Camp Bestival 2016. Our fourth one. Camp Bestival has become a punctuation mark in our years, a rite of passage, an exit from our suburban home world to an otherworldly place where anything goes, a yearly chance to transgress boundaries like bedtime, bathtime, to rave in a field, to take our kids through a little vortex into a glimmer of our youth.
Camp Bestival always coincides with our anniversary of getting together, 18 years ago this year, there’s a magical romance in being able to travel through that door in a field – every festival has one you know, a secret door – back to our past selves, with our kids following behind, while making memories they will never forget.
We spent much of Friday making stuff. The Celtic Forge was a really lovely new addition, we loved making pendants to represent our birth months.
The art tent was as awesome as ever, with plenty of space themed activities which saw both adults and kids totally relaxing.
Massive highlight for my 7yo son, when he wasn’t make swords, bows and arrows or daggers in Spinney Hollow, was hammering together this fort in the National Trust field. I’ve over-edited this photo, I know, but OH THE SKY WAS SO MUCH BLUER than it will ever look on my photos!
We also had a lovely half hour making dreamcatchers.
Over the years I have learnt it is a process, a transformation happens, it takes three days, crawl out of your sleeping bag on day three and emerge a fully fledged festival going butterfly that never wants to return to life as we know it! The Carnivals each day were truly amazing – yep a 3 day carnival – a real highlight!
You can do a few things to ease the transformation, but regardless it happens. I should add typing these first two paragraphs nearly finished me off on the four hour car journey home, I was so so tired, but each year I feel compelled to experience it, in fact missing it last year was one of our biggest regrets of 2015. It’s so staggeringly beautiful, and each year there is a new theme, this year it was space which, coupled with some stunning sunsets, really made the whole landscape feel quite out of this world.
So many magical things pop up at Camp Bestival – music, theatre and entertainment – I’ve learnt not to look at the schedule much, and to trust instead that I am in the right place. This year the proof in that pudding came when we stumbled upon Highly Sprung’s performance of Urban Astronaut behind the castle, when a brass band appeared while we ate lunch at the Feast collective, and when the Brazillian drums began as we stumbled out of the art tent into the sunshine.
Saturday afternoon was a real delight, loads of bloggers gathered to rave along with Big Fish Little Fish in the glorious Bollywood area.
Sunday morning was spent pottering in the Dingly Dell, a glorius sheltered by trees area full of magic, like this alien who had crash landed.
Lizzie’s Way is another joy, a woodland area decorated beautifully with ribbon, garlands, bunting and pom poms, and packed full of tipis, mud kitchen play, water play, with ribbons and wishes dangling from the tree.
On Sunday evening several families gathered together to watch the Brand New Heavies, KT Tunstall, Banarama and Tears For Fears. The kids were now firm friends and busy collecting cups to return to the bar for 10p a go, Mr G made £20! The BNHs were awesome, I really really loved acid jazz in my teens. I missed most of KT but Bananrama were a really fun trip down school dance routine memory lane which Mr A indulged me in – this was taken while listening, and the night before our 18th anniversary.
Tears for Fears surprised me, they were incredibly moving, I’ve always been a bit ambivalent, but they were the perfect band to lead the festival into the night and to a poignant finish and fireworks.The whole field of tired kids and parents singing Shout was beautiful. The fireworks were out of this world and set to Bowie’s Life on Mars at one point which was magical.
Food and Drink
Is amazing. Just amazing. Everything from fish and chips or mac and cheese to gourmet BBQ or veggie feast. Food from around the world.
Great drinks too, parents at a festival are generally indulging in the odd drink, rather than vats of cider, so they want their drink to count – I want seriously good quality drinks, the perfect moment, and Camp Bestival delivers. It was great to see the brands there appreciating this, I loved my wine tasting with Brancott Estates and the First Choice Holidays beach was a real hit with it’s cocktail bar and beach!
Our journey, in the Volvo XC90 we were loaned to review, was amazingly smooth, the four hours has never passed so quickly. Our stuff fitted in easily and we all travelled in style and comfort.
You can read my full car review here.
Previously we’ve stayed in our tent (wish I knew what happened to that tent, if you borrowed it can we have it back please?) our caravan (sadly no more) and this year we glamped. Hotel Bell Tent was awesome, it really is a hotel made of bell tents. It has a proper reception with sherbet lemons and all kinds of lovely treats waiting on your bed – water, a REN festival toiletries kit, Love Heart Sweets, an eye mask and ear plugs, even better than a hotel in fact ! The lounge and pamper tent were awesome too!
We were really lucky to have Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog and family as neighbours, this year I loved hanging out with other families more, must be down to our kids being older and more independent and more willing to go with a crowd I think.
Camp Bestival 2016 you were OUT of this world.
Here’s to hanging out with friends, kids making new friends, fun in the sun, getting creative, beautiful music, reliving youth, stunning sunsets, carving swords, weaving dreamcatchers, making rockets, out of this world fireworks and so much more.
Early Bird tickets are on sale now, do check them out, Camp Bestival, as you might have guessed, is an absolute highlight in our family calendar.
There’s lots more to see in this video, it brings all my ramblings and photos to life rather beautifully, even if I do say so myself, and you get a little drive in the XC90 too!
Thanks to Camp Bestival for having us as ambassadors once more and to Volvo for transporting and accommodating us.