Having spent the past fornight almost constantly checking the weather forecast, last Thursday we headed to Dorset ready for a weekend of festival fun at Camp Bestival. Laden with wellies, suncream, blankets, flipflops and much more besides we were ready for whatever the weather had in store for us. Thankfully the wellies were not required, but lashings of suncream were. Again we were blessed with gorgeous summer sunshine as we had endless fun in the grounds of Lulworth Castle.
This year was a little different for us, as the boys had decided that although the musical line up looked good, the days at Camp Bestival were a tad boring for them. So after much deliberation we agreed they could stay at home, with promises of no parties. Without the extra muscle power of two strapping teenage lads, Andy and I decided to book Camping Plus, allowing us to have a specific pitch. However we made this decision quite late so had to settle for a pitch very close to the festival entrance and a bit of a walk from the car park. But having previously pitched in the main campsites, we were still parked closer to our pitch than previous years. The added bonus of real toilets and plenty of showers in the Camping Plus field more than made up for the struggle across the field with all of our camping gear. There was also The Tea Bus a short stroll form our tent, which was a lifesaver ont he Thursday lunchtime when we hadn't managed to get the kettle and stove from the car just yet.
Previous years had been about the activities but this year it would seem that music was very much on the agenda, not just for Andy and I but for the girls too. With a fantastic line up over the weekend, there were performances we did not want to miss. Clean Bandit headlined the Castle Stage on Friday night and certainly did not disappoint. Under a starlit sky we danced until late, this year even Kitty was determined to stay up, sleepily crawling into her sleeping bag at midnight. Saturday saw us running between stages as Andy and I wanted to see Level 42 on the Castle Stage and I also did not want to miss one of my current favourites, The Shires, who were performing at the Big Top. Thankfully the schedulers had thought about this possible clash so I was able to catch both performances. So after a sing along and dance to The Shires and being able to share a more up close concert with Lucy and Amber, we headed back to join Andy and Kitty at the Castle Stage for Kaiser Chiefs, who were disappointingly not as great as I had hoped. With such an eclectic mix of music we were really being spoilt, but it was not over yet! Sunday saw us running down the hill from Camping Plus, abandoning plans to pack up the tent, as we could hear Ella Henderson on earlier than scheduled. Another benefit of being so close to the festival! After returning from packing up the car we headed back to complete our musical adventure with performances from Bob Geldof, Soul II Soul and Ella Eyre. In the warm summer sun Jazzie B and the band transported me back to long summer days of my sixth form years and Ella Eyre provided that musical bond with my daughters, as we all sang along.
Whilst the music seemed to take over our weekend plans we still made time for many more activities within the festival. A trip in to the cool shade of Dingly Dell was welcomed and again the girls completed several of the National Trust challenges, but we never did get back to make whistles from carrots. Previous years had seen us spend alot of time in the circus skills area and this year was not very different. Kitty became obessesed with hula hooping and spent ages trying to do all sorts of tricks. Another must was to pop to Art Town and the girls also wanted to visit the Energiser tent to decorate a headtorch as well as going to the Hello Kitty garden, where the girls had tattoo's and we dressed up in the selfie photo booth! They also managed to do one of the craft workshops at the Volvo tent as well as enjoying a coffee and a cinnamon bun sat on comfy cushions whilst the girls made floral wreaths.
Food is another big part of the festival experience for us, as we keenly visited the Feast Collective, the Farmers Market and many other foodie stands and stalls. Tasting the numerous flavours of Belvoir Fruits cordials, gorging on bread and cakes from different stalls in the Farmers Market and taking our taste buds on an international food fest in the Feast Collective. DJ BBQ was still the best place to get a burger ever and Camper Coffee, near the Yorkshire Tea Tent, made the best coffee ever, which always made the waiting in the long queue worth it.
Whilst Camp Bestival seemed a lot busier this year, the festival vibe was certainly turned up to full blast. Parades a plenty and random performances around the castle grounds led to an amazing weekend. Sometimes it was just good to stop and sit for a while, watching and listening. One of our favourite moments was on Saturday morning, hearing a steel drum band, The Steelers, playing songs from current bands. We then thankfully stumbled across their 'proper' performance in the Big Top on Sunday afternoon. That's the thing about a festival, you never quite know what you will see and hear and for me that is when the best memories are made.
So thank you Camp Bestival, we had a blast and will treasure the memories you gave us forever.
Until next time, take care.