#AD Camp Bestival 2019
As the end of the school year finally rolled around and we braced ourselves for the beginning of the long summer holidays I knew I had something up my sleeve to start it off with a chance to be free for a weekend, spend time as a family and have the boys imaginations filled. That's right, it was time for Camp Bestival once again!
After our first visit to the festival last year we were really eager to return as we just loved how easy going and fun it was. It really is a festival made for kids and the parents can go and have a pretty good time too, so a win for everyone!
We started off the festival by setting up our tent in the sweltering near 30ºc heat, in the accessible camping field, (which was same as last year was under the super supervision of Drew who is always so helpful!) We decided that in order to cool off we needed to go take a dip in the sea which is thankfully only about a ten minute car journey away. We visited Durdle door, which was pretty packed with tourists but by this point we were all too hot to care! It was such a great way to start the festival in a way! The evening saw us heading back to the camp, bellies full of fish and chips, seasalt on our skin and remarkably less hot. Theo and I then took the opportunity to go into the festival site for a wander round and take in all that was going on. It just felt so exciting to be back, walking around amongst so many other excited festival goers and just really getting eager for the weekend to kick off properly.
After a pretty good nights sleep and a bit of a lazy first morning in camp we all got up ready to explore. We headed for the lower kids field to see what we could find this year and stumbled upon a cardboard castle that everyone could have a go at painting and adding their own stamp to, which Rohan got very into!
We spent the rest of the morning pottering about the kids field, Theo had a go on the helter skelter, we played in the sandpit and wandered over to the science tent and caught one of their shows. We took a little picnic out with us for lunch and ate that whilst watching the bug circus show, which we remembered from last year and didn't disappoint again!
In the afternoon we decided to take a walk around the site again, visiting one of our favourite areas, The Dingly Dell in the woods and just generally soaking up the atmosphere as much as possible. We don't tend to spend a lot of time around the main stage as we prefer the quieter spaces with less people and freedom to move around a little more, but it is always fun walking through and catching bits of sets and have a little dance on the way through.
We decided to have a fairly early night on the Friday, as the boys both needed rest after a busy day!
On Saturday morning I made sure I got up and was out to attend a yoga session in the wellness area, and I'm always so pleased when I do. It's such a great way to take an hour of calm in the midst of a festival and have a bit of time to yourself. After I met up with the boys who had gone to explore the new area of the festival, Wild Tribe, and I think is a major contender for our favourite area! It was just far enough away, hidden down the hill away from the main site but packed full of fun things to do. First of all you can walk through the craft area and sign up for workshops, or head down to the bottom to the zip wire, skate ramp and the chance to have a go at adding to the giant boat structure.
Theo decided he'd like to have a go at the firelighting workshop and had so much fun! We caught a storytelling performance before being lured into the drumming tent much to Rohan's delight.
After all the fun here we took a break back at the camp, Theo played with kids in the campsite and made a friend to hang out with. We decided to take a late afternoon stroll around a few of the areas we'd not yet visited this year catching some acts on the main stage, a samba band, performances and went to check out the food on offer in the Feast collective tent. There is honestly just so much to do and take in that just walking around it all feels like a full day out! Rohan had a late nap, lulled to sleep by the excellent rhythms and beats of the samba band.
Rohan doesn't always sleep too well at festivals as he really does better staying at home and having a proper sleep in the cot, but we had to take the naps where we could really. We did have his cpap machine to take around with us, but unfortunately forgot a vital tiny piece meaning we couldn't use it with the battery which would have made sleeping out and about a lot easier. It also meant it resulted in quite a few sick situations, as he is generally sick if he sleeps without his mask. In a way we're so used to it by now, but it does just add another element to going to festivals with kids, it's definitely easy to take for granted that your child can just sleep anywhere and will be fine to push the limits a little. With us we learn pretty quickly where those limits are and have to be really careful not to go too far. But saying that Rohan just did brilliantly, he just loved watching everything and taking it all in and not once did it all seem too much for him, which I'm thankful for. I want to carry on being able to show him as many experiences as possible. (As a side note we did take a little visit to the hospital tent onsite as Rohan had a nasty rash on his face around his mouth. We were a little worried as it didn't seem to go away after a day or so, but everything seemed fine and we concluded that perhaps it was just a heat rash and irritation from his C-pap mask. The doctors and staff were all great and really helpful though, which is good to know!)
We did attempt to go out and stay up a bit later on the Saturday night, and fortunately we managed to meet up with Theo's new friends (after a boogy to East 17!) and had some company for the evening, which is always lovely, especially when you just go as a small family and not really know anyone else or have a group to meet up with. We found a space at the main stage and watched a few acts, before calling it a night.
Sunday saw us back in the dingly dell for a play in the mud kitchens and the play park there, which is just the perfect antidote to late nights, busy areas and great for little explorers to get stuck in.
We really love this area as it always seems so magical and fun! I love it when Rohan can get involved with activities too as there's nothing he enjoys more than being able to potter around, watching and playing around other children.
Rob then took Rohan back to the tent for a nap, and began packing everything up as we planned to leave in the evening. A few hours later and we were all done, and made our way back to the Wild tribe area for a little more playing and drumming.
After this we headed to the upper kids field which was full of circus equipment, a theatre tent where we watched a great storytelling interactive show that was really funny. Theo had a go one all the crazy bikes, got the love for the diablo, had a go on the tightrope and had a pretty spectacular fall that I wish I'd captured on camera on the bouncy balls...let's just say it involved a run up, a jump and roll over the ball and ended in being head first in a bush!
Then suddenly the afternoon wore on and it was nearing the time that we had to leave to we decided to take one more stroll around the lower kids field, catching a bed time story with Rob Da Bank, a ride on the carousel, churros and a look in the camera obscura. We felt so sad to be leaving early, but knew it would be so good to be back in our own beds! But it was a shame to leave, and especially to miss the fireworks!
We had such a good time once again at the festival and I just can't believe how quickly it all went. We were so lucky with the weather as it stayed dry the whole time, but wasn't thankfully too hot. Just the perfect weather for exploring, chilling out on the grass, playing, watching performances and just generally having a great time. It really is such a wonderland for kids, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone hoping to ease themselves into taking kids of a festival. I can also see the appeal of taking kids that are older and able to stay up a little later in the evenings allowing the adults time to have fun too, but we just had a great time as it is. The music isn't also exactly to our taste so we didn't really feel like we were missing out on much for ourselves, other than tasting more food and experiencing more of the drinks on offer! Our experience will probably differ from quite a few, as we tend to seek out the quieter areas where you can be around nature a little more as opposed to seeing bands and performances. We are also able to experience the accessible side of the festival which is actually so brilliant, no wonder it seems to be the festival where families feel comfortable taking their children with additional needs over others as it's just so well catered for.
I'd just like to say that we were invited to the festival and gifted a ticket for me and discounted tickets for the rest of the family as a Camp Bestival blogger in return for coverage. All images, words and thoughts are my own.
Here's a little video of our time!