Camp Bestival or How To Party With Your Four Year Old

Camp Bestival or How To Party With Your Four Year Old

by jessicajolly / Aug 05, 2016 / 0 comments
Friday, 29 July 2016 to Sunday, 31 July 2016

So you've popped out a few children and you think your festival days are over. They're not. Rob Da Bank and company have cloned their top tier UK music extravaganza BESTIVAL and compacted it into a bite-sized version that the entire family can enjoy. Maintaining the party atmosphere but making it suitable for toddlers and tweens sounds like an impossible task, but the organisers have pulled it off.

The three day event takes place in the heart of Dorset at Lulworth Castle (conveniently near all of the summer attractions), and offers a multi-generational mix of live music from circus acts for the tots, pop stars for the teens, and rockers from decades past for the parents to enjoy. Here's what was on offer:

For starters, there's a carnival which includes all the standards such as Helter Skelter, Wheel of Death, and a soft play area for the babies. But this is no average village fun fair, this is Bestival which includes THE WORLDS BIGGEST BOUNCY HOUSE. There's quite a long queue and a fair amount of big kids, but oh boy is it worth the wait and the risk.

The music offerings for little ones ranged from well known children's entertainers such as The Chuckle Brothers, to theatrical sing-alongers such as Dorset Wrecks Sea Shanty Group. Acts that are fun for your kids to boogie to, but none of it in the nauseating genre of Barney the Dinosaur. One gets the feeling the Camp Bestival project is Rob Da Bank's humanitarian cause of making sure the next generation has good taste in music.

Camp Bestival packed the line-up with chart topping pop divas such as Jess Glynne, Katy B, and KT Tunstall, as well as up and coming young stars like Anne Marie. Jess Glynne's Friday headlining set drew a very enthusiastic crowd, with kids and parents singing together to her big dancey hits.

Importantly, if your adolescents think they're too cool to camp with you and the diaper brigade, there's a non-family camping section placed right behind the Big Top where they can set up their own area and think they're being independent. They'll be close enough to you to not get in trouble, but far enough away you won't have to listen to them moaning.

Here we go. The exciting stuff. Bestival always offers one of the most diverse and exciting line-ups on the festival circuit, and they don't skimp out for Camp Bestival. They don't just book nostalgia acts, like many of the 80s retro tours around the world have been doing, they get the fantastic likes of Squeeze, Bananarama, and Tears for Fears, who closed the festival Sunday night just before the fireworks. It was a spectacular ending for the weekend, as Roland and Curt tore through hit after hit with every bit of musicianship and passion that they displayed as international synth-pop stars in the 80s. I remember, quite vividly, first watching the “Shout” video on MTV when I was four years old. It was the first music video I had ever seen, and by the end I was standing on the sofa singing along. Fast forward 32 years, and as the band opens with a blistering “Everybody Wants to Rule The World”, a four year old girl is behind me on her dad's shoulders, hearing Tears for Fears for the first time, and singing along by the end. An actual tear or two may have dripped down my face, though not for any fears, thankfully.

Another musical highlight was Fatboy Slim's headlining set on Saturday. You can't really categorize this performance into an age group, as he played for everyone, from his memorable hits to his more reaching electronica. Watching a toddler bounce around in his carrier to techno is not an image I'll soon forget.

LOGISTICS. You probably have traumatic memories of the great faff that is getting in and out of Glastonbury. Undergoing that with a bevy of children sounds like a horror film. Well don't worry, the infrastructure in place at Camp Bestival makes it really easy. We sailed in and out of the carpark with no hassle, easily found a good camping spot, and were in the festivities within 25 minutes. (We are childless music reviewers, so double that if you've got a family.) Also, on site are many parent helping services such as a laundrette, garden trolleys for hire, and both a shuttle and campsite set up service for those needing assistance.

But seriously, this isn't just a kids fest. Plenty of adult locals were in attendance to groove out to the DJs and enjoy the party. Rob Da Bank was there, giving a characteristically good set in the Bollywood Stage on Sunday.

Another reason to make this your summer festival is it's location: Lulworth Castle is a prime Dorset camping spot. We made day trips each day to surrounding attractions such as monkey world, took a Jurassic Coast kayaking tour, and walked along Old Harry's Rocks. And still had time to pack in the party at night.

Rating out of 11: