Why going to a festival isn't what it used to be (and that ain't a bad thing).

We are busy getting ready to go to Camp Bestival this week, with only 1 sleep to go as I write; eep! Set in the grounds of the gorgeous Lulworth Castle in Dorset, Camp Bestival is described as 'a multi-award winning festival that combines an all-encompassing family festival experience with an action packed camping holiday.' I'll level with you... I'm excited and anxious in equal measures.  You see, this is our first festival as a family and from what I can recall from previous festival experience (ahem... shall we say quite a few moons ago) it was NOT exactly family friendly.

Camp Bestival is the perfect mix of family fun and opportunities for parents to let their hair down.  I'll talk about our top picks a little further down, but for a little giggle, these are the differences I've picked up on during our prep for this fabulous weekend we have coming up.

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, and all that going to a festival entails now that I have kids. It has occurred to me just how different my approach is to 'festival prep' now, compared to when I was 18.

Packing:

 Back during the LBK years (life before kids) I would pack the following:

  • A tent, and a cheap one at that... disposable and probably the one on sale at Tesco with the words 'pop-up' in the title.
  • 3 or 4 'groovy' outfits to show off my pre-baby and youthful bod, regardless of the Scottish weather.
  • Lip gloss... it was very important to my look.
  • As much alcohol as I could carry.

That was pretty much it.

Oh how I chuckled whilst writing this.  The epic preparations I am undergoing to transport two small humans and a husband would have made the younger, less sleep deprived me drop her jaw in amazement.

My packing list looks more like this now:

  •   Travel cot
  •  Sleepyhead
  •  Food pouches
  •  Milk bottles
  •  Torches and batteries to shed light on any bumps in the night, which will invariably be Jonah rustling around in the tent either trying to escape, jump on Winter or climb into my sleeping bag.
  •  Fluffy the Sleep Sheep AND Ollie the Night Owl - one cannot simply bring one or the other!
  • Ear defenders for the kids (and maybe me in the evening)!

Ok, not exactly Rock Star material (which incidentally is the theme for this year and I'm still polishing off our outfits).

 What I've realised is that it's not about the festival not being family orientated, but the experience.  I am a very different person now than I was 10 plus years ago.  I am a Mama, a Wife and we are a family, and we enjoy things together and experience joy through each other.

The packing thing just shows how differently I approach going to a festival now, but it doesn't mean that I don't still enjoy having fun! That's why Camp Bestival is such a great way to enjoy a festival together, but caters for us all.

Accommodation

I touched on this briefly in the previous list.  Where I slept wasn't a priority at all, and I'm not saying that a tent is a bad option... I just know that for me, I like a little more comfort and luxury if I can get it.  That's why this year at Camp Bestival, we are staying with PodPads in one of their Bellepads.  Not only do we have camp beds and snuggly sleeping bags waiting for us on arrival (because I couldn't face having to cart/set up a tent with kids in tow) but it also gives us access to the boutique campsite.  This includes:

  • Upgraded toilets & washroom facilities
  • Extra security & reception area
  • Phone charge outlets
  • Tea & coffee stations

Um... yes please!

Staying wit Podpads puts my mind at ease when there are so many other things whizzing around in my head.  If the boys (or Mummy and Daddy) want to have a break from the festivities, we have somewhere to go that is comfortable and close to the action, with the benefits of grabbing a complimentary cuppa and charging my phone too!

 

Our top picks for bestival 2017

I am a woman with a plan... I want to make sure that we see as much as possible and experience the best the Camp Bestival has to offer.

Winter's picks (age 20 months)

If I were Winter, this is what I would like to do during the weekend.

  • Soft Play Tent (Under 5s) - Situated in the Lower Kids Gardenthe Under 5s Soft Play Tent provides little 'uns with fun-filled soft play mayhem. There wil be oodles of soft play with ball pools, ride on cars, slides, inflatable balls, hamster wheels, bouncy cows and loads more to keep your little ones happy for hours. 
  • mmmBOPP - An award winning, all action, creative music and movement programme designed for babies and children aged from birth up to 5 years. Multi-sensory, interactive classes including the use of brightly coloured toys, puppets, parachutes, scarves, ribbons, bubbles and percussion instruments.
  • Hey Duggee and the Cbeebies Magazine team! Situated in the Lower Kids’ Garden, the CBeebies magazine team will have amusements aplenty to keep tots entertained including adventurous colouring fun with Andy’s dinosaurs, and craft-based delights making Go Jetter masks & badges and CBeebies hairy headdresses. 

Jonah's picks (age 4 years)

There is just so much for kids, I don't know how we are going to fit it all in! I also think that just being there, part of the atmosphere will make a hug impression on us all, and hopefully will be something Jonah will remember for a long time to come.

 

Mummy and Daddy's picks 

Again, like the events for the kids, adults are spoilt for choice.  Whether watching amazing bands are your thing, enjoying live comedy acts or even just taking time out to get a holistic massage.

There are a few events that are at the top of out list, so here's the créme de la créme for Mummy and Daddy Howden.

  • Slow Motion Holistic Massage - yes yes and yes to this! 'The Spa massage – only better!  A therapist who responds to your lifestyle, your body, your feelings at the time of the massage and creates the best massage possible for you.  You may want a Swedish style flowing massage, or deep tissue work, to feel relaxed or rejuvenated.  Tell your therapist what you are looking for and feel the magic flow. '
  •  The Secret Mummies Wine Club is at the top my list, with Chris giving me a night off to go and enjoy some laughs with friends and a jolly good knees up with the fabulous Cherry Healy, Helen McGinn comedy Mums, The Scummy Mummies.
  • Leftfield performing Leftism 22 - Chris will be polishing off his glow sticks and waving them like nobodies business to this duo of our childhood, as well as some other awesome bands.  To see the full line up of bands here
  • The Literary Institute -  is Camp Bestival’s oasis of inspiration offering insight and entertainment throughout the weekend. Brimming with inviting sofas and cosy armchairs, sit back, relax and feed your mind with everything from Pop Stars & Rocks Stars quizzes to advice on doing what you love this July at Lulworth Castle. 

So that's it!  We cannot wait to make some amazing memories with Camp Bestival. Please keep an eye on what we are up to over on our Insta @mywinterandjonah throughout the weekend.  We can't wait to share it with you!

Chris, Karen, Jonah and Winter xxx