Review: Camp Bestival with Tweens and Teens

We have been lucky enough to attend Camp Bestival for the last ten years, our first being when Sebby was just six weeks old, Eliza was two and Isaac was five.

Fast forward ten years, we now have a ten, twelve and fifteen year old who all love Camp Bestival, but now for very different reasons.

One major benefit of taking teens is you have more help. Gone are the days of 5-6 trips to the car to carry all the stuff to the pitch. This year we did it in two, although we did have an extra pair of hands as Isaac brought a friend!!

Camp Bestival

Another benefit of having teens, especially cubs and scouts, is that they are trained in the art of tent building and it wasn’t long before we were set up and heading into the festival.

This year we opted for Camping Plus, which gives you an allocated space, so you can turn up at anytime and not worry about having to find a space to pitch. You can find out about the differences between the different camping options here.

The facilities in Camping Plus included a General Store, selling everything you could have possibly forgotten, a Bakery, Coffee Shop, Lockers/mobile charging points, hot showers, compost loos, portaloo style toilets, sinks and fresh running water.

The Lockers/mobile charging points were a definite must for our teens, as the whole weekend was documented on their phones. The lockers are great for storing valuables and come with one universal plug socket and two USB points.

Camp Bestival’s 15th Birthday

This might be our 10th anniversary, but this year is a special one for Camp Bestival too – they turned 15 and they did it in style!!

When the kids were younger, we used to highlight all the acts we wanted to see and then go with the flow, as there is so much to see and do, but now they are older there is a bit more planning involved, mostly around the music (and food).

Our Mr Tumble days are definitely over, but Dick n Dom are still top of the list to see, with their DJ battle getting everyone bouncing and then their later rave proving to be very popular in the Big Top.

On the main Castle stage, Friday night was our favourite night with Hot DubTime Machine DJ getting the party started, followed by Scouting for Girls, Sophie Ellis Bextor and the Kooks.

I love Camp Bestival for its safety and I was more than happy for Isaac and his friend Sam to go off and explore and see the acts that didn’t interest Eliza and Sebby, including Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, East 17 and the Stereo MC’s.

Saturday was the best day weather wise, with glorious warm sunshine making Lulworth Castle and its surrounding hills look glorious.

Sebby, at ten, still loves the Dingly Dell and its the perfect place to escape the crowds when it all gets a bit busy and Eliza enjoyed getting stuck in to the crafts and made a wand and a dragonfly.

There are less “free” activities to keep tweens and teen entertained, so they will need spending money for fairground rides, or to spend at the stalls. Eliza was keen to try the roller rink, but it got busy really quickly and queues were about an hour long, especially in the afternoon.

Saturday nights headliners were Sam Ryder, who Eliza adored, and then Grace Jones, which we thought was an odd choice for a family festival. I think most festival goers agreed and the normally busy Dick n Dom’s massive rave was rammed.

Sunday’s weather was the polar opposite of Saturday’s, with high winds and heavy rain in the morning.

Thankfully, it dried up by lunchtime and the conditions were. a little calmer, albeit it a bit muddy, down in the valley where the festival is held.

Eliza and Sebby were keen to see Horrible Histories Barmy Britain, whilst my husband and the boys headed to Caravanserai to see local band Pronghorn.

Horrible Histories

We were all back together by the afternoon to watch Jo Whiley’s DJ set. All her best plans of launching confetti cannons, giant balloons and bubbles into the crowd were thwarted by the wind, but some kind hearted security guards headed back stage to retrieve the balloons and gave them to the kids in the crowd.

Mel C wasn’t on our “must see” list, but she was incredible singing a mix of her hits, club classics and a few Spice Girls numbers for good measure.

The evening was finished off with Craig David and then their epic firework display, which was slightly dampened as the heaven’s opened as the fireworks began.

Check out the official firework video here:

Our Verdict

All-in-all we really enjoyed it this year, despite seeing what felt like all four seasons across the weekend and Isaac taking a friend, really helped him enjoy it to the max.

The food was as delicious as always, although prices have increased quite a lot over the last couple of years. We always take breakfast and snacks with us, but we would seriously consider self catering in our tent next year as we spent £300 over the weekend (our normal budget is £200). Luckily you are allowed to bring in your own alcohol / drinks into the festival, which definitely helps save money.

There were less pop-up shows this year, although it is quite possible that we missed them, as you have to be in the right place at the right time.

The toilets were a mix of compost and portaloo style and were relatively clean and well stocked with toilet rolls throughout the weekend. The only issue I had was a real lack of sanitary bins in the festival area, so I had to traipse back to the camping area, which is quite a hike.

Dick ‘n’ Dom, Stereo MC’s, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Scouting for Girls, Mel C, Cirque Bijou and Hot Dub Time Machine were our highlights this year, but we did feel that the line up on the Castle Stage could have been stronger. I would love to see more acts from the charts and Isaac has asked for Dizzee Rascal next year!

It also felt a lot busier with young adults this year. We normally stay at the Castle Stage until late, but did feel more uncomfortable than in previous years, so moved further back closer to the castle. That said, they all seemed well behaved, just up for a good time.

Camp Bestival Dorset is back 25th -28th July 2024. Early Bird Weekend Camping tickets for Camp Bestival Dorset 2024 will go on sale frozen at this year’s prices on Friday 4th August 2023 at 10am. Tickets are available from their website

CB’s sister festival, Camp Bestival Shropshire, takes place in Weston Park from 17th – 20th August 2023!

Disclaimer: We were gifted press tickets for the purpose of a review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

1 thought on “Review: Camp Bestival with Tweens and Teens”

  1. Great review! We also loved seeing Hot Dub Time Machine and thought his set was excellent. Mel C was a great surprise for us and it was great to hear her sing some Spice Girl songs! Definitely lots more young adults at Camp Bestival this year. Still one of our favourite festivals!


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