The Cambridge Club Festival is well established as one of the UK’s most premium events but this was the first visit for the FestivalKidz team. Read on to find out what the kids thought of the hottest festival of 2023!
Camping and facilities
Childerley Orchard is located just a few miles outside Cambridge and easily accessible from the M11. Even on a Friday afternoon, we arrived with ease to a super organised welcome and efficient access to the camping fields. No traffic jams, no waiting and no hassle. We were quickly parked up after a quick van inspection by a friendly security member. The spacious and secure live-in campervan field was just a few minutes flat walk through the tent camping field into the festival.
Facilities at Cambridge Club are exceptional and if anyone is in any doubt about how toilets, showers and water access should work at festivals, try this event as one of the finest examples. We never waited for a toilet or shower and there were plenty of taps for water refills across the site. Toilets were always clean and stocked with loo roll so there was no worry about the kids going on their own.
Music and Entertainment
Phew! We must start by saying the weather at this early June weekend was insanely hot. As we visited with kids and the temperatures turned Childerley Orchard into what felt like Burning Man, we spent less time than we would have liked in the main open arena watching the big performances.
During the hottest part of the day, we found shade amongst the fruit trees chilling at The Discovery Den or The Auditorium which hosted DJs and dance music all weekend (and late into the night for campers). DJs included Fat Tony, Denise Van Outen, Dan Shake and The London Disco Society but our family highlight of the weekend was the bonkers Bongo’s Bingo where the kids were lucky enough to win a life-size Gail Tisley cardboard cut out from Corrie! When the giant duck and fluffy unicorn prizes made an appearance they went crazy.
On Friday night we all fell in love with the unforgettable performances from legend Grace Jones who still manages to hula hoop her way through the entire Slave to the Rhythm song. Pretty astounding for anyone, but at 75 years old, this is something we can all aspire to! The kids were suitably impressed when I told them she was older than their grandma just before she climbed on the shoulders of a security guard and headed to the front row to greet them.
Saturday we enjoyed Jo Whiley’s throwback 90’s anthems and then later another legend Lionel Richie with a super polished main stage impressive show complete with a brilliant backdrop, band and backing. A fantastic showman who even included an 11-year-old member of the audience he picked out for her fine breakdancing moves!
Back in the orchard, The Auditorium of Intrigue hosted comedy acts as an alternative to the music live-up and little ones were also entertained by Tootles & Nibs and The Rainbow Collections. We danced our socks off to Dick & Dom who are going to need a bigger stage if they are invited back. Always a blast. We love your bangers Dick & Dom!
Sunday was a shorter day for us due to being still term time so sadly we missed the Abba Disco Wonderland. The day’s highlight had to be the opening show from Daniel Daley Sextet, four Homerton students who won the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Music Performance ‘Take it to the Bridge‘ competition.
Although the dedicated ‘kids area’ at Cambridge Club was small, there was a whole programme of free things to keep little ones busy. The skateboarding and graffiti crew were very friendly and happy to let the kids have as many goes as they liked.
A big wheel offered views of the main stage which we enjoyed during Lionel Richie, followed by a go on the bumper cars (both £5 per person)
Elsewhere there were free lawn games, archery and a baby tent for really little ones. Older kids were welcome to try the free morning basket-weaving workshops which our teens loved. We also all joined in with the early yoga and mindful sessions on the orchard for campers.
Safety and Security
A large number of security staff on-site made everyone feel safe but could have perhaps felt a little over the top when we first entered the festival on Friday. By Saturday, large numbers of day guests arrived and the number of staff made more sense. There was certainly no chance of losing kids with so many helpful people around. The campsite was relatively small so we guessed that at least half of the visitors onsite over the weekend are on day passes. We saw several buses arriving so it seems it’s a great choice for those wishing to access a festival without a car too.
Guests were reminded that food and drink from outside the festival was only permitted in the campsite so we had the chance to check out a number of the vendors on site. There was also a general store offering camping essentials and extras like airbed inflation camping and facilities
Premium options from oysters to sushi were available but we opted for mac n cheese (£9) with a splendid cocktail (£11) and a pint from the bar (£6.70) while the kids enjoyed some very posh milkshakes (£8) with a million and one different toppings to choose from.
Upgrades and Everything else
As a premium festival, there are plenty of upgrades on offer. For campers, several beautiful glamping structures were available with all kinds of decor for groups of all sizes. These were located just a stone’s throw from the gate with their own pamper area complete with hair styling and mirrors to get ready.
Inside the festival, weekend and day guests could upgrade to several VIP areas but it sounded like these were adult-only.
The crowd everywhere were very friendly and everyone we met camping was a regular visitor. It seems Cambridge Club Festival is on most of the guest’s calendars and it’s certainly an easy festival with kids.
Thanks for inviting us along to check out this great little weekend. Early bird tickets to 2024 are already on sale with lineup to follow later in the year. You can expect a high-quality array of both legends and new stars to join next year’s celebrations. 😊 Maybe see you there!