Last July, I took my then 2 and half year old son to his first weekend festival. Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Camp Bestival is the family focussed little sister of Bestival on the Isle of Wight (which happens at the end of August). We went with friends and their children. Camp Bestival for us was a well organised pleasure of a festival. The children’s field was a blast, we listened to folk bands and to Peppa pig read stories, saw the Royal Ballet teach steps, made masks and dressed up. Older children could pick from the house of fairy tales area, skate boarding and BMX bike displays and of course lots of bands and music. Adults were entertained with poets and comedy, bars and music tents. Adults, children, teenagers all very much catered for.
We stayed in a B&B on Thursday night to break the journey it was only an hour from the site. However, the queues onto get on the site were long and we sat in traffic for most of the morning (be prepared).
This is my guide to surviving Camp Bestival:
Every item of food is priced at a least £5. We took basic food; pasta, pesto, a pan and small camping stove and fed children back at the tent. There is nothing more annoying than spending £5 on a burger which then after one bite your child rejects.
We used the stove to make tea, a God send in the morning, unless you have a willing member of the party happy to rise and go in search of tea. Bring a supply of tea bags, milk and sugar. Breakfast bars or brioche make for an easy tent breakfast for the kids.
A water carrier for washing pans and tea. Camping shops sell great foldable ones.
Ear plugs and extra blankets for a good nights sleep.
Things to keep warm (wooly hat).
Things to keep wet weather at bay.
Flip flops and sun cream (sometimes the sun does shine).
Festivals are frenetic. I like time in the late afternoon early evening, chill time at the tent. So I suggest; your own personal spirit of choice. This is your time too and no one is driving, not until Monday anyway.
Toilet roll. The toilets were clean. Checked regularly and well stocked with loo roll but your own supply is always handy.
Hand wash and baby wipes.
Children were given a wrist band to wear, on which a parent can write their mobile number.
There was very little mobile phone signal and the tent in which you could charge your phone didn’t turn up. My iphone worked itself into a frenzy of signal searching on Friday and remained resolutely in the red battery zone for the rest of the weekend and was thus turned off. My son refused to wear the wrist band anyway.
Keep your small child in sight. Security is good. Lost children are a regular event and appeared to be quickly reunited.
Dressing up is de rigueur, I hate dressing up, but was so glad I bothered.
Get a trolley. The website promised you could hire them and everyone had the same thought. The queue was long. I admired the clever people who brought their own trolleys or wheel barrows. I staggered along with all our kit, whilst my son wandered along behind whingeing because he didn’t want to walk.
Some people had huge tents, picnic tables, barbecues, blow up beds,
the kitchen sink and someone had carried all that. Pack what you need and then bring less.
It was pretty near perfect (carrying stuff and mobile phones aside). The sun shone and there was much to do.
My partner dislikes festivals for the fact he cannot escape. I love them for the same reason, it’s like being marooned away from the outside world, only festival world exists. The atmosphere was happy and relaxed, not particularly rowdy or drunk. There is a huge range of food at every turn and an enormous array of things to see, hear and do. When I checked today there were still tickets available.
This year’s Camp Bestival is 28-31st July. Lulworth Castle, Dorset. The Line-up looks great. It’s not cheap but your worth it!
This post is linked to ‘Something for the Weekend’ at Christine’s imaginative and intelligent blog