Family Travel

Ten Tableaus from Camp Bestival

5 August, 2013

This is my first post on the road although we haven’t left Old Blighty yet and it doesn’t look like we can for at least a week as Juno’s passport hasn’t turned up! They decided to check up on it via our counter signatory who works in a hospital and THREE letters and SEVEN weeks later, she still hasn’t received it. I am tearing my hair out, feeling like the wheels of bureaucracy are cranking all over our application, squishing out hope. It looks like we’ll have to start the application all over again tomorrow. *CRIES IN CAPITALS*

Meanwhile we’ve spent the first few days of our Bombaround at Camp Bestival. It doesn’t bode well for the next three months of campervanning that by the second day we were both showering AND doing our dishes with baby wipes. Camp Bestival Family Festival

But what a magical, unfettered experience Camp Bestival was! There can’t be that many places on earth where you see:
A father and daughter wandering around with the same pink, glittery kitten face paint.
A two year old wearing nothing but sunglasses and a polka dot hat wriggling her hips along to global superstar DJ Sasha.
A whole family decked out in matching onesies.
A tall, too-cool teenage throwing down shapes happily with his 9 year old sister.
A mum breastfeeding her baby while dancing hard to Drum and Bass, clearly reminiscing.
A whole bank of gardening trollies filled with sleeping tots while a rock concert rages around them.
An enormous “Art Town” filled to the brim with art supplies and free activities, and kids of all ages crafting messily while the adults kick back to the sounds of a nearby jazz band.
A field filling with the most giant of bubbles that bounce above the waving arms of an entire audience singing in their best Caribbean accents “EY OH E-E-E- OH daylight comes and ah want to go ‘ome!” (Bit of a raving misogynist that King Creole if you ask me.)
A family of four paused in the middle of a tiny woodland, each with headphones on, bopping about to their own silent disco amongst the gnarly old trees.
A vast number of people playing a giant game of “Hat Scrabble” (scrabble pieces on headgear, obvs) cheered on by the Camp Bestival Bluecoats, who are mad as hatters, really.

(I’ll let you guess which of these scenes us lot provided!)




I love seeing families connecting and the bedlam of Camp Bestival provides so many ways to do this- with play, dance, music, crafts and stories. It was just brilliant to see teenagers and their Nanas bonding through absurdity alone.

It speaks volumes about the quality of the entertainment on offer that Ramona spent nearly the whole weekend watching from her trolley and was still happy. She got really poorly so couldn’t get nearly as involved as she would have wanted to but she was merry and bright and it massively beats (by a squillion) back to back Peppa Pig which is what normally happens during sickness.

There are few chances in life to be a part of wild, collective joy; Camp Bestival is teeming with them. At times I’m sure we were getting high on the oxytocin being pumped out of the of the exhilarated crowd.

Going to festivals isn’t cheap (although it’s much cheapER if you take all your own food and paint your own daughter’s face – it was a very dubious purple horse, but she loved it. So much that she still has half of it left on.) But I think I’m going to chose a festival over a holiday every other year if we can, as a way of affording it.

On one of the behemothic HI DE HI sculptures that adorned the castle grounds (yeah, it’s all set up around a castle, how wonderful?!) was scrawled “WE LIVE FOR FESTIVALS – The Whybrows” It made me chuckle and then also feel a bit sad for The Whybrows for the 10 months of the year in which there are no festivals. But in some ways I get it. I think that experiencing the otherworldly surrealism of the most creative festivals can infuse daily reality with magic and family connection, they can create memories of shared wonder to get families through tough or banal days and weeks.

And they can inspire us to inject a bit of absurdity and wildness into our own everyday existence.

Right, I’m off to order four matching dinosaur onesies. With extra glitter.

Ginormous thanks to Camp Bestival for sending us a family pass and to Money Supermarket for giving us £50 to contribute to our road trip there as part of their Road Trip challenge.

PS This post is dedicated to our blanket. We lost it in the wild fields of Camp Bestival, along with our sun cream, a pair of shorts and a pair of tights. It was like we were flinging our belongings about in a joyous frenzy, or perhaps Ramona was just dripping them out the back of the trolley as we went along and that’s why she was enjoying herself so much. We had just that day been chatting about how our blanket, bought pre-kiddos in Bolivia, was the perfect blanket – a tough, versatile picnic rug and emergency bringer of warmth. BYE BLANKET! I hope your new family treat you with respect like the badass you are.

PPS You must, must, MUST check out Annie from Mammasaurus and her A-Z of Camp Bestival, it is wondrous!

PPPS Don’t miss a thing! Follow through Facebook or Bloglovin or even just enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!

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  • Molly 5 August, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I hear Camp Bestival didn’t disappoint – looks absolutely brilliant! We went to our first festival this year (Sunrise) and utterly loved it. Crazy, joyful, relaxed, vibrant and FUN. SO MUCH FUN! Hope the next phase goes without a hitch and passport turns up. What a bummer that you haven’t got it. It’ll be worth the wait though – can’t wait to read about more of your adventures! x

    • Lucy 6 August, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Ah, I know a few people who did Sunrise and loved it- their tinies loved it too. X

  • Katy Beale 5 August, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Hope you get your passport soon! It seems the powers that be are checking up on the counter signatories for nearly every application these days. I just waited 5 weeks for our two childrens’ passports recently (despite doing check and send from the post office) and had to prod them (the passport office, not the children) as some of the letters they sent went missing and never arrived.

    • Lucy 6 August, 2013 at 8:23 am

      It’s so annoying as of they’d allowed me to do what I did yesterday a week ago (add another countersig) we would have it by now but last week they said there were no options at all. Incredibly frustrating 🙁

  • Melksham Mum 5 August, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I’m imagining quite a few of those were down to you! Lovely post which really sums it all up and so great to have finally met you. Have an amazing future in NZ. Mwah x

    • Lucy 6 August, 2013 at 9:27 am

      It was so lovely to meet you, hope you had an amazing time: )

  • Mummy Barrow 6 August, 2013 at 6:58 am

    As the woman who insisted on doing Reading festival (12 miles away) in a camper van (hired from Shropshire, a 10 HOUR ROUND TRIP to pick up and the same to return) because I wanted my own loo, I am almost on the verge of saying “sod it, next year let’s do it properly”.

    I think everybody needs to experience washing their own plates with wet wipes at least once in their life.

    What a great post.

    PS can adults use those trollies to be pulled around? I am thinking chaise lounge stylee

    • Lucy 6 August, 2013 at 9:30 am

      Hahaha awesome, that is some serious commitment to a loo! It makes such a difference having a camper though- we were in a tent last year, it was still fab but just got a LOT less sleep.

  • Judy Scholes 6 August, 2013 at 10:31 am

    You know Camp Bestival have lost property, right?
    Otherwise, RIP blanket!

    • Lucy 6 August, 2013 at 10:41 am

      We checked every day: ( Maybe it will still turn up!

  • Thalia Kehoe Rowden 7 August, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Sold! We are hoping to be in the UK around this time next year, and I’m thinking Camp Bestival needs to go to the top of the list. Though I, too, am a fan of having a loo…

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