Camp Bestival 2019 is now our third year attending the festival, and I’m going to put it out there straight away and say that it was the best one yet. The weather, obviously, helped loads, but looking back at the programme from this year I am confident to say that even if it had rained it would have still been an incredible one.
T was under two when he attended his first Camp Bestival, and now at the ripe old age of four with three Camp Bestivals under his belt I am delighted to see how he’s grown with the festival already. Each year whilst we’re driving to the festival (and lets face it, and several weeks before!) he’s telling us what food he’s going to eat, who he’s going to see, and what he’s going to play with. I love watching the excitement grow in his eyes the closer we get to the camp site.
For the last two years we’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of Camp Bestival’s blogger team, however even if this was not the case we would absolutely make Camp Bestival a part of our summer. It’s an experience like no other and worth every penny. If you haven’t been following us over on our instagram – where most of the Camp Bestival spam has been appearing – he’s what we got up to over the weekend.
This year we had also invited one of T’s nursery friends to join us so there was double the excitement (and double the unpacking!). T’s always had a good time at Camp Bestival, but having a friend with him was something extra special. We arrived early on Thursday, and by 5pm we were all set up. What made it extra EXTRA special was that the gorgeous Christina from This Mama Does and their family were also our neighbours!
After unpacking, we tucked into some camping grub and took a quick tour of the site to get our bearings. Thursdays are generally reserved for campers to get settled, however there’s often something going on. This is where we caught Gorilla Circus’ trapeze show flying high, as well as grabbed the boys’ first (of many) Ice Cream. This was a wonderful warm up to the festival, however after getting our adrenaline going we were ready to hit the sack!
Waking early again on Friday (which isn’t as painful as you think as it means you’re ready by the time the festival opens!) we got ourselves showered, dressed and fed. This year was also our first time camping in Camping Plus – which made a lot of this much easier thanks to flushing loo’s (instead of festival loos), a few more showers, and being geographically closer to the festival. I’m going to be writing a bit more about this and giving you a comparison later, but when we arrived we instantly wondered why we’d never camped here before!
After preparing the boys, we headed into the festival and started our weekend with a tour of the Dingly Dell and Lizzie’s Way where the boys played in the mud kitchens and served food from mud cafes, as well as played in a wooden band. We then headed back “outside” (as Lizzie’s Way is located in gorgeous woodland) to sit down to see Mr. Bloom & His Band and PJ Masks Hero Moves at Castle Stage, and then (our favourite) Sam Sam Bubble Man at The Greatest Tent on Earth. During the show, we also grabbed some lunch!
The Literary Tent Part One
This year there was a new spin on my experience at Camp Bestival thanks to an invitation to speak in the Literary Tent with Tom from Unlikely Dad about Same-Sex Parenting. When I received the invite I could’t quite believe it and, if I’m being completely honest, the imposter syndrome hit hard. Why on EARTH would folks want to listen to someone with a voice for print?
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But I hit through the nerves and the hour in the tent went incredibly well – we even had people we didn’t know attend! We spoke about conception, parenting as a same sex family and how it’s no different to anyone else, as well as our reactions to LGBTQ people in the media at the moment. It is now a complete blur, but I didn’t mess up and I didn’t swear (that much!). A huge thank you to Hustle & Fox for having me and for giving my mouthy face a platform, it was an absolute pleasure.
Once I’d calmed down and had a stiff drink we then headed back to The Greatest Tent on Earth to listen to Mr Bloom read the Cbeebies Bedtime Story and then onto Castle Stage for The Human League and, later, Jess Glynne. By this point, the boys were well and truly pooped, so they bedded down in the wagon whilst their mummies had a boogie.
Despite the late night, we were up early again and ready for day two. Saturday was ‘Dress-up like a Hero Day’ so I donned my outfit – despite it being incredibly warm by 10am – and became ‘Super Gay’. T decided to stick to his favourite outfit; Batman, and his bunk buddy went with Supertato. It was actually incredibly liberating and I felt amazing.
Following on from the previous day’s pleadings, we decided to head straight to Bigtop Mania for some circus play – which was basically me trying to avoid being hit in the face by a diablo – before setting up at Castle Stage for Mr. Maker and The Shapes, and Mr. Tumble. We then had a bit of time before our next show so we made our way back to the Dingly Dell for more playtime in the woods as well as some time in the play park (you will never laugh as hard as watching dozens of children, dressed in lycra superhero outfits, literally flying down a metal slide).
The Insect Circus was our next stop and, surprisingly, a first for us as we’ve never managed to catch it during previous years. I definitely should have seen it sooner, it was excellent. Later on, we took the boys for some Superhero Training and then saw the Vengaboys, finishing our day with Lewis Capaldi.
After a busy two days, we decided to scrap the programme and see where the day took us. Thankfully, everyone had the same idea as the site was incredibly quiet and chilled. This resulted in not only catching little snippets of things we hadn’t caught previously (such as one of many Science Shows, as well as Circus Raj) but the boys managed to squeeze in a play in the pirate sandpit and the Cardboard Castle, rides on the Helter Skelter and the Merry-Go-Round, and for T, a one minute bounce on The Biggest Bouncy Castle in the World after changing his mind last minute (I was really pleased about this (!)).
After all that, we then took a tour of the insect museum – an extension of the show we’d watched the previous day. I don’t know what the boys thought, but I thought this was magical and really gorgeous addition to the show. Inside you were invited to read about the “history” of insect circus as well as play with lots of interactive sets.
The Literary Tent Part Two
As if one talk in the Literary Tent wasn’t enough, I was invited back to talk again, only this time with The Hotbed Collective – talking about all things sex (aka dancing) and how not to hate your partner after children – meeting the actual Cherry Healy. I’ll link the podcast when it’s live!
After winding down in the tent, we headed back out for the last time and set up our camp for the evening. Castle Stage always gets incredibly busy on the last night so we made sure we got ourselves settled early! Our first act was Camp Bestival’s special guests; Bombay Bicycle Club, who were amazing and fit into the set list perfectly, and then onto Annie Mac who closed the show before the Firework Finale.
To say that we had a good time is an understatement. Camp Bestival is definitely the highlight of our summer, and if this is what the next few Summer Holidays look like for T then he’s in for a wild ride. This year was by far the best and I cannot thank Rob and Josie Da Bank more, they put on quite the show!
I’m really looking forward to how T reacts to the festival each year as he gets older. Already we’ve seen him get into activities that he wasn’t interested in previously, not to mention try different foods – although his favourite will always be Mac ‘n’ Cheese from Anna Maes. Next year, I’m hoping to try him at the Wild Tribe where you can try out woodcraft, as well as get him on the bouncy castle again – only this time spending longer than a minute on it!
More photos coming soon!
As Official Camp Bestival Bloggers we received our tickets in exchange for promotion and coverage during the festival. All thoughts, opinions, and imagery are our own.