This post about Camp Bestival 2018 has had to change quite a bit because of events today (Sunday 29 July), and the organisers released the following statement this afternoon…
A difficult decision for sure, but I think it was absolutely the right one to make. The weather today has been unpredictable and shocking. Gale-force winds have uprooted trees and tents plus relentless rain.
Not great fun for a festival, and more importantly, not safe. The show just sadly couldn’t go on, and hats off to the organisers for accepting that.
In other news however, we did actually go to the festival on Friday, when the sun was blazing down. We were due to go again today, and I was planning on publishing this post tonight as a round-up of our two days at the festival, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. So what you’re about to read below, is my account of that day, just to put it into context. (And reading it back now it sounds very surreal because what a difference a couple of days can make!)…
At the time of writing this post it’s Friday evening, 27 July, and we’ve popped our festival cherry by spending our first day at Camp Bestival 2018. Not only that, but it’s been during this crazy UK heatwave that seems to have no end date. WOW what a day it’s been…
I feel very lucky to be in a position where the blog has enabled me recently to be gifted products and granted certain opportunities, and Camp Bestival 2018 is one such example. (So in the interests of disclosure I was gifted a family weekend pass for Camp Bestival 2018 in exchange for social media promotion and a review, but please be assured this post comes from the heart and is compiled of my own thoughts and opinions.)
OK boring mandatory bit out of the way, let’s get onto the festival itself.
Camp Bestival 2018
So I suppose the most important thing to point out at the beginning is that we’re not actually camping at the festival. I know it seems a bit bizarre given the fact that it’s Camp Bestival and the whole point is that you, y’know, actually camp to get the full experience, but we are just day visitors for two out of the three ‘main’ days.
The truth behind this fact is that basically, David and I aren’t particularly outdoorsy parents (not yet anyway – maybe give us a year and that could all change). But we are yet to go camping with the kids, therefore we don’t own literally ANY camping gear whatsoever, and we felt that Camp Bestival 2018 might have been a little overwhelming for the kids’ first camping experience. (Although even as I type that it seems silly – If I’m being honest maybe it was David and I that felt like the amateurs…) Either way, we made a decision based on the above and other factors to go as day visitors, and today actually worked out really really well…
Friday 27 July 2018
So we were planning to head off very early this morning. You know what it’s like. You have those optimistic talks the day before….”We’ll be on the road for 7.30am, avoid rush hour and get there even before the gates open, mwah ha ha!”.
Well in actual fact, we had barely left the house around 9am… but c’est la vie. Traffic wasn’t too bad at all and the signage to the festival from Wool onwards was very clear, so hats off to the organisers for that.
After getting parked and sorting our tickets out we were ready to explore! Now being the inexperienced festival-goers that we are, we didn’t have one of those nifty little wagons that I seemed to see every parent wheeling their camping gear and/or small child in as soon as we’d arrived. There was the option to hire a wagon, or trolley out, but we were told they were all booked up which was a little disappointing. We’d brought the pushchair with us anyway so it wasn’t the end of the world though.
After going down one fairly steep hill and up another across the bleached grass, we passed the camping fields and finally hit the first hub of activity. There was the Big Top with live music, and a huge amount of drums being played in the distance that sounded amazing. There was such a warm and friendly atmosphere, it felt lovely and not too full-on or overwhelming at all. We found a big tree for some shade and stopped for a snack and a few pics, obvs.
It had always been our plan on the first day to play it all by ear, and explore as much as possible without being restricted too much by the programme and set times; so that’s exactly what we did. The only act that we really wanted to see was CBeebies presenter Andy Day and his band The Odd Socks, but he wasn’t on until 2.30pm so we had a good few hours to explore which was perfect for us.
I was amazed by the scale of the place, but maybe I sound a little naive saying that. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but the sites are so vast and there is so much going on…I feel like we left today only having seen around 70% of the site. But what we saw and did was amazing.
First up we found what was proudly titled ‘The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle’. And it was absolutely massive. We paid and the kids joined a queue which was quite difficult for them to wait in due to the blazing midday sun but they managed it. Once their shoes were off they and quite a lot of other kids were allowed on to bounce to their heart’s content for ten minutes…
Well barely two minutes had passed before Jack came to the entrance crying his eyes out saying he’d been bashed in the head by another boy…. Occupational hazard of being on such a big and busy bouncy castle I guess, but didn’t want to take any chances so that was that. (Credit to the lovely member of staff who kindly reimbursed us for Jack’s fare!).
Following that little episode we thought it was time for a treat, so we headed to the ice cream van and chilled off (quite literally), with a Mister Whippy and Slush Puppy. We then headed to the Castle Stage where we caught the end of a very cool Dinosaur Live show, watched some live music, and just chilled out for a bit.
Jack soon after discovered a gigantic robot at the back of the field which of course, had to be explored…
We’d brought a packed lunch with us but the amount of food stalls around was incredible, and very tempting. From fish and chips to noodles, pizza and paella plus everything in between, there was an amazing selection on offer, and it was very hard to resist to be honest.
David and I did treat ourselves to a cider though as I think that’s some sort of requirement for a sunny day at a festival… We then set ourselves up in ‘The Big Top’ where Andy and The Odd Socks pulled in a big crowd and performed a range of fun songs which the kids loved.
The temptation of the food stalls proved too much after that so we got some lovely chips from a nearby trader before Olivia and I headed to an inflatable chapel for a disco! Only at Camp Bestival…
After a few more photos we thought it was time to head home as the kids were getting tired and we only had the one pushchair with us (those wagons are a must for this festival by the way!) After alternate carrying of both Olivia and Jack, me and David were both pretty worn out and quite ready to just sit down and chill.
This brings me back to today. We’d always intended to return to the festival on the last day but sadly that wasn’t to be. I feel like there was so much more there to see and do (for the adults as much as the kids), and it’s such a shame that we didn’t get the opportunity to do that today as planned. But you can’t predict the weather, especially in the UK, and at the end of the day, safety was paramount.
We did have an amazing day on Friday though which I feel very thankful for, and I hope we’re able to go next year and properly experience all the fun of Camp Bestival.
Hope you enjoyed this post, and I’ll be back with a new one very soon!