So a few weeks ago we arrived home from the most amazing four days at Camp Bestival in Dorset. Exhausted, grubby, tanned and very happy. I was excited before we went but I could never have imagined just how good this festival would be.
There was so much to see and do all day long that it was more than a little overwhelming, the size on the festival site is incredible and at first it seems that you will never find your way about but we quickly got to grips with everything and by Saturday we felt like Camp Bestival regulars.
It is so much more than a music festival. It’s somewhere I could have happily taken my parents as well as my child and I know that they would have enjoyed it.
It was impossible to see everything we wanted to but I managed to see/try most things on my list which you can read here
Here is my Camp Bestival Diary 2012:
Day 1: We arrived at around midday on Thursday 26th and found out car park and camping plus plot with ease. Camping Plus is something I would definitely recommend. It costs an additional £100 per plot (not per person) but your camping spot is laid out for you, nobody can go into your space and there are posh showers and toilets just for camping plus customers. There are also special cafes/stalls which rarely had huge queues. I would do this again for sure. The rest of the evening was mainly wandering around the site and then chilling outside our tent watching what seemed like an Olympic contest for biggest and best tent going on all around us.
As I am not earning at the moment (maternity leave) we were hoping to keep to a fairly small budget for eating out so we look lots of foodie bits with us as well as the camping stove. New blog post coming soon all about camping food. After a lovely relaxing meal in the sunshine ( today has been so hot) we got set up for bed and had an early night.
Day 2: On waking up and setting up for breakfast we discovered our gas bottle was in fact now empty. Oops. We made a short trip into town and then back to the beautiful festival site just in time for a quick lunch at the tent and back into the midst of things..
It’s hard to explain how much there is to do, eat and watch here .. You could walk around all day long and still not cover everything. So far today we have watched extreme sports, various bands and musicians, eaten ice cream, drank coconut water straight from the shells as well as trying tightrope walking , had lots of freebies and sun bathed. What a glorious day.
When you are in a crowd of 30,000 people you don’t expect to bump into people you know let alone people you vaguely recognise from a profile pic on twitter but that’s what happened.. After an organised meet with the lovely Aresidence,Melkshammum and bluebearwood earlier in the day I bumped into Abi (midwifetomum) Neil (higheight) and their gorgeous daughter Bo whilst taking an evening stroll, it was really nice to meet the people behind the tweets and we arranged to meet for drinks the following eve.
We ended day 2 watching Hot Chip with a sleeping baby across my lap sprawled on the grass near the castle. Perfect end to a pretty perfect day.
Day 3: All of the activities and fun seem to be wearing Izzy out and she had a lovely long sleep last night. Yay. This means we are all bright and refreshed today and ready for an action filled day. A nice big bacon butty breakfast by the tent and we head down to the castle stage to watch The Gruffalo.. A huge crowd of tired and hungover parents are soon cheered by an unbelievably lively albeit slightly inappropriate Dick & Dom and when The Gruffalo starts every childs face in the audience lights up and its amazing. Izzy unfortunately slept through most of The Gruffalo but she woke up in time for Mr Tumble and I’m so glad she did as he was fantastic. I hadn’t really appreciated how good he was until he was on stage but he was fab, myself and Izzy loved it.
Quick break back at the tent for lunch then it was off to meet Shrek. Woop. Should I really have been more excited than my child to see the REAL Shrek in person?! Probably not but I was and we even got to have a pic with him and Donkey. Fun. Izzy is obsessed with her shrek toy and she seemed happily shocked to see a lifesize version.
It’s a little cooler today which is good news as although I love the sun it’s been a constant struggle to keep Izzy cool then warm (in the shade) and she is covered in a thin sheen of suncream at all times. Having said that the camp bestival site has plenty of shaded areas to chill out in for when the sun is just too strong as well as baby chill out areas and soft play tents. The chill out tent had lots of bepathen freebies too which was nice.
After a lazy few hours of strolling along eating ice cream and allowing myself a cheeky glass of Pimms whilst doing the hump watching The Rizzle Kicks we headed down to the Kids field to meet up with the lovely Abi,Neil&Bo. We walked down to the bandstand and sat down ready to chill out listening to Howard Marks reading an unusual version of Jack and the beanstalk. Lots of fun. This was a unique experience. His melodic voice calmed even the most boisterous children and five minutes in they were hanging on his every word. His version of Jack and the beanstalk with explanations of what a widow is and his own take on the moral of the story was truly a delight. Probably one of my fave CB experiences.
After the bedtime story we were hungry and had the most delicious chicken nachos from the funky and friendly Luardos. If you see their pink van at any festivals you just have to try their food. It’s the best street food/festival grub I have ever tried. Sprawled on the grass eating our food whilst Izzy played with new friend Bo we listened to Gekko- I’ll be honest I’d never heard of these guys prior to this and maybe if they hadn’t been on immediately after HM I wouldn’t have thought to watch them but I’m so glad I did. I loved their set and loved their obvious shock and glee when the enthralled audience demanded an encore. Will be keeping an eye/ear out their future gigs. After the it we checked out the Young British Foodies tent.. This as my third visit to the tent as I just loved walking round the stalls but we made our first and only purchase there which I think was the best decision we could have made.. RIBS! Seriously the best Ribs I have ever tasted from the Ribman. Ahh heavenly.
Next on our list of things to do was heading to the castle field to watch Kool and the gang. I was so excited as growing up my dad loved them and so I often heard their songs around the house. Kool and the gang were in a word EPIC. I rarely use that word but wow I loved it. A few songs they started with were well before my time I’m sure but we bopped along anyway but when they began to play their biggest hits such as: ladies nights, get down on it, Cherish ( my dads fave) and the massive crowd pleaser Celebrate it just became one of my favourite festival experiences ever. Such a happy lively group of singers and so energetic! The crowd were happy and it’s one of those songs which everyone will have personal memories attached from parties and their own previous celebrations. If you get a chance to see KOTG live – Do it.
Day 4: Tired today after a busy day yesterday so we have a lazy morning and wander around the festival site we then queue to see The Wall of death making sure Izzy has her ear defenders on. What a fab experience! If you see the wall of death at any events or festivals make sure you go and look inside. So much fun and Izzy was enthralled. We have a quick lunch and then head to see Rolf Harris take over the Castle stage. This was fun, we sang along and listened to his stories before going to The Dingle Dell for some poetry followed by a secret gig! Lianne La Havas was this years secret performer and she has an extremely beautiful voice and it was nice being part of such a small performance. We headed back to the tent after the secret gig and packed everything up ready for our journey home tonight and within the hour we were back out and ready to treat ourself to some festie food..after all we had packed the stove away.
I chose to have a lamb flatbread kebab.. Yum. I was even inspired weeks later to make flatbreads after eating this, you can find that recipe here and Andrew chose Chicken &Chorizo Paella both were from lovely food stalls in the castle stage field. We also had some fresh lemonade from the Paella stand which was gorgeous. Whilst munching the opening song of Dub Pistols set started and the crowd loved it, We have seen Dub Pistols perform live 3 times and they are an amazing live act that really get the crowd going. We couldn’t have ended the festival on a better note. We left just as The Happy Mondays got started and it was a peaceful exit and journey home which I imagine would have been slightly more stressful if we had left on the Monday morning.
Overall it was an absolutely amazing festival experience. We are really hoping to go again next year and I would say its suitable for ALL ages.
Check out our Camp Bestival photo diary
Early bird tickets are available now so go to http://www.campbestival.com and buy yourself a guaranteed fantastic holiday experience for next year!
* I was lucky enough to be offered free tickets for this years festival in exchange for an honest review.