In sharp contrast to the incessant rain at Secret Garden Party last weekend, Camp Bestival fell victim to almost non-stop sunshine. This of course led to the usual moans and groans about how the weather was responsible for the fantastic atmosphere and party vibe that spread across the grounds of Lulworth Castle and into the camping fields beyond.
Parents were forced to have an even better time than usual as the heat led to many of the younger children crashing out early, whilst the teens were able to frolic freely and top up their suntans.
The Camp Bestival formula is now firmly established and it’s not surprising that it is now a ‘must’ on the summer fixture list of any family where mums and dads want to continue their festival lifestyle despite having young ones in tow.
A great musical bill is supplemented with top-flight kids entertainers who rule the main stage for the early part of the afternoon, and the usual slew of hippy-chic market traders are sidelined in place of activity-based stalls focusing on fun stuff designed to keep kids amused for hours on end.
This year this included ferret racing, the chance to be hunted by a bird of prey, and perhaps in a challenge to Glastonbury’s cameo appearance by the Dhali Llama, a small herd of Alpacas.
Some unusual brand sponsorship from Indesit (not an obvious festival match) also meant that if the kids did get mucky there was a karaoke bar-themed launderette in the field where you could enjoy a song and a dance whilst waiting for the whites to be made whiter than white.
Clean Bandit sum up the new wave of emerging big names that target the teen audience whilst Kaiser Chiefs and Underworld epitomize the indie/punk and dance scenes of the last few decades, the fans of which are now all old enough to have families who are starting to appreciate music for themselves.
The festival’s musical spectrum further down the bill and across the site was as diverse as you could have asked for. Old guard acts ranged from the rather throaty Alison Moyet and the ever-inappropriate Bob Geldof (who clearly hadn’t got the memo about this being a family festival judging by his stage banter) to the often-overlooked and frequently under-rated Level 42. Mark King and Co delivered a standout Saturday night show just as the sun (conveniently) went down. They showed off not only a brilliant back catalogue of feel-good funk-pop, but also their skill in stagecraft and an understanding of what an audience wants.
On the new music front it was Slaves’ weekend as the Kent duo showed the younger members of the audience what it means to really rock a stage and own a crowd. Their fun-loving attitude and tongue-in-cheek songs are rapidly setting them up as the must-have band on any festival line-up.
However, elsewhere there were several other ‘ones to watch’ emerging names if you knew where to look.
The Bansdstand hosted The Kings Parade, the notorious winners of the Mayor of London’s best buskers competition who were arrested shortly after being crowned…for busking in Trafalgar Square.
And over in the Big Top, battling it out for an audience with Kate Tempest on the main stage, was Kimberly Anne. Rounding off her set by jumping into the photo pit and delivering a completely acoustic encore to an enthusiastic crowd, Kimberly demonstrated exactly how she is building a nationwide grass roots fan base by connecting with new fans on a very personal level. Her catchy take on world music beats delivered in conjunction with an indie-pop songwriting style is propelling her rapidly into the public consciousness and with her first national headline tour and a debut album due in the New Year she’s likely to find herself in big demand by festival bookers in 2016.
Camp Bestival has the lot and then some, with an unrivalled position in the festival market, it will never let you down and it will always exceed your expectations. Magical - we can't wait for the next instalment.
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