Sunday began by sampling more of the non-music events that the festival had to offer. After peering into a rammed Big Top for The Gruffalo’s live show it was time for Marcus Brigstocke and the other festival comics to review the Sunday papers to a packed crowd. After such tabloid-baiting satire one of the genuine highs of the festival surfaced in the form of The Fast Show‘s Charlie Higson in the literature tent. Higson was there to publicise his series of teen zombie novels with a fascinating talk on the origins of the horror genre – vital stuff for those curious to learn how to properly dispatch the undead.
Thirsty for music, it was time to camp out at the Castle Stage for the rest of the day’s line-up. Israel’s The Apples performed to a small crowd with their exuberant mix of funk and turntablism. Despite not being well known in the UK they managed to get everyone dancing in the sunshine by the time their set closed with their epic cover version of Killing In The Name Of. In a scheduling moment of genius they were followed by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble to carry the torch of funk for the rest of the afternoon. Despite most of the band carrying some rather unwieldy looking horns their set was energetic and helped keep the crowd on their feet.
Every festival seems to have an unwritten convention that the 4pm slot on a Sunday should be given over to irony and Camp Bestival had booked The Wurzels to provide humorous cider anthems for all. After a shocking cover version of Kaiser Chiefs‘ Ruby (Ruby! Ruby! Ruby! Ooooaaar! Ooooaaar! Ooooaaar! etc) they closed the set with the anthem everyone was expecting, but their insistence on doing a banging dance remix of I’ve Got A Brand New Combine Harvester was easily the most disappointing moment of the weekend. Seriously.
The field was swamped with bouncing bodies for the arrival of Calvin Harris with fans jumping up and down to his set. He was closely followed by ’80s favourites The Human League, who reminded everyone in the crowd that they knew more Human League songs than they previously thought. It was a fun trip down memory lane, complete with slightly dodgy backing vocals and the crowd pleasing smash that is Don’t You Want Me Baby?
The night closed with Sunday headliners Friendly Fires giving it their all. Their appearance in this slot seemed a little odd given the calibre of the previous nights’ headliners and the general lack of other high profile contemporary bands on the roster. However, as the sun set and the stage lights kicked in so did the excitement. Seeing as the band were virtually unheard of at the start of last year the majority of the crowd were discovering them for the first time and they seemed more than happy to go along with it. Although they arguably need more material under their belts, Friendly Fires proved they have the balls to pull off a headlining slot – even if this might not have been the right festival for them to do it in. Moving seamlessly from one Friendly Fire to another, Lulworth Castle erupted in a dazzling firework display to close the festival weekend.
To conclude, those expecting Camp Bestival to be a traditional music festival are likely to be found wanting. Seeing as this was a festival centred around families live music was rightly not at the heart of the action. In comparison to previous years’ music line-ups there seemed to be a determined attempt to please everybody with a mixture of old favourites, trailblazing legends, ’80s acts, radio friendly unit shifters, funk, folk and alternative. Music fans who have yet to spawn and just want to sit around watching exciting bands in the sunshine still had a good time, but the genre-hopping meant for an inconsistent experience – especially given the patchiness of Saturday’s line-up.
The poor turn out for some acts in comparison to their poppier counterparts suggests that Camp Bestival will continue the more populist approach next year. If you’re a big kid, or own several yourself, then this is definitely the weekend for you, but music fans who want to see more challenging acts will be much better served by Camp Bestival’s big sister on the Isle of Wight. If it has even a shred of the highly organised, relaxed atmosphere of Camp Bestival then it’s sure to be a winner.