Camp Bestival 2016: Wild Times, Weddings and Utter Legends

Oh. My. Gawd.

This was our fourth time at Camp Bestival (the third as Camp Bestival Bloggers) and I know I always voice that it cannot be beaten and this was the best year ever, this time, well gang, I do not know how they will top it.

The gang of Rob Da Bank, Sunday Best, and the PR Mega Team of Bruce, Stevie, Molly and Chloe need a Knighthood for services to raving, rocking and having the time of your life no matter what age you are.

The weather was grand, the food was delicious and varied, the fun was there in full force. They turned the dial up to 11 and they smashed it.

We arrived after a 3 hour trip ( we got lost, Littlest was a puking machine due to travel sickness and Elder seriously needs to understand Sat Navs know roads better than he thinks he does) on Thursday and were straight into the Yellow Field for General Camping.

We got a great spot this year, close enough to avoid last years “Hills of Death” situation ad on a flat bit of land too, and after getting our (shoddy, appallingly rubbish) tent up we went to explore.

Once again, the noise, colour and detail hits you the second you get to the Magic Meadow- it’s total sensory overload and the kids forgot how knackered they were and started jumping round straight away. We grabbed a sausage in a bun and spotted the I Love Camp Bestival sign for our pictures. It was, this year, behind a fence for Health and Safety reasons but it still shone in a silver glory in the field and you could still get a quick pic.


The new addition of the Giant Astronauts could not be missed and left you speechless- the helmets had screens in that lit up with colourful patterns throughout the weekend, and the children loved them. They went so far to reinforce the theme of the weekend and were so highly detailed.

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Other new additions included the First Choice Holiday Beach- a great little meeting spot for families with a bar and actual sandy beach which all weekend was full of happy children building sandcastle whilst music played on stage. We loved the Karaoke, and the choices made by the folk lucky enough to have their three songs chosen for their DJ moment of glory were varied, and in some cases, hilarious.  It was also great to be able to soak up the sun, have a drink and not worry about the kids being bored or unimpressed by the aforementioned music choices as they were all too busy making a massive sandcastle to care. Definitely would have that back next year.

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Last year, we loved the Bollywood tent, which by day pleased the kids with a massive version of a school disco, and by night played the best in rave classics. This year was slightly different, as the tent of years past was replaced with a far more heat friendly relaxation zone of huge, beautifully decorated umbrellas, and comfy squashy sofas. The big crochet elephant head- used on the Castle Stage for the last two years- was reused for the booth where the music played. We liked that this year, the kids were given the opportunity to show off their varied talents during the day, big mention to one young girl on Saturday afternoon who had written her own composition for a charity in aid of her Dad’s workmates daughter- a sure star of the future with vocal ability beyond her young years.

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The removal of the tent also made it easier to chat to people, and to mingle, and we were lucky that one couple saw Elder trying to take pictures and kindly took a great family group for us.

Now, the bands.

A varied mixture with something for everyone, I was pleased to finally discover Turin Brakes, who I had heard of but never actually heard. They were great, definitely my new pick of the festival, which I always come away with having made a new band discovery (like Kitty Daisy and Lewis two years back). You could tell they were a group of many years practise in school halls and garages, not some XFactor put together crap, they were masters of crowd interaction and I wouldn’t say no to seeing them again.


Turin Brakes

Mini’s highlight was Jesse Glynne, who I was quite surprised to have enjoyed myself. I did recognise a few songs as I’m sure they have, at some point in the last few months, either been blasted through her door or at the school disco when I was on PTA duty. I do maintain this is the beauty of Camp Bestival, both introducing us to new acts and by having something for all ages and musical tastes.

Dawn Penn and The Brand New Heavies were the perfect mid afternoon/early evening addition, with soulful music and songs you could sing along to. Dawn Penn is a living legend of the Bob Marley era, someone I think is totally underrated in her class, and no doubt there will be a fair few revellers who came away wanting to hear more. I have fond school based memories of the Brand New Heavies, and their acid jazz stylings, they were another group who had great rapport with the crowd (I was complimented on my sunglasses at one point and they all happily posed when they saw a camera point their way).

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KT Tunstall, Katy B and Bananarama were very good signings for the teens and those who were teens were they were first around. I did feel slightly ancient during Katy B, and was taken aback by the yoof snapchatting and instagramming throughout. I also loved one youngster who very rightly told off a much taller lad for standing in her way! Girl power indeed! KT Tunstall was someone whose album “Eye to the Telescope” was always on when I was pregnant with Mini, and she was just as good live as I thought she’d be. You couldn’t not love Bananarama, with song after song of eighties classics lighting up the Castle Stage. I want more crowd participation, as I missed being able to jump on stage with them at the end. The ladies more than proved that they still have it all those years later.

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But my, my word, 2016 will go down in Festival Folklore as the year of Fatboy Slim.

Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat- more like rave, rave, hits, amazement! I was asked how his set was, and summed it up simply- next year, can we just have Norman and his mad backgrounds and wicked sounds at all times of day on every stage please? That good!

I had fangirled hard over the idea of finally getting to see someone I had grown up with, but did harbour the fear every fan gets that perhaps it will never live up to your personal hype.

I shouldn’t have worried.

The field was packed, literally rammed, and, I know some have seen this as a bad point as obviously a lot of Day Tickets were sold for Saturday on the strength of Fatboy Slim, but I loved that atmosphere of thousands of people of all ages in a field, all raising their hands, jumping, and enjoying what has become my personal highlight.

I must give a massive shout to the couple who saw Littlest and Mini flagging, and who very kindly offered their chairs for them to nod off in, all whilst jumping around to the music with their sons! Another blessed part of Camp Bestival is the sense of friendliness of 99% of those there.I’ve no doubt we’d have had to go back to the tent otherwise, which would have been a travesty, although I do wonder how on earth they managed to sleep!

The attention to detail of FBS and his music and backgrounds, not to mention the little stage performance of him coming on in a space suit and teaching a Wookie how to dance, it was just goosebump worthy. More please!


We didn’t get a go on the Giant Bouncy Castle, so hope it’s back next time, as it proved exceptionally popular and my two are terrible at queuing, but they did get to revisit the Carousel of 6 years ago, and we managed to get a great “then and now” comparison of Mini and Elder!


Another new addition to the Lower Kids Field was- as Mini called it- the Dinosaur Tent. Full of facts on the Jurassic Coast locally, kids could search sandboxes for fossils, and the addition of dinosaur skeleton fossils went down well with Mini who would like to a paleontologist when she’s older.

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Queuing is always part of any event this big, but we felt the food stalls handled this well, and the variety was great too. Elder particularly liked his Dirty Burger, and it was great to see some stalls bringing in Kid deals too. Littlest and I had a gorgeously authentic pizza, although having to order in one queue and then do so again to collect was a bit of a faff.

The toilets, again, something that always get moaned on, well, I didn’t think they were that bad. In a field with that many people, you will always struggle to keep the facilities to Royal standard, but there was only one all weekend that made me want to vom, and once warned, I avoided it. Yes, the queues near the Castle Stage were huge during the evening, but as seasoned Festival goers we expected this and a short walk over to nearer the Bollywood area proved the best option.


Carnival comes to Camp Bestival

Now, something we’ve seen before, but not taken part in was the Inflatable Church. Last year we got in too late but it was fun to watch a motley crew of people- kids, mates, and genuine couples, tie the knot legitimately or otherwise.

This year was our turn, and we booked for Friday at 6.30pm. I duly, signal permitting (damn you Vodafone, you still suck throughout Dorset) invited anyone who happened to be free at Camp Bestival to come along. At 6.15, we went and chose our outfits.


There were loads to pick from, from the sublime to the ridiculous with all era’s covered. Elder went for a bright pink suit and hat, and was given a glittery addition to his face by the lovely team of makeup fairies who doubled as our bridesmaids,  and I went for a vintage 80s corset with gold and silver detail, along with a bejewelled hairband veil. I kept my eye make up quite 80s smokey and wore a flower crown too. I was offered heels but as this was my day my way and I would probably have fallen over, I kept with my converse! Mini and Littlest got to chose too, with Mini wearing a tiered dress and pink wig and Littlest walked me down the aisle in a purple sequin jacket!

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Ours was the Hip Hop wedding, and we enjoyed it immensely, lots of people came along and made it so much more fun by joining in. It was wacky, crazy and mad, but you know what, you can keep your traditional church wedding, as in my view everyone should go and get it sorted in that church!

Camp Bestival never ceases to amaze me in the attention to detail, the thought put into the acts, the fact that there is never a dull moment. You get a great group of revellers too, and we made great friends of one family- hello to the Bromley family!- and we will be back camping with them next year.

Dick and Dom are not new to us, but are someone who Mini has only really just gotten into, and I found their double entendre filled comedy great fun. It also instigated, my daughter, and her Dad (who clearly should know better) sparking a Yellow Camp wide fest of “Boggies” being shouted at 11pm at night. I would like to apologise on behalf of my children and their Dad for setting that off for an hour at least. It was bloody hilarious though! I blame Dick and Dom.

Any downsides? Not really, we were a bit miffed that some buggers pinched one of our sunloungers and rifled through our storage tent breaking the zip and putting curry sauce on Elder’s clothes. But that’s not the fault of Camp B, obviously. Yes, we were a bit miffed that the Yellow Security guys looked a bit lacklustre on our field, and they didn’t seem that bothered when we reported the incident, but hey ho, can’t win them all and 99% of the staff this year were on the ball and checking bags for glass too.

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This year, the general consensus on the Facebook forum has been immensely positive, with only the usual toilet/queuing gripes. I think the guys behind the festival can relax safe in the knowledge that they delivered one of the best events ever.

Now, to next year and our “who we’d love to see” list.

Gary Clark Junior is a must for me, Elder got to see him at the Electric Ballroom and we love his albums, we’ve seen live footage and he rocks the stage.

For sheer indulgence factor I would like the 80s to be continued with Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Yes, I can name but two of their tunes, but would personally love to see the field go mad to Come on Eileen.

Littlest would like a vote for Lukas Graham, he loves his singer/songwriters and loves his song “Seven Years”.

I would like some past people as it’s the tenth anniversary next year, so would vote Florence and the Machine, Ed Sheeran, Basement Jaxx and Lee Scratch Perry amongst others.

Elder would like Talking Heads (oh yes people, please, let this be possible) , and Kraftwerk, but DJs wise, I have to give a shout to the RadioactiveFM crew (I am disgraceful biased though), and would love to see a balearic house set in Bollywood next time too.

For themes- Childhood heroes? Eighties? The Year you were born in? Or how about a Bowie Year???

Can we wait for next year? No! Do we want to pitch a tent and hide in Dingly Dell? Yes! If that was 2016, I am dying to see the line-up for next year! Keep a lookout on my social channels for updates as soon as we have them.