Review: Camp Bestival - a true family festival

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By YOGADOO founder and mum, Lucy Aston

This weekend we were at Camp Bestival and despite the wind and rain putting pay to Sunday's fun, the festival didn't fail to disappoint. 

It's our fourth time at Camp Bestival and every year the experience is different but glorious. As our son gets older (he's ten now, but first went when he was four) he is looking for different things from a festival and each year Camp Bestival delivers.

Unfortunately the organisers had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Sunday's lineup  because of incredibly strong wind and rain storms. But until that point it was business as usual at this award-winning family festival.

What's great about Camp Bestival is that everything is within a short walking distance of everywhere else. We took our camper van and were parked in Campervan A field, which was a 15 minute walk to the main arena and from there the kid's field and beautiful "Dingly Dell" wooded area was a 5/10 minute walk.

Our son, Freddie is completely obsessed with nature and wildlife so loved the forest school and wooden craft activities, he also spent lots of time talking to the wildlife charities learning more about their work! The Dingly Dell rainbow bunting filled area was perfect for some shade and cool breeze in the hotter moments and with a good coffee kiosk, so the adults were kept happy too! 

Just a short walk up from the woods, I spent many a happy moment in the Slow Motion area where a lot of the yoga, meditation and therapy sessions were running. It's a lovely part of the site overlooking the green spaces which surround Camp Bestival and it really offers a little sanctuary from the more crowded areas. You can read and relax and just unwind.

The musical lineup was good, and the Cuban Brothers kick-started our Friday afternoon, and Sara Cox's DJ set was perfect to get us into the party mood. Rae Morris was just gorgeous and Rick Astley persuading Baking Legend Mary Berry to go on stage to play the drums during his set was as bizarre as it was brilliant. Look here if you think I was dreaming!

The Junior Jungle set on Saturday was just perfectly bonkers to dance the afternoon away as the rain storms threatened. And Clean Bandit put on a good show to round-up the main stage activities on Saturday night. We also really enjoyed heading over to HMS Camp Bestival to see the "Blue coats" entertain the children and Rob Da Bank (who founded the festival a decade ago) did a great DJ set on Saturday afternoon. 

The acrobats and circus skills workshop were also other highlights, and if you haven't seen the Wall of Death motorcycle show before, it's definitely worth a look (although you do pay extra). The backdrop of the coloured lit castle and the fairground is beautiful and a ride in the big wheel is a must to appreciate the festival with a bird's eye view.

The range of food stalls is really fantastic and although not cheap, are pretty good value for the standard of food you get. Our advice would be to try and go back to your tent/van for tea for at least a couple of nights if you are there for the 3 or 4 day duration, as a) it gets expensive and b) everyone needs a little breather around tea time, a chance to get into warm clothes or top up the glitter!

What we love about Camp Bestival is the true family spirit we've seen amongst fellow campers, if a child gets lost, there is an army of parents on hand to form a search party, if you need anything at all (Calpol/coffee/a pump for an inflatable flamingo) you don't have to go far to ask someone who can help. This "True Brit Grit Resilient Parenting" was fully on show on Saturday night and Sunday as the weather began to turn. Just a little search on social media will show you a beautiful gallery of parents having "tent parties" and finding ingenious ways to entertain children as they waiting to hear whether Sunday's lineup would be cancelled. When the unfortunate announcement came, many stayed on site to make the most of their final festival day as the wind and rain battered the canvas of their tents. And that's what Camp Bestival is all about. The family spirit.

Camp Bestival was held at Lulworth Castle 26th-29th July. campbestival.net

YOGADOO founder Lucy Aston and her son Freddie were gifted the Festival tickets by Camp Bestival.