Camp Bestival 2012 Review

Camp Bestival 2012 weather: Hot and dry the entire weekend.

Review by Michelle Rock-Davis (with a 2yr old and a 4yr old)

CB is in a beautiful location, held in Lulworth Castle grounds in Dorset. A big drive for us from West Yorks, but we over-nighted in The New Forest and so arrived fresh and early.

Set Up – The car parks were well organised and we were prepared with our own truck for carting the tent etc. However, we had underestimated the size of the event and over packed as usual. The trek from our car to a camping spot near some loos and showers was a long walk for little toddler legs and involved a few too many hills. There was lots of room to camp in general camping on the Thursday, and we ended up on a nice flat patch about halfway between the carpark and the main event area. We had been concerned about the size of our tent as its a big 7man Outwell, but had no problems finding a space for this and a little extra for our windbreak and cooker. We had read that the festival has a no open flame policy but everyone we saw cooked near their tents on cookers and BBQs so no worries there. If we go again I will definitely pack much lighter and, if we could afford it, would consider Camping Plus as the car parks are nearer the action.

Entertainment (line up and activities) – Where to start?! There was so much to see and do every day we were disappointed that we didn’t have the energy to do more! All the main acts we watched on the main Castle stage were fantastic, the only gripe we had was that some acts such as the Gruffalo, Mr Tumble and Rolf Harris were not loud enough to hear at the back of the field. Chic on Saturday were a big surprise as they were fantastic and we had one of those wonderful festival hours where the kids were really happy and danced with us in the sunshine without needing the loo, a juice, a go on the Ferris wheel.

The other entertainment was also fabulous and no matter where you were in the massive grounds there was always something fun happening. We particularly like the Youth Bus drumming sessions. In fact every child we saw from 0-18 was happy and found something to suit at all times. I really can’t praise the entertainment enough!

What improvements could be made?
A few free children’s parks, swings, slide etc would be good.
A bit more shade near the stages for those red hot days.
More sound near the back of castle stage field.
More cleaner loos, more showers. ATMs that work, I had an hour queue.
I know most festivals can’t do this, but the Acoustic Festival of Britain lets you drive to your camping spot and stay parked next to your tent, which avoids a lot of the setting up strain and eases packing up too. We did look at Camping Plus this year and it is closer to the action which is good, but with our big tent we would have needed two pitches which was just too expensive.

Tips for parents – There are lots of free shows and activities for little and big ones, but as always some of the things that kids like best – face painting, swings, ferris wheel, etc cost money so take plenty, the ATMs are poor.
Relax and accept that you are not always going to be at the right stage at the right time so don’t over plan and become disappointed.
Get there early to camp near the showers.
Take lots of bubble wands or you will end up giving a months earnings to Bubbles Inc.

Site and Facilities – Now the only down side, nowhere near enough loos and showers and nowhere near clean enough. We are a bit spoilt as we always do the Acoustic Festival of Britain in Uttoxeter, in May, and this has tons of super clean real flushing loos and showers and so all other festivals seem grotty by comparison – my top tip is to take your wipes, a porta-potty for little ones in the night and some strong perfume on a hanky for the last day (tip to CB contact Rob at AFOB and ask him how they do it – they are amazing!)

Mobile signal – I had no signal on my phone all weekend but we were happy and together so not a problem

Security – fabulous happy policing and security. I didn’t see anyone lose a child for more that a few seconds, and so can’t comment on welfare arrangements. I did notice a lot of big groups with teens using walky talkies to stay in touch which seemed a good idea.

Other comments – Walking to the event and back to the tent up and down hills with kids in the pimped wagon was a bit tiring, but manageable, and I am pretty sure more festaxis would have gone down well, especially on packing up day.

Most Memorable Moment – Two words – Fireworks Finale!!!!! My four year old daughter said “Best Fireworks Ever” and she wasn’t wrong – top tip to all festivals, finish with a big bang and people will go away happy.

Would I go again? Yes



If you took your family to Camp Bestival (or any other festival) this year and would like to share your experiences with other parents to help them choose the right festival for them, then please fill in our simple online reviews form here.


Linked articles:

Camp Bestival Factsheet

Reviews: Camp Bestival 2011

Reviews: Camp Bestival 2010

5 thoughts on “Camp Bestival 2012 Review

  1. We had a great time (5th time here) again. Much less crowded than last year meant there was a happy relaxed vibe everywhere. My mum’s first festival – she’s 71 – and she loved it. We will all be back next year!
    Great music everywhere you went. YBF tent was amazing – smoked salmon for breakfast, jambon for lunch and ice cream made in front of your eyes! Lots of free things for children to do in Upper Kids Field, inflatables, bikes, hula hoops etc and the Art tent was great too.
    Have to agree with Laura on toilets and showers front. Didn’t come across any nasty toilets, compost loos were the best and they also had mini versions for the children. Showing my age now but having a shower at a festival seems to only have become expected quite recently, we use to cope fine without them for many years.

  2. We went this year. Have to disagree on the loo and shower front. Both were much cleaner than any other festival I’ve been to (they were always stocked with loo roll) and with the showers it was inevitable you had to turn up early to have one first. Regardless it only took an hour at most to be in and out with the showers.
    Entertainment was fantastic. We were lucky that we got near the front for things such as tumble and rizzle kicks but even when stood at the back for happy Monday’s we could hear it fine.
    We loved all the free kids stuff, my son went into the soft play loads to burn off some excess and only asked for the carousel once! (it’s the same price as the one in town anyway)
    Talking with my partner we definitely got more than we paid for. My son was happy and content nearly all the time and even with the massive treck to the tent (we were near the car park) we were happy with it all and are already saving for next year.
    Yes some things were over priced but all you have to do is avoid them! Max relished in running after bubbles older kids blew and was more than happy sitting for an hour watching the movie in the little big top to wind down.
    The YBF tent was amazing! Great to see some local and some innovative food ideas and it was so yummy that I can understand why the place was so heaving!
    Agree about the shade but there’s nothing that they can do about it apart from set up massive canopies then wrecking the view for others!
    We found when it got too hot we would just go somewhere else! But then if it had rained we would have complained!

  3. I didn’t go this year either, but it sounds like it was great fun. Sounds like a lot of last year’s gripes got sorted out too which shows the organisers are really acting on feedback. Romany x

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