6 August 2013

Camp Bestival 2013 Review

Camp Bestival 2013 Review - Melksham Mum

Having attended the lovely Camp Bestival for the last four years, beginning in 2010 when the kiddies were four and two, our festival experiences and expectations have evolved and every time we discover new things - and maybe forget to do others. Each year we have gone our situation has been different; in 2010 it was us as a young family with another young family, 2011 saw the same two families plus friends without children, 2012 it was just me, the kiddies and my niece and 2013 we were back to the same set up as 2010 - although I set up and de-camped without the husband as he attended from Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime.

Once again we set off on the Thursday and arrived on site around 1 p.m. having had no problems with traffic flow on arrival. As the children were that bit older we decided to camp closer to the action so loaded up the trusted Phil & Teds and took our first of just two loads - I packed better this year! - through Yellow Camping, down the major hill and set ourselves up on flat ground in the Purple Camping area. About two minutes walk away were the standard campsite toilets with showers nearby plus a breakfast bar and coffee stand. Just a quick note on the toilets - they were regularly emptied but always make sure you have toilet roll and hand sanitiser as these weren't always replaced quickly enough. Just to say, this year saw the first pay to use flushable toilets with hand washing facilities positioned near the castle on the main festival site. The cost? £2 a go or a re-entry wristband for £20 - certainly puts the emphasis on 'spend a penny'. I'm still torn over this. Fair enough if you seriously cannot face portaloos but it is a festival and be warned, there were queues for these loos too!

The first area of the festival site was open on the Thursday evening allowing you to begin to get a feel of the place and get your bearings. Every year the site is laid out in a similar way with The Kids' Garden, Castle Field, Magic Meadow, Dingly Dell, Freesports Park and Soul Park but within these areas there are extra additions and changes in tents and activities to keep you on your toes. So there is plenty going on to keep everyone happy. One thing we have got better at each year is striking the balance of activities to suit everyone so I ensured the kiddies had highlighted the things they wanted to see and do and ditto for myself and the husband. We planned to do things together, with our friends and also without the children. The husband had time on his own watching the mountain bikes at the Freesports Park, I had a night out with my friend - as well as a well planned bar meet up with fellow bloggers - the children got their craft and play fix and we all got to see the music and acts we wanted to. All in all a well executed plan! Obviously, things will get forgotten and you can't fit everything in. This year we never got round to going into the wonderful Dingly Dell which is a beautiful place full of activities and drama - a night time walk through is particularly mystical - but we all left on the Monday morning feeling satisfied!

Art Town Camp Bestival 2013

Kids' Garden Camp Bestival 2013

Kids' Garden Camp Bestival 2013

Kids' Garden Camp Bestival 2013

Kids' Garden Camp Bestival 2013

Kids' Garden Camp Bestival 2013

When going to a festival it always pays to plan your expenses. There are a lot of free activities going on but other things will charge. The Wall of Death was £2 each - but was amazing - the carousel, helter skelter, big wheel and swing boats a similar cost. Food and drink can also be a concern for some. I packed mini cereal boxes - which the children slovenly ate minus milk out of the packet but this created zero washing up so win-win there! - and bagels for breakfasts. I pre-made a batch of sandwiches and brought in a sack of crisps, biscuits, fruit bars, carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and apples for lunches and then bought dinners. Camp Bestival are more than happy for you to take your own food and drinks onto the festival site but *ahem* you may get stopped by eagle eyed security if you walk around swigging cider from a non-endorsed can! The food choices are fantastic with a range to suit everyone. There are some branded stalls; Nandos, Wagamamas, Pieminister but loads of independent traders. We loved the pizzas from the Wood Fired Pizza stall - £8 for a vegetable pizza / £5 for a child's margherita, Mac & Cheese from the Young British Foodies tent - £6.50+ for a well filled pot, one pot was more than enough for Edith and Alban to share, good old sausage, chips and beans from the Kids' Kitchen - £4.50, Churros and chocolate dip - £4 a portion, roasted sweetcorn - £3.50 a cob but it kept Edith happy for an hour, and pies from Pieminister and new addition Barnaby Sykes Piemaker - ranging from £5 to £8 with mash and gravy. Alcohol wise beer and cider were sold in cans for £4.30 each and there was also wine, spirits and Pimms available at expected costs. Or, just have your children on alert -  Edith: "Mum, security is over there, hide your can!"

Wall of Death Camp Bestival 2013

Mac & cheese at Camp Bestival 2013

The kiddies had their own purses which they quickly emptied at the Fairy Shop, Face Painting tent and Bubble Emporium. I packed bubbles but they just had to have a bubble blowng gun - again! My friend had face paints but seriously the ladies in the tent were amazingly talented, and worth the £3.50, and Edith went back for seconds on the Sunday. And as for the Fairy Tent - well half naked male fairies certainly drew the punters in and I was happy to see Edith's confidence at an all time high as she stared him out in a little competition! Speaking of fairies, we also had to chase one down the Castle Field to the front of the stage where Edith threw herself at her for a hug - the number one thing she had to do again this year so thank goodness I spotted her, thank you Lottie!

Fairy hugging at Camp Bestival 2013

Fairies at Camp Bestival 2013

Face Painting Tent Camp Bestival 2013

I always find the Sunday at Camp Bestival to be the most special day, probably because it's the last day and we make sure we do the things we definitely wanted to. This year the Sunday saw three things that were top of my list; chilling in the Guardian Literary Institute Tent listening to Spoken Word from Scroobius Pip, Kate Tempest and Polar Bear, seeing Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip in the Big Top and finishing off the festival on the Castle Field catching the final act - this year Labrinth, not really my cup of tea but I found myself mum dancing along to some recognisable tracks - and watching the Fireworks finale - not to be missed! By now, the husband had headed home due to work commitments but my kiddies did me proud sitting quietly listening to the Spoken Word poetry - even though it did go over their heads they applauded each time and were chuffed when they got one of Kate Tempest's chocolates! Doing me proud, and proving her ever increasing confidence, Edith got herself a front row position for Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip to really take it all in even though she may have been a little stunned when Mr Pip came within a beard's whisker of us at the barrier.

Kate Tempest at Camp Bestival 2013

Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip at Camp Bestival 2013

Fireworks finale at Camp Bestival 2013

So, thank you again Camp Bestival for another amazing time. See you next year!

For more pictorial treats see my last post Camp Bestival 2013 {in pictures}.

If you fancy experiencing the fun next year then keep your eyes on the Camp Bestival website for Early Bird offers for 2014.
x x x

Disclaimer: I received a family ticket in return for a review of this year's festival. As always I will give a fair and honest opinion.



  1. Great review. Really useful tips here :) I will be giving the kids a purse and making sure to plan more what we are doing before we get there, I think that's why we took longer to get into the swing this year. And a night out with friends would be the cherry on the cake. Right, already planning next year! So fab to see you again and thanks for organising us :)

    1. I just love to plan and having a child free late night is so good for the system although I was bleary Saturday after it and the pimms kind of finished me off early! :)

  2. Thanks for such a fab review Viv! Having bought a tent this year, and about to go on our first camping trip we're thinking of maybe doing this next year so I'll have to remember all your tips :) x

    1. Hooray! I just want to get out and camp loads now before we all go back to school! And yes you should seriously think about doing this next year ;) Thanks for your comment x

  3. Wow, it looks and sounds amazing. I've never been to a festival, but have a few really family friendly ones near us - maybe next year will get to one, even if it's just for the day!


I appreciate all comments, thank you! x x

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