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AAA Music | 26 September 2017

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Camp Bestival 2017 – Live Review + Photos

| On 15, Aug 2017

Thursday 27th July – Sunday 30th July, Dorset

Day one. Tent packed, camera stuff sorted, beer tokens in hand and rain on the forecast… it’s that time again for my favourite of all festivals. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Camp Bestival 2017 and this year it’s a massive 10 years old. (Which means I am really old, as I have been to every one – well nearly…).

Getting to the cove of Lulworth can be a tricky business, this year’s festival diversions are a bit of a long way for a short cut, but we follow the motoring hoard and it isn’t long before we’re in the queue of ages, slowly inching forward for 30 mins until we reach our entry point. From here it’s literally all down hill. A quick but necessary detour off the beaten track and we’ve found a parking place right at the main gate. Nice.

Passes on wrist, backpack and gear loaded up we head off to find a tent pitch and hopeful we can get close to our usual spot. And even though we are a little late in arriving, our pitch is free and ready for the nylon palaces to be thrown down. Again, nice.

The weather is a bit blustery and the skies are clear. We tackle a camp chair into action and relax with a beer. Not long after, the rain came, and stuck around for a long time… So, we meet up with our old buddies and have a beer to celebrate the reunion. We find the press tent and get comfortable, it’s going to be a while before we head out for a soaking. It wasn’t too bad with showers on and off during the day, giving us ample time to grab a beer or 2. Then the bands start and the cagoule casuals descend on the main stage.

I do like a bit of 80s knees up and T’Pau march on a moist stage to represent, with Carol Decker sporting full on pensioners leather garb and giving it all big hair and face paint – a great start to the day and the paying punters seem to feel the same. There’s a good mix of old and new during the day with equally as good tasty eats around the event.

10 years on and the vibe at Camp Bestival is as bouncy and enjoyable as ever, The Cuban Brothers dish out a truck load of comedy excellence with more than a few close to the knuckle quick fire one liners. We see not one but two Morrissey/ Smiths cover bands – one Mexican and one homegrown, both brilliant.

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However, most of the muddy funsters have been holding out all day to see 90s sassy types, pop temptresses All Saints, shake’a’-der-thing as they do…… right. I remember back in the day, radio on and All Saints pop’ in out and kinda look forward to today’s set. Well, they do not disappoint, they all seem energised and ready to go. Dance moves all aligned and signing voices sorted as they break into a barrage of groovy tunes that even I remember. The ladies do look good, have got a little time under their belts (not quite Old Saints yet), but perform really well and give a drippy crowd a much needed big up!

Mark Ronson takes the headline spot with a set of old favourites, pyrotechnics and more rain. Everyone seems happy, by the time the set has wrapped up the Big Top is heaving and quiet with the silent disco banging out until the wee hours – through headphones of course.

Day two. More rain and now lots of mud, but all the masses of dripping dead are smiling with soggy chips and beer the order of the day. We get around the site and check out all CB has to offer, and it’s seems never-ending. Hangovers are brushed aside as we all get stuck in – literally.

A newly revitalised and rebranded sparkly Kate Nash arrives on stage with guitars and stuff, and gets all indie-rock – didn’t expect that. Nash has a lot of new songs, we all like, she does too, so much so she drops from the stage to serenade an emotional young male fan – didn’t expect that either. Full of surprises that Ms K.

The rain stops, we get a beer and head for the Observatory to check out the strange and funky goings on. The lower files are generally for kids, with fair ground rides, science and making stiff classes as well as a huge thing of bubbles and tons of other cool and interesting stuff!, we grab more tasty machines and wander back to the Castle stage.

Things are getting busy as Saturday gives way to Satur-early-evening and into evening. The crowd is poised to explode and to help this along, the always stoney faced Holly Johnson arrives wearing the Terminators prescription sunglasses and belts out some proper brilliant songs from deep down in them early 80s. Everyone is here to watch, even all the back stage lot. HJ voice has not lost any of its sonic-laser-blasting-belt and when you add a FGTH synth bass line, this could well sink a very expensive and new Royal Navy aircraft carrier – yes, it was that good! I enjoyed tons – was without a doubt the best set of the entire festival for me.

Topping it all of for Saturday night is old skool cheeky-munkies Madness complete with enormous 80s style back drop of the Old Smoke, however no oversized pantaloons in sight. The songs are as expected uplifting and bouncy, get the crowd singing and beer swilling. All are in good voice (the crowd that is) as the old boy ska band, now old, fire out tune after tune of favourites and get smiles all round. It’s a great end to the day. Yes it been raining all day, there is mud, and we are a bit wet, but as long as the musics good and there’s a beer to be had – we will soldier on my friends to the bitter end – and the bitter end in this case was a party until 2am! Great night.

As out moto says “What are you doing this weekend, fancy getting drunk”, we bid a fond farewell to our old pals at CB. You guys iz da best!

Dave Livingstone