It is hard to put into words the exact feeling that Camp Bestival evoked in 2021 but we’ll give it our best shot to do the event the justice it deserves.
After a difficult year and a cancelled festival in 2021, Camp Bestival, family friendly extravaganza returned with a bang over four glorious days filled with laughter, music, glitter, food and nature. We weathered the best of British weather (including heavy rain and winds of up to 75mph on Thursday evening) as Storm Evert lashed south-west England, but nothing paused the joy and the feeling of freedom, happiness and energy buzzing through the fields at Lulworth Castle.
To make the most of our festival experience we arrived early(ish) on Thursday and unpacked ourselves and pitched our tent. As we were late to the party with our tickets a lot of the camping options were already sold out (there are a variety of glamping, pre-pitched and backstage camping options for various budgets and tastes). So upon arrival to the site we simply found a space in the fields and set ourselves up. Soon enough the youngest member of the crew (Milo aged 4) was running around with the neighbours kids, putting on temporary tattoos, decorating their faces with glitter, playing football and generally giggling at the whole experience of being outside and around people again.
He was also overjoyed at being transported around in the trolley that we rented to help move our extensive gamping gear from car to camp. You can also rent one of these for the duration of the festival so little people can fall asleep whilst parents rave it up into the night. Note to self: Get one if you want to stay out later than 12pm with a child in tow.
In terms of the activities on offer Camp Bestival is a well oiled entertainment machine with so much on offer that you won’t quite get to experience everything over the four days. You can expect soft play, science tents, bubbles and sandpits, silent yoga, African Drumming, literary tent, impromptu performance spaces, balloon discos and lots more art and craft areas throughout the site.
A standout zone for us was the glorious nature play area ‘Lizzie’s Way‘ where you can have a little chill out from the main stages and get creative in a large and well stocked mud kitchen and cafe as well as a puppet theatre area.
This part of the festival also has a play area where little people can relax and the junk orchestra at the top of the hill was also a delight to play with. On one of our visit we stumbled across a ukulele procession and joined in. Our second favourite was the constructive play area with the Woodland Tribe where children can use real tools (think hammer, nails and saws) alongside wood planks to build their own play structure. EPIC!
African drumming, impromptu circus from Cirque Bijou, Silent yoga and discos as well as a junk orchestra, wellness tents and plenty other chill out areas throughout the site. There are also a number of rides (the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, Helter Skelter, Boats and Ferris Wheel) and other activities within the Spinney Hollow Craft Village that you have to pay extra for (we didn’t get a chance to try any as we were too busy.
In terms of music, there was always something to enjoy whether you’re there for the big name acts such as Becky Hill’s first ever headline show on Friday, Fatboy Slim’s birthday bash on Saturday or Groove Armada super stylin’ it out into a movie themed firework display on Sunday. Little people can also enjoy acts like Mr Tumble, Andy and the Odd Socks or a meet and greet in the CBEEBIES tent.
The whole weekend was one massive party filled with creativity, art and freedom. On the Sunday there was even a rainbow in the sky before the film themed firework finale which felt touching on many different levels.
Camp Bestival is the sort of place that allows children to see their parents as whole human beings rather than their designated adults. We found we said no a lot less, laughed a lot more and danced together as a family. It gave us the freedom to play alongside our children and create memories to last a lifetime. Sure the food was at times a little spenny (we paid £10 for a plate of pasta which) and the eco toilets were not exactly a highlight – but overall the experience was beyond positive. A magical long weekend in Lulworth. It was so good, in fact, that the sequel is on! So, put 28-31 July in your diaries and join Team CB to do it all again in 2022. Early Bird tickets are on sale and are the best deals you’re going to get. Check out www.campbestival.net/tickets and get booking.
*£1 from every pass booked will be donated to Ecolibrium, turning your fossil-fuel travel miles into a direct investment in renewable energy.