Josie da Bank is creative director at Bestival, the annual music festival she co-founded with DJ husband Rob da Bank, Ziggy Gilsenan and John Hughes in 2004.
Working with producers, area managers, an arts programmer and a team of around 40 creatives, da Bank is responsible for every aspect of the festival’s design, from planning the layout of the campsite to dreaming up large-scale installations and working with illustrators to create promotional campaigns.
In the past few years, she has designed a stage resembling a giant ship’s hull, a record-breaking disco ball made out of 2,500 mirror tiles and a four-tonne interactive robot which lights up in response to positive vibes from festival goers. This year, she is working with regular collaborators Spacial Installations and Shipshape Arts to create a 20-metre tall rocket and interactive astronauts for a space-themed electronic music stage.
“Every detail is thought about by me and my team,” da Bank told CR in 2015. “Most of the props that you see in the show now belong to me and all live in a big yard on the Isle of Wight.”
These ambitious sets and installations are a key draw for fans of Bestival and have been an integral part of the event since its inception. “When we started it there weren’t many heavily designed shows around, so it felt like the right thing to do to make it unique, different to everything else that was going on,” she explains. Bestival’s capacity has grown from to 79,000 since it was launched and it has been named best major festival at the UK Festival Awards three times in the past six years.
da Bank also runs creative consultancy House of Bestival with Gilsenan, providing consultation services for marketing, experiential and events projects.