Reviewed by Michelle Wright
This year we returned to the gorgeous county of Dorset to review Camp Bestival 2014. This year it promised to be bigger and better than ever and themed as the fabulous circus – a graphic which conjures up all fabulous fancy dress outfits for the Saturday as well as fun filled circus activities for both parents and old, including a moustache and beard competition for the daddy’s, a fancy dress competition for the whole family and circus tricks for the children to learn!
As this was our second year visiting Camp Bestival, we were certainly more prepared! Armed with our radio flyer truck to rest tired little legs when needed, packed was my daughter’s fancy dress cheerleader outfit, and tucked away in our rucksacks were extra toilet paper and had sanitiser! We were now experienced festival goers…
Again we camped in the trailer tent/ campervan area… Surrounded by caravans, cool VW campers, and hundreds and hundreds of meters of bunting and solar lights! The area looked fabulous… And this year, the facilities had improved in the camping area as well! Posh hot showers and flushing porta loos! The camping area was the same as the year before, about 30 min walk to the festival but if the walking at the end of the day was too much. You could always catch one of three festaxis – although they apparently don’t run in the rain – not great with a 30 min walk, tired legs, huge hills up and down! But we managed!!
Weekend camping starts on the Thursday before the event, which is when most people arrive and get set up. The festival started on Friday and we, with hordes of others trundled our way to the event site. There’s so much to do, taking place in so many areas at once! It’s a good tip to buy the programme bag for £10 so you have an idea of what is happening where, then choosing the parts you really don’t want to miss. We spent Friday exploring the Soul Park as well as the Lower Kids Garden where my 8 year old loved the Science Tent and new LEGO area. We caught some of a Horrible Histories on the Castle Stage, experienced the incredible installations by Monsieur Bateman of Classic old caravans and Waltzer cars renovated and turned into a chill out area with a bar, we also saw the jousting (cheering on the baddies!)… The last area we ventured into on Friday was Dingley Dell. Unfortunately the fairy house area had gone but extra to last year was Project Wild Thing, all things natural and bug like as well as a fantastic area we wanted to explore more the next day, National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.
Tonight’s entertainment on the Castle Stage included The Cuban Brothers who were very funny, and later, Johnny Marr and the fabulous James! Roll on Saturday for more awesome entertainment…
Saturday started with torrential rain 🙁 By late morning the sky started to clear and the festival goers ventured out again in Glastonbury bury attire – sun dresses and wellies!!
Our first stop was back to the Science Tent as my daughter wanted to learn how to make soap and then straight from there we caught the last hour of the Muppets Most Wanted Show at the Big Top venue. We then ventured into a different area called the ‘lower kids garden’ which featured a travelling circus (very popular last year) along with a new addition featuring the new movie ‘Planes 2’, which had a real fire engine that kids could sit inside and watch the film trailer. In addition to this a number of computer console games could be played, set up under a marque for the children’s entertainment. My daughter was particularly impressed with a water cannon game in the Planes 2 theme and managed to win a prize in the process. The sun at this point of the day was getting very hot and we had been out for hours, so we decided to head back to camp for some much need rest and showers!
2014 marks 50 years since Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory was published. Throughout the weekend there were numerous events celebrating this momentous occasion, including a pop up Roald Dahl museum, Charlie’s Craftathon and storytelling extravaganza.
Sunday was the last day of the event and the sun was shining again! It seems to have gone so fast yet again.
We set off on the walk to the events field – our first stop was the inflatable church… Inside we found a cool hip DJ working some decks and everyone who entered doing some funky dancing! It was so cool!
We moved from here to the area behind the castle, The Upper Kids Garden. This area was so lively! There were circus actives scattered all over the grass where you could try your hand at juggling, balancing etc… The kids loved it! There was a huge tent where we created elephant artwork and lots of other craft activities.. And later on in the day they rolled in reels of stickers used in manufacturing plants for food. People crowded around these sheets of stickers ripping parts off it and then sat in the sun creating – well, all sorts!!! 3d flowers, hats, wands and we even saw a giraffe sculpture – such a stress reliever.
In this area we also found numerous delicious food outlets as well as a very tempting farmers market. There was so much choice catering for all tastes!
As the sun started to set, people started to crowd around the front of the castle – saving their place for the grand finale of the event, the firework show.
We grabbed something to eat and waited with anticipation as more and more people arrived with glow in the dark bands, bubbles and torches. The music and lighting on the stage also changed pace and we were singing along to the likes of Basement Jaxx (one of my favourites). In complete darkness, at 10pm the firework show started – and it didn’t disappoint! Set to the music of Queen, people were singing in the audience as we watched fire flares and amazing fireworks, all in time to the music. What a fabulous way to finish and amazing event!
There’s so much to do at Camp Bestival for all ages. If you have never been before I really recommend that you give it a try next year. The event seems to get bigger and better year on year.
To find out more about Camp Bestival, have a look at their website. Follow them on Facebook for news of ticket sales and next year’s line up! There’s information on already for next year’s festival! They do a fabulous job on social media – even creating a daily countdown nearer the event to build up the anticipation. We love Camp Bestival! Put it on next year’s list to experience… You won’t be disappointed!
Camp Bestival 2015 takes place from 30 July to 2 August 2015. For more information or to book tickets visit www.campbestival.net.