The popular stereotype of a festival is of muddy drunken revellers, peeing on tents and raving late into the night before falling over guy ropes, peeing on your tent and then crashing out on someone else's inflatable bed, only to awaken to a vomit stained sleeping bag, your car keys missing, and it's raining again for the 3rd day. The portable chemical toilets are overflowing and you lost your wallet so you can't buy a beer.
And while it's true I might (have) been to a festival or two that are similar to that (not the losing my wallet bit - I'm very security conscious at a festival) Camp Bestival is very far from this sad damp image. (A big plus point is that the festival site is on chalk, so never muddy!)
Camp Bestival is predominately a family festival. So most people have kids with them. They tend to be happy to have a drink, but take their mummy and daddy roles pretty seriously, so there is a lack of vomiting drunks, in fact, wailing toddlers are more common.
As the festival is aimed at families with kids, there is loads to do for children. So the wailing form the aforementioned toddlers is more likely to be because they can't fit all the fun into their day than because they are bored.
The price of any festival is going to be higher than camping alone, because they are providing a camp site, toilets, water points, as well as activities, musical acts and insurance. If you look at all the things a festival provides it's easier to see it's value for money.
Camp Bestival starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday night, but you can arrive from Thursday lunchtime and camp until Monday lunchtime so actual nights camped can be 4.
There are loads of free things to do. You can bring your own food and drink which can save some money.
Free things include all the musical acts of course, and this year we are looking forward to Madness, Mark Ronson, Louisa Johnson and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer to name just a few. Surfing dudes will be thrilled to hear Brian Wilson is performing on Sunday. But music almost takes a back seat at Camp Bestival, which Rob da Bank (its founder) designed as part way between a festival and a holiday camp (hence the name), with the holiday camp feel in mind there are Blue Coats to entertain the children in all manner of silliness, an Insect Circus (with real insects), tree climbing and all sorts of woodland and outdoor fun, many different craft activities, comedy acts, Punch and Judy shows, clay modelling, silly science shows, musical theatre, early morning cinema, discos and more! all included in the admission price!
There are extras you can pay for, such as face painting, helter skelter rides, a big wheel or a bounce on the world's biggest bouncy castle too, but the strong minded parent can use distraction techniques to avoid spending too much extra if they are prepared!
For the grown ups there are all of the above (I love the cinema in a tent early in the day with a coffee and a croissant) and a Jam Jar cocktail bar, excellent food stalls, late night discos and stand up comedy.
Camp Bestival is one of the least stereotypical 'festivals' I've ever been to and I love it. We have been going for years now and DD still likes to go even at 17 because she likes the lack of unpleasantness you usually get a festivals, I don't think I've ever seen anyone drunk (Unless you count me tipsy - in which case, it happens every year) and I rarely get a whiff of weed. Security staff there are always polite but firm (ooh er!) and I've always felt safe as a single woman camping with my daughter.
And loos? well a festival loo is really what you make it and most mums and dads seem polite enough to leave a loo as clean as they can. After all - parents are made of wet wipes! The loos are cleaned and emptied regularly and over the years they have improved as festival staff have learned from the odd problem encountered. So yes they are portable chemical toilets, but they are generally well cared for.
So for your money you really are getting a good deal. Why not consider it as a family holiday? Maybe have the start of the week at an ordinary campsite and then finish the week on a high with a family festival that really is first class.
Find out about all of this years acts and grab tickets at Camp Bestival's Website
Disclosure : I'm an official blogger for Camp Bestival and so this year I'm attending as their guest