WITH just a week to go, it is not just the artistes and ticket-holders who are gearing up for Camp Bestival.

Staff at Lulworth castle, where the family extravaganza is taking place, are preparing for the arrival of the equivalent of a medium-sized town on their premises and nothing is being overlooked.

Paul Pinnock, Lulworth’s park and castle manager, said: “It is amazing because the Camp Bestival people get here today and turn the 220-acre site from a pastoral area into a home for 15,000 people. It becomes a township – it’s like having three Warehams here.”

In recent days the castle team have been cutting the grass – the sheep that usually do an excellent job have been moved off for obvious hygiene reasons – and liaising with the police, fire and rescue organisations who have welcomed Dorset’s latest festival ‘enthusiastically’.

Being used as a venue for major events is nothing new for the castle, which hosted the Big Chill festival in 2001. It was the success of this event that gave Camp Bestival curator, the Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank, the idea for holding his latest venture there.

“It brought us to the notice of the festival industry, although the Big Chill was only here the once because they wanted to come in August which didn’t suit our summer schedules,” said Paul.

“But Rob da Bank was very keen to have the first week of the school summer holidays which is good for us and we welcomed him and Camp Bestival with open arms.”

The ethos of Camp Bestival is to provide families with a fabulous weekend of fun and activities without scrimping on the musical quotient of the event.

This year, a diverse group of artists will be providing Camp Bestival’s music, from local lass Polly Harvey to disco legends Chic, the evergreen Will Young, up and coming Florence and the Machine plus Mercury Rev, Bon Iver, Candi Staton, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and many more.

There will also be several DJs, a silent disco and a rich seam of comedy to mine.

Although music plays a large part at the festival, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. The Magic Meadow area of the site is a large natural grassy bowl nestled between the main camping area and The Castle Field.

Here you will find all the fun of the fair with a new Big Top tent showcasing the best in cabaret, comedy and burlesque plus some super-special live music performances and a Silent Disco to keep you going into the wee hours.

There is also a Bollywood tent with DJs, a cocktail bar and a tent that serves cream teas as well as Cockney sing-songs through the evenings.

The Magic Field also contains the most important ingredient of any festival – the food stalls. From cream teas provided by Dorset WIs to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Café, and a sushi tent to other, there will be something to suit every palate.

This year, there is even a Camp Bestival Real Ale Festival in the on-site Seaview Inn.

The Kids’ Garden is the hub of family events and where there are 100 free events for the smallest members of then family – and some of the larger ones too.

Events include the Penguin Books story tent, an insect circus, arts and crafts and dressing up areas, clown shows, pirate fairies, a roaming magician, dance classes, tongue twisters and so much more.

Paul Pinnock said: “This year, the theme of weekend is ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday’ and I think a lot of people are coming to Camp Bestival for a few days and then spending a few days enjoying a traditional beach holiday in Dorset.

“For me, the best bit of Camp Bestival will be the English National Ballet on Sunday night. Not only will their performance be a fantastic spectacle, accompanied by a son et lumiere light show put together by Rob da Bank and with fireworks on the roof of the castle, but it will mean that everything has gone well over the weekend.

“We are hoping that Camp Bestival will be here at Lulworth a good, long time.”

Camp Bestival runs at Lulworth Castle from Friday to Sunday, July 24 to 26. For full details, go to campbestival.net