Camp Bestival started life in 2008, dreamt up by Rob Da Bank and his wife Josie as a “little sister” to Bestival. Designed to be both a family festival experience and a camping holiday, Camp Bestival likes to be known as a “Festi-Holiday”. Located across the water from its elder sibling, Camp Bestival takes place at Lulworth Castle in Dorset from 31st July to 3rd August. Basement Jaxx, De La Soul, James, Johnny Marr and Sinead O’Connor head up 2014’s line-up. Each year, a slew of DJ sets from Rob Da Bank and Friends complement the live music. Boy George and Marc Vedo, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, David Rodigan and DJ Yoda are among the DJs set to appear at Camp Bestival 2014. Befitting its “Festi-Holiday” tag, Camp Bestival also boasts a grin-making range of other activities and attractions.
Following Bestival’s award winning path, Camp Bestival was crowned Best New Festival at the 2008 UK Festival Awards. It went on to win Best Family Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2013. Created with children’s entertainment in mind, Camp Bestival is home to an enormous area dedicated to just that. The Upper Kid’s Garden is situated on lawns behind Lulworth Castle and hosts activities including bikes, go-karts, a bouncy castle and even a big-top to learn circus skills in. There’s also a toddler’s area and the Breastival chill out area (first introduced at Bestival) for breastfeeding mothers. A new addition for 2014 is The Greatest Tent On Earth, which will host circus performances.
Older children are catered for in the Lower Kids Garden, where the Insect Circus, Art Town, Kids Catwalk, fairground rides, sandpit and face-painting are all available. Further afield on the Camp Bestival site, you’ll find kids yoga, a Soul Journey for families, Oberon’s Observatory and a Travelling Barn. Performances and shows for youngsters also form a big part of the Camp Bestival programme. This year, Horrible Histories, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Mr Tumble and Medieval Jousting all feature.
Camp Bestival combines a warm family atmosphere with the magical and eclectic charm of Rob Da Bank’s musical bookings at Bestival. For its launch year in 2008, Chuck Berry, the Flaming Lips, Kate Nash and Billy Bragg performed. Last year’s headliners included Labrinth, Richard Hawley and the Levellers. In between Camp Bestival has seen performances from Florence & The Machine, Blondie, PJ Harvey, Candi Staton, Bon Iver, Madness, Calvin Harris, Primal Scream, Mark Ronson, Kool And The Gang, Chic and Hot Chip. Crossing between pop, dance and rock music old and new, Camp Bestival’s line-ups have a careful, hand-picked feel. Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank knows what will make his crowds throw the biggest shapes, too.
This year’s programme is in line with that tradition. As ever at Camp Bestival, dancing shoes are a must. The shifting grooves of Basement Jaxx and De La Soul are child-friendly too, so the only thing that might scare the kids off is dad’s dancing. James and Johnny Marr will provide festival sing-alongs, while The Skatalites and Peter Hook & The Light will prove that the oldies have still got it. It’s hard to say what the younger members of the audience will make of Chas And Dave, though. Camp Bestival is dedicated to giving its favourite new artists the spotlight too. The class of 2014 includes BBC Sound nominee Laura Mvula, acoustic newcomer Nick Mulvey, pop magpie Denai Moore and 19-year-old songwriter MNEK.
Belly laughs form a big portion of the Camp Bestival too. This year Milton Jones, the Pajama Men, Nat Luurtsema and Ben Norris top the list of comedy acts. Poetry, Authors and Talks will come from Satin Lizard Lounge. Scroobius Pip, RSA Talks and more. Camp Bestival’s gastronomic offerings number almost as many as its musical ones. Hungry families can look forward to being sated by food and drink from Martin Morales, Breddo’s Tacos, Josie Da Bank Jam Jar Bar, Knackered Mothers Wine Club, Smokestack, The Cake Shop Bakery, White Rabbit, Baba G’s Bhangra Burger and more.
It’s possible to reserve a plot for your tent at Camp Bestival too. The Camping Plus service cuts out the rush for the best spot and various boutique options are also available. It all sounds rather stress free, just as every “Festi-Holiday” should be.
Camp Bestival Tickets are available to buy now for both Thursday and Friday entry.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Camp Bestival