Boomtown Fair 2018

Where to begin.

What an incredible festival.

Before going  to Boomtown, but after I had, on a whim, purchased tickets, people were keen to tell me what to expect. To be fair to them, some of these people seemed to assume that a 52 year old woman would be shocked by drug taking and horrified by a festival loo. And on the whole, the reactions I received upon mentioning 'I'm off to Boomtown next year' were those of shock and horror. I was variously told :
"you'll hate it, it's a full on festival"
"Rather you than me, it's not a family festival"
"People die there you know, it's all drugs and gangs"
"The music isn't anything you'd like"
"It's a lot of walking, really hilly"
and my favourite :
" 'king hell, rather you than me, you'll die"
Reader I did not die. It is true that a lot of drugs are consumed at Boomtown, keys of ket seem to be as much currency as the great British pound. It is true that it is hilly and that there are many young people, it is true that people have died there, but it is also true that young people can be extremely nice and helpful, that walking is good for you and that the art and the stages and the music are amazing.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

And that the actors and the sets are absolutely out of this world.

The festival itself is half the size (in ticket sales) of Glastonbury and twice that of Camp Bestival. It has a kids field - and you could easily spend all your time there - but it is not (imo) a kid's festival, or even a family one. Similar to Glastonbury the camping areas are within the main arena area itself, there is little demarcation and it is possible to camp very close to main stages.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 lion's den stage

There are so many stages I cannot begin to list them. Check the Boomtown website for details. The music is varied but never pop. We camped by a reggae stage and enjoyed that into the wee small hours. Being an old person (!) I did not always stay up late, laying in bed as the festival beats around me is one of my many festival pleasures.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

There is a theme to each year's festival with a story line and actors, you can play along, interact and become part of the story...or not...as the mood takes you.

I watched a mechanical freak show, I chatted to a nurse at the asylum, I watched shows at Paradise Heights, I wandered through woods, watched films outside in the rain, climbed hills , watched fire jugglers, and danced to Bosnian bands in the market square.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

I have never enjoyed a festival more.

If you are brave, if you can carry all your stuff on your back and march for miles, can bear to listen to loud bass tones late into the night (and early into the morning) if drug chat and drunken teens and compost toilets don't fill you with terror...Boomtown may be the place for you.

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 fire show

Boomtown fair Festival 2018

Boomtown fair Festival 2018 parade
 I was also very pleased to see The Loop on site, helping to keep festival goers safe where saying 'don't take drugs' has failed, The Loop step in.
 I can't wait for next year.

Eating Vegan (and not eating vegan) at a Festival

I've been to a few festivals over the summer, Cornbury, Camp Bestival and Boomtown Fair and have tried the delicious food on offer at each one. This year for an added bit of excitement DD has become vegan so the extra challenge to feed her has been fun. No longer can I just grab a burger or a pie and mash...so what have I been eating and how have the festivals fared?

At Cornbury, which is a smallish festival, there was a fairly good selection. We had to option of vegan curries, vegan pizzas, paellas, and other snacks, including falafels (the vegan staple!) and spicy vegan burgers, this last item being DDs favourite and she returned a few times for the same thing! Goodness Gracious Healthy Foods was at all the festivals we went to and scored a firm 5 stars as they even had vegan cake options!


At Cornbury we discovered some dairy free ice cream at the Shepherds ice cream stall.


Obviously we didn't only eat vegan..well I didn't - and there was plenty of delicious food for me to try too, I even chomped my way through half a roast chicken and potatoes on the Sunday.




At Camp Bestival, along with the usual selection of Goodness Gracious Healthy Food, wood fired pizza and Paella, we also had some amazing burgers at Biff's Jack Shack and were spoiled in the Feast Collective with some incredible vegan choices.





We discovered that Jimmy's Iced Coffee make a dairy free iced coffee too!


Once again, I was not deprived of meat... 


At Boomtown we travelled light and so took no food at all, relying instead on the trusty Goodness Gracious Healthy Food and the rest of the vegan gang. DD had paella for breakfast one morning...and why not - it's a festival after all. She also had a pizza (vegan cheese) and lots of chips and the occasional vegan burger. She had a spicy vegan Mexican wrap which was so spicy it nearly finished her off, I'm sad I missed the photo opportunity of her panting and begging for water. 

Up at the kids field we discovered that the pancake makers had a vegan option, reader you have never seen a happier teen! Time was too short to try all of the vegan options at Boomtown and we left with a tasty looking coconut curry and some fried plantain left untasted. Ah well, there's always next year.




If you have dietary restrictions for any reason, it seems that festivals really are catering well for everyone. Staff everywhere were really helpful and knowledgeable too,

although, when I bought this jumbo (meat) hotdog I was told it was 9 inches...it only looked like 6 inches to me! Maybe it depends which angle you see it from ;-)


Campervans and tents and festival storms

Last weekend I went to Camp Bestival. Unusually for me I didn't take a tent! I fulfilled a bit of a bucket list dream and hired a gorgeous and retro VW campervan called Molly. She is pink! DD and I had an exhilarating drive, (exhilarating is the polite way of saying terrifying) from Sussex to Dorset. Old campers have no power steering (obviously) and a top speed of about 60mph (downhill with a good wind.) They take a while to get used to after driving a Fiat Panda I can tell you!

So the first hour was punctuated by swearing, giggling and screams, but once we were out of the country lanes and filled with petrol and on our way it was fine, Molly and I quickly became firm friends. VW Campers are great little campers for just 2 of you and real solid little things, Molly had no trouble with driving across fields uphill, and once parked up she was a glorious little home for 4 days of the festival.


It turned out to be a good year to choose to take a camper van, because the wind started to increase on Saturday and some tents didn't make it through to the evening. By Sunday morning, many tents had ripped, collapsed, lost guy ropes and generally been destroyed. Molly had been rocking and shaking in the wind too, so while I'm pretty sure our canvas tents Wilfrid and Lord Lichfield would have stayed strong (they have both weathered pretty fierce storms over the years) it was still nice to be snug as a bug in a VW!
I wondered how the tents had been faring though, once a tent lover always a tent lover, and so I asked twitter for information on the state of play.
 A huge amount of random data flooded in and I have used it to create a totally abstract and unscientific chart or two to show which tents do best in a storm. I only asked about tents still standing, so I have no idea if equal numbers of the tents mentioned also broke! And I have no idea of the number of each tent we started with, Vango might have won purely because 90% of the tents on site were Vangos! But whatever, here are the charts for your perusal.


From twitter conversation several tents got a thumbs down, but in each case the marketing team on twitter were really quick to offer help, advice and refunds, so kudos for that - and it was a big old storm!

To me it looks like an old fashioned bell tent is the best option if you can both afford it, and be bothered to lug it around (they are heavy). Pegging your tent correctly and keeping guy ropes taught is also high on the list for surviving a storm (use the correct tent pegs for the conditions). Smaller tents (heightwise) often cope better in a storm, the tents we saw collapsed tended to be large tunnel tents that had been 'side on' to the wind.

I'd love to have any comments below, did your tent survive the Camp Bestival storm of 2018? Let us know!

and if you fancy trying your luck at Camp Bestival in 2019 you can find out more here

Camp Bestival 2018 review of (probably) the best family festival on Earth

Hello! I am back from one of the best family festivals on earth, Camp Bestival,  and I'm not only saying that because they gifted me a ticket!
This year the festival was sadly cut short by horrendous storms and wind, but no one wants doom and gloom so here are the fun bits!

First off, we hired a camper van this year! So minimal tentsniffing for me, but the joy of a cute pink VW camper instead.(more of her soon)
pink vw campervan
Molly the Camper Van

Day one was Thursday. Hot and sunny we drove (slowly in the elderly camper) to the site. Parked high on the hill and gazed down over the festival. Thursday evening we spent lazing about because we assumed we had so much time...note to self, seize the moment! (rules for life and festivals) do not assume you have days and days left..)


Day two. The festival begins. There is much prowling and getting orientated, and this is because with Bestival being held on the same site one week later the layout had changed slightly. Initially (like many people I'm sure) I hated the changes.
"Why is the big top here?" 
"Where is the Pigs Big Ballroom?" 
"Why is there nothing much outside Bollywood?" 
"Why is the crazy wall of death stunt show down here?" 

but later I began to see that some of the changes had real benefits. The new Big Top had open sides and was now in a natural dip in the ground, meaning even people who were sitting outside (either to enjoy the sun or because the tent was full) could now see in to the stage really well. And moving the Wall of Death gave space on the hill for an entire ship! (DD was amazed..."how on earth do you get a whole ship into a field?")


The new live action retro arcade games looked hilarious although we didn't take a turn, and high wire skills? Wow, so many brave people that each day this activity was filled up very early!

There was much shopping and drinking and eating on day two too. The Feast Collective turned out to be just as delicious as had been promised with an excellent vegan selection for DD.

In the evening, Rick Astley, with the amazing Mary Berry on drums, no I have no idea either, but it really happened I was there.


DD had already been struck dumb with shock and awe at seeing her hero Mary Berry wandering about in the Magic Meadow.


After seeing Rick I dragged DD to the big top to see my favourite DJ Jaguar Skills, and that was so much fun, he also brought Jag Jr to the set which was rather adorable and just right for a kids festival.

Day three, which turned out to also be the last day was full of wind and hot sun, a desert theme would have been more in keeping than the sea theme we had! I dressed a bit like a pirate, but keeping a pirate hat on in that wind was impossible, so I mainly looked like a middle aged women with a plastic sword in her belt.


We didn't visit the kid's fields as much as in previous years as DD is now an adult! But the children all appeared to be having the most amazing fun that only a festival in sunshine which is designed almost exclusively for them can achieve. Sadly for the first year in a long time we missed the simply glorious Insect Circus.


Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer pleased his fans with some spiffing chap-hop despite his suffering with a summer cold, although some small boys in the front row were disappointed he didn't sing, Let's Talk about Kanye.


Clean Bandit were excellent on the castle stage at night.


After Clean Bandit we decided to investigate the Caravanserai, a mishmash of old caravans and fairground parts with bars and stages and it rapidly became my favourite part of Camp Bestival, I had planned to spend most of Sunday night there, but it was not to be.





The activity, the shows and the general atmosphere though were simply incredible, I loved it. Well done Rob da Bank and co for the amazing festival once again! So sad that we missed out of Sunday, I'm already counting down the days until next year...



The show goes on and Rob and the team are already making plans for Camp Bestival 2019, which takes place from Thursday 25th July to Sunday 28th July at Lulworth Castle.

From Friday 3rd August at 10am to say thanks to all Camp Bestival-goers for being brilliant, there is a very special 72-hour pre-sale with adult weekend tickets available to buy for the amazing price of £150.

Camping Plus, Hospitality and Backstage Camping upgrades will also be available at pre-sale prices. To take advantage of our pre-sale prices, head to the Camp Bestival website and sign up to the mailing list to receive an access code.

Following the pre-sale, early bird tickets go on sale on Monday 6th August at 10am from campbestival.net, with adult weekend tickets priced at just £160 and available to buy with our monthly payment plan.
Camping Plus, Hospitality and Backstage Camping upgrades will be on sale at early bird prices, too.

All Camp Bestival ticketing information and lots more can be found at campbestival.net

Disclosure: as an Official Camp Bestival Blogger I was gifted a ticket to attend the festival

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