In Conversation With… Bestival’s Rob da Bank

(By: Josie Mills)

It’s officially been a week since Bestival Toronto and the nostalgia is kicking in. But if there’s one person that deserves a special shout out, it’s the festival’s official curator, Rob da Bank.

Robert John Gorham, well known as “Rob da Bank,” is an English DJ and the co-founder of Bestival on the Isle of Wight, Camp Bestival in Lulworth, Dorset and, most recently, Bestival Toronto. As Bestival Toronto’s co-founder and curator, Rob was responsible for picking out all of the artists and installations that drew tens of thousands of fans to Woodbine Park on June 11 and 12 for a weekend of good music, good food and all-around good vibes.

RUtv News talked to Rob backstage at Bestival Toronto about some of his festival favourites, his own set at the festival and how next year’s Bestival is coming along.

What is different about Bestival Toronto this year and what makes it special?

This is our second year at Bestival Toronto. Last year, we were at an island and you had to get a ferry to get there and back so we made it a bit easier this year. We’re near the city [and] we’ve got a different site which we really love. It’s always a new adventure to build a festival on a new site and we’ve got new headliners so [it]’s exciting to keep the acts changing and there’s probably a new crowd as well. You know, it’s done pretty well with about 15,000 only a day in and it is a really cool crowd.

What are you most excited for people to see at the festival?

Probably the inflatable church, which we weren’t sure was going to work here. It works in the UK really well and we weren’t sure if it was going to translate over here, but people just love it. People queue from the day it opens and get “married” in it. I love the fact that Canadians seem to get our sense of humour and what we do.

Rob da Bank - Bestival Toronto
Rob da Bank backstage at Bestival Toronto. (Photo credit: Angela McLean)

Any personal favourite parts of Bestival Toronto?

The Cosmic Commune is a brand new area for us. There are meditation exercises and some mad bands, which makes it an exciting area for us.

You actually played a set here. How was it playing at your own festival?

It was good. I have to admit I never fully enjoy playing my own festival because I’m always worried about something else. I have to run from one thing, like doing my set, and then I’m not really relaxed and then I sort of run off to do something else.

Why did you choose Toronto for Bestival’s move to North America?

To be honest, we didn’t zone in on Toronto majorly and say, “Right, we must do it in Toronto.” We had just been looking around the world for quite a few years and someone came to us and said, “Hey, have you looked at this site,” – the site we were at last year – and we sort of fell in love with it, and we looked at Toronto and the history, and the musical history, the heritage and just felt it was a good fit for us.

Have you started planning next year’s festival?

We still have two festivals to go in the UK after this one so we’re sort of slightly stuck in this one in the moment. I mean, every year it’s hard doing a festival. I think people think you just put some bands together, but it’s really a year-round thing. It takes a year to get one done and then you sort of have a breather for a week and then you’ve got to start thinking about the year after. It’s a great life but you can’t really relax.

When you do get a chance to relax, what is your favourite thing to do?

I’ve got three kids and another one on the way, so I just like being a dad really and being at home.

What was your favourite part of Bestival Toronto and what would you like to see happen next year? Tweet us your thoughts @RUtvNews!

(Featured performance photo of Rob da Bank courtesy of LCPR and Bestival Toronto)

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