Monday, 30 July 2012

Camp Bestival 2012 - 10 Things We Learnt (A Review)

Rob Da Bank’s warped but wonderful brainchild, the family friendly Camp Bestival pulled out all the stops this weekend as the festival at Lulworth Castle, Dorset turned itself into something akin to a huge village fete with Hot Chip, Rizzle Kicks and The Happy Mondays being amongst the house bands. Breaking More Waves was in the thick of it, tweeting for The Guardian (see here), liberally applying sun block (yes a UK festival with no mud) and DJing the Silent Disco on Friday night, which as we pumped the set up with everything from Azealia Banks to Nirvana had an atmosphere more akin to a rock gig than a disco, complete with stage invasions, moshing and crowd surfing. Best festival of the summer so far? We think so. Here’s our Camp Bestival 2012 review, or rather 10 things we leant about the festival…

1. Good Music Is Important At Festivals, But It's Everything Else That Makes Them Truly Great.

It was the ‘everything else’ that made this the perfect weekend. The long overdue British summer finally arrived with scorching weather, an aesthetically remarkable site was rammed with an abundance of beauty  - hundreds of flags, bunting, lights, colourful sunshades, hand created artworks and of course a castle, there were clean toilets, a chilled (and child) friendly atmosphere, well planned infrastructure, plenty of camping space and so much other entertainment for all ages that it was impossible to see and do everything from literature talks, comedy, dare devil wall climbing motorbikes, silly sports, old fashioned fairground rides, crazy golf, watching jousting, comedy, theatre and much more.

2. Delilah Doesn't Sweat

Despite the heat, Delilah sported a tight fitting leopard print catsuit for her main stage set early on Friday afternoon. Several dads and teenage boys suddenly seemed to get very excited at this. Yet the woman must be ice cream cool, because as hard as we looked (probably a bit too closely) we couldn’t see one tiny underarm sweat mark at all.

3. B & Q Probably Sold Out Of Pull Along Trolleys Last Weekend

At night the main stage area at Camp Bestival was bumper to bumper with pull along trolleys packed with duvets and sleeping kids. In what appeared to be a game of one upmanship every trolley seemed to be decorated in a more and more elaborate style, from twinkling fairy lights to union jack flags, to a fairy palace. The gold medalist however surely has to be the trolley decorated as the Olympic Stadium.

4. Jamie N Commons – Great Music – Bad Hat

Every picture we’ve seen of this impressively good blues / rock / folk singer shows him wearing this hat. In real life he wears it as well. It’s not a good look. But maybe it’s to hide his long, limp and terribly languid haircut. It doesn’t matter how great your music is, it’s a well-known scientifically proven fact that to be a commercially successful musician, your fans have got to want to run their fingers through your hair. Chris Martin of Coldplay got his curly mop cut shorter and sexier and instant fame arrived and let’s face it, irrespective of what you think of her music, we bet you’d like a swish through Katy Perry’s mane. This explains why Commons was playing to a Big Top that was less than half full at Camp Bestival. Great music. Bad hat. Bad hair.

5. Most (But Not All) Parents Fall Into A Stereotype

The core audience of Camp Bestival (parents and their under 10's) settled by the main stage with their picnic blankets and pull along trolleys, hungry to lap up nostalgia with Chic, Adam Ant and The Happy Mondays. Don’t think that this was a 100% genteel ‘no sex we’ve been married for twenty years’ audience though - we also noted a number of kids with t-shirts proclaiming that their dad was single / divorced – hinting perhaps that the free love spirit of the 60’s was still alive at Camp Bestival only using different channels to make itself known.

But some parents took the challenge and investigated the new or newer; the Bandstand provided sublime and well received sets from The Slow Show, Jenny O, and Gabrielle Aplin. Irrespective of the mums and dads Aplin in particular pulled a large crowd of teenage girls hinting that with a major label deal now in place she’s going to be one to watch in 2013. Certainly her acoustic based music has depth and quality and her voice a purity that suggests this may be the case.

6. Artists Love A Cover Version At A Festival

During the weekend we saw Adam Ant do Get It On, Stooshe cover TLC, Delilah take on James Blake, Hot Chip play Fleetwood Mac’s I Want To Be With You Everywhere, Gabrielle Aplin sing Bob Dylan, Rizzle Kicks (who performed to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend) knock out a whole host of covers including the James Bond Theme, Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes and Lovin’ Spoonful’s What A Day For A Daydream, Duke Special play Love Will Tear Us Apart and Video Killed The Radio Star, Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo singing Neil Young, The Slow Show doing Springsteen’s Born To Run (streaming below), Lianne La Havas performing Scott Matthews song Elusive, and Ren Harvieu caressing The Beatles Something.

7. Open Up Your Arms By Ren Harvieu Is A Thing Of Potent And Emotive Beauty

We shed a little tear during that one. If we could marry her music we would.

8. How To Keep A Festival Site Clean And Tidy

Make half the audience children. Charge 10p return on all plastic glasses and cans. Watch the adults throw them on the floor. Watch the children in true green entrepreneurial spirit pick them up, bagging themselves a fortune in refunds. Who needs employed litter pickers?

9. Druids Don't Bake Their Own Bread

Early on Thursday evening Breaking More Waves found itself somehow involved in some sort of of druids opening ceremony of the festival. Thankfully this didn’t involve stripping naked and making love to a tree, but did involve chanting, mead drinking and eating bread handed out by a druid lady. Disappointingly the bread looked like it was a loaf from Tesco rather than something she’d crafted with her bare earthy hands.

10. The One Word We'd Use To Describe Camp Bestival 2012 is...

Magical. More than any other festival we’ve been to this year, Camp Bestival really does create an enchanting world to escape to for a weekend, where you really can put real life on the shelf for a while and forget the stresses and demands of modern living. The festival of 2012, maybe not so if you're a teen or twenty something looking to get your rocks off and be seen to be cool by your peer group, but for anyone else, as we said, magical.

The Slow Show - Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

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