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AAA Music | 23 April 2024

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Camp Bestival 2015 – Live Review

| On 25, Sep 2015

Thursday 30th – Sunday 2nd August, Dorset

It was nearing midnight on Wednesday the 29th July when our journey started. Let me explain: over these past few years, it has become increasingly apparent that anyone with a ticket to Camp Bestival will arrive around 9am the day before the festival kicks off… so, to get a half decent place to erect our temporary digs, we must also get our collective ass in gear and get down to this year’s bitchin’ outin’ of Camp Bestival 2015 – the year of… nature!! And it’s hot!

The gates open and we (that’s me and my fellow photographer buddy) race up and down hills in an effort to find our perfect pitch. We find it, and set up, and have a beer, and a very long sit down.

That’s about it for Thursday, as there’s not much going on – there are a few food stalls dishing out them bacon rolls and stuff, but generally it’s a quiet affair with punters bumping around, finding their feet and setting up for the weekend.

So, Friday is here and it’s really, really hot – everyone is up and we get our breakfast on.
Shortly after, we head to the main arena area and check out the vast kids’ field, with many stages and ‘things to do’.

Music starts around 12 and the main stage field fills up in record time, making it virtually impossible to get around, to get a beer, to get food or even to get out… This is mostly due to several thousand inconsiderate punters (and families) each having a camping seat, a picnic blanket, small tables etc., as well as these really annoying ‘covered wagon’ things which you fill with children and pull around the place. This would generally be OK, if the field was empty, but you put 20,000 people in a field with a few hundred wagons, thousands of seats and picnic areas, and things get a little tricky – to a point where you get very annoyed – and there are more than enough drunk people pushing and shoving… not a great start.


Anyway, the sun is out, I do have a beer, I am with friends and the Buzzcocks are on the main stage!! They are pushing out the old tunes (and they are old ladies and gents, we’re talking late 70’s), however, they play a blinding set and we all do our bit to join in at the right places.

During the afternoon we head for some shade in the woods where there is a whole other world of storytelling, playgrounds, kids workshops, music, smoke and tons of other kinds cool things – and it’s a good place to take a break for 30 mins or so with a beer – obviously.

By 6 (ish) pretty much everyone is heading for the main stage as Professor Green bounces around looking very happy and getting the sun-burned masses on their feet; everyone is now very pleased and a little drunk. The crispy thousands stay put throughout the evening and wait for Clean Bandit to end the evening (mmm Clean Bandit… not a fan, but they do sound very good and stage presence is up there with the best of them, so well done – although I’m not sure about the name. Just me).


However… I’m waiting for the Big Top, and the silent disco. In a now a regular event, me and my photo buddy get a few beers, get on stage, dance around and take a load of photos. This year did not disappoint. Great night!! We finish our evening with a late night feast and head of to bed around 4am.

Up at 8am! Well, it seems no one else had a great night, and as such they all got up and made as much noise as possible… but it is breakfast time and I do enjoy breakfast, so we get up and get on it.

Today we intend to de things right. Get around the kids field (with my friend’s kid), check out the science tent, the literary tent, the helter skelter, the carousel and all the wonderful sparkly and magical delights – so we do, and there’s a bar too! We even get on the big wheel…

We head back to the main stage to find Alison Moyet (from Yazoo fame) making a rare appearance and hammering out them 80s electronic/ new wave type classics – which sound bloody awesome people… And if that wasn’t enough, there’s more 80s, this time Level 42. So, I wasn’t a fan of the afore-mentioned Level back in the day, but I am gob-smacked ladies and gents as to how good their set is, so much so I have to purchase a few tunes on my return home.


As the day rolls on, we find an excellent pie shop and fill our empty tums, before heading back to the main stage for headliners Kaiser Chiefs, as expected there is a lot of ‘WWWOOOOOO’ -ing, a fair amount of screaming, a boat load of jumping around and a few songs I vaguely remember. Everyone else seems really happy, but I know something… dance music pioneers 808 State are about to come on at the Big Top – so that’s where we are. They may be kicking 50, but bloody hell they sound amazing, playing all the old tunes and some I haven’t heard: what a great way to end the night.

Sunday pops into existence, but alas, we must dismantle our nylon bothies and head forth for Sunday dinner and home. So I missed Underworld – not happy with this, but when you gotta go…

Thank you once more to our hosts… Monsieur Byrne (make that a large one), Bruce ‘The Beard’, Stevie, Chloe and all the other lovely folks at Get Involved… it’s been a fun 10 years. See you soon.

Dave Livingstone