thousands of families come together to make Camp Bestival so memorable

Camp Bestival 2021 review

By Simon Adams | Published: Tue 10th Aug 2021

around the festival site

Thursday 29th July to Sunday 1st August 2021
Lulworth Castle, Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
currently £249.50 weekend with camping
Daily capacity: 10,000
Last updated: Thu 20th May 2021

Downpours and wind gusting through the campsites set the scene for the Thursday evening of Camp Bestival 2021, as if it were a subtle tribute to the past year. Luckily however, I never got to site until Friday morning as the clouds departed making room for the sunshine which stuck around for the majority of the weekend.
Entry into the Camp Bestival was again flawless with little to no traffic and being sign posts from around 15 miles from the site. There were no queues to get into Yellow carpark (which was £25 for the weekend) and just a ten minute stroll down the hill to the ticket office. The campsite was a mix match of lots of different styles of tents, from cheap festival tents to huge inflatable family tents, to more privately owned bells tents than I have seen in my life! Many of the groups sectioned off their area with wind breaks and guide ropes. Once set up, I made a point of meeting the neighbours before quickly heading out to meet friend and photographer, Jamie Cooney and see what’s new.

Later on the Friday, The Castle stage played host to great acts such as Musical Youth, and Becky Hill. This is my second time at Camp Bestival and it still surprises me at how spread out the crowd is and the hundreds of festival trolleys fashioned into space ships, gypsy wagons and even a DeLorean with two children inside dressed as Doc and Marty McFly.  This alone sums up the vibe of the festival. Hundreds, if not thousands of families coming together, putting maximum effort to make the experience a great and memorable one after the dreaded 2020.

around the festival site: Camp Bestival 2021

Magic Teapot – Heading over the hill of the main campsite I noticed a small quirky wood fired tea hut opposite the Big Top. I gave a donation for a coffee and found myself chatting away with the people around me. This was a nice touch which you rarely see at other events. It gives you the opportunity to take the weight off your feet, meet new people and enjoy a hot drink or two.

S Club Party – Okay, I don’t deny that I rushed down from the Magic Teapot to ensure I got a good spot to see this iconic act dance to their little hearts content. As it was down to just Bradley and Tina, they held it well and entertained a crowd of a thousand or so, singing the 90’s hits clutching on word for word.

Musical Youth – a much loved blast from the past! Although their vocals have changed massively since their recording of their former number one hit “Pass the Dutchie” front man Patrick Waite and the band pull out all the stops to make it an entertaining show.

Side note: During Musical Youth I bumped into Leo Popov, JJ Fowler and Tash Sultana who were on the build and break crew of the event. I spent the rest of the evening with these guys who introduced me to the rest of their crew and gave me a different perspective of how much effort really goes into the event. As we walked across site, they would show me the work they’ve put into the event of which is immense. I’d like to take this time to say thank you for all the effort you put into such a great show.

Caravanserai has not changed from the past year other than after a year off and the acts seemed to go more wild than ever busking in their moment to shine. This is still one of my favourite areas of the festival as it has so much going on. Where else can you sit in a Waltzer cart with friends in a hollowed out caravan behind both watching the weird and wonderful acts? This is also a great place to meet new people if you’re feeling social.  

Bollywood – During the day time Bollywood hosts great activities such as Hip Hop Bingo, Dance workshops and themed disco’s. These are amazing activities for the families of Camp Bestival to enjoy. When the sun goes down DJ’s such as David Rodigan, Lost & Found, and Adamski come out to play drawing in a crowd of early twenties to forties. Honestly, the crowd changes to the extent that you’d almost think you’re in Reading’s dance tent or The Woods at Latitude Festival. This shows that Rob Da Bank and the organisers have really tried to cater for everybody.

Fatgirl Slim: Camp Bestival 2021

Saturday saw acts such as Fatboy Slim and his daughter Fatgirl Slim, Blossoms, The Cuban Brothers, and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer. With the wide variety of acts there is a little something for everybody.

During the day I poked my head around most of the stalls, tents, stages and hidden areas of the festival. This lead me to meeting Olly, a horticultural student, who was there as part of the Youth Climate Justice Coalition stall next to the Literary Tent. Olly and their team were engaging with the public and helping raise awareness of their cause. They were also teaching people how to paint transfers onto their t-shirts, of which many children loved.

I then went off to The Retreat, feeling a little worse for wears after the late night. I found a hammock surrounded by yurts and bell tents where people took place in yoga and meditation whilst others took the opportunity to simply relax. This is just what I did. I laid back on a hammock with a book and slowly dozed off before waking to a peacock brushing my arm with its feathers as it walked on by.

Later that day I bumped into Olly and their friend and watched Fatboy Slim which was great as ever. A man seized the opportunity to take charge of the screen and propose to his now fiancé during the set bringing cheers from the crowd. We then went onto Dick and Dom’s (just Dom and his brother) silent disco set. I left the silent disco around 1:45am to head back to the comfort of my tent.  

The Wurzels: Camp Bestival 2021

Sunday was an easy going day of which my highlight has to be seeing and meeting The Wurzels who to me seemed to be on too early in the day but put on a great energetic cider fuelled show regardless. I mean it was Tommy Banner’s (accordion) 82nd birthday yet he is still drinking and jumping around as if he were in his twenties. After this performance I wandered back to pack up camp and drop my stuff to the car.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering in and out of the different areas and saw little bits of everything. What stood out most to me was Scummy Mummies comedy duo and Jaguar Skills who hasn’t changed a bit since I first saw him over ten years ago at Skint Mondays in Reading. The Grand Finale as usual was the huge fireworks display from on top of the castle.

Thank you for all for a great weekend and hopefully see you all next year!

around the festival site (Fireworks finale): Camp Bestival 2021

review by: Simon Adams

photos by: Jamie Cooney

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