The Freesports Park at Bestival

The Freesports Park at Bestival

The freesports park is one of the most exciting things to hit festivals in recent years. The displays see some of the worlds best *deep breath now* mountainboarders, mountain bikers, skateboarders, inliners, climbers, trials bikers and free runners performing in front of thousands of people. Check out the video by Theo Acworth and come see us at Camp Bestival this summer!

Camp Bestival 2011

Camp Bestival 2011

Without beating around the bush, Camp Bestival was a lot of fun. It had one of the best atmospheres of any festival I’ve ever been to, each mountainboard display was watched by approximately 5000 people and I saw Matt Brind join the elite 900 club with the likes of Tom Kirkman and some guy called Tony Hawk. I also managed to blag  myself a nice new Paul Frank T-Shirt and had to ask myself the age old question; rollerblading, is it really the root of all evil?

Pretty much everyone has heard of Bestival. One of the UK’s biggest festivals where adults and teenagers travel to the Isle of Wight for a weekend of music, debauchery and indulgence in a few too many things which can be described as bad for your health. However, not too many people (at least people my age who I’ve spoken to) know about Camp Bestival; Bestival’s younger sibling. Camp Bestival is the family friendly equivalent of Bestival. There’s lots of music, a small amount of well mannered debauchery and about a gazillion, billion fun things for kids to do.

This year, for the second year in a row, there was a Freesports Park located smack bang in the middle of Camp Bestival. Kids and adults alike could watch some of the best mountainboarders, mountainbikers, skaters and inliners ride in demos whilst also having the chance to get stuck into have-a-go sessions and open sessions on the freesports park. The freesports park is pretty impressive. Riders can choose to drop in from three different roll-ins (15ft, 21ft, and 25ft) into either a steep kicker with a 10ft gap or a mellower kicker with a 20ft gap. After stomping their tricks, riders landed on a steep landing of about 20ft and were sent straight into an epic 16ft quarterpipe.

Alongside this epic main feature were a mini ramp, climbing wall, parkour area and a mountainboard hire-and-ride hill. There was a lot for any action sports enthusiast to get their teeth into!

The first demo kicked off at 3pm on Friday to a chilled start. Mountainboarders such as Sam Nicholas, Jamie Johnstone and Gary Crowhurst kept the crowd happy with solid tricks over the big gap. 360s, 540s and big backflips were thrown down left right and centre and James Wanklyn went on to stomp his first ever mctwist in the quarter pipe.

Friday night came round and before heading off to see Blondie there was a bit of mellow night session where Gary was absolutely sending it over the gap, stomping 3s and backflips like there was no tomorrow. James Wanklyn was thrown into the mix and him and Gary ended up acting like synchronized swimmers, throwing down synchronized handplants in the quarter pipe.

We also met Camp Bestival and Bestival organiser extraordinaire, Rob Da Bank!

We soon headed off to see Blondie, who despite nowadays looking like a rock band fronted by your mum, were actually pretty good. Who knew old school BFC rider Steve Cownie knew all the words to pretty much every Blondie song ever?!

After a few too many beverages and not too much sleep, Saturday started off somewhat hazy. In an act of pathetic fallacy, the weather was also hazy, drizzly, cold and wet. Luckily by demo time the ramp was dry, the riders were ready and the show was about to get started.

MBS pro rider Matt Brind made his first appearance after spending 72 hours waiting at accreditation trying to get his lovely girlfriend into the festival. Matt soon got stuck in, flipping, spinning and pleasing the crowds with his trademark style and technicality. After spending all morning teaching kids how to ride mountainboards Matt decided to teach himself a lesson and subsequently came up with this equation:

Quarterpipe + Backflip + Over Rotation x Backside Edge Catch = PAIN

Brindy then had to sit out the rest of the day with a sore backside, luckily though before this happened I bagged this shot of him going all kinds of corked.

The sun ended up coming out and loads of kids who had brought their own skateboards were having a great time sessioning the ramp during the open sessions. During the session some sneaky mountainbikers moved the kicker back by 4 feet  and a couple of kids were having so much fun that they didn’t notice.

This young fellow here, scared the bejeesus out of everyone by doing this sweet double grab and not having enough speed to make the gap, dissapearing out of sight and plummeting about 8 foot to the floor. Luckily kids these days are made of hard stuff and the young chap brushed himself off and asked for the kicker to be moved back. What a hero!

Later on as we were frolicking around the festival site, we bumped into a guy we had noticed watching the demos and doing this weird kind of fidgety dancing thing for a solid hour. He was pretty stoked that we recognised him and he said that he loved the shows. He had a weird pair of Vans on his feet though…

I won’t go in to what happened on Saturday night in much detail as you don’t need a phd in common sense to work out what a bunch of 18-24 year olds do in the evening at a festival. Lets just say we met up with a couple of friends, had some nice cocktails and enjoyed the lovely summer evening down in Dorset. I think Ted from Trampa was having  the best time EVER.

Sunday came around all too quickly and after teaching over a million kids how to mountainboard in the space of just three days, we decided it was time to have a bit of fun riding the hire fleet boards ourselves. Hilarity ensued with lots of comedy bails, bum boarding and a bit of salmon dancing from Niall Po-Fo.

During the demo on Sunday, mountainbiker Daryl Brown (who rides pretty much every day at Knockhill MBC) was going absolutely massive and wowing the crowds with his magical rubbery legs and ninja kicks.

Wight Trash skater Jamie Sawyer was also giving it beans but couldnt quite stick the landings on his Danny way inspired melon grabs over the mega ramp.

The rollerbladers from Loco Skates were also killing it. I know rollerbladers are meant to be our sworn enemies but the inline guys at Camp Bestival were nice, friendly and pretty awesome. they were throwing down rodeos, inverted 720s and Mikey manged to land a 900 over the massive gap. I was impressed. Before this I thought rollerbladers were all about listening to eminem, getting in the way at the skatepark and just generally being a bit chavy. Turns out I was wrong; Rollerblading isn’t the root of all evil and boarders and bladers can get along (honestly, I saw skaters and inliners high fiving at the top of the roll-in ramp!).

Out of all the sports and riders there on Sunday, it was Matt brind on his mountainboard who once again stole the show. Not only did he stomp backflips, frontflips, 540s and 720s, but he also didn’t want to be outdone by the rollerbladers and landed the elusive 900. That’s two and a half rotations in the air landing switch, on a mountainboard. Mental! As with all of his tricks, Brindy stomped it with style and aplomb. Check out this video of him doing the trick and me shouting all about it!

This obviously got the kids pretty stoked and after the demo a bunch of future shredders came up and asked for a couple of autographs from the riders. Once everyone had scribbled their name in marker pen, biro or stanley knife (just kidding!) the groms were happy to pose for a photo.

Feeling like rockstars we headed out into the festival for the last night to catch a couple of artists and djs. After hearing Yasmin on a Boiler Room session with Jamie XX, I persuaded everyone to come and check her out. Despite not normally being avid fans of RnB, I think it’s safe to say that the crew fell in love with Yasmin. Something about good music and being female and attractive I guess. We then caught a bit of Benjamin Francis Leftwich who was good but not quite as attention grabbing as Yasmin. The evening was going well, we may or may not have had a couple of shots of tequila…

And we even met the Cuban Brothers.

Life was sweet and the party was on. But as everyone was dancing away into the night I couldn’t help having a few moments contemplation about my new found realization that rollerblading wasn’t the root of all evil. I sat in the corner quitley sipping the most expensive whiskey and coke on the planet and asked myself a few questions. Is rollerblading cool? Can those who use skateboards and those who use “aggresive inlines” coexist peacefully in a blissful, wheel based utopia?

If fruitbooters aren’t the root of all evil, then what on earth is?

The answer, I realised, was obvious. Micro Scooters.  The Two Wheeled Menace. The Action Sport That Shall Not Be Named.

Feeling somewhat enlightened, I could finally join the party. As Camp Bestival came to an end, we celebrated an amazing weekend with skateboarders, mountainboarders, mountainbikers and even rollerbladers. So, I ask all of you, if you know anyone with a micro scooter do whatever you can to swap it for a skateboard, mountainboard, moutainbike or even a pair of rollerblades.

Afterall, they wouldn’t want to get arrested for riding a micro scooter like this guy would they?!

Check out our edit of the mountainboarding and skating HERE!

Massive thanks to Andy Potter, Nigel and all the ramp builders for building such a sick Freesports Park in the middle of a massive festival.

Big props to all the riders who came down, threw down and wowed the crowds. See yall at Bestival!

Words, photos and video by Rhys Crilley

A Couple of photos by Niall Po-Fo and Steve Cownie.