Lulworth Castle

Camp bestival

A day before it all kicks off proper the party atmosphere had started Thursday night. Whilst walking around the venue in the dark it was hard to see just how far the campsite stretched but the lights seemed to go on and on, and while access to the main “field” was restricted, the eateries nearer the main campsites were open.

Since this reviewer was last at Camp Bestival the event has certainly grown, and appeared to be more family orientated – certainly some of the acts were holding back on the language used. Myself, I am not offended, but this festival certainly is aimed at families.

As the Friday kicked off the weather was very sunny, a total departure from the recent down pours.

I wanted to start the day with Mr. B. The Gentleman Rhymer, but fate conspired against me. This meant I started the day with In Search Of at the Big Top, a young band who are fusing rock, reggae, hip-hop, and some other flavours to produce a sound to call their own. They seemed to suffer from quiet/weak vocals, which I put down more to the acoustics than the actual vocalist. Soon after their performance I was off in search of ice-cream, I do not function well in British heat (same may say at all!) – thankyou Purbeck Icecreams!

Next up for me, and a good few hours later was Adam Ant and his posse. Now, I remember a lot of the hits when they first came out, and to see Adam bounce around the stage looking like Capt. Jack Sparrows’ British Uncle was quite amusing. However, after a weak vocal start, he warmed up and put on a great performance with a large crowd singing along. It was a great show, and one that made we wish I had seen him at Mr. kyps recently.

The closing act at the Castle Stage was Hot Chip who put on a great closing show leaving everyone on a high with their very infectious brand of pop/folk/synth music, accompanied by a great light show. I had never heard of Hot Chip, and was not preapred for what turned out to be some infectious tunes. There seems to be a growing fusion of styles from artists who, liking apparently disparate styles, have forged ahead to create their own.

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On Saturday morning I lazily made my way to The Castle Stage, only to find we were a little bit early and the crash barriers had only just been removed, as a sea, or rather a tidal wave of people flooded to the stage with chairs, pushchairs, and trailers. The first performance was the Gruffalo, but I think the mad rush was to get good seats for Mr. Tumble, who was able to evoke as much crowd response as any of the headline acts. I am happy to say I know none of his songs, unlike the few thousand people sat next to me!

With numerous acts on throughout the day, from the Castle Stage through to the bandstand and it’s folk sessions the Saturday was blessed with being slightly overcast. Making the weather more bearable, and the crowd appreciate of the cooler weather! There were many sights to see, everywhere was bustling with activity from the stages to the soft play and art areas. And apart from the odd crying child, everyone had a smile on their face.

Around the main stage on the Saturday was primarily a funk/disco feel, starting with “The Earth, Wind, and Fire Experience”, followed by Chic, featuring Nile Rodgers, and closing with “Kool and the Gang”. Everyone singing along to the hits, and who could probably have been heard across Lulworth! For a day that felt slightly more rleaxed the evenings line up left everyone in a great mood for the remaining late night shows. I managed to miss Neil Innes at the Ballroom, again another amazing talent who played recently in Bournemouth, and I regretted missing him then.

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Sunday seemed to show none of the previous nights excess, again everyone wearing a great smile on their face. With a slight bit a rain, which was refreshing. I started the day with Henry Rollins at the Big Top doing his spoken word, which is always an experience, as he is a remarkable individual who can eloquently talk about his life and experiences. A must see (listen?) if you get the chance.

Now, I am no prude, but there is always one or two acts that you wonder why they were picked, expecially when you are at a predominatly family orientated event. One such character is Scroobius Pip. Don’t get me wrong, he is a word-smith of tremendous dexterity and insight, not to mention humour. Stating he had been warned about his strong language, he promised to self edit as best he could, and was especially happy that one track only had 3 naughty words in it’s 5 minute duration. Either way, I am sure he was not to everyone’s taste, but what a great set. I managed to get to the barrier, and there was nothing but appreciation for him from the crowd.

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The Sunday turned out to be more of a spoken word day, as I caught Russell Kane talking about his new book at the literary tent. With his dark humour, and sometimes cutting observations, it was almost questionable about the material in front of such young ears, especially as the soft play tent was next door. But he was well received, and his book will be one I will try and get hold of once I have read through the mountain of books I have!

That evening the Festivals closing headline was the Happy Mondays. For which, by now, seemed to pull an older crowd, who loved their show, as Bez did his thing to tremendous crowd reactions. Now, the Happy Mondays are not my thing, and this was not helped by not being able to get close enough to the stage, and for those far back I think the sound quality dropped off. But the atmosphere did not suffer from this, as this must have been the most crowded the Castle Stage had been this weekend (perhaps with the exception of Mr. Tumble!).

The Festival closed with the highly anticipated firework display which was augmented with animated characters cavorting across the castle, all in an Olympic theme, coupled with such tracks as “Physical”, “Eye of the Tiger”, and “The Winner Takes It All”.

After the closing show, the other tents and stages carried on for those revellers who would not let go. With the Blues Brothers UK, and Rufus Hound being amongst some of the late night highlights.

All in all a cracking weekend. Probably too many acts to try and take in, especially if you are wrangling little ones, and keeping the Missus happy with a massage or two in the Healing area!!!

Crazy Golf, soft play, arts and crafts, massage, good food, and music, and great company. Next year? Already looking to reserve tickets!

Words, pictures, and sun-burn by Jon.

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