By Antonia Wilson

The Love-Bot, a brand new interactive art installation for Bestival 2015, will be the centrepiece showstopper at this year’s festival. 8 metres tall and weighing four tons, it will use “love-detectors” to sense affection from the audience and convert it into an amorous display of lights and visuals. CR gets an exclusive first look…

Shown above: The Love-Bot head in its current state in the workshop


Tying in with this year’s theme Summer of Love, the giant ‘sleeping’ robot comes to life when he’s shown love and affection by festival-goers. “The idea that he is in limbo and when he sees love he kind of gets all flustered, he’ll blush, his eyes will turn into hearts, his ears will smoke, butterflies might flutter around in his tummy,” Beatrix Eden from Nottingham-based Shipshape Arts tells us, who are building the Love-Bot. “We will have somebody sitting away from him discreetly, keeping an eye out, and then we will be able to press the right buttons to make him respond.”

“It’s designed to look like a giant tin toy, that’s been standing rusting for years,” she continues. “It has a metal truss that stands on a metal plinth, with a steel and scaffolding frame. It was then clad with timber sections and then we’ve had teams of artists come in and paint it up. We are going to feature lots of lighting effects inside it, effects that will be sparked off by the robot seeing people hugging, kissing or giving it a kiss. There will be LED screens in its belly that will relay messages.”

The Love-Bot is expected to be active from 11am until 8pm everyday, but with lighting effects still used while he lays dormant the rest of the time.


Original sketch for the Love-Bot


“We worked quite closely with Josie da Bank

[Bestival’s Creative Director and co-founder], she has quite strong ideas about what she wants. We gave her a few different options and this is the one that really stood out I think because it ties in with the theme so well. Josie is very much involved and hands on with it.”

Last year Josie exclusively told Creative Review about her dreams for 2015 – fantasies that the festival visionary has now made a reality. “I am busy creating a new festival that is going to exist within Bestival. And I would love to make a giant 40m robot that comes alive through human love,” she told us. [Read the Bestival feature from our music special online here]

Although Shipshape have worked with Bestival for a few years, this will be the first major installation that they will have created for the festival. They also work with Secret Garden Party and Green Man on some of the larger builds, along with running Pirate Technics, a ‘burning art’ company.


Bestival’s giant disco ball for the 2014 Desert Island Disco themed show set a new world record at 10.33m tall with 2,500 mirror tiles. Photo by Victor Frankowski


Bestival will see several other new additions this year including Slow Motion, dedicated to energising activities and calming pastimes, from llama hugging to euphoric yoga.

“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!” Bestival’s co-founder, Rob da Bank said.

Another new area, The Commune, will have this year’s theme at it’s core, where festival-goers will feel the hippy-vibe and get involved in the ‘happynings’ taking place there. Designed by Josie da Bank and programmed by long-time Bestival partner Bobby Lost, it will be situated among a convoy of peace wagons and bespoke traveller vehicles, with ‘Love In’ cuddle workshops, silent speed-dating, drum circles and Guerrilla Good Guys workshops to spread the love around the festival.

“I’d like the commune to be a home for ‘Hedonism with Heart’, a joyful celebration of life, embodiment and freedom of expression. I wanted to provide a space to come and move outside your comfort zone without getting off your chops,” Lost said.


Bestival takes place 10-13 September 2015, Robin Hill, Isle of Wight. A small number of tickets are still available from


Read more here:: Introducing the Love-Bot: Bestival's new installation for 2015