We’re all going on a festi-holiday! Babes about Town will be official family bloggers at Camp Bestival for the third time and we couldn’t be more thrilled. This was the first camping festival we attended back in 2012 and it remains a firm favourite with our whole brood.
But what’s so special about Camp Bestival? The family festivals scene is growing wilder and more wonderful each year and there are almost too many to choose from. Essentially Camp Bestival is to family festivals what Glastonbury is to music festivals… simply the biggest and the best.
Every year, up to 30,000 people make the pilgrimage from across the UK and Europe to Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Here you can immerse yourself in four days of incredible live music, performances, workshops, amazing food, baby-friendly chill out zones, fireworks and more family entertainment.
This year’s theme is Outer Space and I can’t wait for the babes to rock their Space Kids NASA suits and helmets. We might even pack some space food (e.g. delicious freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches) as it’s perfect for camping too.
With less than two weeks until lift-off, here is our 10-step countdown to Camp Bestival 2016:
This year’s line-up is out of this world with Fatboy Slim, Tears for Fears, Jess Glynne and Katie B as headliners, plus an eclectic line-up of acts including Soul II Soul, KT Tunstall, Arrested Development, The Cuban Brothers, Brand New Heavies, Bananarama, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 and dozens more. Also turn up and tune in for DJ sets from the likes of Norman Jay MBE, English Disco Lovers, Wookie and I’m especially looking forward to Rob Da Bank and Tayo’s Purple Rave Prince Tribute.
The vibe at Camp Bestival really does feel like one (seriously huge) family, with many revellers returning year after year. Also since the festival is aimed primarily at former Bestival-goers who turned mamas and papas, there’s TONS of activities for little ones including a massive Kids’ Garden with workshops, pop-up performances, stalls etc. Legendary acts like Mr Tumble and Dick & Dom will get the wee ones buzzing, while we’ll be tearing up the floor in the dance tents with family ravers Big Fish Little Fish.
Along with the regular burgers and chips that you’ll find at most festivals, Camp Bestival prides itself on pushing some quality nosh to the hungry hordes through their Feast Collective. This year we’re dreaming of palm wine and jollof rice at Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen Supper Club, meaty beats with the infamous DJ BBQ and the intriguingly named Pimp My Ramen. You do have to book ahead for supper clubs and breakfast clubs and prepare to queue for the most popular stalls.
The Carnival is back at Camp Bestival with Marawa’s Majorettes hula hooping up a storm, Area 51’s fire and stilt shows, Batala Portsmouth’s crazy drumming and loads more madness. In the kids’ fields, the hugely popular Insect Circus and the Jousting tournaments are a must-see. Also look out for Comedy Club 4 Kids, gravity-defying motorcycle stunt riders in the Wall of Death and we always love to catch a wedding in the Bestival Inflatable Church.
Highlights on the bill include How to Create a Children’s Book in a Day with Sam Curry; the Secret Mummies Wine Show with Sara Cox; and Roald Dahl’s Stories with the Imagination Seekers.
5. Slow Motion Pamper Zone
Hot tubs! Imagine the joys of soaking your fatigued, festival body in a whirlpool bath (booking essential). There’s also massage, holistic therapies yoga, and other therapies to soothe you when it’s all going a bit Pete Tong.
4. Fancy Dress Parade
The annual fancy dress parade is always a delight and as mentioned, the boys have some proper space gear to show off. Now where did I put my moon boots?
3. The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle
Joining forces with Cardiff-based Something Creative, Rob da Bank and the Camp Bestival team have created the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, making its debut at Camp Bestival this year. Taller than the Great Wall of China and roughly three times the size of the Berlin Wall, there’s space for up to 100 happy hoppers of all sizes to leap themselves into a stupor simultaneously. Kick off your shoes and get boinging.
There’s a pop-up planetarium, special appearances from Aliens Love Underpants, plus the National Space Centre, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the UK Space Agency and other boffins offering an opportunity to explore life on Mars and beyond. Keep an eye out for the Urban Astronaut, a tale that combines a travelling flying machine with dance performance.
That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day eh? Experiencing once-in-a-lifetime adventures with your kids, and making memories that hopefully will endure even as they have kids of their own. Some of my best moments at Camp Bestival include shaking hands with Nile Rodgers of Chic, seeing Ezra and Jed let loose in front of the festival stage, giggling in our sleeping bags after the fireworks finale… so many memories.
Are you coming this year? It’s set to be a blast!
Camp Bestival is at Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5SQ (Bournemouth airport/Wareham or Wool rail/Big Green Coach from London Victoria station direct to Festival). Adult weekend camping £197.50/ages 13-17 £118/ages 10-12 £93/ages 5-9 £45/ages 4 and under £15/babes in arms ages 1 and under FREE but ticket required. Weekly payment plan available. 10am (Thu) to 2pm (Mon) on Jul 28-31. Visit www.campbestival.net