Festival Preview: Camp Bestival 2010

01 July 2010

For those of us raised on boring caravan holidays in Wales it’s easy to feel jealous of kids at festivals, but at most gatherings the poor mites are more than likely to get dragged from pillar to post while Mum and Dad attempt to recapture their youth. In a flooded festival market the savvy are starting to offer more than the usual band-in-a-field formula and Camp Bestival certainly offers something for everyone – no matter what age. This year’s line-up promises a great deal from the festival voted the best for families, although there may be tears before bedtime if The Gruffalo clashes with The Human League.

Camp Bestival can best be described as Latitude to Bestival’s Glastonbury. The artistic remit is a little wider as ’80s stars freely rub shoulders with the Friendly Fires of this world. The vibe is an attempt to move away from the grubby but fun shantytowns of most festivals in favour of a holiday camp atmosphere. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be a knobbly knees competition, but the setting of Dorset’s Lulworth castle has promised some medieval jousting at least. It’s a good example of this eclectic line-up on a site where you’re also likely to see the English National Ballet pirouetting their way past parcour displays.

The musical acts seamlessly bridge the generation gap without being too cheesy or ironic (although if you want some there is a Singstar karaoke event presided over by members of T’Pau and Bucks Fizz). Must-sees surely include festival favourite Billy Bragg, Madness and the inspired lunacy/genius of Lee Scratch Perry and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Other acts worth checking out include the funky horns of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Fall, James Yorkston, Field Music and Stornoway. Also, those hoping for a “Rolf Harris slot” will be pleased to see The Wurzels‘ unique brand of agricultural based cider-rock on stage.

For those who just want to dance their wellies off, the roster of DJs has a few gems worth catching. Joining Bestival mastermind Rob Da Bank are Mr Scruff, DJ Yoda, Jonny Trunk, Annie Mac, Mark Lamarr and the deadpan dub reggae brilliance of DJ Derek. Zero 7 are also booked and are promising a soul and bogie based set while DJ Swing Maniac looks set to spin some jazzy 78rpms on the wheels of steel for all discerning chaps and young fillies.

The comedy line-up is sure to provide more than a few laughs. Festivals are beginning to take comedy more seriously and comics are only too glad to use this as an opportunity to try out new material before the gruelling Edinburgh Fringe Festival. TV stalwarts Rufus Hound and Marcus Brigstocke put in appearances in a large line-up from which the musical comedy stylings of Mitch Benn should also prove to be a highlight.

The literary and poetry events are also worth checking out. Scroobius Pip can be seen slamming and also performing a musical set with Dan Le Sac. The novelists present include Richard Milward (Middlesbrough’s obscenely talented answer to Irvine Welsh) and London’s premier literary salon Bookslam will also get bookworm juices flowing. If that’s not enough there’s a series of workshops including Andrea Arnold‘s guide to making movies and William Orbit holding a master class on record producing.

All in all Camp Bestival promises to be one of the most relaxed and rewarding weekends away for everyone, and with such a wide menu of ear, eye and brain food there’s going to be many a joyous “hi-de-hi!” yelled from the castle’s ramparts before the weekend is through.

Camp Bestival takes place from 30 July to 1 August 2010 at Lulworth Castle, Dorset. Tickets and further information are available from

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