taking the kids to Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival 2013 review

By James J Watson | Published: Fri 9th Aug 2013

around the festival site

Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th August 2013
Lulworth Castle, Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
£190 weekend camping from Thursday
Daily capacity: 10,000
Last updated: Wed 31st Jul 2013

James J Watson took his family to Camp Bestival including three children, Samuel (aged 9), Oliver (aged 7) and Amelia (aged 3 who would become 4 whilst they were at the festival). Here's James' report on the four day family friendly event.

Arriving on Thursday, the weather was hot and we were so pleased to have pre-booked the fantastic Festaxi to take all our camping equipment to our spot. The festival didn't start until the Friday, so only the Magic Meadow was open to get all attendees into the CB spirit. The pure adrenalin rush of the Wall Of Death kept us all entranced, the kids loved seeing the motorcyclists going round and performing their stunts. 

Our first music artist was Fake Bush, an oblique homage to the legendary warbler. She got the small crowd swaying and swinging along to all the hits of Kate.

Last year Shaun Ryder managed to get through the whole of the Happy Mondays headline set without upsetting all the families with no or next to no foul words. It's a shame this can't be said about Mikill Pane. At 12:45 on the Friday lunchtime, he launched into a tirade of F bombs and going against the ethos of the family festival. Now I quite liked his music but he got my back up as I had to explain to my young family about the language he was using. 

What better place to bring the Jurassic Coast to life, Erth's Dinosaur Zoo kept the kids captivated. Watching life like dinosaurs on a stage scaring the youngsters and seeing them gawp at how they interacted with the presenters. 

Back on the Main Stage The Farm and Ash entertained with all their hits. Ash being such a fantastic singles band, they really got the crowd going. It's a shame they haven't kept the hits coming over recent years. The family chilled with ice creams but unfortunately I then had to hear the majority of The Proclaimers set. They offered nothing new to their few hits. The ice cream was so much better than they were.

Taking the children into the Kids Garden to have a look around and to check out what we had to look forward to over the weekend was great. The Insect Circus offered a grand stage show with acrobatics mixed with people dressed as Blue Bottles and Wasps, bizarre but fun.

The Bandstand offered music to the garden whilst the kids played and ran about. The extremely popular Skylanders Arena offered a new game which isn't available until October, and there were prizes galore and freebies being given out. 

The only music artist I went to see on the Friday night was on my own in the Big Top at midnight to see DJ Yoda and the Tootsie Rollers. Yoda always puts on a great show and this time he didn't disappoint. I felt like I was in my old raving days again and my calfs definitely felt it the next morning, but it was so worth it. 

Saturday mornings at Camp Besitval is always about one person and that person is Mr. Tumble. The man is a legend with the kids and to quote his Gigglebiz character Keith the fitness instructor 'Champion'.

The afternoon offered us the opportunity to enter the Dingly Dell and enjoy Guy Bass reading from his 'Stitch Head' book. The woods also allowed the kids to enjoy some freedom away from all the crowds. 

One of Sunday Best's latest signings Valerie June in the Big Top showed everyone up by performing her amazing debut album 'Pushin' Against A Stone'. I've been lucky enough to see Valerie perform once before a few months ago and to see her again was just an absolute pleasure. The crowd was like putty in her hand, when she played the guitar and sang with her special voice, we were all in awe.

Our next artist was Take That's very under-rated Mark Owen. His set was surprisingly low on TT songs (only 3), a lot of his recently released and easily his best album 'The Art Of Doing Nothing' was performed. It was good to see a lot of people turn up to see him and enjoy all his solo tracks. 

Clean Bandit in the Big Top was next on the list to see and they are one band to keep an ear out for. Their 2 singles 'Mozart's House' and 'A&E' went down really well with the youth of today. Being a massive electronica fan, it was good to see how the next generations of electronic music aren’t going to disappoint. 

Sunday morning and early afternoon was all about the children and spent watching shows by adults and puppets in the Kids Garden. We could have stayed there all day but the Main Stage beckoned.

The band that I wanted to see the most over the weekend was one my favourite bands of all time The Polyphonic Spree. I've seen them play loads of time but this time they were on the Main Stage performing The Rocky Horror Show in 50 minutes.

The Spree didn't disappoint and I thoroughly enjoyed it being right down the front and singing along.

The finale on the main stage was the next big thing to watch. To get to watch this visual spectacular I had to endure the big bass of the festival’s Sunday night headliner Labrinth. I love bass but I didn’t love Labrinth. His sound just wasn’t suited to the speakers and the Main Stage.

This was our family's second Camp Bestival and this year trumped 2012. My three children loved it, there is so much to do, so much that you can't do it all. The festival is so relaxed and everyone is there to relax and enjoy themselves. I’ve been to loads of festivals over the years and Camp Besitval is easily up there with Glastonbury and the best festivals that I have ever been to. Tickets for 2014 are on sale soon. My family and I have already decided that we’re going and we can’t wait.

review by: James J Watson

Latest Updates

Camp Bestival Shropshire 2024
festival details
last updated: Thu 8th Feb 2024
Camp Bestival Dorset 2024
festival details
last updated: Thu 8th Feb 2024
Camp Bestival Dorset 2024
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Thu 8th Feb 2024