We sent the lovely Joanna and her family to check out Camp Bestival for us - here's what they thought.
We joined the circus fun at Camp and had a weekend of festival fun. Matilda who's rising four and Jessica, 18 months, had the best time at Camp experiencing the never ending spectacle of shows, musical acts, acrobats, hula and dance troops.
Being at the preschool stage in life, our weekend was mostly focused on the exhibits and shows in the Lower Kids Garden, which was crammed full of experiences for little ones and where we spent our first day on the Friday having fun! The Duplo experience was a great hit allowing children to experiment with Duplo and build from their latest collections and then have your creation 3D posted into a large screen and come to life! When the fun was done each child received a free Duplo toy to leave with avoiding any tears when leaving all the fun behind.
|The Duplo Experience|
We were comforted by the presence of Oxfam stewards who issued children and parents with safety bands recorded with corresponding mobile telephone numbers should a child lose their parents throughout the weekend.
A festival must for a younger family is the trusty trolleys which were all decorated in a wide variety of themes from space ships to campervans. More often than not they were full of the kit required for the day but as the sun dips there were many little ones tucked up in their wagon beds adorned with fairy lights, fast asleep whilst the show carried on. We opted for the back pack for our youngest where she enjoyed the view from up high.
|Creative festival wagons|
Traditional fair rides were in every field and Matilda experienced her first ride (one of many that weekend) on the Carousel and the Helter there was also a Ferris Wheel which gave excellent views at the top, as well as the Wall of Death for those feeling brave! There was also a free bouncy castle to enjoy for the little ones as well as plenty of circus equipment for you to try your hand at. On hand to help were circus experts who helped and gave demonstrations on how to walk on a rope, juggle, unicycle and hula hoop.
The girls enjoyed a never ending supply of bubbles especially at Bear’s Bubble Disco where you could stand in a bubble. Nine times Guinness World record holder Sam was also exhibiting, showcasing his impressive bubbles which blew over the crowds like large air ships.
On the Saturday we noticed the crowds swelled as more people came to the festival over the weekend, as well as day trippers. We headed to Project Wild Thing in the Dell which hosted all the conservation stands where children could play with nature. Matilda was particularly taken with the Munching Caterpillars stand where she could see caterpillars on their and cocoons. Den building, tree climbing, bush craft and potion making (water and mud play!) was also on offer as well as a play park area with slide and swing.
Mr Tumble was a big hit with the children and parents when he and his band of dancers took to the main stage on Saturday with a fun mix of nursery rhymes and songs. This was greatly enjoyed by the girls who danced away to the tunes, whilst I noticed most of the parents were also very familiar with all the words of his songs!
Saturday evening we headed out with the girls and had both in back packs to keep them off the floor, it was then I saw how useful the festival trolleys could be for tired or sleeping children. Ear defender or none, I was amazed at how children can sleep with all the noise and commotion going on. I had tried to get the girls to bed at a reasonable time on Friday night by keeping them in the tent but with all the excitement and noise they were bouncing around in the tent until 10 pm before they dropped. It was then I realised, if you can’t beat them, join them! The girls loved seeing the festival light up with all the rides shining brightly across the fields and light from the stages and tents. We walked them round the site so they could see the full effects of a festival before taking them back to the tent where they were asleep within seconds.
Slightly jaded come Sunday we wandered round the Soul Park which offered more thrill seeking activities. A skate park, trampoline and football game had been set up which seemed to appeal to the teens who were queuing to watch the displays. We also found the more holistic side to the festival with a variety of treatments and therapies for those who wanted to relax and .
We also enjoyed doing some crafts in Art Town where there was an array of glitter, glue, tissue paper and pens to play with over a number of different tables. There were also art structures for children to contribute to, such as a large cardboard castle, which all grew in size and colour over the weekend.
The facilities for camping were adequate, we weren’t first to arrive on site so lost out on some of the better pitches and ended up sleeping at a rather sharp angle on a hill but we spent such limited time in the tent it didn’t really affect our enjoyment of the event. Food was in abundance in every field offering a wide variety of savoury and sweet for every appetite. There was a Kids Cafe in the Lower Kids Garden which offered tasty bites for the younger appetite as well as a cafe environment to eat them in. Matilda was particularly taken with the children’s toilets which were located at helpful points round the site. The self composting element of the toilets was of particular interest and I had to remind her on several occasions there were other things to do she might enjoy!
With so much to offer Camp is THE festival to take your children and sample the delights of free children’s activities whilst mum and dad can watch an array of music events headlined this year by bands such as James and De La Soul as well as many other smaller bands and acts who offer a wide variety of musical entertainments. We will definitely go again next year armed with some festival knowledge on how to make the very best of our days.
|Two happy little festival-goers!|