The Bestival Bugle is a paper, founded by Toby Collard in 2005, that is issued daily at the festival, covering the event in humorous fashion. However, while a joy to read in its printed form, its production was much harder work, as I would find out as an assistant to its creation at Bestival 2012.
These are the PDFs of this year’s issues, in their double-sided A3 glory.
While my writing input was limited (one article each day, and written by hand before being typed up by Toby), I was responsible for a lot of the more physical work. I bounced around the site like a pinball, sorting out competition winners, interviewing attendees and covering several events, such as the fashion show. The latter took place alongside photographer Shaun Baxter.
The interviews led to various hardships such as being attacked by four people dressed as ‘security ostriches’, reminiscent of Rod Hull and Emu’s attack on Michael Parkinson… but the scale was quadrupled. This was quite a price to pay for the tiny picture and single quote in the bottom-left corner of Sunday’s issue. Ironically, this appears below a headline stating “I love the people man… everyone’s so friendly”. However, I had the pleasure of hearing this immortal quote from one of the ostriches, as I continued to ask questions and jot answers down while two of them pecked at my head.
“Wow! Quite some journalist this one!”
And at the end of the day, I would be asked to look at the ‘finished’ product on the screen and point out any mistakes that I could find, until I could drop the inverted commas and introduce italics for positive, celebratory effect. It wasn’t ‘finished’ anymore. It was finished.
As a whole, this was a bundle of unusual experiences and surprises, including:
- While the performers hadn’t yet invaded it, I fell on asleep in the VIP bar (aka The Lucky Cat). After a long, tiring day, that sofa was the most comfortable thing ever. A few minutes later, I was inevitably kicked out.
- As I wasn’t permitted into that bar, I decided to nose the site to find out where my armbands would allow me to go. This adventure led me into Rob Da Bank’s office. Erm… hi Rob.
- Speaking of the buildings, it was unusual to see the dressing rooms set up for the performers. I was quite taken aback when seeing somebody taping an A3 sheet of paper reading ‘Florence and the Machine’ being taped to a portacabin door.
- I also got to meet the head rock critic at The Guardian who seemed quite surprised that I recognised him.
As a whole, it wasn’t quite a 100% incite into being a journalist on a festival site, and a tiring experience, but a great experience nonetheless.
Thanks very much to Toby and everybody else on the team for a great experience, and given the opportunity, I would do it again.