this way comes in the form of Simian Mobile Disco, the Big Top offers an insight into the future of everything tripped out and blissed out, as post-dubstep impresario Joy Orbison unleashes endless inverted vocals and more clicks than a George Michael cabaret camera class from an hour on the decks as the tent fits to burst in nail-ravaging anticipation for the return of South London indie stowaways The xx. Fresh from this month's Mercury Music Prize triumph, a victory that reinstated a fair share of credibility in the award following the glaring omission of the mind-guttering innovation caused by These New Puritans' Hidden, the trio are at their most spectacular, reeling out the likes of Crystalised, Islands and set closer VCR as if they're bona fide greatest hits in place of dark and dingy macabre pop nuggets conjured up in less time than the lifespan of Ipso Facto. Shelter morphs into 9PM as per, and there's a routine rhythm to proceedings, yet the marauding bass lines of Oliver Sim, and the nonchalant ease with which he and Romy Madley-Croft's androgynous vocal collisions elide makes for the most intricate of simplicities, and a rather rapturous gathering, a fair chunk of which stops, stands and stares tens of dumbstruck heads from the shelter of the tent. Continuing the trend of future sounds of a more ethnically muddled and ultimately originative persuasion is Flying Lotus, who bashes a MacBook's worth of sounds into freeform jazz, heavily lifting cuts from recent cosmic barnstormer Cosmogramma, Computer Face: Pure Being rumbling about with enough gusto to break waters. Just as Jo Goddard of Hot Chip's wife has just done, as tonight Goddard appears in an altogether slimmer form, beamed in behind the band on a computer screen for breathy vocals on a boisterous One Pure Thought. Steel drums, And I Was A Boy From School, and as raucous a vocal as the perpetually bespectacled Alexis Taylor could possibly muster on Over And Over mutilate preconceptions of a potentially stale and squelchy electropop fumble as the boys from Elliott School, Putney put in a concrete highlight of an already prodigious Friday. Meeting hits and honour halfway, headliner Dizzee Rascal splices together club-friendly, Calvin Harris-smothered chart botherers (Dance Wiv Me, Holiday) with grimier, muckier, old(er) school numbers (Jus' A Rascal, Stop Dat) before a fully-fledged live band as he bounds about between fireworks and flames. A little removed from humble Bow beginnings, the 'Rascal emanates a self-belief more relentless than Wayne Rooney stumbling about Goodison Park texting explicit nothings, although his cohesion between credibility and bank credit, and ability to incorporate and update earlier and potentially clashing works is disconcertingly impressive. And to Richie Hawtin, and his globular video cage for his resuscitated alter-ego Plastikman, minimal techno masterpieces and impending doom... Heads sway, intoxicated bodies lay, and as I Don't Know howls around the bowels of the Big Top, a sense of addictive danger sloshes around and about amidst your entrails. Utterly invigorating, and apt as stopwatches strike twelve... Shoving the Balearic beats of faux-Basque Korg magicians Crystal Fighters in the Rock'n'Roll tent seems a touch misjudged, yet thoughts of nominal inappropriateness instantaneously evaporate the second the trio bound onstage, lunging headlong into a rowdy Solar System this time bolstered by the unmistakable thud of live drums lurking in the dry ice doldrums of the tent. A scruffily insatiable take on I Love London sees Bast joined by original vocalist Mimi Borelli for an emotionally charged and equally electrifying minute or two, yet it's when the East Londoners are at their most vulnerable, their most tender as on At Home, Champion Sound or Plage that their brilliance burns brightest tonight. Jump on the Star Of Love as it shoots into your subconscious sooner rather than later...