Josie da Bank, Founder, Co-Curator & Creative Director of the UK’s famed family festivals Camp Bestival Shropshire and Camp Bestival Dorset, shares her wisdom on how brands can engage with families in real life this summer and why creativity needs to be at the core of any engagement.

It’s not exactly news that kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens—but the numbers still have the ability to shock. The average eight-year-old now spends six hours a day in front of a screen, while 11 to 14 year olds are clocking a stunning nine hours daily on mobile phones, video games and TV shows.

2024 fan research trends taught us there’s a continued concentrated effort to turn on do-not-distrub settings and embrace less phone time. While some screen time isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can have the effect of creating a disconnect within families. Every minute spent online is a minute kids aren’t making up silly games with their siblings, chatting about their day with their parents, or giving their mind a break by simply messing around in the great outdoors.

Fifteen years ago, we created Camp Bestival as a way for families to reconnect with nature, each other and themselves. We didn’t know at the time that our mission would only become more essential as the years went on.

Camp Bestival is so much more than a music festival, it’s an event that’s intentionally designed to help families unplug and make memories together. We offer ways to get kids offline and engaged with nature in a muddy, thrilling, hands-on way, with the ultimate goal of helping them see their own place within the natural ecosystem. We do this by offering opportunities to get closer to our natural world, and creating spaces for creativity, exciting physical activities, and of course, incredible musical and artistic performances.

As families put down their phones and get into some real fun, there are some great opportunities for like-minded brands to come in and elevate the experience, all while associating themselves with some of the best memories a family can make together. Here are some reasons why family festivals are such great places for brands to play.


1. They activate the adventurer in all of us

Whether they’re playing in the mud kitchen, ziplining or watching a daring circus performance, attendees’ minds and bodies are engaged in something thrilling and unique when they’re at a family festival. They’re feeling open to new experiences and new connections.

Insight for brands:

Engaging with people while they’re in that open mindset is a rare opportunity for brands, who are too often fighting for attention in the endless blur of social media. With a creative, targeted approach, brands can position themselves as supporters of the fun while building a real-life relationship with this audience that you can’t replicate digitally.

2. It’s a moment of natural connection

No matter where they’re coming from—urban, suburban, or rural—festivals allow families to bond over a connection to nature. The festival experience may come with a lot of amenities, but it’s also asking kids and parents to get out of their comfort zone, build tolerance for dirt (and mud!) and take pleasure in the unpredictability of the outdoors. Living an outdoor lifestyle fosters an insatiable curiosity about the world, builds confidence and self-sufficiency, while encouraging a stewardship of the natural world.

Insight for brands:

As families find joy in nature, eco-minded brands have an opportunity to showcase their connection to the environment and tout their sustainability efforts in a tangible way.

3. It’s a time for culinary exploration

Gone are the days of soggy festival food scarfed down purely for sustenance before the next band comes on. Today’s festival audiences demand more (and everyone knows kids are the most demanding of all!) so we serve them up a wide variety of fun and delicious foods to try.

Insight for brands:

This is a key area where food and beverage brands can offer samples or sponsored activations to reach eager new audiences already in the mood to explore new flavours. This year, we’re making the experience even better with a kid’s food pass (Camp Kids Extra) designed to take the hassle and stress out of festival mealtimes.

4. People are game for physical activities

Whether they’re looking for action-packed sporting activities like parkour, roller skating, or freerunning, or they want to chill with breathwork and yoga sessions, there’s so many ways for families to disconnect from their screens and reconnect with their bodies at Camp Bestival. These sessions are an amazing way for families to reconsider how they’re approaching their physical wellbeing, and show the kids new ways to get into healthy activities.

Insight for brands:

For brands centered around sport or wellness, activations around these kinds of events can be an easy way to engage with an audience at a moment when they remember how fun and rewarding physical activity can be.

5. There’s Ample Space for Creativity

We heard from fans that they want to embrace more cozy, creative hobbies as a way to unwind. At Camp Bestival, kids and adults alike are encouraged to create culture, rather than simply consume it. Here, creativity is found on stage and off, with dozens of artistic activities like printmaking, music workshops, textile design and more. As families get inspired, try new things and maybe even kick off new artistic hobbies, brands can step in with the tools to help.

Insight for brands:

For brands with art and creativity in their DNA, this is a unique chance to connect with audiences through hands-on experiences.

6. At the festival, adults are kids too

Our programming is designed to help kids expand their minds, and adults unleash their inner children. Throughout the weekend, they’re encouraged to let their guard down, dance like no one is watching and dress up in ways that would never fly at the office. In these moments, they’re getting closer to their kids and to what made their own childhood special.

Insight for brands:

Legacy brands cherished by millennials in their youth can use the nostalgia factor to amp up those warm feelings while introducing themselves to a whole new generation.

As the festival season approaches, Camp Bestival hopes to be a gateway for families seeking togetherness through adventure, but also for forward-thinking brands aiming to be part of those irreplaceable moments of discovery in the natural world, illustrating that the most meaningful connections are those that enhance our real-life experiences.

Founded by husband-and-wife Rob and Josie da Bank, Camp Bestival is a festival designed by families, for families combining an all-encompassing festival experience with an action-packed camping holiday. Camp Bestival is the ultimate ‘Festi-holiday’ jam-packed with entertainment and cultural delights and is the UK’s original and most successful family festival. Their book, Camp Bestival at Home will be released May 23, 2024. 

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