One of our favourite festivals for the past couple of years, this year was to be no different!
This was Camp Bestival’s third year, Iiinside have been lucky enough to attend both previous years, and this year we were kindly offered the chance to go again but with a slight difference. The guys down at Get Involved were more than amazing by offering myself the opportunity to take my wife and kid, giving us the chance to cover the event from a point of view of what it was designed for… families.
The event, held at the stunning Lulworth Castle, promised outstanding performances from George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Calvin Harris, The Human League, Ellie Goulding, Madness and much more.
Camp Bestival is a unique family festival experience. Extremely interesting and electic, hosting an event from the grounds of an old castle you know almost immediately from what you see infront of your eyes that you’re in for a special treat.
It’s funny because there are so many things to do for kids that it is almost as if it was essentially designed for children, but far from it, the adults (including myself) seem to find themselves fully submerged in childish activities such as the fancy dress, karaoke, and writing short stories for a free gin & tonic!
Although there is so much to do, all area’s were easily accessible and you could walk from one side to the other and not feel worn out- which is great when you have smaller feet in tow. It was also well laid out and catered for the amount of people that attended without feeling overcrowded. Also, with the incentive of pennies for each plastic cup brought back to the bars – it was incredibly clean as children with armfuls of cups took care of the empty’s.
It has to be said that no-one likes festival toilets, however the ones we encountered really weren’t that bad. Even when there was a queue it moved quite quickly and there were enough to cater for all. Be aware though to carry your own loo roll and sanitising gel as it often ran out around the toilet area, but that’s standard for all festivals.
The fireworks display on the Sunday evening was held from the castle meaning that everyone had an amazing view of them and no one was left out of the spectacular, final, closing event.
The atmosphere was incredibly welcoming and friendly regardless of the time of day (or night). Although it was busy it remained very relaxed and upbeat.
The weekend unfortunately this year was mainly grey, yet nothing dampened the spirits of all of those little sprogs all the way up to the big kids (myself being one of them). Suprisingly it seemed to be filled by well behaved kids, very rarely did you hear those annoying temper tantrums… Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were able to stay up later than they ever thought possible, or maybe it was the fact that mum and dad would do almost anything that the kids wanted to.
As soon as darkness came, those without kids and who had had a bit of a tipple took control, it was still a very chilled and safe environment. Everyone was more than accommodating for the little ones who had fallen asleep on the floor or in random contraptions like wheel barrows or decorated mini trailors.
Camp Bestival put on a really diverse lineup this year tailoring acts for varied tastes.
This years full lineup was as follows:
Featuring: English National Ballet /// Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cafe /// Mr Tumble /// The East Lulworth Literary Institute /// Zippo’s Festival Circus /// The House of Fairy Tales /// Bill Drummond/The17 /// Son et Lumiere /// Boutique Babysitting /// The Graffalo (live) /// Freestyle Sports Park /// Fairy Tale Fancy Dress Theme /// Isle of Boden /// The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company /// Let’s Go Crazy /// The Tate Britain presents Rude Britannia: British Comic Art /// JOHNSON’S® Baby Change Garden /// Operaupclose: La Boheme /// Simon Raymonde /// Videopia /// Jousting /// & fun and games for all the family!
Live music: Friendly Fires /// Madness /// The Human League /// George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic /// Calvin Harris /// Chipmunk /// Marc Almond /// Billy Bragg /// Ellie Goulding /// Tinie Tempah /// The Blockheads /// Lee Scratch Perry /// The Fall /// The Cuban Brothers /// Gruff Rhys vs Tony da Gatorra /// dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip /// Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick /// Stornoway /// David E. Sugar /// Hurts /// Hypnotic Brass Ensemble /// Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’ performed by Icebreaker feat. BJ Cole /// Chas & His Band /// Example /// The Wurzels /// James Yorkston /// Beth Jeans Houghton /// Summer Camp /// The Martin Harley Band /// Unicorn Kid /// Charli XCX /// Gold Panda /// Sound of Rum /// Countryside Alliance Crew /// Field Music /// Lucky Elephant /// Jim Moray /// Spindle & Wit /// Woon /// Kid Carpet /// Gentleman’s Dub Club /// Pete & The Pirates /// The Apples /// Nell Bryden /// Lissie /// The Widowmaker /// The J-Cats /// Dulwich Ukulele Club /// Flux Ache /// Visions of Trees /// Cooly Haste /// The Boy Who Trapped The Sun /// Laura J Martin /// The Lost Brothers /// Colourmusic /// Chris Wood /// The Whiskey River Boys /// The Vagaband /// Big Black Cadillac /// Luke Anthony /// Soundbox Revue
DJs: DJ Yoda /// Annie Mac Presents… /// Rob da Bank /// Greg Wilson /// Mr Scruff /// William Orbit /// Ragga Twins /// The Nextmen feat. MC Wrec /// DJ Derek /// Joker /// Zero 7 (Soul/Boogie DJ set) /// Jack Beats /// Jaguar Skills /// Mark Lamarr /// Joy Orbison /// Jakwob /// Balearic Brothers /// Barry Ashworth (Dub Pistols) /// Mistajam /// Cooly G /// L-Vis 1990 /// Boy 8-Bit /// Jonny Trunk /// Reverend Milo Speedwagon /// Sombrero Sound System /// Fear of Theydon /// Soft Rocks /// Tosh Ohta /// The Shellac Collective feat. DJ78, The Shellac Sisters, Greg’s Greats, Tip Tony Tunes, DJ Darren Harte, DJ SisaMo, DJ Swing Maniac & Tim Hellzapoppin /// Mix It Up DJs
Comedy: Tim Minchin /// Rufus Hound /// Andrew Maxwell /// Jim Jefferies /// Marcus Brigstocke /// Andre Vincent /// Carl Donnelly /// Craig Campbell /// Papa CJ /// Mitch Benn /// Rob Rouse /// Matt Kirshen /// Pete Cain /// Tiernan Douieb /// Tiffany Stevenson /// Tim Fitzhigham
There was so much to do for families that some of it still went unexplored. It would be wise when you first arrive to purchase a programme , although at £10 they are quite expensive. This was the best way to go through the line up on each day of music, activities etc and plan your weekend better.
There was the national ballet tent which got children involved learning basic ballet steps and colouring pictures of Angelina ballerina.
The ladybird reading tent was hugely enjoyable as there were stacks of books for you to take time out and enjoy. Even a storyteller to read a group story and keep the kids enthralled.
Face painting was another hugely popular activity – although the smithy’s tent only had one person working so make a move for the designated face painting tent further in the kids field.
You must believe me when I say there is an overwhelming amount to do for families, just too much to talk throught but see below for a list of the best bits.
- The Gruffalo: voted most beloved bedtime story
- Theatre in the Woods: theatre performances, caberet, poetry and more
- Videopia: star in live remakes of Hollywood classics
- Heavenly Healing: massage and therapy for all ages!
- Insect Circus & Museum: a breathtaking live show and a bizarre museum of strange items
Iiinside’s 10 Best Bits
1. The aesthetics everywhere you turn. Camp Bestival is one beautifully decorated festival.
2. The large selection of food stalls ranging from simple fish & chips, burger & chips all the way over to Morrocan and Mexican food.
3. The huge amount of free activities to keep the little ones occupied. Things such as ballet lessons for all ages, making kites, painting, hula hooping, so many shows such as a Pirate show, puppet shows, jousting, the Insect Circus, and Mr Tumble.
4. Even the large amount of activities for kids that cost money were still a great bonus. Only £2 to have your face painted which meant the kids could be painted every day. Other things such as decorate your own cupcake and clay modelling.
5. There was plenty of space in the campsite so that you don’t feel cramped in. There are also designated area’s for non families; a good consideration for those who wanted to indulge themselves a little more and not worry about young children sleeping. The distance between the carpark, campsite and main site were definitely comfortable and much appreciated.
6. Camp Bestival does exactly what it set out to do, and that is to target itself specifically at families. Through hitting the nail on the head it makes it the perfect opportunity for families to meet other like-minded families. The adults can have a beer and a chat while the kids run off playing.
7. All the camp bestival staff were incredibly friendly and patient making the atmosphere really welcoming!
8. The music at the festival was well chosen and a good eclectic mix, ranging from retro ‘80s classics for the older generations to modern mainstream dance. A large selection of big name acts to attract people from all areas of life.
9. Fancy Dress!! The theme this year was fairy tale fancy dress, so we chose the big bad wolf, pirate and a fairy princess. Among the others we saw were Shrek, the Mario bros, Little Red Riding Hood(s), Goldilocks (the only man in the group) and the Three Bears - complete with porridge hat.
10. The location is stunning – based in the heart of the Dorset countryside on castle grounds that is also near to beautiful coasts, beach resorts and cute, and quaint seaside towns offering stereotypical pubs and cafes.
Iiinside’s 10 Worst Bits
1. With such a huge selection of food stalls to choose from you’d think that the queue’s would be reasonable, but not at all. All the most popular stalls such as burgers, pizzas, mexican all had extremely long queue’s and for such high prices it just seemed like madness to wait 30 minutes to pay £8 for a 9” pizza.
2. A one hour queue for the Ferris Wheel, no joke. Just not worth it, considering it was quite small and quite pricey.
3. The Flaming Cactus food stall. We bought food from here on the Saturday and they forgot to put any meat in my daughters chicken wrap! The little one ate half of her food before she realised that she didn’t have any chicken. When we complained we were told that she had eaten half and it is our fault for not looking through her food! How many parents check their kids food?? It took me 5 minutes of shouting at the manager to finally be thrown my money back. These child wraps aren’t cheap either at £6 a pop!
4. The festival capacity has risen each year. This year was 30,000 while last year was about 18,000. A massive difference that was definitely felt. Unfortunately I don’t think this was beneficial at all considering the stage areas were still the same size, as was the main stage and soundsystem
5. Due to the larger capacity the festival had been extended behind the main stage. But this extension was almost solely a kid/family area, and it was a large space. Past 5pm this area was next to being empty and unfortunately lost a lot of life.
6. The organisers closed off the castle field the morning of The Gruffalo which meant when they did open the gates there was a mass stampede of parents and children.
7. This year there was a large number of late acts which meant a late running schedule. Not only this but due to Examples late arrival he had to finish his set early. Calvin Harris was set to play Saturday and instead turned up on Sunday, and Funkadelic took ages to set up, I spotted the female guitarist getting angry that she threw her drink across the stage!
8. I found security rude and unhelpful this year. Not only did none of them seem to know what I was allowed access to with my photo pass, but none of them seemed to know where anything was so for people without a programme the only option was to hunt someone with one, or buy one.
9. The Super Giant Helter Skelter was charging £2 a person to go down their wooden slide on an old dirty rug. My daughter is only five and did not want to go on her own so I had to go with her. They then forced me to pay for two people even though I was only there to hold her… So £4 for a slide that lasted 5 seconds! Not only this but the following day my little girl wanted to go on it again and I told her only if she went on her own. She built up her courage and went for it. I waited at the bottom for her to slide down and when she appeared she got off crying saying there was no one at the top to help her get on the slide and that she had burnt her knees on the slide! To add to this the following child had exactly the same problem, and two parents came over to talk to us about their mutual disgust. Absolutely ridiculous for a feature at a festival that is supposed to be for kids and families!
10. Mr. Tumble – Sadly I have to give negative feedback. We went to see him on the Bandstand on the Friday, arriving 10 minutes before he was due on to find masses of parents and children covering the surrounding area like a carpet. There were no gaps to sit and angry territorial parents were standing firm to ensure their places were secure. The only spot we found was to the left of the stage but our view was made up of a fence and a speaker. When Mr Tumble came on stage he only faced forward and did not attend to the sad children who were stuck to the left or right of the stage. Unfortunately the same thing happened on the Saturday when he played the Little Big Top, the tent was just overflowing.
Camp Bestival is as much fun for grown-ups as it is for kids. Undoubtably it is a giant kids party where bed times don’t exist and bathing is unheard of.
Experiencing the festival as a family this year has proven to be extremely different from previous years in the sense that I wasn’t able to drink as much nor did I see as much electronic music, yet I still had a more than amazing time and experienced so much stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise done so.
For music there are some amazing big name acts as well as some unknown little gems to suit all tastes.
This year, yet again, Iiinside are happy to say that this is a must-go for UK music festivals that delivers every time. Aesthetics, music, and activities, are all well presented and greatly noticed.
A big thanks to all the Camp Bestival organisers and also to the guys over at Get Involved for always making Iiinside feel welcome! :)