Reflections on Camp Bestival – Review

Reflections on Camp Bestival

I have a feeling a few posts are to follow, intermittently, about our Camp Bestival experience. Having been invited to review the experience it still feels like Camp Bestival is summarised by my initial response. So vast – as a festival and a family experience, with memories to to hold forever.

My emotional response to Camp Bestival echoes the broad offer Camp Bestival brings to families. It is like nothing I’ve experienced before. And I feel like we didn’t scratch the surface of what Camp Bestival has to offer. So, there’s probably a few posts in the making, demonstrating how much is there to be experienced.

Camp Bestival takes place each July at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. My initial mistake was thinking it takes place from Friday to Sunday. Thinking I was doing well for us to arrive on the Thursday afternoon. The festival goes on into the small hours of Monday morning. So, it’s definitely worth planning on packing up on Monday morning and enjoying the entirety of the entertainment.

Camp Bestival highlights

As advice for first-timers goes, I’d say don’t feel in a hurry to pitch up. We stayed in general camping and felt the need to find the first vacant space with enough room for us. Whilst it was a short walk to the festival, it was up hill. At the top of the hill there were lots of vacant, flat, pitches. It’s worth deciding whether you want to be in proximity to your car, the entertainment, facilities or on a hill. Because it’s worth saying, it’s very hilly between your car and the entertainment.

This was my first festival and camping experience where I didn’t shower the entire time. And if you know me, that’s major. Even on maternity, with three under-2’s, I showered every day. But, whilst the toilets were bearable, the queues for the showers weren’t. I managed to figure out a routine to have a good wash each day and utilise dry shampoo. It wasn’t great, and more showers were definitely warranted for the size of the camp.

Camp Bestival felt like a festival created for people who used to go to festivals who became parents. It didn’t feel like a child focused festival-which we had become used to after having our brood. As a result, it took a lot longer for us to get into. Our children have become spoilt with having so much ‘adventure’ type things to do when we go away that getting into a more relaxed routine took a while.

The vastness of Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival offers entertainment from the start of the day to the early hours. As few children will stand this test of resilience, the festival is designed around letting you find your own pace. The campsite is a fantastic place to relax any time of day. Given the number of families the festival attracts, it didn’t take long for our children to make friends with ‘local’ children. This was a key element in breaking up the day.

The size and scale of Camp Bestival is something else. I know we didn’t even scratch the surface, fortunately the children discovered the Upper Kids Garden which they absolutely loved.

Camp Bestival's Upper Kids Village

And, this is how Camp Bestival does what it does so well. It offers enough of everything to appeal to a wide range of families. Families get to choose how much is a good thing- whether it be music, food or entertainment. There is something for everyone to find.

Like most festivals, you can be prepared to find the cost of food and drink daunting. With absolutely glorious weather, we found our need for cold drinks constant. Camp Bestival encourages everyone to bring water bottles (with lots of water points around the camp and the festival) as well as using recyclable cups at all bars. Our three did become a little too partial to Shaken Udder’s milkshakes. But even this we used to our advantage in encouraging good behaviour (and sharing!).

Enjoying Shaken Udder's Beast Milkshake at Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival feels like a festival where you can spend as much or as little as you like and have a fantastic time. There are some things which make this more achievable (a beast of a coolbox if you choose to prepare your own meals). What is evident around the festival is how much there is to enjoy at no cost.

When reflecting on the other family festivals we have been to you can understand that your ticket price to Camp Bestival is as much focused on getting fantastic bands to enjoy. And this too is diverse. From East 17 and Goldie Lookin’ Chain to Nile Rogers & Chic and the Human League to Jess Glynne and Lewis Capaldi. And, of course, this is just the tip of the top of the pick.

Lewis Capaldi at Camp Bestival

Our first time at Camp Bestival was carefully cautious. It was nothing like our expectations which made it difficult to step into. But once you allow yourself to be emerged it offers so many moments. So many moments that your children can’t wait to get back home to tell people about. Photos which you hold onto, despite still not being able to take a decent selfie.

And, selfishly, it’s not just about being a parent. There are those moments, when you can’t believe you’ve got the ticket. You would have paid for this. But it’s even better when your favourite people are with you.

Ash at Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival returns to Lulworth Castle from the 30th July to 2nd August 2020 with tickets on sale. Whether you’re stepping into the festival scene for the first time or you’re a regular festival goer- there is definitely something for you and your family.

Disclosure: we were invited to Camp Bestival. All words and opinions are our own.

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  • Reply
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too
    August 5, 2019 at 08:02

    It sounds like you had an amazing time, its great to hear that there is so much for the children to enjoy other than the amazing line up of acts.

  • Reply
    Rufus Dufus
    January 24, 2022 at 17:59

    Camp Bestival is utter cr@p. After waiting in soul destroying traffic jams to access the site, you end up pitching up a tent in a flat and uninspiring pasture with not much of a view and lots of dried cowpats, row upon row of tents as far as the eye can see are packed like sardines. Access to toilets and showers involves a long walk with no meaninful privacy. The attractions are really not much better than your average travelling funfair, kids ranged from being bored to irritable. Food was a bunch of glorified burger vans and concessions of the sort you get in practically any town centre. The acts were a bit naff and the attractions in the woods were something any parent with a few hours to spare could easily rustle up. What a waste of time, fuel and money.

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