We’re a funny lot, us Britons. Scent of a cock up and we’re in like Flynn. How we relished the comforting predictability of a penalty shot out exit from the Euros, the Jubilee would have been pretty good if it hadn’t been for the damp squib of a water pageant and the Duke going down with a bladder infection. As for the Olympics, well…
But hang on, for all the pre-Games angst about G4S, trademark cops and legacy, the opening ceremony snatched a home draw from the jaws of defeat – even Paul McCartney being a bit rubbish couldn’t spoil it.
Riding the euphoria of that Olympic opening weekend, what could possibly go wrong for Camp Bestival? In truth, not a lot. The sun shone all weekend on Britain’s nicest festival as 30,000 people had a ball in the shadow of Lulworth Castle.
It all started on Friday afternoon with a shot of olde English dissent as hoary troublemaker Keith Allen presented his anti-Olympics opera Will Cliff Be There? Accompanied by former Black Grape rapper Kermit and others, Keith gave the Olympics great balls of ire, imagining how the torch had sucked up the anger of a nation before laying waste to the Olympic Stadium and forcing the Games to be played out on school fields and village greens. Unknowingly it foreshadowed Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, which rather softened Allen’s thunder, but was a laudably audacious attempt to go against the grain.
Adam Ant, on the other hand, is bidding to get right back in the grain with his resuscitated pirate act and a new band, The Good, The Mad & the Lovely. He gives it loads, trots out the hits plus a bonus Get It On and gets off on a genuinely affectionate reception. A trouper to be sure.
Saturday brought a best of the Bestival set from Nile Rodgers’ current incarnation of Chic (the disco auteur had been just as gripping in conversation in the Little Big Top earlier) that topped a day’s merry making in the sunshine. Mr Tumble had kicked off the main stage, Rizzle Kicks had thrilled their young devotees, Jimmy Cliff reliably jollied up grown ups, the Cuban Brothers’ off-colour gags made the parents wince, knights jousted, the Insect Circus acrobats astounded all and everything stopped for the Chapel service.
Sunday was noticeably quieter all round, but Lianne La Havas did her best to raise spirits, Rolf Harris did his best to be heard as the wind stole most of his set and carried it off towards the Purbeck hills behind, a couple got sort-of married in the chapel, Russell Kane read his book out loud,The Moonflowers gave their all to a sparsely populated Big Top and Happy Mondays huffed and puffed their way through a closing set that, for all the piquant recollections it triggered was pretty short on the bite, bile and sneer that once made them roar.
And if there was any doubt, the rapturous reception reserved for the closing fireworks and animation extravaganza projected on the Castle walls confirmed gazing at the sky through rainbow eyes has long since lost its appeal.
Indeed, bills, frills and mortgage payments replaced pills, thrills and bellyaches years ago, but the continued success of Camp Bestival clearly testifies it’s great when you’re straight. Yeah!
Early bird tickets are already available for next year’s Camp Bestival (August 1-4), with new payment programmes that mean adult tickets can be bought for £5 a week.
Details at www.campbestival.net
To view more photos and video of the closing fireworks, visit www.seekernews. co.uk/bestival2012
By Nick Churchill, Seeker.uk.com
Editor’s comment By Steve Cook
￼The last time I went to a festival (Glastonbury 1998) I was so badly traumatised by the Somme-like experience that I avoided them like the plague for the next 14 years. So what better re-introduction than the unlikely setting of Lulworth Castle for the fourth Camp Bestival and as apt as the name is, it could also go by the moniker of Famfest, Kidfest or even Funfest.
I can’t think of a more family friendly way of introducing your kids to festivals than soaking up the sunshine, some good- time music and all manner of oddities in
the grounds of a Dorset castle.
OK, so Rizzle Kicks ignoring fans backstage was unnecessary but meeting Dick and Dom and Rolf Harris were great for the kids; my eight-year-old daughter, Sadie, even felt moved to thank Camp Bestival founder Rob da Bank personally for the weekend.
The moment perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the event that brought 30,000 folks to a small corner of Purbeck – more than enough to give Wareham a very happy Monday as Campers drifted away he morning after Shaun Ryder’s mob had closed the weekend.
Incredibly, Seeker News has received reports of businesses less than happy with all the extra trade. It’s not as if the area isn’t used to tourists. For all that they import their audiences, I fail to see how festivals such as Camp Bestival, Purbeck Folk, Swanage Blues, the End of the Road and the Larmer Tree can be anything but good news for their host communities.
Too much like hard work? You’re twisting my melons man!