Festival news – Bestival review by Zoe McNulty

Festival news – Bestival review by Zoe McNulty

Gymbox's very own Zoe McNulty was picked by innovative indoor cycling experience, The Revolution Ride, to be one of the key instructors at this year's Bestival. "When I was asked to be a part of The Revolution Ride, I was honoured and excited – I didn't focus on the fact that I would need to sleep in a tent, for the first time ever!"

Bestival started in 2004 by DJ Rob Da Bank after ten years of pioneering music events and record releases from his Sunday Best record label. Rob wanted to create his vision of how the modern day festival should be, and although I've never been to a 'proper festival', I've seen photos of them all, and I really think that Bestival presents itself in the most flamboyant, eccentric, colourful, crazy and beautiful way. It really was quite mind blowing!

This year they introduced a whole new area called Slow Motion. The idea came from Rob and his wife getting a bit older and slowing down somewhat. They also noticed the way younger people seem to be looking after themselves better – at least a lot of the ones who were going to Bestival! Rob said that when he was a teenager, no one would have done yoga, spinning or meditation, but now it's part of a lot of people's lives. He wanted there to be an area you could escape to, and just zone out for a few hours – or a day or two. A whole festival within a festival! "Slow Motion does what it says on the tin – there's nothing wrong with raving, late nights and partying, but now there's a way of refuelling your mind and body before the next Bestival adventure!" says Rob in an interview he did with us at Gymbox right here.

Slow Motion offered the chance to breathe and step into a more horizontal escape – there were all sorts of yoga classes (hip hop yoga, flying yoga, acro yoga, ashtanga) heart space meditation workshops, gong baths, healthy whole foods, a Pip & Nut Toast bar, cold pressed juices, awesome coffee camper vans, therapists and treatments, glitter face painting – which almost seemed to be compulsory – a beautiful kaleidoscope stage, an observatory cocktail bar, debates and spoken word, outdoor games and other general nonsense.

And then right at the very top of the steepest part of the hill was a disused shed. Rob had asked Tim Weeks (former Creative Director of Psycle, London, a boutique spin studio which has been likened to the US's Soul Cycle) if he could come up with a way of utilising this space… and The Revolution Ride was born. Tim said, "The Revolution Ride is a 'never been done before' concept created especially for Bestival's brand new area Slow Motion. Euphoric spinning, on bikes, yes like that kind of spinning." Tim wanted to see if he could unite the Bestival community through the power of music and exercise – the audience taken on a musical journey, an experience where you leave having been emotionally blown away. Music has a simple but powerful ability to bring people together – Tim just wanted to add another dimension to that experience.

And he totally delivered. When I went for the first rehearsal at Gymbox Farringdon, I left with my mind having been completely blown! I was so psyched about his vision. I was asked to be involved by Gymbox's head of social media Lulu Le Vay – who is also a DJ – and out of all the indoor cyclists at Gymbox she knew that I would "get it". Lulu is The Revolution Ride's resident DJ, and she and Tim had curated several playlists of awesome music with a carefully planned pattern to take the riders on a musical journey. She knew I would understand the vibe that Tim was aiming for – not a sweaty spin class, but an experience – uplifting, euphoric disco on a bike! Rob da Bank opened the live sessions and it went off! We also had guest DJs The Cuban Brothers and Flying White Dots.

In total there were about 15 of us who worked on The Revolution Ride – such an amazing team. There were four main instructors and lots of helpers who assisted putting drunk revellers on bikes, restocking water, keeping the vibe alive at all times – every single one of them were absolute stars! It really made the whole experience super special, and we've made friends for life.

What was it like in the wooden shed? People were ushered through a curtain into a long corridor – they could see a large screen with animations playing on it, the decks with a DJ, and people on bikes spinning! Their reaction was always complete shock. Some people would rush to get on, others would need more encouragement, but every single person came out saying: "that was the best thing ever!" or, "that was mental!"

It was really interesting to see the vibe in the shed change over the course of the weekend. Thursday and Friday everyone was super bouncy, with Friday being a little 'messier'. Saturday, you could tell people hadn't been to sleep, and quite a few were high as a kite. Thankfully we didn't have any injuries or incidents, which amazed me, but we did have helpers adjusting seat heights and strapping everyone's feet in, whether shod in wellies or flip flops.

People's costumes and outfits were amazing. I thoroughly embraced the whole festival chic thing and adorned myself with floral garlands, feather head-dresses and epaulettes, spandex and bright colours. Everyone had gone to so much trouble. Highlights for me were the ten Care Bears taking up the front row, the guy who was wearing a plastic laundry tub almost getting stuck on the bike, his mate who was dressed as a frog on a toadstool, the guy who stripped to his underpants – there were too many more to mention.

It wasn't all ride, ride, ride (thankfully because by Saturday my bum was raw and my coccyx felt like it had ben kicked by a mule). I got to see most of the key acts – Underworld' were incredible. Missy and her dancers were phenomenal. Duran Duran have still got it. Jaguar Skills's skills were off the hook. Annie Mac played all the tracks you want to hear, and Lulu DJed in a wishing tree! And I have now been able to tick The Chemical Brothers off my bucket list – blimey what a show!!

Rob da Bank says: " Thanks a million for making our Summer of Love so spectacular… It was a crazy colourful explosive ball of fun and love and music and mad things happening. With truly memorable moments and amazing new things like Slow Motion, Missy, the Carnival Parade, the Port, the Blind Tiger, the Chemical Brothers, Revolution Ride, the Love-Bot and a thousand other things I could list, I think we've taken it up another level this year and having such a lovely crowd was no small part of that. I've already got some amazing things lined up for next year, so watch this space!"

Please note that The Revolution Ride were sandwiched between The Chemical Brothers and the Love-Bot…. that must mean SUCCESS!

Read Zoe's full review on her blog, right here.