Tag Archives: Blondie

Camp Bestival 2011 review: Primal Scream, Debbie Harry, Amy tributes and Guardian shoulder bags as far as the eye can see

We’re just back from Camp Bestival 2011. I meant to ‘live blog’ while we were there, but the phone reception at beautiful Lulworth Castle in Dorsetshire-by-Sea is non-existent.
Which means it is a pretty good place to host a load of tech-addled parents and their phone-addicted offspring in the first week of the school holidays.

Hi Di Hi! (reads the massive sign they're leaning on)

We’re seasoned festivalers now. Helped enormously by owning a knackered rusty Mazda Bongo campervan whose seats-which-are-meant-to-collapse-into-a-bed but refused to budge on the evening we arrived. We had severe camper-envy on the distant hill on which the campervans were precariously parked.

Camp Bestival is truly the mother of all family festivals. Created by DJ and Dad Rob Da Bank and his fellow festival-loving music media workers, who have an uncanny ability to book a seamless line-up of classic bands, up-and-coming musical wizards, intelligent speakers and kid-friendly entertainers whose appeal spans generations.

We came prepared. We had a Luggable Loo in the awning and a garden trolley to cart any tired children around during the evening. The campsites had opened on the Thursday this year to allow a more leisurely set-up.

We were ready.

Friday July 29 – Priorities: Food, Carl Barat, Jon Ronson, Labrinth, Blondie.

We encountered our first long walk of many long walks from tent to site, found food, the cleanest composting toilets, kept the kids away from the queues for the fairground rides and heard a little of Jon Ronson’s book talk. We tried and failed to find where everyone had got their bright yellow Screamadelica Guardian shoulder-bags.

Castle field view

We split up late afternoon, with me taking the smaller two of our four children back to the tent for a chill-out and food bribes, while Dad and the oldest two watched Labrinth.

Back at camp we could hear ‘Sunshine’ sung across the valley in the blazing hot weather. Lovely.

We packed jumpers and waterproofs into the trolley for the night run, and got a plum spot to watch ABC and then Blondie, who did a fantastic set. We tried to explain to our sons why so many Dads were staring misty-eyed at Debbie Harry: She was hot when your Dad was your age. Sooo hot. And she’s still got it.

We headed home to the van each night knowing we’d missed lots of shows more suited to adults in the comedy tent and the silent disco but we were grateful the kids stayed up happy enough for us to watch the headliners.

Rain on Friday night didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.

Saturday July 30 – Priorities: Find a Guardian bag, watch House of Pain, Mr Tumble, Mark Ronson, Groove Armada

What a day. A lazy breakfast and then down to see what was going on in the Castle Field.

Somehow we timed it perfectly to catch Dick and Dom getting thousands of children (and adults) to shout “Bogies” as loudly as possible.

"Daddy, they're singing my song"

Then to our three-year-old daughter Bonnie’s delight and bewilderment, the entire crowd sang “My Bonnie lies over the ocean.” Her song.

Perched atop Daddy’s shoulders, she then had a perfect view of the Zingzillas.

Her tiny mind was further blown when non-other than the iconic Mr Tumble took to the stage. And she didn’t bat an eyelid when Keith Allen wandered past with a pair of pants on his head. Best day EVER!

Back to the tent for half of us while the oldest boys were allowed a little free-rein to watch (running late) Miss Dynamite and Gentlemens Dub Club. We heard The Wonderstuff and Eliza Doolittle back up at the Hill.

Back down for a fat burger and chips, in time to feel the ground shake for House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around.’ Into position for Mark Ronson, who opened with Dave of the Zutons for his original rendition of Valerie, in tribute to Amy Winehouse. It was the first of two versions of the song by Ronson, who also included a cover of Winehouse’s awesome, melancholy ‘Back to Black’, performed by Charlie Waller of the Rumble Strips.

It was a scorching set by Ronson and the Business International and guests, including the Bike Song, Somebody to Love Me and Bang Bang Bang. And this wasn’t even the headline act.

We’d been looking forward to Groove Armada but technical hitches (lack of sound and the big screens) led to us getting bored and restless and heading back to camp.

But we did get a couple of bright pink Guardian bags that day. £1.50 for the paper and the bag came free! Bonus!

Sunday, July 31. Priorities: Find the corn on the cob van, walk the Dingly Dell trail, see Sound of Rum, Wretch 32, Katy B, Nero, Primal Scream and the fireworks.

By now, we’re all knackered from so much walking and so many late nights, but somehow all still positive. The kids had made friends with neighbouring kids on each side, and were happily kicking footballs at each other and clambering over better vans than ours.

In the morning run up to the site we spent £2.50 three times on identical copies of the Observer, just because we wanted the new bright green bags, emblazoned with Primal Scream’s anthemic song title ‘Get Your Rocks off.’

We had a wander and settled for lunch in the kids field to be treated to a troop of Indian dancers and acrobats doing daring deeds and telling a sad traditional story of a princess and her suitors.

Pauline Black and The Selector were Ska-ing up the main stage with relish, and we settled into our tried and tested spot to the right of the stage for Wretch 32. Only a short set, including an out-of-character cover of a Script song. He pulled it back with storming versions of Unorthodox and Traktor.

Katy B's in there somewhere, rubbish photo

Newly orange-haired Katy B, who was the breakthrough act at Glastonbury, proved her vocal dexterity with an energetic set including Easy Please Me, Katy on a Mission and Perfect Stranger.

We’d have liked her to do more, and she could have, because dubstep duo Nero were a no-show, having already had their place in the pecking order elevated. Bah, losers.

Their slot was stirlingly taken on by beatboxer extraordinaire, Beardyman (who as far as we could see had no beard). A sublime set, clever lyrics and amazing visuals. Son 2 turned to his Dad and said: “You have to buy his album, so I can nick it off you.”

Then it was the big one. What we’d all been waiting for, either to reminisce about life before kids to the soundtrack of the Screamadelica album in full (us) or see what all this Primal Scream fuss was about (the kids).

What a soaring, hands-in-the-air, Bobby Gillespie rock-god worshipping experience it was. By the time they reached ‘Come Together’ it was as though the whole field could solve all the worlds’ problems just by singing. Incredible. The kids totally got it. Eldest son hasn’t taken off the t-shirt which cost him all his weekend cash.

Settling in for Primal Scream

The evening, and the festival, was topped off by a truly awesome fireworks display from the top of the castle, which had animation projected into it while a booming soundtrack accompanied the visuals.

The kids were still buzzing with excitement by the time we got back to the tent (Bonnie was asleep in the trolley on the way back). Our airbed may have acquired a puncture but we slept well, and when it came time to try to get the seats back into postition to pack the van and drive home, they slid into position effortlessly. Obviously good karma.

Mr Da Bank is, we agreed, a Top Bloke for putting on the best Camp Bestival yet (and we loved the previous ones too). Many thanks to all who came together to make it a festival experience to remember.

No fallow year either: next year’s Camp Bestival is already scheduled for Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012. Book early!

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We’re all going on a festi-holiday

SEEING as we’re all skint, and booking an overseas family holiday seems a thing of the past, we’ve started planning this year’s Festi-Hol.

Blessed with an oversized family and an ageing Bongo campervan, our trips away in recent years have included one of my big dislikes – camping.

However, throw me at a festival and somehow the discomfort and hassle seems to lessen. Slightly.

Add a few bottles of cider and some brilliant live bands at sundown and I’m yours for the duration. I’ll even bring my own supernoodles.

The mother of all family festivals is Camp Bestival in Dorset, which drew us in a couple of years back with promises of Mr Tumble, Zane Lowe and Florence and the Machine.

Combining the weekend with a few days exploring beautiful Dorset from a windy campsite, we felt we’d killed two birds with one stone. The kids slept in a tent, played on beaches and ran around at a festival being either cool and detached, arty and dancy, or just watching mesmerised from the comfort of a pram (depending on their age).

This year we’re tempted back to Camp Bestival as they appear to have booked headline acts specifically with us in mind: Blondie, Primal Scream, Mark Ronson, Wrench 32, Katy B, the Gruffalo and Mr Tumble. Add in the skatepark, comedy tent, zoo in the woods and fellow families-in-the-same-boat, and it’s already sounding better than a week in Majorca.

If you’re nervous of festi-holling with kids, then do your research. We used to do the festival circuit regularly pre-parenthood, and some we’d avoid. While Glastonbury does cater well for families, it is dauntingly huge. V, Reading and Leeds are not really aimed at a junior audience, and you tend to see more than you bargain for at the more rock or dance music festivals.

Some of the family festivals offer payment plans, but charge extra for boutique camping, parking and camper passes.

If you don’t have a campervan, the festival experience isn’t too hideous. You can park up and transfer all heavy tent stuff to a pull-trolley (most festivals will hire you one), and the toilet facilities are much, much better than they used to be.

As long as you’re prepared to carry a few packets of tissues and wash with wet-wipes for a couple of days, sleep badly, eat far too many chips, and bribe your children with over-priced ice-creams, it’s a great experience. There’s so much to see, as well as people-watching the wild dressing-up outfits and the Boden-clad Yummy Mummies who get their nannies to watch the kids while they pretend to like poetry.

Finish your weekend with a visit to Monkey World or the Tank Museum, and a festi-hol can tick more boxes than your average family trip ever could.

Family-friendly festivals for 2011

Larmer Tree, July 13 – 17, near Salisbury. 5 days £197 adult, £158 aged 11-17, £127 5-10, day tickets available. Line-up Joolz Holland, Imelda May, Seasick Steve, Asian Dub Foundation.

Camp Bestival – July 28-31, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, Adult £170, Ages 11-17 £85, under 11s free, Line-up Blondie, Primal Scream, Laura Marling, Mark Ronson, ABC, Katy B

Womad, July 29-31, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, £135, £70 aged 14-17, under 13s free. Line-up: Very much world/jazzy

Guilfest July 15-17, Stoke Park, Guildford, £120 , aged 12-15 £70, under 12s free. Line-up Razorlight, James Blunt, PIL, Peter Andre and Erasure

Beautiful Days, August 19-21, Devon, adult, £110, 14-17, £60, under 14 £30. Line-up Big Audio Dynamite, Cater USM and founders The Levellers

Latitude, July 14-17, Beccles, Suffolk, Adult £170, £5 for 5-12 year olds. Line-up, The National, Suede, Paolo Nutini, Waterboys, OMD, Paloma Faith

Bestival – September 8-11, Isle of Wight, £170, aged 13-15 £85, under 13s free. Line-up The Cure, Primal Scream, Magnetic Man, Grandmaster Flash, loads more names

Shambala, Aug 25-28, Kelmarsh, Northants, £119, 15-17 years £79, 5-14 years £29, under 5s free, no names, no advertising, no sponsors, good fun.

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