Editor of Bambino Goodies and Camp Bestival regular Lucy Davies digests the wealth of food and drink on offer
Forget your preconceived ideas of festival food (chewy burger and soggy chips, anyone?), as chances are you’ll be blown away by the range of food at Camp Bestival. The Feast Collective is a gastronomic oasis where you’ll be able to taste treats from the likes of CB stalwarts, the amazing Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen (her supper club is always a highlight), the brilliant DJ BBQ, and a wealth of street food from around the globe, taking in India, Spain, Louisiana, Mexico, Korea and Wales! There will be big communal tables as usual – we’ve got chatting to many a fellow festival-goer while lunching in this fashion. This year also sees the return of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with River Cottage Family Feasting, available to book for lunch or dinner in the Big Hat Tipi.
Away from the ‘foodie village’, the eating possibilities are almost overwhelmingly endless with something to satisfy even the fussiest palate. We tend to find a spot in the Lower Kids’ Garden for a takeaway picnic lunch – my two are big fans of the Cotswold Corn Roast corn-on-the-cob and Anna Mae’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese stalls, while I love (fellow Brightonians) Happy Maki’s vegan sushi. For small, particular toddlers, there are the staples of pesto pasta, fish and chips and margarita pizza widely available. There are plenty of spicier alternatives for more sophisticated palates – Dead Good Burrito, Holy Cow and Paelleria are all reliable.
For sweet toothed festivalites, there’s no shortage of puddings - crepes are always a winner and the queue for churros is often epic. I’m hoping that scorchio weather will mean my two will just be hankering after Yummy Lollies and ice cream.
Eating out for every meal as a family could get prohibitively expensive, so I’d recommend packing at least some food to make back at base camp – you can cook on a stove by your tent or barbecue in the fire lanes. We generally take pasta, sauce, baked beans, eggs, noodles, veggie sausages, rice, salad, bread, wraps, cheese, cereal, yoghurt tubes, lots of fruit and snacks packed in a cool box with ice and cartons of frozen milk. Our plan is usually to have breakfast at the tent, lunch at the festival, then back to the tent for tea and a quick change into warmer clothes for the evening. It all depends on the timetable, of course, and we often end up staying out for the duration.
If there’s one food tip I want to share it’s CARRY LOTS AND LOTS SNACKS. Seriously, take about double what the kids would normally eat. The combination or late nights, excitement and lots of walking can take its toll on little people and a well-timed banana, breadstick or handful of raisins can often help prevent an early-evening meltdown.
The NCT Baby Change tent has squishy sofas for breastfeeding in a calm, quiet(er) environment. I highly recommend it – we first took Kitty when she was five weeks old and some time out in there offered welcome respite from the heat and bustle.
Make sure you remember water bottles – you can refill them at points around the site.There are myriad coffee and hot drink stalls. Check out the awesome Girls Who Grind – who have a special Bestival Babes blend – for your morning cappuccino. Shaken Udder milkshakes are a big hit with little ones, as are the smoothie stalls. And, as you’d expect, the WI Tea Tent makes a mean cuppa (and amazing cakes and sarnies).
You are allowed to bring alcohol to the festival, but not into the main arena – you could be searched, but I have to admit I never have been (not that I would have any, of course!) Remember that there’s strictly NO GLASS allowed on site, so decant booze into plastic and recycle the bottles before you leave or bring cans or wine boxes.
There’s obviously no shortage of bars dotted around the arena, serving the delicious Bestivale – find them in The Feast Collective, the Castle Stage Field, the Magic Meadow and the Kids’ Gardens. The Jam Jar Bar, housed in a vintage caravan, is awesome for cocktails, while I’m looking forward to visiting Rob & Josie’s Gin Festival, new this year.
Coming up... Camp Bestival must-dos and must-sees and read part 2 of the Definitive guide too!
The Definitive Guide to Camp Bestival part 3 by Lucy Davies