THERE’s no escaping the fact that Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle is aimed squarely at families. Far from being the encumbrance to hedonism that you’d imagine, there’s a world of fun to be had together (in a sober and parentally responsible way of course).

Come rain or shine, it’s a pop-up city that’s firmly nestled in the rolling Purbeck hills. A stay-cation holiday for hard-working families who either pull-up or pitch up from Thursday to Monday morning. Rest assured, the little darlings don’t have to endure standing in front of the main stage for long while you dad dance to 1980s and 90s bands, as there’s a mind-blowing array of events to keep everyone entertained.

So with an eager six year-old in tow, these are our seven Camp Bestival 2018 highlights:

1. The festival/camping experience – For most children and teeny-boppers, this will be their first taste of festival life. Living cheek by jowl with 25,000 strangers means you have to socialise and interact as a community.

You’re also living outdoors away from home comforts. Making friends, bonding with family and sharing memories.

It’s easy to see why some families hardly leave the camping area for the bright lights of the festival.

2. Mr Tumble – For the uninitiated, Mr Tumble aka Justin Fletcher is a colossus of children’s TV. The star of cBeebies incorporates Makaton symbols into his show Something Special and is a major festival draw.

Commanding a packed Castle Stage at midday on the Saturday, Mr Tumble and his dancers raised the crowd in unison with singalong favourites such as The Hokey Cokey, The Music Man and Let’s Go Fly A Kite. Leading his own rendition of the signature tune to Something Special, Mr Tumble revealed this was his twelfth Camp Bestival. The man’s an institution.

3. The Insect Circus – You want quirky attractions, then you’ve come to the right place. Forget the world’s biggest bouncy castle, the 50ft sperm whale or the weddings in the inflatable church.

No, if you want the downright bizarre then it’s the twice daily showing of the Insect Circus. This magical menagerie is a show like no other – I won’t ruin the surprise but the wiggling wasps and ants are something to behold.

4. Nautical fancy dress – If you’re not expelling glitter from your ears or nostrils for a month after Camp Bestival, then you’re doing it wrong. Fancy dress is the law for the Saturday, so don’t be a curmudgeon and get involved.

This year had a nautical theme and the kids loved it. With several aquatic parades throughout the day, you can join the procession and march around the festival with fellow mariners. Some amazing home-made creations.

5. Embarrassing your children – The opportunities for mum and dad to make the children wince are many. Whether it’s mum screaming along to Rick Astley on the main stage or dad throwing some shapes to the DJ’s in the Bollywood tent.

Parents can let their hair down and for most of the time it works very well.

6. Know your audience – No matter how young at heart you feel, always remember that this is a family festival. Over the years, I’ve seen a few headline acts forget this with a bit of flowery language on the main stage. This year was the turn of Pop Will Eat Itself who choose to close their afternoon slot with the less than family-friendly track, Their Law. The refrain of “**** the law” reverberating around the castle ramparts, as panicked parents scrabbled for the ear defenders.

7. Whatever the weather – You just can’t predict it. While we may have arrived to fields of sun-scorched grass, we left lashed by the wind and rain. Thankfully there was always plenty of shade and shelter, with free water taps dotted around the festival site. After all, nothing truly bonds the family like pulling together to do battle with the elements over a long weekend. More than a music festival and offering so much on our doorstep, we’ll be back next year for dad dancing and glitter.

Patrick Gough