Camp Bestival is, hands down, the best festival you can go to if you want to take kids. As someone who use to tour with bands married to someone who still tours with bands, we generally avoid festivals for ‘fun’ like the plague. It’s the ultimate bus man’s holiday but this year we decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. It didn’t all go to plan but, much like childbirth, I’m already forgetting the pain and remember nothing but an amazing experience that I’m already looking forward to doing again next year.
First up was tent-gate. Initially we were gifted a bell tent with all the furnishings which fell through at 4.30pm the night before we were due to leave just as my back went into spasm. There were tears. Fortunately, one of Jimmy’s old friends offered to lend us her ten man tipi tent. So, a £60 uber later, I was the proud owner of a fancy tent and raring to go. My back was still fucked by the diazepam was kicking in and frankly, that was helping my mood too.
Secondly, we got there and the weather was sketchy. Really, really windy. I’m no expert but I do know that putting a tent up in gale force winds is always going to be tricky. There were tent poles snapping everywhere we looked, canvasses ripping and tempers fraying. I was on my own for the first night so I strapped my youngest into the car seat and left the eldest with a friend who had cleverly got her tent up earlier.
Only to discover that Jimmy’s friend had neglected to include the tent poles. At this point it was 8pm, I was homeless, a storm was brewing, I was on my own with a toddler and a baby and my sense of humour had well and truly left the building. There were more tears. Fortunately, Emma from Ladyland took me into her tent, sat me down, gave me a cider and told me it would all be ok. I decided to believe her and once my work-wife’s tent was up, there was a spare room and we all piled in.
It wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve had but we weren’t homeless so that was a bonus.
The next evening my husband turned up with strict instructions to bring a fucking brilliant tent. There was to be none of this £100 business from Argos. I wanted a decent tent that cost a fortune that would, for the first time in two days, ensure that me and my kids were going to be warm and dry. I promised him we would make our money back. I promised him we’d go camping every chance we got to make it worth while. I promised him a blowjob every day for a week.
(I’m yet to deliver on any of those things but it’s the thought that counts).
By Saturday morning, things were looking up. We’d been dry, comfortable and slept well. The kids had slept through and we were armed with a wagon to drag them around in, a shed load of booze and a optimistic temperament. Then, at 10am it started to rain. And it didn’t stop. For 17 hours straight, until 3am the next morning, the rain poured from the sky without stopping. By the evening the wind was destroying almost every tent we could see and despite our best efforts, we gave up. I was in bed by 8.30pm, before the baby, and I slept through until 7am. It was probably one of the best night’s sleep I had.
Sunday was better. The sun shone, the festival raged on. The mud was thick and gloopy but fun and the line up was promising. I mean, who doesn’t want to stand in a muddy field and catch Right Said Fred singing Deeply Dippy before heading to the Prince tribute tent to watch your three-year-old dance around in a gold leotard, welly boots and angel wings? Both kids slept through an AMAZING set by Reginald D, Hunter (which is probably a good thing considering the language) and then we headed to see Leftfield headline.
The kids danced until they fell asleep on their feet help up only by the mud they were slowly sinking into. The babies slept through Leftfield courtesy of ear-defenders and the cosy Baby Bjorn carriers they were packed into. The adults relived their youthful days while they handed out glowsticks and bubbles and danced with their children.
Yes, the weather meant that our spirits, our marriage, our patience, our enthusiasm were tested but eventually, Camp Bestival won and I”m counting down the days until next year…where at least I know we’ll have a tent that works.