The North American pop festival market is about to get more crowded this year with the arrival in Toronto of Bestival, a British import with a tradition of electronic dance music, alternative rock and dressed-up crowds.
The new Bestival will come to the Toronto Islands — a park area in Lake Ontario, just offshore from the city’s downtown — on June 12 and 13
, its founder, the D.J. Rob da Bank, said in an interview. The lineup for Toronto is not ready, but a glimpse at Bestival’s latest British edition, on the Isle of Wight in September, gives a sense of the festival’s Coachella-like aesthetic, mixing superstar dance acts (Chemical Brothers, Underworld) with some rock and pop nostalgia (Duran Duran) and rap (Action Bronson).
In partnership with the international festival giant SFX Entertainment and the Canadian company Embrace, Bestival will build a temporary space for the Toronto event that will hold up to 20,000 people a day,
said Rob da Bank, a BBC Radio D.J. whose real name is Robert Gorham.
The North American festival market, once barely existent compared with that of Europe, has grown extremely competitive in recent years, after the success of events like Coachella and the dance festival Electric Daisy Carnival. New York now finally has its own annual festival, Governors Ball, and this year new ones have popped up like the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wis.
Part of Bestival’s advantage is its interest in communal spectacle. In 2010, the festival had 55,000 attendees don their own “fancy dress,” and a similar kind of stunt could be in the cards of Toronto.
“No disrespect to the festivals in North America, but a lot of them are very much stages, bars, food tents,” Rob da Bank said. “This festival will look very different. It will have theatricality, ambition.”