Lulworth Castle, a historic gem nestled in Dorset, played host to the grandeur of Camp Bestival’s 15th-anniversary celebration from 25th-28th July.

This four-day affair was more than just a festival; it was a harmonious blend of music, culture, and artistry set against the backdrop of England’s unpredictable yet charming weather.

As the festivities commenced, it was evident that this year’s Camp Bestival was set to be one of a kind. The opening act was nothing short of opulent. Grace Jones, ever the chameleon, enthralled with a series of sartorial shifts, each more captivating than the last. Sam Ryder’s astral-themed jumpsuit was a nod to retro-futurism, epitomising both nostalgia and avant-garde flair.

With the rise of the second day, a variety of artists graced the stage to a captivated crowd of mostly families with children, but a few gaggles of friends. Craig David’s TS5 set echoed in the air, a sonic treat for both the uninitiated and the aficionados. Icons such as Confidence Man, Melanie C, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor gave masterful performances, solidifying their timeless appeal.

In a whimsical twist, East 17 served up a slice of Christmas in mid-summer, a delightful incongruity that felt right at home in the festival’s tapestry of surprises. The younger attendees weren’t left out of the magic, with Mr. Tumble’s clandestine reading session evoking wonderment and joy.

Embracing the ‘Animal Snap’ theme, attendees showcased a tableau of exquisite costumes (mostly leopard print), each a testament to the beauty and diversity of our planet’s fauna. As Gok Wan, famed for his sartorial prowess, made a grand aerial entrance amidst a cascade of rose petals, it served as a reminder of the festival’s commitment to blending sophistication with entertainment.

The latter part of the festival was a holistic experience. The Slow Motion wellness area, with its serene ambience, provided an oasis for reflection and rejuvenation. The mesmerism of Cirque Bijou and the ethereal escapism of Caravanserai were testaments to the festival’s commitment to diverse entertainment.

Yet, it was the Fireworks Spectacular that truly marked the zenith of the festival. A symphony of lights, projections, and sound against the grandeur of Lulworth Castle, this spectacle was a sensory feast, curated impeccably to the rhythms of DJ Yoda.

For those already nostalgic about the Dorset extravaganza, whispers of Camp Bestival Shropshire from 17-20 August promise another rendezvous of elegance and exhilaration. With the likes of Rudimental, Primal Scream, and Groove Armada headlining, it promises to be an affair of unmatched grandiosity.

This year celebrates wildlife, with animal charity WWF on board as well. From badgers, owls, and hedgehogs, all the way through to sheep and deer, Camp Bestival is inviting campers to go wild at Weston Park this summer with an all-out, fancy dress free-for-all across the entire weekend. After the success of last year’s fancy dress extravaganza, radio legend and long-time friend of the festival Sara Cox will once again host and judge this year’s family fancy dress competition on Saturday 19th August.

Elsewhere in Shropshire, families can expect musical offerings across the festival site from pop royalty Melanie C, Badly Drawn Boy, CMAT, pop sensation Junior Andre, pioneers of death metal in the UK, West Midlands-born Napalm Death and alternative rock band Pop Will Eat Itself.

Pioneers of the wellbeing movement and curators of Camp Bestival, Josie and Rob da Bank are hugely passionate about the unique wellness activities on offer within the immaculate grounds of Weston Park and we can’t wait to indulge in what blissful escapism they have to offer.

Rob da Bank’s Sleep Retreat tent will include sessions from one of the country’s leading military mindfulness specialists Major Pat Burgess MBE and IO Project Sound Meditation created by DJ Goldierocks – all you have to do is lie down and let the sound wash over you. Festivalgoers can also enjoy the healing nature of meditative Sound Bath with Aaron Horn, Dream Big Teen Yoga with Rachael Wain, Kerry Anne Drake – Himalayan Hatha Yoga, as well as Meditation with festival curator Rob da Bank.

Speaking on Camp Bestival Shropshire, Camp Bestival curators Josie and Rob da Bank jubilantly said: “Well, we only went and started a new festival didn’t we!? So, we’re back for 2023 hoping to ramp up the levels even more from introducing a brand-new Camp fancy dress parade, raft building and loads of cool new little pop ups to mega pop stars and indie giants on the main stage.”

Sounds like our kind of festival… By Lavina Rose