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Camp Bestival – More than just a weekend

Where else could you wake up and do a family aerobics session with Mr Motivator (I need that man as my personal trainer), see your children in awe of one of their heroes; Mr Tumble, bounce on the world’s biggest bouncy castle, eat some of the best chicken rendang you’ve ever tasted, enjoy wine tasting with the hilarious Scummy Mummies, Knackered Mum and Sara Cox who make you laugh so much that your abs get a good workout whilst you drink?  Then dance non stop to Fatboy Slim with your 6 year old on your shoulders (and the other two in a double buggy asleep), finish the night in a giant sandpit bar, dancing bare footed whilst your kid builds sand castles beneath you? Camp Bestival totally blew me away, it has everything spot on for families, it’s like they designed it for me.

Here’s a little summary of our festival experience as a family with three kids under seven.

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Camp Bestival was the best weekend that we have had in months.  In fact, maybe even the best weekend since having kids.  The main reason for this was that the weekend was for all of us, it wasn’t swayed towards the kids or just the adults which so often happens.  There were so many things that we all enjoyed together as a family, such as going on the world’s largest bouncy castle, dancing to Rob Da Bank’s Prince Tribute and Norman Jay at the Bollywood stage, listening to live music together in the sunshine, learning about space with talks from the UK Space Agency, cooking breakfast together outside the tent.

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Dressing up on Lizzies Way in the Dingly Dell

We loved the Wall of Death motorbikes (incredible to watch) and the Freesports Park (skateboarding, climbing) where we could all sit together and be wowed by the stunts on the giant ramps. We also all loved the First Choice beach bar, the kids built sand castles and we danced bare footed with cider in hand (win win).

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One of the things I’ve realised about the whole Camp Bestival experience is the planning that goes into it together as a family.  We found out earlier in the year that the theme for 2016 was space and it became a focal point for lots of our activities over the last six months, including an amazing trip to the Science Museum in London to see the space exhibition and get inspiration from the astronaut suits on display there.

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A few weeks ago the boys got really into helping me pack for the festival and we began making lists to ensure that we had all that we needed.

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I must admit that looking back I got a little obsessed about what to pack.  In reality we didn’t use a lot of the things that we took and could actually buy almost everything on site.  Mr P pointed out when we got home that our First Aid kit could have matched that of Bear Grylls.

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At home in their “rocket” and costumes pre Camp Bestival

The boys loved dressing up in their costumes in the weeks before the festival, this brought the whole space theme alive to them which meant that they were even more excited about it all when we got there.  On arrival we hired a trolley to transport all our stuff to the campsite (you can do this no problem, more to come in a separate post on logistics but rest assured Camp Bestival is really well organised and we managed it with three young kids).

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We pitched the tent, got the kids into their pjs and onesies and explored the festival site (well worth coming on the Thursday to find your feet before it all kicks off on the Friday). D and I found a gin and tonic bar (there’s a theme here) underneath the giant astronauts and the kids lay on bean bags as we had a couple of drinks watching the big wheel all lit up at night.

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Prepping for a night out in their Bright Company (Sussex based) T-shirts which they also wore to bed as Pj’s

We did so much over the four days at Camp Bestival I couldn’t possibly write it all down, plus I’d like to leave a few things out for you to discover for yourselves if you go next year, although it changes so much each year it wouldn’t be a spoiler.

I asked everyone in the family for their highlights of the weekend.

J is six and his favourite things were :

  1. I loved Fatboy Slim, being on daddies shoulders and dancing.
  2. The fireworks display.
  3. Buying a diablo and playing with it with all the other kids.
  4. Meeting a real space man.
  5. Building in the woods with the hammer and nails.
  6. Wall of Death
  7. Watching Lazytown Live and meeting Sportacus.
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Meeting the cast of Lazytown Live (turns out J has a crush on pink hair & he gave her a hug after this shot)

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Trying on astronaut gloves after the UK Space Agency talk (where he put his hand up and asked two questions).

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J spent about three hours in total building in this area, he loved it and would have stayed longer had we not moved to a different area.

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Watching Fatboy Slim on Daddy’s shoulders – he totally smashed it – incredible set.

C is four and his favourite things were :

  1. The fireworks
  2. Famboy slam (obviously not grasped his name yet)
  3. The helter skelter
  4. The aliens in the woods (there was a crashed spaceship there with men in black teaching the kids what to do in the event the aliens came back to the ship -see photo below with their hands on their heads)!
  5. Ice creams
  6. Playing in the woods
  7. Mr Tumble
  8. Winning the roly poly hill race against his two year old brother.
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On the podium after rolling down the hill in a race. #50things

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Band practice in Lizzies Way – a beautiful area in the Dingly Dell

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C and S both at the back here, “getting down” in case the aliens arrived.

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First time on his own down a helter skelter (I love how much he loved this)

S is only two and can’t really say many words as yet but I do know for sure what his favourite things were.

  1. Dancing – on shoulders, on the stage, on the dance floor, in the fields, everywhere.
  2. Playing in the sandpits in the kids field and First Choice bar.
  3. Eating daily ice creams.
  4. The Dingly Dell.
  5. The shows in the Big Top.
  6. Watching the celestial light display.
  7. The fireworks display.
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Inside the alien spaceship – not looking too worried.

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8.30pm Saturday night – the kids happy as can be in the sandpit.

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Bollywood stage for Norman Jay = S loved it

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Watching the celestial light at 1am – this kid is going to be a party animal.

I asked Mr P what he loved the most  :

  1. Partying with the kids
  2. Fatboy Slim – with the boys on his shoulders
  3. Norman Jay
  4. Watching a bunch of kids with hammers and nails doing just fine, creating their own structure with no injuries (he’s a carpenter and felt that had parents got involved there possibly would have been injuries)!
  5. The fireworks
  6. Having a teenager come up to him in the Caravanserai at 1am telling him that he was “smashing parenting” whilst dancing with the two year old on his shoulders.

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For me it was :

  1. Having no timetable. We ate when we were hungry, the kids slept when they dropped, we had no plan and just wandered round the site stopping to see things as they happened.
  2. Going to the Secret Mummies Wine Club and laughing so much I had tears rolling down my cheeks – big highlight for me (separate blog post to follow about this epic night).
  3. Drinking Pimms at midday and generally being more relaxed (could have been partly due to the Pimms but also having no agenda relaxed me).
  4. Mr Motivator – a surprise hit.  We all did his workout (I wasn’t expecting to actually do a workout but I earned my gin in a tin afterwards).  This guy is such a booster, I need him in my house every morning to get me going.
  5. Watching the children being in awe of everything around us “look mummy its a giant bear, listen to this song, can we chase bubbles all day?”
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We came back with a diablo, a giant banana and coloured tissue paper that my 4 year old collected during the Mr Tumble show – sign of a good family weekend.

I could keep going to tell you about everything that we saw but I hope that the photos give you a good taste of our family time at Camp Bestival.

Would we go again?  Try stopping us, this is a yearly event from now on.  Lots of people have asked me questions about how I did the festival with three kids under seven, I am going to write a separate post answering all the questions that I was wondering about before we went.  Just know this; you can do it, we did and we loved it.

Early bird tickets go on sale on MONDAY – there are only 1000 tickets at this early bird price.  With 2017 being Camp Bestival’s 10th birthday – it’s sure to be a big one.

Camp Bestival 2017 Early Bird Tickets are on sale from 10am, Monday 8th August via:

Ticketline / 0844 888 4410

Days Out With Kids / 01202 830838

Camp Bestival 2017 Early Bird Weekend Ticket Prices:

Adult Weekend Ticket – £175*

Student Weekend Ticket – £165*

Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £105*

Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £80*

Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £30*

Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £10*

Babes In Arms (1 & Under) – FREE (but ticket required)*

All tickets include camping from Thursday or Friday.

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