Out and about / My musings on Camp Bestival

I’m fresh from a festival extravaganza!Bunting outside the Knitting Tent
We spent three days (meaning two nights in a tent!) at Camp Bestival, which, luckily for us is at Lulworth Castle, only 20 miles or so from Weymouth.

This was my first festival (the whole teenage and student thing of going to music festivals completely passed me by), and it was the first time I’d camped in about 25 years, plus we had our six-year-old daughter with us (the other daughter having gone to stay with her grandparents for the weekend).

Camp Bestival is billed as the UK’s most family-friendly festival, and it didn’t disappoint. There was absolutely loads for kids to do. My daughter loved the old-fashioned helter-skelter and big wheel (both were amazing lit up at night).

The Black Eagles acrobatic trip from Tanzania

She also was left open-mouthed by the acrobatic antics of troupes from Tanzania, India, and the Insect Circus. Having just mastered cart-wheeling, she’s always mighty impressed by anyone with such amazing gymnastic skills.

The Knitting Tent at Camp Bestival 2013

The third thing which made her top three was the knitting tent, which was also one of my highlights (unsurprisingly). With squishy sofas and a chilled-out atmosphere, it was a great place to chill out for a little while, taking a break from the hurly-burly of learning to juggle and walk on stilts.

My first stab at finger knitting

Finger knitting around a Percy Pig biscuit!

The lovely people from I Knit London were on hand to teach finger knitting (more on that in a future post) and pom-pom-making. It only served to cement my belief that there’s no such thing as a nasty knitter!!

I Knit London helping festival-goers to finger knit and make pom-poms

George the sheep sporting my daughter's red finger-knitted ankle bracelet

As Camp Bestival is organised by legendary DJ Rob da Bank, there is music at every turn. To tell you the truth, for me the musical acts came second to the whole festival experience, but we saw some great artists.

My musical highlights included The Proclaimers. Charlie and Craig are ace and I’ve want to see them live for years and years. Annoyingly I managed to lose all track of time over the weekend, and was in my tent when I heard them start Letter from America, so had to do a swift march back to the main Castle Stage (about a 10-minute yomp) to catch the rest of their set. Fab-u-lous. The whole crowd was rocking to I’m gonna be (500 miles)! Please excuse the wobbliness of my video clip ;-).

Other great music came from Heaven 17, the highlight being Temptation, of course. My daughter sang right along to the Wurzels’ I’ve got a brand-new combine harvester, and she and her dad loved Dorset folk band the Skimmity Hitchers. We also discovered a band called The Severed Limb. Their name makes them sound like a thrash metal band, but they actually play rock and roll, folk, with a splash of salsa. Cool!

Various DJs played sets, with telly’s Dick n Dom getting the tent moving to Jump and I predict a riot. And on the main stage we heard Grandmaster Flash, Gabrielle Aplin and Labrinth, who closed the show, closely followed by the most amazing firework display I’ve ever seen. Here’s my ‘Best of Camp Bestival soundtrack’ on Spotify to give you a taste of that festival feeling:

I must tell you about the food – amazing. We certainly didn’t go hungry, in fact we ate like kings. My favourites were local bakers – Bekki and Lizzie, the Baking Birds. They bake at the Windsbatch Bakery in Upwey, Weymouth, and I love supporting local producers. The girls’ broad bean, mint and feta bruschetta, followed by lemon or strawberry curd cookies were absolutely delicious!

We also loved the ‘twisted Indian street food’ of Rola Wala – who served curry wrapped in naan bread (why didn’t I think of that idea?).

From a practical, camping point of view, we borrowed a four-man tent from some friends, but next time we need a bigger tent! The composting toilets were also an eye-opener for my daughter, but perhaps the less blogged about those, the better!

So, we saw loads, we probably missed even more, but all in all, an amazing, if exhausting, three days. Bring on Camp Bestival 2014!

Have you been to any festivals this summer? I hope you’re having happy holidays!

Sarah x

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