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Camp Bestival 2014 – Live Review + Photos

| On 17, Aug 2014

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Thursday 31st July – Sunday 3rd August, Dorset

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go and I’m speeding down to Camp Bestival! Well, not just me but all the other lovely festival types are too. But this year, we get there super early in the a.m., just to ensure we get a good pitch – and we do! The long and dusty, gnarly, bumpy, pot-holed track can only lead to one place and that’s Camp Bestival 2014 – my car now looks like it’s been dipped in dust. But that doesn’t matter when you have four days of fun time on the horizon.

Parking? Easy. Getting to ticket pick-up place? Easy. Finding a Festaxi to take you right to your pitch? Easy – well it is if you pre-book. So, we get our spot right next to the Cosy Camper and Shisha tent, pitch the palaces and marquee, get the chairs out and have a cold one – just to be sociable, you understand. It is only 10 a.m. on Thursday – yip, we got there early.

Thursday is always a great day to turn up. It’s really quiet, the food stands are open and you can get around and find your feet with no issues – even the loos are clean! So we danced for a while…



Friday. The festival proper. The doors, gates, barriers, etc are all open and a steady stream on paying punters rally through to see what’s on offer this year. It’s hot – hotter than a snakes ass – as we shuffle round the site, inspecting the tasty eat places and watching the entertainers doing their thing. Some balancing on 15 bamboo poles, others trying to break the world hoola hoop record – and failing, but it’s the taking part that counts. Apparently.

The main stage, as always, is the place to plant roots. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are my (regular) first port of call and get things going with a rockin’ an a rollin’ set, all dressed in very tight shiny all-in-one numbers, which most of us seemed to like. The sun is beating down and the only place for shade is in the woods or in the one of the pleasant food places – so we get our lunch on at the BBQ shack (type place). The food this year is proper awesome as is the choice, and we buy as much as we get stuff down our very petite bods, with chips.

There’s a lot more ‘hidden’ stuff this year. What I mean is there’s more small doors which open out into open air bars, stages, chillout areas and dodgems! And they are all very cool places to find a beer and chat to pretty ladies. So that’s what we did, for an hour or two.


We head back to the main stage and pick up the Johnny Marr and his squeaky guitar. I’m really rather happy here, the tunes are bouncy and the crowd is kinda bouncy too. But, I’m waiting for old school, wailing slap head Jim, or James and everyone else. So, it’s that time again when I lose my friends, go walkabout… I’ve got the bends from pressure – for sure! James can still pull in the punters, the set was great. A proper step back to 1990 for me. Every song went without a hitch, and could have easily been a recording – they were that spot-on. But, there was a good scattering of other 90s throwbacks doing the rounds: Pop Will Eat Itself rattled through a chunky set of poppy-rocky classics, The Wedding Present did the same, Sinead O’Connor did a bit of squealing – but we don’t like her – and D-ream didn’t even show up; they were that cool. In all honestly, I was quite looking forward to that too… unhappy face, upside down ice-cream.

Friday is in full swing, and it’s time for the yearly ‘ferris wheel of death’ – or children’s ferris wheel as it’s advertised. The queue is a bit long, but the wait isn’t and without problem I’m all up in the Camp Bestival night air, gulping down flies and portaloo odour (you know where you are kids). All washed away with a cold beer and full set from Lucky Elephant in the Big Top to wind things down for the evening. Then, briskly of to bedtime.



Saturday brings foul weather and strong winds from the east, settling for a while around my tent and everywhere I walked, but us being all hard and stuff battle on and get a full tasty breakfast and Chai latte from the nice people with the warm tent – it’s not a free service, we did have to pay. But it was outstanding (good enough for tomorrow’s breaky – oh yes). So, the rain did stop and the sun came out and made the whole place sweaty and toasty all at the same time. I preferred the wind and cold really… anyone else?

Today we check out the goings-on in the kids field (as my buddy has brought his daughter) – there’s bubbles everywhere, carousel, swings, helty-skelty, science tents, the really wild show…on and on and on and on for ages…there was a lot going on, and a lot we did actually check out.

This year, we have been very good. Eating three meals a day, drinking a whole thing of water as well as magic beer, and taking time to see EVERYTHING – and as always there is actually tons to see. Musically I’m all over the place today, but try and stick to the main stage for the later bands. Laura Mvula gives a lesson in how to pronounce her name and sings a bit too. But everyone is waiting for old school, old boy, rap-tastic, boppers De La Soul, and following a short technical problem – i.e. we ain’t ready yet – the fun-boy three wobble onto stage and rifle through a batch of the proper vintage (single malt variety) speaky songs.

Later that evening we head to the Big Top to get our Silent Disco on with our PR buddies on stage. So, beer and camera in hand, headphones on head and ass groovin’, we turn it up to 11 and bounce around the stage for an hour – its a tradition, kids.



Foggy heads are all around on Sunday morning, so a good fry up is required to adjust me back to normality. Last day today, so we’re marking off the setlist and fitting in the sights, washing up the dishes and putting out the lights…not the last bit. We do get a beer though and start our journey to the main stage for a bit of Chas N Dave up them apples and carpets, me ol’ sonny Bob. The cockney leg twitchers doth their flat caps and bang out a succession of songs even I haven’t heard before…and I’m old. The guy from Willow pops on stage for a bit to tell us about the loos or something (?) eh…and then leaves…no idea what that was about. So, we have fish and chips.

I was a bit miffed today as every eating place we went to had ‘sold out’ of all the nice things…and we ended up getting fish and chips from one of the ‘not-so-great’ places you would only frequent when you’ve had a load to drink. Anyway, the cost was high and the portion was small and the coke was hot! I soldier on and head for the Big Top for the evening as everyone else heads to the main stage to see Basement Jaxx. Sod that, we’ve got Peter Hook coming on and he’s covering a load of Joy Division and New Order stuff. And he does too – in my opinion, the best set of the festival. The tunes were as gritty and punchy as they were in the 80s (again, I am old), and I even got a few winks and smiles from the man himself. I did feel a bit bad, as the crowd could not have been any more than 100 punters…never mind, it was their loss. Now it’s time for the fireworks, a beer, some food, and bed.

Early start on Monday morning – we get our gear packed and jump in the Festaxi for a lift back to the car. I drive away into the dusty horizon for another year, with a smile and a massive dent in my bank account – no worries, I have had a blast (again). Thank you to my chummies at Get Involved – Aidan, Bruce, Stevie and the gang – I will see you all again very soon (well as Bestival in a few weeks).

Review + Photos: David Livingstone