Festivals are not new to me or MadDad, in fact, we attended our first festival 22 years ago and were regular festival goers until Maxi was born 11 years ago. But Camp Bestival was to be our first festival with kids and tweens at that as the boys are 10 and 11.
Camp Bestival is a family friendly festival based in the beautiful but rather undulous setting of Lulworth Castle in Dorset. My first concern was that we would be travelling from North Yorkshire, so would have a long journey ahead of us before arriving on Thursday evening to our pre-pitched tent. Alas due to a mistake somewhere along the line no tent was pitched for us until after dark and we very nearly turned around and went home!
We finally got settled into a four man tent on camping mats and decided to set our camping woes aside and make the most of our weekend.
We were up early Friday morning and excited to explore. We made our way to the festival site , grabbed a program (which cost £10 and you get a lanyard with attached program, program booklet, colouring book and colouring pencil) and set about exploring the kid’s fields.
The easiest way to describe Camp Bestival is a music festival crossed with a very large village fete/country fair. So large that even in the three days we were there we managed to miss bits (Dingly Dell) and not do everything.
The hardest bit for us was to slow the boys down as they wanted to dash from one thing to another and not miss anything. We were keen to try and slow down and make the most of the beautiful weather. So we decided to comprise and allow the boys some freedom of their own once we had found a location on the castle stage. So they managed to go on the world largest bouncy castle!
Most surreal moments of the weekend included watching all the Boden-clad mummies stand up and singing along to Mr Tumble on the castle stage. Watching Bananarama, The Chuckle Brothers whilst the boys played Pokemon – I felt as though I had been wicked back to 1990! Dick and Dom, now they were a stroke of genius as fillers on Saturday. The boys loved them and all I can say is B O G I E S!
What we loved:
- Camp Bestival feels so safe. It is filled with families and therefore, the perfect festival to bring kids of all ages to and to allow older ones to spread their wings.
- There is something for everyone to enjoy from traditional fairground rides to personalising your own head torch with Energizer.
- The toilets were the cleanest festival loos we have experienced.
- The choice and quality of the food was exceptional. yes, it was a little pricey but we expected that. Mini said the 27 hour slow cooked pulled pork was to die for and the fish finger sandwiches were a big hit with MadDad.
- I loved that there were so many ways to get creative, even for older children. You could have been kept busy every hour of the day if you chose too.
- The eclectic music choices. Mini’s musical highlight was DJ Tofu and the Brass Funkies, whilst MadDad loved Ward Thomas. Maxi danced to pretty much everything and I have to say that I loved reliving my youth with Tears for Fears on the Sunday night.
- The fireworks are something else. I am so glad that we stayed till the end as they boys were open-mouthed at them.
- The green ethos. For every plastic cup or bottle that was returned to the bar, you got 10p. This meant that our enterprising boys managed to collect and return enough cups to but their own diabolos. My Gorgeous Boys eldest discovered that the VIP bar is the best place to collect as no one took them back themselves!
- On the Sunday afternoon, we got together with a group of fellow bloggers including My Gorgeous Boys, Parent Shaped, Blue Bear Wood and Not Another Mummy Blog and it was great to see our children, all of various ages get on with each. Plus it was great to have good company.
- The WI Tea tent. The afternoon teas were delicious and we all enjoyed one!
- The fancy dress. Ok, so we are not a dressing up family, but it didn’t stop us appreciating the effort that some people had gone to
We weren’t keen:
- Let’s talk trolleys. yes, this will be controversial. They are great for sleeping children and the open spaces, but they are a nightmare around The Castle Stage on a night. The bruise that Maxi has on his leg where a trolley was pushed into him is huge. I have no issue with buggies, but the trolleys are too big and not manoeuvrable enough.
- I would have liked a little more Indie/rock music. But that is my personal taste, however, if you are going purely for the music then Camp Bestival isn’t the place for you.
- The hills. I think you have to pick your tent pitch carefully. The site is very hilly indeed.
- Drunk adults in charge of children.
We wanted to say a big thank you to Energiser for our invite. We had a blast dressing our head up at their tent. We spent 40 minutes accessorising head torches to a space theme, even MadDad got involved. It was a hugely popular area and our head torches proved exceptionally useful over the weekend.
We were camping in Pitch village and we were really impressed at the toilets, pamper area (which had hairdryers, mirrors and hair straighteners) and the free tea and coffee. We didn’t use the showers (hey that is what wet wipes are for) but heard that they were excellent too. Pitch village also had 24-hour security, valuable storage and phone charging facilities. The only downside was that it was on the edge of Yellow parking which meant we had a walk each day to the festival site.
I want to go next year, it sounds so fun!!!! I really appreciate your honesty about the negative aspects of the festival too, it always helps to have a more realistic view of an event before going.
Glad you loved it – well most of it! Lovely to have met you as well as your lovely little man. There was something online about trolleys not being on the stage field after 6pm but was obviously way too manic to enforce! Despite that it is a fab festival and we had an absolute ball! 🙂
I’ve always wanted to try Camp Bestival – it seems like the most popular one for families.
Glad you had a fab weekend – we did too!! I did spot you in the distance at Pitch Village but was too shy to come and say hello – daft bugger that I am! I am with you on the trolleys – actually we hired one last year because it seemed the ‘done thing’ – but we found it a total hindrance and stopped using it after the first night. This year we dragged Syds buggy out of storage and it was far, far easier!! I know at nearly 5 he shouldn’t need one, but there is so much walking and I cant carry him far anymore so it was a lifesaver to be able to bung him in his pushchair when he got tired. I would definitely say to other parents that a buggy is easier than a trolley all the way up to 5!
I’ve never been to a festival myself and always wish I had. I would love to take my kids now so we can all experience it together. I will definitely keep this in mind if I ever get brave enough x
I’ve heard so many things about camp Bestival, I’d love to go. I love those head torches, what a great idea, and you get to design them yourself. And you got to see Tears For Fears, now that brings back memories 🙂
A good , honest review.
Love the head torches – fab idea for the weekend.
I mustn’t comment on the wagons as I own a little red wagon company. Although they should be used responsibly.
It was lovely to see you. We are huge fans of Camp Bestival and this was our 4th year. They have a good mix of acts and last year was more rocky so its a shame you missed that. I am afraid to say we are the proud owners of not one but two trolley’s and they are a godsend. We were not impressed with the trolley ban by the castle stage as it mean’t we had to miss out on some of the things we wanted to see, but I understand why they have done it
Great post- glad you enjoyed the festival. It was brill to see you and hang out with family and friends on Sunday xx
Was there last year, lots of garbage not good, nevertheless my girls had a good time there. Thanks for your review!
Looks like you had a great time – we do have a trolley as we have two little ones and then an 8 and 9 year old but we were very careful not to get in anyone’s way.