Camp Bestival is a party that both the young and the old can participate in

Camp Bestiva1 2012 review

published: Tue 31st Jul 2012

around the festival site (1)

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012

The number one rule for British festivaling is to pack for all weather. Camp Bestival 2012 saw people in their thousands, arriving with everything from rain coats to sun cream, but luckily, it was the latter that was needed more. In fact, this was probably the driest and warmest festival of the year, to the delight of it's 30,000 revellers.

around the festival site (1)
Held in the stunning grounds of Lulworth Castle, the sun shone down on the fun-filled family festival, where Camp Bestival lived up to its slogan "we're all going on a festi holiday!"

This summers' festival theme was 'Silly Olympics' and campers of all ages got into the spirit of the games with Patriotic costumes, flags, and carts in abundance. Olympic antics appeared throughout the weekend, featuring a 'Silly sports day' and the screening of the opening ceremony on Friday evening. A unique, once in a lifetime experience was had for those that watched the flame arrive at the Olympic stadium via huge screens in a big top tent surrounded by thousands, all draped in flags and cheering. The atmosphere was electric and one that Camp Bestival goers will no doubt be talking about for a long time to come.

Shrek the Musical
For the kids and the young at heart, there was a fabulous selection of entertainment and shows to choose from. Everyone's favourite big green ogre: Shrek, with friends Princess Fiona and Donkey, performed songs from their musical and spent time meeting and greeting their adoring crowd of all ages. Mr Tumble sent the littlest of campers into uncontrollable excitement, and an operatic Fantastic Mr Fox wowed the audience. The Gruffalo made two fun filled appearances with the second introduced by Dick and Dom, to the children's delight.

With well over half of the Bestivallers being children and young people, there was a definite emphasis on keeping the little folk entertained. There were activities in abundance from workshops led by the English National Ballet, dressing up, catwalks, face painting and even a NetFlix sponsored cinema, screening children's films. A visit to the Persil 'Mosh and Wash' tent provided kids with entertainment such as instrument making while parents could enjoy doing essential washing with a hot beverage. Parents could rest assured that their precious ones would not get bored. The only downside would be that there was so much focus on children, that the 20-30's age group seemed to get lost, but, this is exactly why they have the more adult themed, Bestival, later in the year. However, if the shouting and energetic kids got too much, a trip to the soul park presented a haven to chill and revitalise, with hammocks and tents offering pampering and beauty treatments for pooped parents.

around the festival site (1)
Parents swapped baby push chairs for pimped out, self decorated carts. The amount of time and imagination involved was extremely impressive, with some great designs and some very cute little festival goers taking full advantage of much needed naps and shade in their festival transports. For those yet to have children, you could get the ball rolling by getting married in Camp Bestival's very own Big Love inflatable church, including wedding outfits, barmy bridesmaids and even a crazy mother in law! A quirky experience and a good old knees up.

Festival food offered a substantial selection of culinary delights. From handmade pies, fish and chips, Spanish paella and chocolate churros, to hogroasts, and even a Wagamamas. A farmers market and Young British Foodies tent were not to be missed, with plenty of choices to tickle any taste bud.

around the festival site (1)
As well as having kids themed entertainment on tap for 3 days, most people were there to get down to some good festival music, and there was plenty to be heard. Delilah kicked things off on the main Castle stage with a crowd pleasing set, followed by the chart topping StooShe, who's energetic display was a hit with the younger audience. 90's indie rockers Dodgy rolled back the years with a dreamy selection of their hits, but it was a revitalized Adam Ant that stole the show with a dramatic angst ridden set that had people of all ages rocking out. In stark musical contrast, the folktastic Bellowhead followed, with a jig friendly set that kept the audience dancing and laughing in the glorious sunshine. Over on the Big Top Stage, Spector proved why they are so coveted by the UK indie press with a great set of their modern classics. Headliners Hot Chip played to a lively but reduced crowd due to the Olympic Ceremony screening, but still had everyone dancing and were so loud, they could be heard all over the festival.

Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
Saturday’s musical menu had a definite disco theme to it, with Earth, Wind & Fire Experience feat Al McKay, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, and Kool & the Gang, all getting the young and old to do the funky chicken on the grassy dancefloor. Jimmy Cliff kicked things off by spreading peace filled vibes over the sun drenched Castle Stage crowd, followed by Little Dragon who wowed the crowd with her tuneful blend of electro mixed with indie. Over on the very small Bandstand stage, Gabrielle Aplin played to a mesmerized audience. There have been some great acts that have been showcased at Camp Besitval, from Ben Howard to Bombay Bicycle Club; it was not an exaggeration when the compare told the crowd that Gabrielle will be on a bigger stage and a much bigger name, very soon.

Rizzle Kicks
Rizzle Kicks drew the biggest crowd of the weekend back to the Castle Stage, with thousands of screaming fans of all ages getting down with the Trumpets. The rest of the night was owned by the 70's disco legends, with Chic stealing the show with a hit filled funkadelic set. Over on the Big Top stage, Jamie N Commons proved why his name is on the tip of every music journo's lips, with a raw, soul filled display that won a whole lot of new fans over. It was left to DJ Yoda & The Transiberian Marching Band to bring the house down on Saturday night. With an amazing mix of tunes, seamlessly mixed together to keep everyone jumping, and with an actual brass orchestra adding another dimension to the sounds, DJ Yoda has never made Tetris mixed with Dizzee Rascal mixed with the James Bond theme sound so good!

around the festival site (3)
Sunday saw another day of sun that was accentuated by the excellent line up of acts on show. The beautiful Ren Harvieu touched everyone with her soul filled voice and was the perfect tonic for a few sore heads from the night before. The enigmatic Little Roy played a mix of his own reggae hits as well as tracks from his recent Nirvana-does-reggae cover album, which the crowd loved. Emerging soulful singer Lianne La Havas shone on stage as the crowd danced along in admiration, which was continued to a different beat by the fun filled Rolf Harris who took the partying Camp Bestivalers on a Stairway to Heaven. A reborn Happy Mondays closed the festival's main stage, and they did not disappoint. Bez grooved, and a clear eyed Shaun Rider all but drove the crowd up the M3 to Madchester. With a new, funkier sound, it was a great way to close a party themed festival, that Rob Da Bank will have to go some way to top next year.

around the site (closing fireworks display)
For those who still wanted to party, The Blues Brothers UK, got the Big Top stage audience dancing like lunatics to some classic soul hits, while in a change of pace, the razor sharp Jimmy Carr followed, with a tongue in cheek set that had sides splitting left right and centre.

If you have kids and are looking for a party that both the young and the old can participate in, then Camp Bestival is for you. The attention to detail is truly amazing, with there literally being something for everyone. The festival has grown every year since it's birth and 2013 will no doubt have bigger acts and more entertainment planned. See you there!!

around the festival site (2)
review by: Sarah Serota

photos by: Gary Walker / Rob Koster

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012


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