Is Camper Calling Festival 2020 for you? What to expect and what to NOT expect!
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Kids getting in the way of having a good time? Do you or your mates have kids and you never get to party together anymore? Looking for something fun for ALL of the family?
Camper Calling delivers. It is a festival for everyone.
Think kid-friendly, adult weekender.
Ok, I am a self-confessed party animal and I don't have kids myself so my Camper Calling experience is of course a little less 'responsible' to those around me tending to their offspring. And cheaper I might add! But despite not having, or wanting, kids of my own I still love this family festival. I get to party with my friends and family- a majority party animals too- for a long weekend and best of all, spend time with my younger sisters and cousins.
I have been to Camper Calling every year since it began in 2015. Five years on and our original 8 has continually grown to a festival family of over 40 descending in 2019. Our ages range from 3 to 70-odd and everyone is entertained. The kids hangout together whilst the adults drink and party. Everyone keeps an eye out for each other and we take it in turns to oversee any activities the younger ones might want to do throughout the day.
Camper Calling has an awesome atmosphere and perfectly combines a kid friendly environment with adult entertainment, making it ideal for friends, families and couples with kids. Or without! I would recommend this festival to both camping veterans and newbies alike.
The vibe is fab, we always have a laugh and I am writing this Camper Calling 2020 blog with brilliant memories of some absolutely crazy friends, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins in mind!
Camper Calling 2020 is for you if...
1. You love to party. And you've got kids. Or you haven't got kids.
2. You're looking for a fun-loving and friendly festival vibe.
3. You want to create wicked memories with your friends and family.
4. You have an interest in camper vans, camping and motor homes.
5. You want to experience a festival or try out other festivals.
What to expect from Camper Calling 2020.
LOADS TO DO-
If you want to that is! Every year I look at what is on offer and swear I'll try salsa, hip-hop classes, drumming, the lot. And every year I don't! But there is an action-packed agenda happening daily across a number of tents and spaces including all manner of dance and artistic workshops, story-telling and tours of Ragley Hall.
There's every reason to miss out though. I favour the music line-up and chatting with my dad and family, getting drunk and dancing around.
We 'set up camp' on the main field (good view of the Lakeside stage and near enough to bars and toilets) then if and when we want, go off in groups exploring the other stages and areas.
Our older kids hang around the fair and park, the younger ones play together and a group of them tried canoeing this year. We watched for a bit (not on 'adult' duty) and they were loving it. There's also an annual boat race and we entered a men's and a women's team- we females made it to the reserve list but never got called up. Shame, we were definitely raring to go for that!
Expect plenty to keep everyone entertained- even if that's just chilling, people-watching and enjoying the music!
Camper Calling might be a 'family festival' but it has always delivered on the music front. Expect a mix of genres (dance to ska to pop to reggae) from mainstream, new and classic artists- all delivering quality performances. Artful Dodger first featured in 2017, it was early-ish on the Friday or Saturday but the sun was blazing, the main field full of families basking and chilling. I was mildly excited being a massive garage fan and when he opened with Monsta Boy I was on my feet in seconds, flooded with teenage nostalgia. He went on to absolutely NAIL IT and the whole field went mad to his set.
He returned with roaring success in '18, despite the shite weather and by 2019 his loyal following demanded he be booked again. The organisers even April Fools-ed us into believing he couldn't perform. Ha. This year (2019) Artful Dodger headlined on the Friday night. He owned the stage and even crowd-surfed! I can't help but wonder what Artful Dodger must think of this niche and adoring fanbase of families! Who knows if he will return for 2020?
The Stickmen also made my weekend. In '18 they played in the dance tent and this year hit the mainstage. I couldn't wait and I was not disappointed. They were IMMENSE. Teamed with the glorious summery evening I could have actually been in Ibiza.
Thrill Collins and Gypsy Unit are really worth watching out for. They blew us away. And we also absolutely LOVED: Baked A La Ska, Lucy Spraggan, Eliza and the Bear and Beans on Toast so watch out for these returning.
Skunk Anansie hit the stage on Sunday night this year ('19). Just WOW. We rocked out so hard. Every act offered something so different and brilliant. The kids can party alongside the adults. Or they can roll their eyes in mortification and hang around elsewhere, 'looking cool'. What do they know? The great thing about Camper Calling is raving like a looney and looking around at other families going just as wild. There are kids on shoulders, boogying and plenty fast asleep and tucked away in trolleys or even just piled on a blanket in the middle of the adults dancing around them. I love the sense of parents and families wanting to let their hair down, even with kids in tow! Expect to do just that.
A GOOD OLD KNEES UP!
As you might have already gathered I love to drink at a festival (and in general, yes). I think most of the adults would agree 'having a piss-up' is also high on their agendas and Camper Calling is a judgement free environment. You can have a cider for breakfast. You can also take your booze everywhere onsite (just no glass) so invest in a trolley to lug around supplies. Plus kids can be conveniently stashed for naps throughout the day and night, ha, everyone does it! There's a choice of bars and drinks vans if you fancy something cold and tasty. I go to Camper Calling with my brother, Jay and this year ('19) I bought along Glasto-Gem so she could experience a different festival to the legendary Glastonbury.
(Check out my Glasto blog!) We all rate Camper Calling and in the nicest possible way, the kids don't 'get in the way' of having a party because they're part of it. It's perfect for families and friends who want to get together and have a wicked time with the kids around too. Camper Calling, if you want it to be, is one big party from start to finish.
A HAPPY, FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE-
Every year I have ended up chatting with somebody new and Camper Calling really does attract all-sorts. Lots of families get fully into the festival swing with glitter hair, sequinned faces and fancy dress. This year we made 'tutus' our theme for Saturday. There is a really good vibe around Camper Calling so expect to be smiling from start to finish.
Camper Calling is held in the large grounds of the stunning Ragley Hall. There is a huge lake and some lovely views. This year ('19) the weather was excellent and some of us witnessed beautiful sunrises- yes, mine by happy accident since getting up early for a wee.
SHOPPING AND FOOD-
There are plenty of opportunities for kitting out camper vans and tents with choices of flags, rugs, awnings, interior fixtures and other accessories. In 2015 eight of us shared 3 tents and camper vans were only discussed with stall owners and other festival-goers. Me and Jay still rock up in that original tent but now benefit from the investment made by Dad and Bec (and the others who now own vans) so expect you might catch the camper van bug!
I'm not really a shopper but there is a good choice of stalls. Jay bought a trilby, as always, Gem bought silver rings, (also a die-hard habit) and this year we got our Nanna's birthday present (a pretty, spinny thing for the garden). There's vintage and festival clothes stalls, funky ornaments, sunglasses, artwork and more.
For the foodies, there is a fab choice. I recommend Buddha Belly- their curry, Thai fries and crispy chicken are all DEVINE. And Street Chef Halloumi Fries- HALLOUMI FRIES...
ALL THE JOYS OF CAMPING-
The toilets are cleaned regularly and considering porta-loos are pretty grim in general, they're amongst the best I've experienced. There are a number of camping areas to choose from including VIP, accessible, chilled out and family orientated. All have a noise curfew of 10pm allowing those who value their sleep a chance to recharge for the next day. We have always stayed in 'As You Like It' since we like an 'afterparty' back at camp and although the curfew here is midnight, a couple of parties tended to continue until 2am (and later maybe...). There are nice shower blocks in this area too although they do get really busy so use them early.
Camper Calling is geared toward the 'camping' experience with lots of people pitching up in camper vans and motor homes. We were fine in a tent although our group having good set-ups is a bonus. Cooking is allowed with some basic rules to follow. There are lots of stalls to improve your camping lifestyle. Plenty of people there travel in and live from vans, from experts to those still experimenting, who will happily chat and share experiences.
You can save money by cooking/ eating at camp and your own alcohol can be taken into all areas- fab (just no glass). Plus a majority of the entertainment is free (booking fees apply for some workshops/ activities- check out the website). Expect festival prices for food and drinks (£5 a pint, £7+ cocktail, £5-£10 meals). But also expect to be rinsed by your kids! The fair is alluring and I know families spent a fortune equipping their offspring with spendo. There are also fairground stalls such as Hook-a-Duck, knick-knack stalls (think fidget spinners and squdgies), festival hair and make-up, sweets and slushy stands. All in all an explosion of desire for our under-sixteens.
ORGANISATION AND EASE-
Camper Calling is well-equipped and does a good job keeping crowds safe and happy. Vehicles are driven right up to where you camp making set-up and storage so much easier. Entrances are colour-coded and clearly marked reducing queuing times.
What to NOT expect from Camper Calling 2020.
ALL NIGHT PARTIES-
Acts, food stalls and venues shut down around eleven-ish. We stayed in the As You Like It camping area with the latest noise curfew of midnight. Music, laughter, talking and singing did carry on until the early hours from some set-ups. Some of our crew partied until 4am one night so it isn't impossible but just don't be annoyed if you're asked to keep the noise down! (It's happened before).
The vibe is not to spoil a goodtime so as long as you're not completely crazy everyone can have their fun. Plus with the kids about and so much to see and do, you'll probably want your rest.
I think people dabble- I saw some wide eyes and smelt weed. And it is a festival after all! But it certainly ain't Leeds or Glasto. Camper Calling is a vibrant place but not the place to be popping pills or doing balloons. Stay respectful. And if you must, be discreet.
Tips for having the best time.
Check out the official Camper Calling website for the line-up, rules and other info.
Invest in a trailer. Use it to lug around alcohol and chairs then stick younger kids in so they can nap.
Take your own glitter and gems for your hair and face- get into the festival spirit and for less! There are loads of tutorials on YouTube and it's pretty easy to do.
Use ear defenders with kids if you're worried about the volume or if they don't like it loud. Lots of families used them this year and my sister (6) benefitted from hers.
Do fancy dress!
Set daily limits for 'spendo' (for you and any kids!) And stick to them.
There are water refill points so take reusable bottles.
Stock up on snacks, alcohol and kiddies drinks. You can also drive out if you want to visit shops (there is an onsite shop selling lots of other necessities).
Be aware of the weather report- but prepare for everything! Take ponchos, wellies, bikinis, tutus- take it all, your car/ van is right by your tent anyway.
Camper Calling, organised by the same team as Camper Jam (I want to check out Camper Jam 2020 so watch this space), was just two nights long in 2015- Friday and Saturday. '16, '17 and '18 saw the festival run for 3 nights with Sunday night being added to the fun. And this year we had 4 nights (Thursday to Sunday). Yay! Thursday was of limited availability and if this is an option again, I would recommend it.
We have watched the festival grow in well-deserved popularity and it quickly became an annual event for us.
Whether you're a couple, family or friends, a small group to large, Camper Calling caters to all. Book 2020 now and go and have fun! I think it's fair to say everyone in our group would say Camper Calling is definitely worth a visit!
Have you been to Camper Calling? Got any questions... leave a comment or get in touch :)