Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Camp Bestival 2014: Review

If you want to read an in depth dairy of Camp Bestival from Lazy Girl and the Brats, then head over to Lazy Girl Blog. Here is the review of the entire weekend.

 We are now back from Camp Bestival in the grounds of the picturesque Lulworth Castle where we have been since Thursday. We are now nice and squeaky clean, and well rested after a good nights non campsite sleep!

Long time readers may recall we went in 2010 by train, but this time we went by car which meant we could bring much more with us than was practical when we had two very small Tot Testers and a small trolley at our disposal.

We arrived on Thursday around 5pm and were pleased by how well sign posted the roads surrounding the site are, all the way from Wareham 5 miles down the road. It's attention to detail like that that meant the traffic was fine, only slightly more slow to move than a normal Saturday shopping day in any town in the UK.

We weren't sure where we were going to camp (my fault as it was something I hadn't clarified) so plumped for Yellow Car Park and Camping as it was the last one we spotted!

On arrival, we showed my paperwork and the Security guys directed us forwards, although the sign posts remained plentiful and were easy to follow. The road was very bumpy and chalky but you have to keep in mind its farmland the rest of the time and built for tractors, not cars with roof boxes.

We got to the well managed car park and made our way down the hill to the entrance, at first full of happiness to be there and then slowly realising the practicalities of hill versus carrying of tent, cooking facilities, a suitcase of clothes and other items.
The view from Yellow Car Park at the top of the hill

However salvation was spotted at the bottom of the hill in the shape of the Trolley hire, and for £50 we managed to fit everything in, receiving £45 back on return of it.

Going through to the Guest List area I got a view of how everything progressed with everyone else's tickets. It went without any hitches, and was done with efficiency and a smile. All the staff we spoke to and met with only one exception were above and beyond friendly and helpful and I hope Camp Bestival hire them all again.

We pitched up at the bottom of the hill where it was less busy (we found out why this was later) and after 20 minutes had our little plot sorted. We got lots of sunshine but a nice breeze too and it came with the bonus of being near the water and the loos (at this point a bonus) as well as lots of families with kids of similar ages to ours.

On Thursday we had a light dinner, said hi to our fellow campers, went for a stroll round the main field then went off to bed early ready for the morning.

We soon realised in the night that being near the loos may have been an error on our part as throughout the night had the noise of the heavy doors slamming on and off.

But, regardless, the Brats on their camp beds were fine (darn us for forgetting the adults air bed. That was a massive mistake!)

Friday morning arrived and on learning the Camp Shop didn't stock Ketchup or rolls, we had a quick detour into nearby Wareham for supplies. Set up for the day with Bacon rolls we headed off.

The atmosphere at Camp Bestival is great for adults and kids alike. There were costumes everywhere, noise, colour and excitement and to be honest you are spoilt for choice when it comes to something to occupy whether you like crafts, arts, comedy, or any type of musical styling. You could even watch Jousting or take part in a kick about with Arsenal this year. You could see acts as diverse across the spectrum as Mr Tumble to Sinead O'Connor, sit in a BMW, or on a carousel. They really do cater to all tastes. I've seen a select few moan about the corporate influence this year in a negative light but this was far less than other concerts I've gone to, and of course no savvy company will turn down much needed sponsorship from big brands. My view is if you don't like it, don't visit these stalls.

The maps given out with the £10 programme (which included a very fancy shopper bag, a colouring book and pens, and a neck chain with a smaller version of the line up on) helped us get around but the site itself seemed massive in comparison to 2010, so what with the heat we got round most of it but it did take us all the time we were there! We did comment that next time we must get ourselves the must have of the weekend for other parent's in the form of a collapsible trolley to pull the kids along in.

I was pleased to see a Big Screen on the side of the Castle Stage this year (it was something I suggested was a much needed item in my review from 2010), and it made it safer to watch all the acts, especially those that were the main draws. The acoustics were mega too and the stage being cleverly decorated with crochet squares and lions head leant a certain hand made feel to the event.


You can tell how much Rob Da Bank and his crew care about their festival and how much effort they put in, and speaking to fellow campers who seem to come again and again this effort certainly pays off. At close to £400 for a family ticket, plus extra for travel and food, it is of course a must to keep people entertained and coming back for more year in and year out- the cost would easily get you a short break abroad.

Remember I mentioned how we realised we should not have camped by the loos? Well, its something that is dividing opinion on Facebook about the Yellow Camp zone loos, but we were quite pleased they were only flushed through twice over the four days.

Oh the stench! We had to run indoors and zip the tent up. Its possibly one of the worst things I've smelt, worse than nappies, worse then farts, it was awful! No wonder there was so much space around them. I would suggest perhaps a no camp zone, because until you smelt the stench of everyone on your campsite's offerings for several days in 25 degree heat you have no idea what awaits you.

Another issue with the toilets was they seemed to be under booked. There were urinals for the men, which weren't around in 2010, but for us poor ladies it was cross your legs or go 30 minutes before you need to go (longer if near the stage). The urinals were too small for children under 12, so 5 loos on our side in the Yellow Camp (one of which was broken from day 1) wasn't really enough. There was cold water there too but not great for washing with, and the spray gel was soon empty. They smelt a bit too but its what you expect from festival toilets, and I had brought wipes and loo roll anyway. I would agree that yes, more toilets are needed, and yes, it would be nice to have them cleaned more often, but it wasn't a deal breaker as far as enjoyment of the festival went.

As for the line up, there was a great deal of choice from across genres. Mr Tumble is still a rock God if you are under 7, De La Soul were amazing (personally I would have swapped their tiny due to tech issues set with Basement Jaxx closer), Sophie Ellis Bextor surprised many of us self imposed music nerds, and Courtney Pine was simply exquisite.

Courtney Pine- Legend

We jumped, we danced, we sang and we had a great time. I was only gutted I came down with Camp Flu- according to the Pharmacy people Elder spoke to on Sunday on trying to purchase nasal spray for me, there were quite a number of colds going on across the camp. Personally I couldn't stay awake due to how heavy my cold was. However, the Brats still enjoyed themselves in Dingly Dell, which was something they'd been too young for before.

Dingly Dell was full of surprises, nature and a chance to get right stuck into mud as well as an adventure playground! It was very much enjoyed by the Brats who wanted to go straight back in again!

Food wise there was certainly more choice than in 2010, which was welcome, however it was still very expensive, although prices aren't set by Camp Bestival but by those who hire the pitch. I was quite pleased I had my own cooking facilities, as for £7 for a simple peri peri chicken roll from Nandos, or £7.50 for 3 meat ball sized pieces of cod and a small handful of chips, the prices were extortionate as expected- it all comes down to captive audience though.

Cozy Camper though wasn't as bad, offering kids onesies for £10 (only £2 more than Primark sells them for), and other much needed luxuries for the discerning camper.

We cheekily brought our ear defenders in Wareham's quaint hardware store for £3.99 as the Cozy Camper sold out on Friday!

So, would we go again?

With bells and whistles on we would.

Whether with or without kids, it is a riot of colour, fun, and atmosphere that is the friendliest in the country, it is very well organised, and every minute of every day right into the early hours are packed with something to do. You can even get married there.

There were no drunken scenes, no mud, no aggro, or none that we saw, it was such a great weekend and we miss Lulworth Castle already.

I will be watching out how to apply for Blogger status again.

To see more images from Lazy Girl, look out for updates on Instagram and The Lazy Girl Blog

For more from everyone else, search Camp Bestival or #Campbestival on twitter and Instagram

Tickets for next years Camp Bestival go on sale on August 8th from 10am at http://campbestival.net/tickets

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