Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival - UPDATEFOR 2015

A mini list (with links to more detail where necessary) of the actual vital stuff you need to know.

  1. First off. While Camp Bestival is a music festival that is far from all it is. It was begun as a spin off of Bestival as a cross between a Holiday Camp, and a festival. They even have their very own Blue Coats! Of course this means there is loads to do, plenty of comedy, films in the tent cinema, shows, circus acts, craft areas etc for children from as young as babies to teens. There is also a teen Den, just for those 13 - 17 to hang out. Perfect for the festival goers of tomorrow to get a feel for festival life away from their parents. As the main festival site is a castle they also have a jousting area this year (NEW!) there will be displays by Wild Warriors of the Cossack!  Also this year Dick and Dom are back with their zany sense of humor and fun. On the last night there is a spectacular fireworks finale.
  2. Camp site. It is hilly. You will probably need a trolley to transport all your stuff from the car park. If you don't own one you can hire them at the festival. Take the tent and minimal stuff on the first trip, find your spot (it gets crowded) and pitch the tent. Be polite to your neighbours, make friends, share a glass of wine, you never know when you may need their help! Tents can end up very close together, consider earplugs if you are a light sleeper, I also take an eye mask as my tent lets light in very early! The walkways between the tents are well lit with suspended lights and these stay on nearly all night, it makes a trip to the loo relatively easy but can keep you awake if you pitch near them.
  3. Hygiene and Toilets - everyone panics about festival loos and while they can be bad, they are usually OK - Camp Bestival has very well organised toilet facilities. There are portaloos in the main camping
    area (these are often emptied, but in the early morning, don't camp too close or you'll be woken by the trucks arriving) They are kept pretty clean. There are washing facilities near them (cold water only). There are also showers, and posh flushing loos that you can pay to use. And in the festival site itself there are compost loos, daunting at first (they have a long drop under the seat!) but actually pretty nice to use. Bring your own loo roll, wet wipes and hand sanitiser - make a small pack of these items to carry with you. Personal chemical  toilets are not allowed in the camping areas as there is nowhere to empty them. Ladies may like to consider buying a Shewee. While there are showers they often have long queues. For 4 days I tend to just shower before I leave home, use wetwipes at the festival and shower when I get home again. Take lots of wet wipes.
  4. Do buy the programme, spend some time planning the stuff you really can't miss, try and spot times that you will be free for meals etc. leave space between acts if you can (unless they are on the same stage) as you need to move around the site, use the toilets and get drinks too! If you are a family, ensure everyone gets to see at least one thing they really love each day. Consult the map to plan travel between the tents/stages. Some tents get filled early so consider that in your plans, if you arrive late you may not get in.
  5. Food. There is lots to buy but it's not cheap. Balance meals out with meals at the tent and take snacks. You can cook on small portable gas cookers outside. Take things that are quick to heat to save time and gas, tinned food is a good idea, baked beans, hotdogs, chilli etc (remember a tin opener!). No glass is allowed on site so no jars of pasta sauce, baby food, or bottles of wine etc. Bringing your own alcohol is allowed in the camping area only (there are bars in the festival site) and not in glass, think bags of wine, tins of G&T and cans of beer. Take snacks (especially for kids)  eg individual cartons of juice (there is drinking water available at lots of locations) packets of biscuits, apples, dried fruit, croissants, cakes (individually wrapped are great!) packets of crisps etc. Don't forget to visit the WI tent for a cheap and cheerful cup of tea and a piece of cake, or maybe a sandwich.
  6. Weather. Most years it has been sunny. So come prepared. Bring light clothing and suncream, sunhats and flowers for your hair too (yes even the men). But be prepared for rain, bring wellies and a waterproof jacket. As it's a festival wellies, especially funky coloured ones, have become ubiquitous, many people wear wellies everyday regardless of the weather. This year with The Wild Things project there may be opportunities for messy play and tree climbing so you may want to bring suitable clothing for that too!
  7. Dresses - only in kids sizes much to my dismay
  8. Money. There is loads to spend your money on at Camp Bestival, from bubble wands to vintage fashion. Flower hair garlands and fancy dress. Try and stock up with the sort of things that will be popular with children before you arrive, it will save you £££s. Things to buy before you go include; glowsticks, bubbles, furry tails, flower hair bands, fancy dress, balloons, diablos, hula hoops, frisbees (soft ones!) and sponge balls. If you run out of cash at Camp Bestival, there are cash machines, they will charge you a fee and there may be queues. Lots of the shops will take  cards though. There are both camping supplies shops (for when you realise you forgot the tent pegs) and basic grocers (selling fresh milk, fruit, bread etc) onsite too - they are cornershop prices rather than supermarket prices, but handy if you forget things or run out of anything
  9. Fancy Dress. This years theme is Wild. So anything from dinosaurs to wild animals, hunters, explorers, gruffalos or just imaginary wild kings and queens, the fancy dress ideas are numerous. Most people make some effort to dress up a bit. It needn't be elaborate, a painted face, a tail, some feathers in your hair (or beard)  but you may regret it if you don't join in. Some families go to extreme and amazing lengths with their costumes!
  10. Rubbish. There are lots of bins onsite, in the festival itself and in the camp site. Take some binbags and keep your rubbish in it, keep your space tidy. On the last day check you leave your space clean and tidy. It will take you 5 minutes to clean your area up and chuck the bin bag in the rubbish area, Don't leave it for someone else to do. Paying rubbish clean up crews puts festival costs up, help keep prices lower (and animals safer) by leaving just a patch of yellowing grass behind.
  11. Be flexible. Sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry. Wee when you are ....needing a wee and also when you spot a loo with no queue! Phone signal is pretty poor across the whole site, some fields are worse than others so don't rely on mobile apps for reminders or for texts to locate family, have some meeting points and times planned. Don't stress over healthy food, or washing, or bedtimes. It is (sadly) only 4 days, just go with the flow and have an awesome wild time. 

See you there - say hello, you can buy me a Pims!

Don't forget that while there is a medical tent if you need antihistamines, Calpol or any other medicines it's wise to buy before you travel and bring them with you. Illegal drugs are of course still illegal - even at a festival