Festival thoughts… Camp Bestival 2012

I just saw a poster for Camp Bestival and it looks like it’s morphed into some sort of invite-the-kids version of My School Disco or whatever those horrible club nights are when you dress up in school uniforms and dance to A-ha or some other load of horseshit from your youth.

Rob Da Bank has a great radio show that plays loads of interesting and exciting new bands and he loves music. Bestival has a great track record. Most people love it. Being playful is all well and good but Camp Bestival looks like it is really playing to the lowest common denominator 40something crowd.

When Da Bank launched CB he claimed it was because he wanted somewhere to take the kids (although some claimed he was just copying Latitude). That was a fine aim and there’s no reason not to add some wackiness (even though I hate that term) but would DJ Rob Da Bank really take his family to see this.

Now I love the Happy Mondays (but will they really be any good?) and can happily boogie to Kool & the Gang songs…but a whole set? And taken en masse with Chic and Rolf Bloody Harris and Adam Ant…. who was my first boyhood hero but that was at the age of nine!

It’s like some kind of terrible tribute show but with the real performers doing impressions of themselves. Hideous!

I went to the first CB and thought it was lovely. Coulda done with some more music but it was a nice size there was lots for the kids to explore and there was a relaxed vibe of families and non-families.

The second one grew hugely and grew badly I think. It added the kiddies’ TV brands and their play areas but lacked creative fun for the kids. It seemed like the whole of Clapham had moved in with the kids. The queues for the bars were terrible, which is pretty much the worst festival crime – I don’t remember the toilet queue scenario. I left on day two.

I presume that the Da Banks are charging all the big kiddies’ brands (Gruffalo, Shrek etc) rather than vice versa and if so, this is probably quite a good strategy for making money but it’s not a great strategy for compiling a great festival experience. As with all advertorial (sorry, I’m a journalist. It means adverts masquerading as editorial), the product suffers.

I suspect the festival will be a rip roaring success for a certain demographic, who like to relive their youth rather than exploring the new to live an exciting now. Fair enough, Bestival is a business. I just expected more of Rob Da Bank.


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