Our Mission to Camp Bestival Star Date: 28th-31st July 2016
Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat – well it certainly felt like that at Camp Bestival. One of the biggest family festivals in the planet, Camp Bestival was sent into orbit this year with a stella line-up and a space theme to match.Camp Bestival is the younger festival that orbits around Bestival and the newest addition to the system Common People. Every year hundreds of families enjoy a quality 4 day holiday to Lulworth Castle in Dorset, England. There are 4 main camping zones, Boutique, Camping Plus, Pre-Pitched and General Camping.
We opted for the general camping area, which allowed us to land on the planet of Camp Bestival whenever we wanted and pitch wherever we could find space. We arrived Thursday late afternoon and quickly realised that we should have been there when the gates opened at 12:00. The place was packed already with the majority of the Yellow and Purple zones already gone.
All flat areas where taken so we ended up camping on…dum dum dum…. The Hill of Death (THOD) This is the main hill in the camping area and we pitched right at the top on a gradual slope. We had fun pitching in the windy conditions, but luckily for us it was dry.It was some hike back to the car from the campsite and my daddy did 3 runs with a hired trolley from Mr Trolley Man, overrunning by 5 mins so it cost him £15. Next time we will invest in £35 and use the Festi Taxi and trailer that was whirling people around the site. The price seems expensive, however it is less stress, pain and buys you back a couple of hours hiking gear but availability was limited on the Sunday when we had to leave and you couldn’t book. Once we’d finally settled (after 4 hours of being at the site) we could take in the amazing views of the festival. It’s seems we’d actually landed on our feet. Toilets were just below us, showers next to them, only one remaining hill to get into the festival and the views where breathtaking. Not many people had pitched in front of us due to the steep slope. Result. More toilets would be good, compost ones preferred but queues were no way near as bad as we have experienced at the other festivals. The showers were on a ticketed service, sometimes with a 2 hour wait, which meant we could bob down grab and ticket and have breakfast. My daddy suggested to the shower people that it would be ideal for an acoustic artist to play for those waiting!Alien Lifeforms
We met some lovely campers whose children helped finish off our Pimp my Trolley UFO for the competition and I made some festival friends (my first ever) Everyone seemed so friendly and happy. The ShowSec marshals and attendants that we met were helpful and kind which was really refreshing.
We enjoyed watching Mr Motivator, The Chuckle Brothers, Dick and Dom, Aliens Love Underpants, Katy B, Fat Boy Slim, Jess Glynn, Bananarama, Brand New Heavies just to name a few! Sadly missed Arrested Development whom my daddy was really looking forward to seeing.
Acts that surprised us were the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra – Space Symphony and the London Contemporary Voices Choir – Space Junk, whose music lent itself to the space age theme very well, with tracks from motion pictures like Star Wars, Star Trek. Hauntingly beautiful and magical. Fat Boy Slim was the best act we saw at Camp Bestival this year and he really got the crowd jumping.
Camp Bestival was split into 7 main areas and we enjoyed the Lower Kids Garden area, Dingly Dell, Bollywood in The Magic Meadow area. The Castle Field was too crowded with not enough shade, Upper Kids Garden was difficult to navigate through the picnic blankets and trolleys. The Feast Collective proved to be very popular! The Big Top was lost down the end of the site and the only major crowd was for Jasper Carrot that we saw. We missed The Den as it was mainly for teenagers and Slow Motion area which was the chill-out destination of the site.
My mummy’s favourite area was Bollywood. We liked that it was outdoors and it felt like being abroad with the bright sunshine, beautiful decorations and shiny happy faces. As a family we all enjoyed The Big Fish Little Fish Rave, actually some of the adults might have enjoyed it more judging by the quality of their dance moves!
It was a really euphoric high for us, might have something to do with the tunes and the alcohol too 😉 We’ve been to a Little Fish Big Fish Rave before so knew we wouldn’t be disappointed. At the end of the Saturday set the crowd even chanted for ‘one more track’ they could have gone on for hours and we wouldn’t have got bored.Pimp My Trolley Competition
With a little bit of help from new-found friends at the campsite we created an amazing UFO made out of hula hoops, cardboard panels and silver lycra. We eagerly headed down to the Catwalk in the Lower Kids Garden to join in with the other 20 or so decorated trolleys. We caught the tail end of the Beard Competition which was funny to watch with some serious competitors!
The theme was space for the Pimp My Trolley Competition and we saw a super cool millennium falcon, rockets, red dwarf ship, moon buggy and loads of other space crafts. It was a real feast for the eyes and proved hard for Sara Cox to pick a winner. The prize was weekend family tickets to next years Camp Bestival so a lot was riding on it.Insect Circus
The Insect Circus was a real feast for the eyes, with elaborate costumes and jaw dropping performances. I was mesmerised. Actually everywhere I looked during Camp Bestival people were wearing amazing costumes and we were really impressed with the festival goers efforts too.The Camp Bestival Carnival Parade
We were lucky enough to catch the carnival parade on Sunday as it processioned through the Magic Meadow. I loved all the elaborate birds and quirky animals, not too sure about the dragons though!Shady Lady Stage
We loved the Shady Lady pirate ship and it made a beautiful stage with the Helter Skelter behind us. We watched some amazing dancers on that stage from Shade Makers to kids performing Bollywood dance routines. I really wanted to get up and join them!
Pukka Tea Tent
We loved the Pukka Tent and whenever we needed a respite from the days activities we headed to this beautiful tent. My mummy sampled the gorgeous Pukka Teas, her favourite being Three Mint while I enjoyed a spot of yoga. There was a free photo booth which we enjoyed dressing up and taking photos.Lizzie’s Way
An oasis of calm in a busy festival we retreated to the woods early on Sunday, to seek shade and find the fairies. What we discovered was much more than that! Lizzie’s Way was a beautiful attraction set within the Dingly Den.With a kids woodland stage which I loved singing and dancing on, a mud pie kitchen where I made some mud pizza, a wishing tree where I wished to see my Grandma and somewhere to make potions. It really was highlight for little ol’ me. It was decorated beautifully and we loved the attention to detail.
We could have spent longer in the woods but all of a sudden the crowds descended on us and we were forced to abandon our quiet oasis. There was lots to do in the Dingly Dell woodlands area from wild crafts and games from The ATE Trust, National Trust’s 50 Things meadow, Longdown Festival Farm Petting Zoo and Wild Thymes adventures.Greetings from…
We posted a postcard from Camp Bestival in the Castle Field which I though was a really nice touch and makes a lovely souvenir. We’ve already had ours back and it takes pride of place on the fridge!Rock On….
We tried out some new yummy juice from Rocks Drinks just before the Pimp My Trolley Competition in the Lower Kids Garden. Loved their flavour combinations and it was nice that they were handing out free samples for children, as it was a very hot weekend.Out of this world food
Food was varied however there should have been more kids priced meals, including some salad and veggies options too. A soup shack would have been fantastic for the evenings. The adult food was fantastic but the prices weren’t family friendly, especially the £12 pizza! Smaller potions half the price would have been appreciated. The Churro stand was yummy but rammed, so maybe some more sweet options next year too? The Feast Collective was a success but very busy so maybe having it in a line spread out as opposed to under a tent would have been better.Other areas that we briefly visited were Mission Control where we enjoyed watching The Clangers and reading Okido Magazine. This area proved popular for older children as they learnt more about space, indulged in Brickies Lego Space Academy and conducting space experiments from the Science Museum. We enjoyed stepping into an Explorer Dome Pop-up Planetarium which I found fascinating and loved looking at all the star constellations and learning more about Orion’s Belt.Celestial Dreaming was so beautiful and in the heart of the Magic Meadow which we walked past every day. At night it came alive and was a great art installation flagged by the two impressive giant astronauts.The only area we found disappointing were the Caravanserai area, very quirky but not enough places to sit down with people hogging the caravans and disused Waltzer car seats. The cocktail bar was overpriced and the measures weak. Music was pretty good though. We never visited the Slow Motion area, my mummy would have like to book herself in for a massage but it was always the last thing in her mind with so much else to see and do. The Upper Kids Area (Feast Collective) on Saturday and Sunday was hard to navigate around with picnic blankets and carts every where and they could have done with some more toilets.We never tried Art Town which my mummy was disappointed at, as she loves crafting but with the weather being so beautiful I much preferred to be outside running around.We’d hear so much about the Wall of Death but never made the hike to the top of the Magic Meadow. Maybe next year… The Inflatable Church looked awesome from afar and we only poked our heads in, I believed that Cinderalla was getting married during the event. A real shame for us was the First Choice Holiday Club and beach, as we could never get a spot to sit and chill inside. It was always too busy and spilling out with people and carts. In hindsight Friday would have been the better day to try out the smaller areas we missed, as day trippers made the festival site very busy on Saturday and Sunday.We opted to leave on the Sunday evening as opposed to hitting all the traffic on the Monday morning and after hearing traffic reports believed it was a good call, however next year we’ll stay until the end depending on the headliner. We missed the closing ceremony with fireworks but caught them on YouTube afterwards.
Early bird tickets are already on sale for Camp Bestival next year and a payment plan is the way to go for us as you can spread the cost weekly which is what we would do. We’re intrigued about booking an upgrade to camping plus to see if the hike to the car is any better.For our first time at Camp Bestival we had an amazing time, if not a little overwhelming. It was the biggest kids festival we’ve ever been too and walking around in bite size chunks suited us better. We don’t know how day trippers do it! And would definitely recommend the camping overnight (even with the loud guy shouting BOGIES! at the top of his voice). We didn’t get round to seeing everything as there was too much to see and do! We loved dressing up, so the theme rocked our world! Hopefully Camp Bestival can top the headliners next year…Fat Boy Slim was pretty awesome.
Mission success. Phew!
Love Bella x
Fancy going next year? Here’s our gallery of images to entice you 😉
Disclosure: We gained free entrance to Camp Bestival in return for an honest review. All food and gift purchases were our own.