What the hell was that!
When we arrived on Thursday there was no bus on from Wareham station but that was no problem as we jumped into a cab that we shared with others. Unfortunately the Camp Bestival staff were not letting the taxi’s round to the yellow car park so despite my bad foot I had to drag my cases and kit all across the festival to the tangerine field area at the furthest corner from the front entrance.
When leaving we discovered that we were in fact stuck at Camp Bestival.
No bus had been seen at the front gate in the hour prior to us arriving there or during the two hours we waited. Taxis were not coming to the camp because of the horribly long lines of traffic leading in and out of the camp. When we finally managed to get a cab and to leave the camp it took us the best part of an hour to get to Wool station (last year it took us about 10 minutes). Every one of the nine families waiting missed their train and faced paying train fairs again.
The whole affair was ridiculous!
How come the traffic was not being staggered and managed?
Where were the buses?
And why was there no event management at the usual bus/taxi stop explaining what was going on?
Long periods between artist performances on the castle stage.
45 minutes between Laura Mvula and De La Soul?
45 minutes between Sinead O’Connor and Basement Jaxx?
So long were the periods that for the first time ever we did not ask why everything had stopped only to be reminded of the silence for church service. In fact this year we thought that it was just another half for the roadies to have a cuppa and to spread out the day.
Sunday Best was it really so difficult to get sufficient performers to fill a whole day?
If so why not give the stage over to unsigned acts for a couple of hours? Invite them to perform for the price of weekend camping and an access all areas ticket. Surely there’d be more than enough takers!
Lack of information about the changes to the performance schedule was stupidly infuriating. Yes there was a little intermittent pop up on the castle stage screen noting changes but that was of no use to people who were not parked inform of the main stage all day. The Skatalites were moved from the castle stage to the Big Top and I found this out about 30 minutes before they were to start. Other performance timings changes were confusing and in the end we kind of gave up trying to get to them.
There was no crowd control after the firework finale; none.
As we left the castle stage the crowed grew so thick that we had to hang onto each other so as to avoid getting swept along and separated. After at least 10 minutes we had made it to the other side of the jousting area and decided to stop trying to drag the radio flyer any further and we just sat on the grass for 20 minutes until we were so cold that we had to get moving again. During our enforced star gazing we noted that not one of the seven adults in our group had seen one single yellow clad steward herding the crowd, scoop up lost children or help the confused drunk teenagers. We were on our own. Ride the wave or freeze!
I wonder how many tickets were sold for this year’s Camp Bestival.
It was very clear that this was a seriously overcrowded event. During the long queues for food stalls and toilets I found myself wishing I had brought my book from the tent to give myself something to do! We had to wait for almost everything and quite often couldn’t get into tents due to overcrowding.
For the first time in my five years at Camp Bestival I witnessed not one but two fights.
One, at the entrance to the Bollywood tent, seemed to be between two 40 something Dickheads over a buggy clash. It was a proper fisty cuffs with little goatee hairs flying and women in Boden yelping.
Of course on both occasions event stewards were nowhere to be found.
This year we were treated to so many wafts of marijuana and poppers that we were high by proxy!
There were so many drunk teenagers that parents may as well have given them a bottle of JD and asked them to get on with it. I personally saw alcohol being sold to people I presume to be teenagers about six times (which is a lot considering I only went to buy at the bar twice).
This year is our fifth year camping with tangerine fields. Apart from the fact that they had pitched our tents on a slope and everyone ended up sliding down hill during the night, the tents were clean and pitched in a group just as we had requested. This year the field had been mowed and we did not suffer a million nettle stings as we have in the past.
But hey! What happened to the toilets? Instead of the usual bank of portaloos in one corner of the field and a separate men / women’s banks of toilets and sinks there was just a single block containing 4 women’s and 4 men’s toilets each with a sink so small you could just about wash an elbow in it.
To make this experience even nicer we were pitched close to a fence where members of the general camping population were pulling it apart to get in to use the toilets, showers and to let their kids play football right beside our tent.
How galling to pay a premium for facilities that others were helping themselves to.
We told the tangerine field staff a number of times and the fence was tightened but no patrols took place and no one policed the showers and toilets.
So with all this in mind will the 12 of us be returning next year?
First you have to break us down to understand the answer.
Myself and Inny have attended for five years on the trot
Cheeks and Aunt J along with the two munchkins for the last three years
Chez, H and Jr for the last two years
Nut and his two munchkins were first timers
For those of us who had been three times or more it’s a definite NO. Thats a pretty big deal as we really enjoy our time at Camp Bestival but this year with all the issues and a lackluster crop of artists it’s time we gave it a miss.
We spent some of the time planning to hire a villa, in Italy of Spain, for a week next year.
It would probably cost the same amount and we won’t have to queue so long for the toilet!
We love Camp Bestival and would recommend it to any family new to festivals but lets face it; it was a bit crap this year.