Camp Bestival Dorset 2023 - The Review

Camp Bestival has been getting bigger and better year on year

By Simon Adams | Published: Wed 23rd Aug 2023

around the site

Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th July 2023
Lulworth Castle, Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
currently £190 weekend with camping
Daily capacity: 10,000
Last updated: Wed 14th Jun 2023

Camp Bestival Dorset festival is the ideal Glastonbury alternative for young families. With a much smaller and more manageable site. Camp Bestival has been getting bigger and better year on year.

This year I managed to get my campervan on site and parked next to a friend Jules and her three children aged five, eight and fifteen. This means I got to experience the campervan fields and spending time with another family and seeing the festival from their prospective. This made it a completely new experience for me and enabled me to see the event the different reactions to the different areas of the festival. 


Entry into the Camp Bestival 2023 was pretty straight forward with traffic signs from 6 miles away. There was, however, a broken down VW outside of one of the gates which added an extra 45 minutes of stop and start traffic. In this traffic I got talking two workers who were hiking in with all their gear, so offered a lift as we were going to the same area.

Arriving as the rain cleared, we set up camp, had a bite to eat and headed on an adventure to show Jules and her kids all the cool and quirky bits of the festival. As it was a little later on the Thursday evening, a lot of the site was pretty empty giving the kids free reign on the new giant robot climbing frame installation.

On the Friday I got to show everybody the site in the day light as the showers had finished and the ground was starting to dry off. Managing to catch Beans on Toast, a bit of Goldie Looking Chain, Scouting for Girls and explored the circus area before catching The Kooks in the evening. 

The Kooks - Camp Bestival Dorset Festival 2023

Beans on Toast – I’ve followed Beans since he toured with Skinny Lister seven or eight years back. He’s come an amazing way and developed as an artist honing his craft making his shows seem effortless and flow naturally since then. This folk punk renegade is a favourite on the festival circuit and is definitely worth a watch. 

Caravanserai – This is probably the only festival in the world that you can sit in a barbers chair having a trim whilst watching a 1950s style band behind you and an acrobat hanging from a hoop high in the trees above you. They have all this and more covered. This Aladdin’s cave of fun and entertainment is bordered by classic busses, open sided caravan and many make shift seating areas and stages.

Saturday saw performances from the likes of Mr Tumble, Eurovision's Sam Ryder, and Grace Jones.

Grace Jones - Camp Bestival Dorset Festival 2023

After a drink or two we wondered down to see Gok Wan performing. It was packed from the front to the back with a sea of families raving to Gok taking control of the decks, playing some dance anthems. 

Bollywood – During the day Bollywood plays host to group activities, classes, dance workshops and bands. As the sun sets, hoards of revellers in their early twenties to forties come out to play as the venue turns more into a nightclub or rave tent until the early hours of the morning. Again, showing Rob Da Bank and the organisers have really tried to cater for everybody.

Kids Theatre and Circus Area - With the crazy bikes, stilts, balance boards, tight ropes, jugglers and much more accompanied with a passionate crew going the extra mile to make sure all are involved and enjoying themselves and share.           

Dick and Dom’s Massive Rave – This silent disco style DJ set was getting everybody in the crowd dancing under cover of the Big Top tent as it drizzled outside. This was Jules favourite part.  


After a lazy Sunday morning sleeping in and hiding in our vans from the rain, we got up and took a wonder down to the main arena at around midday. Spending the next few hours exploring the woodland parks and the Retreat – a sanctuary within the festival where you’ll see yoga classes throughout the day, people sleeping within the hammocks and meadow, massage yurts, wood fired hot tubs. We laid on yoga matts for a moment of serenity before heading back into the thick of it. 

The Dolly Show – This big sound Dolly Parton tribute show was an accidental discovery that was amazing. After seeing the real dolly a few years back, I wouldn’t be able to pick one from the other. What a great act with the amount of effort going into the show.

The Dolly Show - Camp Bestival Dorset Festival 2023

Melanie C – Another artist to have embarrassed hundreds of children as their parents sing to their heart's content to the old Spice Girl owning the stage. 

We spent the next few hours eating and relaxing before packing up and watching the fireworks from the top of the campsite hill before leaving for home. With a swift, no traffic exit. The drive back was smooth. 

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

View the full photo gallery!

Kids at Camp Bestival Dorset Festival 2023

review by: Simon Adams

photos by: Jamie Cooney

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