What are Camp Bestival babes made of? Glitter and veils and dragon’s tails. Mud and sweat and moments they’ll never forget.
Our third Camp Bestival adventure** began with a series of mishaps: from catching the wrong end of a train splitting into two lines, to my 10 year old forgetting his backpack. Thanks to the super helpful crew on South West trains we were soon back on track, but set to arrive at the campsite after dark.
We shared a taxi from Wareham with a Camp Bestival newbie named Amber and her sweet little girls. She was on an even more intrepid mission, having been travelling on public transport since 5am from Falkirk, Scotland!
Amber told me she’d been widowed when her youngest was just 16 months and now she was determined to make as many memories with her kids as possible. A woman after my own heart. I assured her Camp Bestival would be just the ticket: a magical place that soon feels like home.
It’s in the team spirit of Camp Bestival that while I was trying to help Amber with her pop-up, two passersby took over. Meanwhile another family helped me and the boys put up our tent and pump our airbed. Shout outs to the lovely Helga and her two daughters.
Millets had sent us a 5 man tent, the most spacious and comfiest tent we’ve camped in. It took about 20 minutes (with assistance) to set up, there was plenty of space for our kit, and I could actually stand up indoors. The boys had a great sleep until well after 9am.
Festival in Space
Camp Bestival’s theme for 2016 was Outer Space and the festival site was dominated by giant astronauts that looked spectacular both day and night. On our first morning, it was lovely to amble about getting our bearings again. We had a sweet, somewhat emotional reunion with our 2014 campsite neighbours, Neesha and River.
While the boys ran about, Neesha and I made like we were in Ibiza at the First Choice Holidays beach bar; rum punch, sand between our toes, DJs pumping out big party anthems.
At the Castle stage, we munched on Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chicken and jollof rice during Katy B and DJ Yoda’s set.
Before we hit our sleeping bags, we caught some of Jess Glynne (fab) and the Carnival Night Parade. Simply stunning.
On Saturday the festival’s always busier with new arrivals and day ticket holders. NASA spacemen, martians and others from a galaxy far far away turned out for the costume parade.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and there was monster raving with Big Fish Little Fish in the newly al fresco Bollywood area. Here we met fellow Camp Bestival bloggers for drinks. It was great to connect with Penny of Parent Shaped, Natalie of Style Me Sunday, Emma of Joy of Five, Alison of Not Another Mummy Blog, Katy of Modern Mummy, Ruth of RocknRoller Baby, Carolynne of Mummy Endeavours and other bloggers I was meeting for the first time. Shout outs to Bruce, Stevie and the most edible Bestival baby, just 3 weeks old!
Saturday’s support Arrested Development had cancelled due to illness (boo!), but headliner Fatboy Slim practically blew the turrets off Ludlow Castle, giving us tune after tune, banger after banger. A marriage proposal during Praise You was so joyful and lifted the crowd into a frenzy.
On Sunday, Brand New Heavies and Bananarama took us on waves of nostalgia. We missed Tears for Fears, but saw the sunset and fireworks finale from the less crowded Magic Meadow field, where Norman Jay MBE was spinning.
There is so much to pack in at Camp Bestival it might sound exhausting, but actually there was plenty of time for lolling about and random moments. Time for…
Hot buttered corn. Come to mama!
Racing to collect empty plastic cups and bottles at 10p a piece. Ezra earned £11!
Bumping into old friends (Sam the Bubble Man) on the dance floor.
Reggie and Bollie.
A cappella on the lawn.
Battling the forces of evil.
Getting your eyelashes did.
We also loved
Mr Motivator whipping the crowd into shape; Space 4D cards in the Science Tent; watching Disney’s Pete’s Dragon in our PJs in the Big Top; Comedy Club 4 Kids; midnight feast by torchlight; motorcycle madness in the incredible Wall of Death; paper showers of Purple Rain at Rob da Bank and Tayo’s Prince tribute; Glow-in-the-dark juggling at the David Bowie tribute; aliens with attitude…
Of course you can’t do everything and I’m still gutted that we didn’t get a turn on the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle. Although we did enjoy another wedding in the Inflatable Church.
Sure there were a few wobbly moments (our tent nearly collapsed, but neighbours held it down), some dodgy toilets (although When Nature Calls provides freshly cleaned loos at £2 a pop) and the occasional meltdown, but for at least 99% of the time we were having an absolute BLAST.
Camp Bestival is a uniquely magical family festival that truly offers something for all ages and I can’t recommend it enough.
‘I like seeing little kids running around at Camp Bestival. It’s probably the first time some of them have ever been to a festival and they’re probably having the best time in their lives.’ – Ezra
Early bird tickets for Camp Bestival 2017 are on sale now. Weekly payment plan available. Don’t space out.
**I’m an Official Camp Bestival Blogger for 2016 and was invited to cover the festival as a member of the press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.