As it turned into evening we headed back up the big hill again and the children shared a rather yummy pizza before we headed back to the castle stage area where I devoured a chilli and the children played with glow-sticks (we brought our own with us, much cheaper). We wrapped under blankets and waited for Kool and the Gang to hit the stage. We were right at the back so could see quite wall as the stage is kind of at the bottom of a slight hill but the sound didn't travel well which meant we could really only hear the music and bass and not the singing. We stayed for a few songs and then headed back as the children were cold and tired. The lights were out over the portaloos at the campervan field so we had to pee by the light of a glow-stick. I knew they'd come in handy.
|£10 pizza, very tasty too it was!|
On Sunday we decided to have a slow start and hung around the van to have brunch. When I say brunch, I mean tinned ravioli. I'm nothing if not sophisticated. We headed straight to Freesports Park which was definitely one of our favourite things. The children enjoyed watching people hurtling off huge ramps and I enjoyed the music being played. We spent along time here watching the Mountain bike and mountain board demonstrations which were really quite impressive! Think my son has decided that he would like to do this and thinks the tricks on the mountain bikes looks easy. Hmm, we'll see.
After lounging around there we headed to the Wall of Death. I've never been anywhere where the Wall of Death is free to get in which would explain the massive queues all weekend. There was no other way to tackle it than just get in the queue and wait. We were lucky and ended up right at the front of the queue, or end of the last queue if you like, and the children managed to get to the front and see the action really well. Both children loved it. My daughter was in awe of the lady rider as was Mr M I think... My son was just desperate to know if he could have a go on the bikes. He's 5. It's a Wall of Death. I swear he thinks can do everything!
Another star attraction on Sunday was Rolf Harris, which isn't surprising. I've seen him live before and he's very entertaining but unfortunately I thought the sound quality was rubbish and we could barely hear him so didn't hang around. We did our usual trip back to the van where I made some dinner before we wrapped up warm and had a walk around the Dingley Dell, which was quite frankly rather bizarre before pitching up to get a good spot for the big finale - the fireworks. The fireworks and light show didn't disappoint, the fireworks were amazing quality and the light projection show was entertaining, with an olympics theme. It was a lovely end to a lovely weekend.
Some thoughts. The negatives.
- The hills are a pain. Nothing can be done about it, but it did make going back and forth to the van a bit of a chore.
- The toilets. I think in comparison to other festivals, they are great but some of the ones nearer the festival were really quite grim and smelly but others were okay. It was a bit hit and miss.
- Rude people. I couldn't get over the rudeness and lack of manners that other parents show when trying to push themselves and their child forward for the best viewing point. Educated people that clearly should know better. By the end of the weekend I wanted to be as far away from other people as possible!
- Sound quality. I think the sound quality at the Castle Stage could be improved massively. I was surprised not to see more speakers in the field. It also seemed like for certain acts the sound was turned right up and then for others (Rolf Harris, The Gruffalo...) you could barely hear it.
The positives (of which there are many many more...)
- Good organisation. The event was extremely well-organised. The site was clean and tidy for the most part, there was something for everyone and it seemed well thought out.
- Food choice. My normal experience of festival food is a hot dog and chips. There was an amazing array of choice on the food front. Most of it was really good, some didn't quite hit the mark but on the whole there was variety and it wasn't really ridiculously priced.
- Atmosphere. There was a general happy, chilled out vibe. I didn't witness any trouble or grief and it felt safe. Certainly if I had teenagers I would have been happy to let them go off and explore.
- Variety. There literally was something for everyone, they had covered all ages and interests.
We didn't see everything there was to see, or do everything there was to do but I think we covered enough ground! There were things I didn't understand to start with - like why were children scavenging through the bins, and I totally didn't get the inflatable church thing. That went over my head. I would have liked to seen more of the adult comedy and go to the silent disco so may have to go back next year and take another family with us, so we could perhaps take it in turn to babysit.
Thanks to Camp Bestival for providing the passes. We had a really good time and enjoyed seeing everything the festival had to offer! It was made all the better by the glorious sunshine and beautiful setting. We may well see you next year!