Bestival, Robin Hill Country Park, Newport, Isle of Wight

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The Independent Culture

On paper, it pitches itself between The Big Chill's Balearic vibes and the more trad appeal of Summer Sundae. Perfect, then, for Mylo, who has given house music a new lease of life purely by playing guitar. Live, though, he lacked many more ideas in an undemanding set.

Royksopp's melancholic electronica also fell flat. On their second album, The Understanding, the Norwegian duo added depth to their sound, but they lost its emotional subtlety when extra sonic muscle left them with a clumsy mix. Far more successful were the Belgian outfit Soulwax. Better known for their bootlegging DJ alter egos 2ManyDJs, they applied dancefloor lessons to their own material. Dressed in white, they played with pristine precision their Nite Versions homage to Eighties 12-inch mixes. Unexpected twists held the interest as the band engineered bastard mash-ups of their own tunes.

On the rock side, The Magic Numbers stepped up a level to close the Friday night. Their warm take on classic pop is starting to recall Prefab Sprout, but they held the attention with their War Child track "Gone Are the Days" and a blissful take on the Chemical Brothers collaboration "Close Your Eyes". A lively hoe-down finale suggested that a cosmic country direction might well suit them.

The Go! Team, also Mercury contenders, came close to stealing the show on Sunday. Their exuberant vocalist, Ninja, held sway over the crowd like a seasoned pro, accompanied by four backing singers in tracksuits.

That preceded Lee "Scratch" Perry's sadly short set - thanks to not his band's unimaginative, if effective, dub reggae, but the man himself. The former pioneer of the genre can now call himself its clown, albeit a clever one, as he nicked an inflatable from the crowd and freestyled on his new identity: "Shark" Perry.

In contrast, Super Furry Animals were utterly dominant. Grounded in both dance and rock, the Welsh band's mix of pastoral whimsy and starry-eyed space-rock was a perfect finale. They have never sounded as warm as on their new album, Love Kraft, several numbers from which featured in a varied set that took in folk-pop, blazing guitar solos and, to finish, rampaging techno.

As a last hurrah of the outdoor season, the highlight was Saturday's fancy-dress party. An impressive two-thirds of the audience took part; their procession was led by the infectious Jaipur Kawa, a brass band founded in Raj convention and raised on big-band jazz and Gypsy mayhem: a fittingly idiosyncratic turn.