Tinie Tempah may have played the main stage on the previous day, but there were plenty of tiny tempers to be had at 6.41 am when it seemed that the whole campsite erupted in a dawn chorus of tantrums. Wisely, the children’s field was open early to calm down the little ones, but the rest of the site didn’t open until much later, leaving other punters to mill about in search of breakfast.
The second day was certainly a mixed bag with the changes to the line-up and some overruns having an impact on the music stages. Such changes to the programme were communicated well on site, but it was a crying shame to see such a large space as The Big Top going to waste for most of the afternoon.
The first blast of music arrived at midday on The Castle Stage in the form of The Lost Brothers and their soothing Simon and Garfunkel-esqe folk. Their gentle set did a great deal to gently ease any hangovers from the night before, but they would probably have been at home in a more intimate venue.
The Blockheads‘ appearance on the main stage gathered quite a crowd, but with the obvious absence of the late Ian Dury it all seemed a little forced and for nostalgic purposes only. Few bands can survive such seismic line-up setbacks and at stages it looked like the charismatic showmanship of Dury had been replaced with shouting everything into the microphone in the manner of a pub tribute band.
BBC Sound Of 2010 finalists Hurts had been moved to the Castle Stage later that afternoon. They seemed to perform well, although their electro-alt leanings might have seemed a little cold to a festival audience. The change in schedule meant a clash with Field Music, who are riding waves of acclaim at the moment for their latest eponymously titled album. Sadly this wasn’t enough of a pull for the audience and a meagre crowd had assembled. Despite the lack of crowd numbers their tight, angular, arty musings worked well and some would have been kicking themselves not to have caught the whole set.
Ellie Goulding then played to a packed crowd, but after a restless and scrappy afternoon something meatier than pop was needed. However, there followed an hour where the live music was halted out of respect to the castle’s chapel service – fair enough, but a little pointless considering the amount of noise created by thousands of families milling about.
The day began to turn a corner with the arrival of reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry. Those who hadn’t witnessed him live before were in for the treat of seeing the reggae legend in the flesh. However, after Mark E Smith and George Clinton the day before, the appearance of another largely incoherent legend might have been testing the patience of a few.
The Big Top stage was back on track and bursting at the seams with a blistering VJ set by DJ Yoda, and later another programme tweak arrived in the form of The Cuban Brothers performing a day early. Suddenly it was clear that the party atmosphere had arrived. Good tunes, comedy, elaborate dance routines (including a human keyboard) and outrageous accents put everyone in exactly the right mood for Madness, even if the sight of a stripped down to pants rendition of Lionel Richie‘s All Night Long made for a disturbing curtain call.
The Saturday headliners didn’t disappoint, with the castle grounds filled to the brim with happy fans and parents wanting to initiate their young into the cult of the nutty boys. It’s there that the heart of the festival was revealed; Camp Bestival is all about families coming together and sharing special moments. The rest of us were just as happy as our drunken singing of It Must Be Love echoed around the ramparts. The great evening line-up meant that everyone went back to their tents satisfied, even if overall the day’s line-up had felt a little disappointing.