The sunny weather on the drive to Camp Bestival 2019 set the scene of the weekend to ahead perfectly. Driving through the rolling Dorset hills with clear skies and temperatures flirting with the 30 degrees mark.
I arrived midday on Friday and after being used to much larger festivals with queues of hundreds to thousands of people awaiting wristband exchange, I was surprised at how fast and smoothly the process went at Camp Bestival. There were no queues to get into the well managed carpark (which was £25 for the weekend) and there were just a handful of people ahead of me collecting their wristbands.
Once through accreditation, it was a gentle 10 minute walk from Yellow Car Park to the Yellow Campsite. Unlike many other festivals, there was an abundance of room to set up camp, albeit on a slope. The campsite comprised of mainly families, well organised with huge family tents, gazebos and full camp kitchens, all sectioned off by a few wind breaks. Although the campsite was near perfect with the weather we had, I feel that if the weather had taken a turn for the worse the rolling hills would turn into utter carnage.
Once set up on Friday, photographer Jamie took me on a tour of the site, showing me as many of the small and quirky bits of the festival that he could before heading back off to work. This gave me the time to truly explore. Armed with a cold drink in hand, I wandered for the next few hours from area to area, simply getting to grips with and taking in all that the festival had to offer.
Later on, in the day, The Castle stage played host to great acts such as Jess Glynne, The Human League and The Wailers. Amongst the crowd for these acts were a sea of festival trolleys, picnic blankets and camping chairs, spanning from the far back, to the front of The Castle Stage. This alone sums up the vibe of the festival. Hundreds if not thousands of families coming together with their children, turning their festival into a holiday.
Before the crowds descended from The Castle Stage, I slipped off towards the campground, before the sounds of a ska band lured me into Caravanserai. This turned out to be my favorite area of the festival as it has so much going on. This make shift arena bordered by shanti style stages, hollowed out caravans turned into seating nooks and lots of amazing small, quirky and rustic attractions.
Early Saturday morning we met the neighboring families. One of which their son won an air guitar competition on the Sunday and was awarded a large trophy. When noticing this, one of the photographers took the winner into the pit of The Big Top where he stood next to Rob Da Bank taking photos of an act.
The rest of Saturday was a mellow day for me, floating between different acts such as;
Beans on Toast – It was a good set, however front man Jay had to alter his set due to it being a children’s event. I feel this really affected the set, as he could not perform his most well-known songs.
Vengaboys had an amazing turnout with thousands of people cramming into The Big Top tent. Towards the end of their set all the children in the crowd were invited on stage to sing and dance to Boom Boom Boom, which on its own is a bit dodgy when you think of the meaning of the lyrics the kids were singing.
Lewis Capaldi had one of the biggest turnouts of the event and had noted that he had been warned to watch his language. In true comedic style, Capaldi took the opposite approach, stating swearing made people cool and all the parents in the crowd swear when the children aren’t around.
On my wander back to the tent, I’d been pulled in by the sounds and smells of (Ken Fox’s) WALL OF DEATH which is a must-see family run stunt act using vintage motors and even an off road buggy.
Sunday was another easy day. In the morning I went over to explore the Green Peace and craft fields. I ended up grabbing one of the best coffees I’d ever had from the Green Peace café and sitting up on the hill overlooking the skatepark and various workshops. Following this, I went on another exploration leading to;
Nick Cope Family Concert in The Big Top who is an awesome act for young families, he keeps the young ones well entertained with a mixture of props and silly songs. I left after a song about baby poo, knowing the act wasn’t for me.
ASH Always a good band to see if you ever get the chance. They peaked towards the end of the set with the obvious Bun Baby Burn.
Bombay Bicycle Club were the Special Guests, returning after a three year break from the festival scene. Steadman and the band put on a great show, fitting the feel of the festival perfectly
Annie Mac - Need I say anything more? This woman is an absolute legend of a DJ who is able to get everybody up and onto their toes. I walked through the crowds, taking photos and saw everyone from toddlers to grandparents dancing the night away.
I left the site at around half 7 on Monday morning and only saw one other car moving in the carpark at the time, making the exit completely effortless.
Thank you for all for a weird, wonderful and fun weekend.
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