The Big Camp Bestival adventure – Part 1

Sit comfortably, this is going to be long.

As you may know from previous posts, this weekend I attended Camp Bestival in Dorset. This was my first festival experience. I mean, I’ve been to festivals before but only with a day ticket and have never actually camped at one but having our old friend Clemmie has changed all that.  I wasn’t sure what to expect so was a little nervous but needn’t have been as everything went swimmingly and a good time was had by all!

It was rather a long trip in Clemmie as we took the slow, scenic route, having not taken her so far yet. Needless to say, it was made longer by the fact that we got lost near Lulworth having thought we were following the signs but clearly got distracted and took a 10mile detour. I think my biggest trepidation as the campsite. I’d been reading on the Camp Bestival forum in the run-up to the event and there were some very unhappy campervanners on there who weren’t happy with the location of the field. Yes, the campervan field was rather far away from the main event however it was relatively flat and I don’t see how it could have really been positioned anywhere else due to the fact that it’s a very (very) hilly site. It was a  bit of hike, but not an unpleasant one and didn’t really take longer than 10 minutes. The hills were a killer though.  There were a handful of showers – not really enough for an entire field and some toilets which varied in cleanliness during the weekend, but did require wellies by the end of it.

My first mission was to get my press wristbands. The stewards on duty were particularly unhelpful, verging on rude to be quite honest, wouldn’t give me directions to the box office and basically looked the other way when I was talking to them. I found the box office on my own (thanks for nothing!) which was all the way out of the campervan field, down a very steep hill and up a track in the car park. Once wristbands were secured we went into the festival. It’s not all open on the Thursday but there’s a bit going on in the Magical Meadow and food vans open. We hadn’t really eaten all day so snaffled a hog roast and some sausage baps which were of good quality and reasonably priced.  We didn’t hang around too long as the children were exhausted from erm, sitting around all day and we wanted to have a good day the next day.

On Friday we woke early although the campsite was surprisingly quiet and walked down to look around the areas we couldn’t go to yesterday. I was surprised at how large the festival area was as for some reason I had expected it to be smaller. We made our way to the Little Big Top (which is incidentally where we spent a large part of the weekend) where the children watched The Funky Little Choir doing a rendition of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September”. My two little shy things wouldn’t join in but did enjoy watching them teach the song to the other children. After this we hung around to watch Mr Balloonie and his balloon-modelling workshop.

We mooched around for a bit, stopping to watch The Flying Seagulls who were a HUGE hit with my children and who we went to watch time and time again and we also found the famous WI tent which was every bit as good as I’d heard – lovely ladies running it, a good cup of team, fabulous cakes and reasonably priced sandwiches.

The Flying Seagulls

It was incredibly hot on Friday afternoon and we sat in the field by the Castle Stage waiting for Stooshe. I had really wanted to see them but in the end my boy was just too tired and hot and was falling asleep on me, so bearing in mind the long trek back, we headed back to Clemmie for a nap, a cuppa, some nail painting and some general R&R.  We went back out in the evening for some food and stopped by the stall selling candle-powered boats that we’d seen earlier. My son was enthralled with these, as was Mr M so we purchased two. We sat in front of the Castle Stage before facing off a mini-meltdown over animal tales. Everywhere we went children were wearing animal tails. We’d seen them the night before but hadn’t bought one and by the time we went back on Friday they’d sold out! I think Tell Tails could have sold a lot more if they’d brought more stock. I had to promise to hunt them down on the internet to buy my son one and thankfully I’ve found them!   We then headed back to the campervan field to settle down in our van for the night!

WI tea and lemon drizzle cake. Amazing.


Saturday started with breakfast at the van, followed by tea at the WI tent and then more Flying Seagulls whilst waiting for the Castle Stage area to be opened up. It was very busy as Saturday saw The Gruffalo and Mr Tumble on the bill. I felt like The Gruffalo went on a little bit too long and it seemed that a lot of children lost interest. Dick and Dom were very good at getting the crowd going and of course Mr Tumble was a huge hit and one of the highlights of the weekend! There was a bit of a calamity after Mr M went to get me a drink an came back with one of the worlds worst hot chocolates, went back to change it, came back with tea and then proceeded to throw it all over me! My hand was scalded quite badly and it turned out there was no milk in the tea, so back again to the stall! My hand recovered enough to enjoy the hokey-cokey with Mr Tumble thankfully!

One of the giant flowers with the actual ACTUAL sky behind it. We found summer!

We spent time in the Little Big Top again watching some children’s comedy – they particularly liked the man who did the routine with the frying pan but I completely missed his name. My daughter was in stitches, never seen her laugh so much. We sat and waited for the panto and had some pasta from the organic pasta stall. Was expecting it to be hot, but it was stone cold and not an entirely pleasant experience. The pantomime was hit though, and it was standing room only.  We missed Earth, Wind and Fire as we went back to the van for the little man to have another nap, however I could hear it from there quite well and enjoyed listening to it with a glass of wine before changing into warmer clothes – despite the days being very hot, the evenings were chilly.

To be continued….

Please note; I was given free passes to attend Camp Bestival in return for this review.

4 Comments on “The Big Camp Bestival adventure – Part 1”

  1. Lol….a friend of mine has just been at Big Camp with her husband and 2 children, so it was kind of strange to then see your posting about it….It would be really strange to discover that you actually knew each other….lol

  2. Hmmm… looking forward to your next review tbh dont think we’ll be going next year – it does sound a bit young for my two and the toilets are my weakness – not good with things like that I’m very fussy!!!- lol xx

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