In comparison to last years Camp Bestival, I am confident to say that this one was like no other. Although this year was only our second year attending the festival, we had a completely different experience compared to last year and I am going to go out there and say that we will probably never have an experience like it again.
Arriving early on Thursday morning, we packed up our first load into our trolley ready to get through the gates and onto our pitch for the weekend. Like most people, we arrived early, so we had time to chill out and plan our route to the perfect spot. T was absolutely buzzing. I can’t believe how much he has changed from last year.
Once the gates opened, it was like a stampede. Oddly, a lot of people started to pitch up almost immediately, however this meant they had quite a walk in the mornings to the festival (and the showers!).
For us, we decided to get closer to the festival (although this did mean a longer walk to and from the car!). T was raring to go and was charging up and down the hills as we got closer to the front of the camping area – which this year was a lot more spacious!
Leaving Sharon to build the tent, I headed off to the car to get two more loads and less than an hour later the tent was up and we were unpacked and ready for the weekend.
The sun was absolutely glorious!
After some well deserved tea and biscuits, we then took ourselves off to the main area to explore the new layout briefly. Certain areas, like the Castle Stage, weren’t open yet so it wasn’t a huge walk around, just enough to get a feel for the festival as well as mark out what tasty delights were on offer this year!
By the time we got back to our tent I had already eyed up Crumble Shack, Jiggery Pokery (Waffles, Ice Cream & More!) and Moony’s Halloumi.
Several favourites were in the same locations as last year, making it easy for us to find them again, but thanks to a change in layout it felt like we had a brand new festival to explore at the same time. Walking around, we picked up a program and lanyard which meant we could browse the timetable and plan our weekend ahead after some dinner.
On the way round, we managed to catch a few shows that had already started at Caravanserai as well as watch the Biggest Bouncy Castle in the World inflate! T was bursting to get on.
The next morning was just as beautiful as the previous. Whilst Sharon was up prepping breakfast, T slept soundly in his camp bed after a previous early start. It was perfect. There was such a wonderful buzz in the air. We were so excited.
Once dressed and full from brekkie we ventured in to explore. As it was such a glorious day, we prioritised the outdoor activities and events, therefore went straight to the Upper Kids Gardens and spent some time in the circus area; where T played with hula hoops and tricycles, and we watched others have a go at tight-rope walking.
We then took a stroll to the Lower Kids Garden where we rode on the merry-go-round and watched bubbles come from SamSam’s Bubble shop. In no time it was time for lunch, so we took advantage of the fact that The Makeshift Ensemble was starting in the Greatest Tent on Earth. It was also the perfect time to grab some Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Anna Mae’s as they were located just opposite.
Once fully rested, we then carried on our tour of the Lower Kids Field and caught several shows happening at once. From the Science Tent to the Flea Circus. Sitting in a central location meant we could watch them all. We also found the Cbeebies tent where T met his hero; Hey Duggee!
We then finished off the Lower Kids Garden with a sit down in the Pirate sandpit. Whilst Sharon built sandcastles with T, I grabbed us some Pimms from the tent just up the path.
Andy and the Odd Socks were soon starting over in the Big Top so we dashed over to there and saw our very first gig (we missed them last year). It certainly won’t be our last one as it was absolutely brilliant.
— LesBeMums (@LesBeMums) July 27, 2018
After a very busy day, we slowly made our way back to the tent to get ready for our Friday night entertainment; Rick Astley!
It had been quite a busy one for T so we decided to make a little bed for him in our wagon, which we soon realised was a brilliant idea as in no time he was fast asleep whilst we pulled him along, resulting in Sharon and I having some alone time in front of Sara Cox: Sound of the 80’s.
After a decent nap, T got a second wind, so we ordered some Churros and Duck Fat Chips for tea (in that order). We were still relatively full from lunch so this was the perfect top up to hold us for the rest of the evening. Whilst waiting for the next act, we gave T some Glow-Sticks to play with and make chains from. This eventually attracted other children who joined in and played with T – which he was more than happy with.
As the evening went on, the light soon dropped. We were so relaxed listening to Rae Morris (a new one for me, but I fell in love instantly – it’s now playing on repeat on Spotify!). The castle backdrop also looked stunning against the clear night sky.
It was then time for the main event; Rick Astley. Sharon and I had such a laugh singing and dancing along that we didn’t notice T dancing along with us. Plus, just when you thought it couldn’t have got any better, Mary Berry joined Rick Astely on stage behind a set of drums. I know. AMAZING.
Without setting any alarms, we were up relatively early for another busy day. This time starting with a bubble show thanks to SamSam Bubble Man the Bubbleologist. T adores bubbles, so this was the perfect start to his day. Think magic but with bubbles.
After, we then made our way to Castle Stage where we would spend most of our morning. Here we saw Dinosaur World LIVE and the big man himself; Mr Tumble. Dinosaur World LIVE was a new one on us, but after watching the show I hope it comes back next year. It was absolutely incredible.
After an active morning, we then took a walk through the castle gardens and found ourselves in the Upper Kids Garden again. This soon became the perfect spot for a bit of lunch!
As well as the circus area, the Upper Kids Garden is also home to the Feast Collective, which is a giant tent full of a variety of world kitchens. Outside, there is also an array of other cuisines, from DJ BBQ to Happy Maki Sushi. Sharon was still pretty full from Breakfast so I got Sharon and T some corn on the cob to snack on and I went with a Sushi Roll from Happy Maki* (I can’t resist them, even though they’re based in Brighton!).
*I also wish I bought some steamed buns.
Because we were so relaxed, we missed out on a reading of Whatever Next! however we managed to catch up on ourselves and arrive when ZSL: Gruesome Nature Live was just starting. This is another new addition to the Camp Bestival line up and I am so glad we caught it. Us adults even learnt a few new things about grusome creatures!
Exiting the Greatest Tent on Earth, we noticed that the weather was starting to change, so we decided to head back to the tent via the Fun Fair where Sharon and T took a ride on the Ferris Wheel. I was way too chicken to go on, I’m more of a merry-go-round kinda gal.
By the time Sharon got off, the wind had picked up a lot more so we made our way back for an early night. But not before going via the Crumble Shack, which was the PERFECT food for the now chilly weather.
After T went to bed, and as the evening went on, I was quite grateful that we were so close to the Big Top as it meant I could still hear the Basement Jaxx DJ set, but from the comfort of our tent! That being said, by this time we were also concentrating on the winds that were starting to pick up outside.
Throughout the early hours of Sunday morning, 50mph winds had picked up across the festival, meaning that by the time people were starting to wake there were already signs of devastation in the forms of broken tents and wagons at the bottom of hills. Our tent was managing to hold up, however I think this balls down to Sharon knowing her stuff when it comes to guy ropes. Left up to me and we would have been off the ground like Dorothy.
By 10am the winds hadn’t let up so Camp Bestival HQ advised people to stay in their tents and await an update from them regarding the rest of the festival, which by now was on pause. People were welcome to start heading home, however we decided to wait it out just in case. Plus, by this time, it was incredibly windy and it would have been too dangerous to pack up. It was also rather busy, what with a number people making their way out, resulting in a manic car park!
Because there was nothing we could do in the meantime, we decided to help fix our neighbours tents as well as make the most of our snack collection. T crept into our bed, so once everything was fixed firmly to the ground we went back to bed where we napped together and played silly shadow games.
By 1:30pm though, sad news arrived advising us that the festival was officially cancelled and that areas were now closed for safety reasons. We were gutted. We hadn’t managed to visit the Dingly Dell yet, T wasn’t going to see Mr Maker, and we hadn’t managed to get some Halloumi! In the grand scheme of things I know I sounded ridiculous, but we were really looking forward to them.
Nevertheless, we still had our tent and our things, so we wrapped up and decided to start making a move home, however by this point the winds had worsened (I didn’t know that was possible) so we decided against it and became a ‘remainer’.
Over time the campsite started to reduce in numbers and a calm started to fall. With a break in the weather we made our way down to the ‘smoking tent’ where an after party had been arranged via the Official Campers Group on Facebook. Here is where we found a number of children DJ’ing and arranging their own party music whilst the adults sipped tea and ordered toasties from the bar! It was fantastic. T got himself involved in a number of games, including a conga line and a dance off (which I had to help with, of course!). Sharon and I sipped on cider and scoffed cheese toasties (I even got some halloumi!!!).
Oddly, it was actually a brilliant way to end our weekend, albeit abruptly. The atmosphere was something I’d never experienced. It felt like a community.
Overnight the weather died down enough for us to pack up our things safely and make our way back to the car in the morning. Annoyingly, the weather on our way home was glorious apart from a few light showers in between. That being said, it made our journey home less bitter. We were able to go home in shorts and sandals – just like we had arrived.
When we eventually stopped at the first service station on the motorway we soon saw other ‘remainers’ and immediately gave them a nod!
Despite the festival being cut short, we still had an amazing time. Honestly! At the back of our mind there’s always next year, and this year will simply become a story that we tell time and time again.
We had three days of glorious sunshine and quality family time. We experienced new things, tasted new food, and met new people. T had an absolute blast, without a doubt, and I couldn’t have been more proud of him over the weekend. He took everything in his stride and just got on with things, even when times got a bit nail-bitey!
I have no doubt that Camp Bestival will only get better as T gets older, as he’ll experience things in a whole new light every year. Where he may grow out of Mr Tumble, he’ll pick up new favourites a long the way.
That’s what’s so good about Camp Bestival, your children can grow with it as it grows with you.
As Official Camp Bestival Crew we received our tickets in exchange for promotion and coverage during the festival.
2019 TICKET INFO (Early bird prices)
Call Ticketline: 0844 844 0444
(All weekend tickets include camping from Thursday)
Adult Weekend Ticket – £160*
Student Weekend Ticket – £155*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £101*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £80*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £27.50*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £9*
Babes In Arms (1 & Under) – FREE (but ticket required)*
*Please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions via campbestival.net
Car Parking – £20 in advanced
Campervan Ticket (Field A) – £63.50
Please read Campervan T&Cs here before bookingCaravan
Trailer Tent Ticket (Field A) – £73.50
Please read Caravan / Trailer Tent T&Cs here before booking
Festival Programme Pack – £10
(reserve your festival programme pack to collect on site at the festival)
CAMP BESTIVAL DAY TICKETS
A limited number of Day Tickets will be released nearer to the festival.