Think you’re not a festival type? Think again! Alison is here with 8 reasons you should go to Camp Bestival, this summer…

Let’s start this with a confession of sorts: I’m far more comfortable in a plush hotel room than under canvas. Unlike my Space In Your Case colleagues Penny and Helen, who have both done a fair bit of camping, I haven’t slept in a tent since I was 25 and went to V Festival with some colleagues from a teen magazine I worked on. But, even still, I’m heading to Camp Bestival in Dorset in July with my husband and five-year-old daughter. We went three years ago, in 2013, and it was so good, we’ve been promising ourselves we’ll go back ever since. Well, 2016 is the year, and here’s why we’re excited to return…

It’s equally fun for grown ups and kids alike

If you’ve never been to a family festival, here’s the deal: they’re SO MUCH FUN. Camp Bestival has an incredible number of things to keep you happy as well as your kiddos. For a start, you can watch ace music acts and drink beer / Pimm’s / gin like you do at regular festivals. One minute you might be relaxing on the grass, listening to a steel band and then next you might be helping to paint a cardboard city before wandering into Dingly Dell woods to listen to some storytelling.

There’s a space theme!

Every year, Camp Bestival change things up a bit, with a different theme. In recent years, we’ve had circus and a going wild theme, but for 2016 it’s SPACE! Expect space-themed shows, a collaborative space mural with OKIDO magazine, space-themed LEGO building workshops, The Science Tent, launching paper rockets, the Silly Science Team’s Slime Workshop and cosmic crafts workshops. You can even join the Musical Mania workshops inspired by the adventures of Buzz Lightyear, or travel to the Planet Frozen, where you will learn the songs, dances and stories inspired by the smash hit Frozen.


The food is incredible

Banish all thoughts of greasy grey burgers and endless chip vans. Camp Bestival grub is seriously good. In fact, they’ve got a Feast Collective, which brings together the cream of world food from speciality chefs and street food gurus. Expect award-winning street foodies Seadog, contemporary twists on traditional Ghanaian cooking from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, noodle burger fusionists Pimp My Ramen, and real Southeast Asian street dishes and food to inspire happier living from Makatcha. Then there are juice bars, top baristas making great coffee, and pushing culinary boundaries, Camp Bestival have asked all of them to consider their STEPS (Sustainability, Traceability, the Environment and Provenance).


The music acts are top

The main stage is being headlined this year by Fatboy Slim, Tears for Fears and Jess Glynne. There’s also Katy B, Squeeze, arrested Development, Bananarama, Turin Brakes and musical comedy from The Cuban Brothers. Basically, lots of fab artists that people of *whispers* our age love.


There’s comedy, theatre and talks

As with many festivals, these days, there’s a healthy offering for lovers of the arts. The Guardian Literary Institute is the place to be to hear authors, journalists, philosophers and illustrators speak. Jasper Carrott is amongst the comedians performing, and there’s some kids’ comedy too.

There are loads of kids’ performances too

Us grown ups aren’t the only ones to have some main stage action – the kids get to watch Aliens Love Underpants, Dick and Dom, Lazytown and Mr Tumble (top tip – get there early for the Tumble. It’s usually a packed out house).


There’s so much totally random stuff to do

Fancy attending a wedding in an inflatable church? How about doing some knitting in a caravan? We bet you didn’t know you wanted to learn how to code a computer game, but now you know it’s an option, you really want to do it! There are just so many fun little things to get involved with, as you wander around Camp Bestival.

You can camp or glamp

Whether you’re a seasoned pro at sleeping under canvas, or (like me!) you prefer a comfy bed, there are plenty of accommodation options at Camp Bestival. The most cost effective way of doing it is to take your own tent and brilliantly, Camp Bestival make it as easy as possible to camp – with car parks near each camping field, and plenty of loos and showers, plus food stalls and recycling points. If you want to go up one step, there’s the Camping Plus area, where you can pre-book a larger pitch plus take advantage of a dedicated car park and entrance, easy access to showers, loos and top notch cafes. The Boutique Campsite offers a range of glamping accommodation, from yurts to tipis to bell tents. My pick of the bunch is Hotel Bell Tent – where you’ll find boutique hotel touches combined with the magic of camping, from £415 for four nights.


It’s honestly a family experience that you won’t forget in a long time.


Camp Bestival 2016 Weekend Tickets are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410

Camp Bestival 2016 Weekend Ticket Prices:

Adult Weekend Ticket – £197.50*

Student Weekend Ticket – £185*

Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £118*

Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £93*

Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £45*

Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £15*

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

*NB: please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions

All tickets include camping from Thursday or Friday.

If I’ve convinced you, or you were planning to go anyway, check out this post on what to pack for a family festival! All images: Camp Bestival.

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The food! The fun! Here are 8 reasons to take your kids to Camp Bestival this year!