Continuing our series where we ask our judges to share their most memorable moments, this week, Mark McKinley, a Guinness World Records adjudicator based in our London Office shares his recollections of a glittering record attempt last summer.

To mark its 10th anniversary, Bestival, the award-winning four-day music festival which takes place in the picturesque Isle of Wight in the UK had been looking to create a spectacular finale for the 60,000 revellers in attendance.

For 2014, the festival’s theme was Desert Island Disco, with the undisputed kings of disco, Chic, headlining on the final night.

When Chic’s founding member Nile Rodgers challenged Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank to make the world’s largest disco ball to accompany his band’s set - the challenge was on to make it happen!

The super-sized mirror ball was constructed in the weeks leading up to the event and was placed on show in the Magic Meadow area of the festival site as the gates opened  ahead of an official measurement by Mark before Chic’s set.

Mark picks up the story on the morning of the measurement…

Mark -Bestival

“A 6am start to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight with the intention of seeing the largest disco ball is not your average Sunday.

Never mind the fact it was to be suspended above a field of 60,000 Bestival revellers as  part of a bet hedged between Nile Rodgers and Rob Da Bank! 

The ball had been onsite throughout the four-day festival but was only due to be measured upon my arrival on the Sunday afternoon. 


I didn’t fancy being at the helm of 60,000 disappointed attendees who had been waiting for the record-breaking announcement all weekend so had my fingers, toes and anything else possible firmly crossed!

It was a massive relief therefore when measurements revealed it had superseded the previous record but that was only half the challenge. Because in order for it to be a record, this 33ft disco ball had to spin.

What followed over the next five hours can only be described as ever-increasing nervous energy as I watched people zipping around; getting lights organised, preparing a crane and waiting for the sun to set while attendees also started to gather.

When the time came to hoist the disco ball, all nerves and fatigue faded at the incredible sight of a 33ft illuminated disco ball suspended in the air, covered in 2,500 mirrored tiles that would stretch out for a kilometre if you laid them end to end.

The only thing that made it more spectacular was having Nile Rodgers and Chic playing out in the background as the disco ball spun successfully and sent beams of light in every direction, confirming that a new record had been set.”

Pics:Victor Frankowski/Bestival

If you have any record-breaking memories you’d like to share, why not tweet them to @GWR using the hashtag #gwrmoments.

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