Camp Bestival 2019 Review
This was our first visit to Camp Bestival and it certainly did not disappoint. The sun was shining, and the festival vibes were out in full force – we had a ball!
Camp Bestival is a kid’s paradise – full of vintage fairground rides, a slip’n’slide, circus extraordinaire, fun craft activities and outstanding performances.
We were expecting it to be sprawling and insanely busy but in fact, it was well contained, easy to navigate and relaxed.
Lots of effort went into the dress up and the hero vs. superhero theme was on fire with adults and kids glittered up and dressed to the nines.
The journey to Camp Bestival
From London, the journey was straightforward and took around 3 hours. We headed West on the M3 down towards Winchester and then onto the M27 to Bournemouth. We followed the Sat Nav until we got to Wareham (on the A31). The festival travel instructions told us to turn off the Sat Nav from this point and follow the signs to the festival. Luckily there was a huge yellow event sign saying “Turn your Sat Nav off now” to prompt us – we had to chuckle at this! The festival was well sign posted and we didn’t get lost which is always a bonus. When we arrived at the festival site, we followed the signs to our camping gate (green) which again, was well sign posted.
Getting into Camp Bestival
We were in Camping Plus and the carpark was close to the campsite. It’s very hilly at Camp Bestival so to say our legs got a workout is an understatement! We recommend having decent walking shoes as walking up and down hills in flip flops with loads of camping gear can be a tad challenging. Investing in a trolley to get all your gear from the car to the campsite is a must, otherwise you’ll have to make several arduous trips. You can hire a trolley from the festival for £5 per half hour which is worth every penny. There was a tractor at the bottom of the hill to help us cart our stuff up the hill. This was a nice touch and it was free! If you really can’t be bothered to walk the whole way and have the cash to splash, you can grab a festival taxi for £30 and they will take you from the bottom of the hill right to your camp spot.
Getting into Camp Bestival was easy. We arrived on the Friday and there were no queues. We simply showed our tickets, got the wristbands and walked straight through. There was a minimal bag check (or should I say quick glance at the top of our bags!). With it being a family festival, the security didn’t seem too worried.
How much were the drinks at Camp Bestival?
There were decent number of bars dotted around the festival including a big bar near the Castle stage. There were also boutique bars and brand experiences such as The Feast Collective bar, Rob & Josie’s Gin Festival and Thatchers Cider Experience. We didn’t notice the queues (as they weren’t an issue) and we got served very quickly. Each bar had lots of staff, so the service was swift and pain-free. The main bar served a pilsner (refreshing and tasty), a light beer and a couple of ciders on draft. There was also a selection of wine (red, white, rose), bubbles, spirits and tequila.
Sharp’s Offshore Pilsner: £3 for half, £5.50 for a pint
Coors Light: £3 for half, £5.50 for a pint
Thatchers Gold: £3 for half, £5.50 for a pint
Thatchers Rose: £3 for half, £6 for a pint
Bottle of wine: £6.50 for 175ml, £25 for 75cl
Chandon Brut sparkling: £7.50 for 125ml
Spirits and mixer: £6 for 25ml, £8.50 for 50ml
Shots of tequila: £3.50
Soft drinks: £2.50
Food options at Camp Bestival
The food options were endless, you could feast on anything and everything. From sushi, oysters and pizza to crepes, tacos and vegan steaks. The Feast Collective was fabulous, serving up yummy food all day long. There was a lovely little farmer’s market in the upper kid’s garden selling a range of fresh fruit, pastries and salad bar items. Food stalls in the main areas (lower magic meadow and castle field) had long queues, especially in the mornings and early evenings which was tad challenging with hungry kiddies. Expect to pay around £5 for a crepe or toasted cheese sandwich, £7 for sushi, burgers or tacos, £10 for pizza and other main meals.
The facilities at Camp Bestival
The facilities were great, and this was very comforting when festivaling with kids. There were plenty of toilets (including loos for kids) dotted around, which were easily accessible. There were often long queues in the main areas, but they moved quickly so it wasn’t an issue. Hot showers were available in the camping areas but there were always long queues, so we didn’t bother! Camping Plus had posh loos which was fab, especially in the morning. There was also a little campsite shop to stock up any essentials we’d forgotten and a breakfast bar/ cafe for our morning brew. A full breakfast will set you back £10, a breakfast bap £4- 6.50, a smoothie £3.50 and a tea or coffee £2.
There were free water stations in the campsites and around the festival, so we didn’t have to pay for water. Frank Water were offering filtered water fill-ups for £3.50 all weekend. There were also three welfare/ kid’s help areas around the site and a hospital and first aid tent with medical staff on hand.
Camp Bestival festival security
There was security at the main gates and some stationed around the festival. As it’s a family festival, it’s not something we really noticed or seemed to be an issue.
Stages and music at Camp Bestival
The three main stages are: The Castle Stage (the main outdoor stage where the headliners play), The Big Top (for comedy and music) and Bollywood (a huge indoor rave tent). Other areas include the Pig’s Big Ballroom (a vintage-inspired tent with live music and DJ’s) and Caravanserai (a circus-inspired, street-theatre vibe).
We mainly hung out at the Castle Stage and Caravanserai. Jess Glynne blew us away on Friday night with a spectacular performance complete with a black wig, dressed up as her hero Cher. Lewis Capaldi did not less us down either. His performance drew one of the biggest crowds all weekend as he graced us with his Scottish banter and belter ballads. We also loved Nile Rogers’ soulful funk, Bombay Bicycle and the Vengaboys who got us all up dancing!
If you want to head down to the mosh pit at the Castle Stage, you need get there early. Otherwise there’s plenty of room further back where you can set up your picnic blanket and chairs and let the kids jump about whilst you crack open a cold one.
If you’re looking for a more intimate and cosier affair, head to Caravanserai where you can enjoy a cocktail and dance to disco beats. You can sit in a caravan or the hoopla seating area or hang out at the waltzer stage. It’s quirky and vibrant with lots of interesting oddities to keep you amused.
What else was at Camp Bestival
There is so much fun stuff to do at Camp Bestival! The upper kids garden had a sandpit, soft play (for under 5’s), a circus area where kids could play with stunt bikes, hoola hoops and spinning wheels, a helta skelter, a giant cardboard castle to paint, a craft tent to colour in their own t.shirt and a LOL experience. Having to pay to all the rides and attractions makes it quite expensive, especially if you have more than one child. Expect to pay between £2.50 and £4 per ride. The most-enjoyed (and free) activities by our little ones were the LOL experience (where the kids won a LOL prize, got a glitter makeover and had their photo taken on the catwalk), the circus area and creating their own t.shirt to wear.
The magic meadow played home to the world’s largest bouncy castle where kids and adults could bounce to their heart’s content (£4 for 10 mins). There was also big wheel, swingboats, the Gorilla Circus flying trapeze, KIND disco area, the CBeebies tent (where they could create their own superhero mask) and performances from Shaun the Sheep, Mr Tumble and various circus acts.
In the Wild Tribe and Spinney Hollow area, kids could get down and dirty with mudslides, bush crafts, fairy tale adventures, storytelling and drumming songs. There was a slip’n’slide but the disappointing thing was you had to book and it got booked out early morning. We weren’t aware of this (as it wasn’t mentioned anywhere) so we had some disappointed kiddies!
Our experience at Camp Bestival
We had a fantastic time at Camp Bestival and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a family-friendly festival to take their kids to. Come prepared with all your camping essentials and home comforts to make the festival experience go smoothly. We’re already planning for next year!