It’s pretty rare these days that I find myself dressed in a wig, watching a load of children I don’t even own doing Bhangra on a giant stage which looks like a pirate ship, but if you’re down for that sort of thing you should totally have been at Camp Bestival last weekend. Those kids had some MOVES!
Likewise, if you like your men in leotards, wildly raving with a load of toddlers at three in the afternoon – come on down! If you care to make mud pies in the woods whilst unashamedly publicly drinking cider – get involved! If you fancy being relieved of the better part of twenty quid every time you take ten steps forward, then this too is just the festival for you! If I were to add up all the money we spent on the Big Wheel, the carousel, the face painting, the face-glitter, the ice creams and the all round merriment then we probably could have had an equivalent holiday actually on the surface of Mars, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Near bankruptcy aside, it really was a bloody brilliant time all round. Particular highlights for me this year included the aforementioned unexpected mid-afternoon kiddie-rave, watching the Fatboy Slim headline set with my children, who loved it every bit as much as I did (“Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat”; or as it became the next day after we’d let them stay up until midnight: Eat! Sleep! BEHAVE!! *Defeat*) and the utterly amazing closing fireworks finale, set to space-themed music. I watched it again on youtube tonight, and can safely say it’s even more impressive now I’m (whisper it) sober.
I would say the only low point was waking in my tent in the middle of the night to the unusual sensation of a quite weighty insect (my money is on ladybird or beetle) actually walking over my closed eyes. That was weird. And bad. And not something I’d ever like to happen again, but luckily to balance it out this year precisely NO CHILDREN were sick in the tent, so you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth really. There were however quite a few tired tantrums from the children, but we just kept on putting ice-cream and sugar into their faces until they snapped out of it. Failing that, they were confined to the trolley for what we optimistically hoped would be an enforced snooze, but which more often than not just turned out to be a sibling punch up in a very confined space. They aren’t as small as they used to be, and there’s only so big our trolley can get before we’ll need to buy it a campervan ticket. (It did however feature a real solar panel, phone charger and icy cold coolbox, so at least our drinks stayed chilled whilst we were bollocking them. Small mercies.)
- You will GROW OLD AND DIE waiting for someone to glitter all up in your festival face in the jazzle-tent so save yourself time by taking some vaseline and your own sparkly stuff. We met a nice lady next to us by the main stage who glittered up our lips and faces a treat just for the fun of it, and surely that’s what a festival should be all about really.
- Once your children get a taste for chocolate churros you may as well just throw fifty pound notes wantonly into the night sky, as at a fiver a pot, it’s not a cheap habit. The queue for the stand is also so long, you can actually see it from space. Like the great wall of china, except it’s a great wall of cross, sugar-crazed children and their slightly pissed parents.
- Nobody likes festival toilets, but they really weren’t that bad. If you don’t look down, that is. DO NOT look down. Found some banging graffiti in the compost loos this year too.
If at all possible, try to avoid having to take both your children on the five and a half hour drive home by yourself. I’m not sure who gave the four year old whichever drug it was that made him talk the ENTIRE way home, but he very nearly got left at Oxford services.
On that note, it’s also good to prepare yourself in advance for what I like to call the ‘going home drive first service station stop instant rage’, whereby after four nights of little sleep you will need to murder each and every person in front of you in the queue for the petrol pumps, the toilets (seriously, WHAT was that woman even doing in there for that long, giving birth??) and at the till for impeding your swift progress home to your own bed.
So all in all, Camp Bestival 2016 was a blinder. Tickets are already on sale for next year, and frankly, there’s no place I’d rather be. Join us there?
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Check out last year’s review of Camp Bestival 2015 with tips on how to survive a festival with children, or if plain and simple camping is your thing, here’s some more idiotic camping “advice” for you. You’re welcome.