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Camp Bestival will bring Fatboy, folk and fun for all ages

He made his name promoting new music on Radio 1. And now Rob da Bank is hoping to do the same thing for up-and-coming artists from the West Midlands as he brings the Camp Bestival music festival to the region for the first time.

Camp Bestival is coming to Weston Park
Camp Bestival is coming to Weston Park

The headline acts were announced this week, and there are plenty of big hitters. DJ superstar Fatboy Slim, singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man. Bewdley chart-topper Becky Hill will be flying the flag for the region, Dom Joly will be heading the comedy line-up, while M People songstress Heather Small will be leading a singalong of the group's favourite hits.

But while these are the names that will grab the headlines, da Bank ­– real name Robert Gorham – says some of the best moments come from the lesser-known acts.

Rob da Bank will be fronting Bestival

"The headline acts tick three very strong boxes," he says. "I think Becky Hill will appeal to the younger audiences, everyone seems to like Rag'n'Bone Man, while Fatboy Slim is the most popular DJ in the world.

"But there's a lot of depth underneath the poppy headliners, there's a lot of left-field performers, with folk, punk, country music, rock, grime, and drum and bass.

Rag’n’Bone Man

"There are a lot of very good local acts which I think is very important."

Shropshire is well represented, with the Emma Linney Band from Shrewsbury, the Jonathan Day Collective folk band, and The Endings from Telford. Former Ellesmere College pupil Chris Hawkins, now a DJ on BBC Radio 6, will also be performing.

Stourbridge rockers Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Photo: Dave Cox

Stourbridge rockers Ned's Atomic Dustbin will also be appearing, along with Britpop favourites Shed Seven, Scouting for Girls and Scots rock duo The Proclaimers.

There will be DJ sets from Radio 1 and 2 presenter Sara Cox, Faithless, Jodie Harsh and Gok Wan.

Fatboy Slim

The original Bestival was held on the Isle of Wight in 2004, and later moved to Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Unlike most music festivals, it is aimed firmly at the family market, with much emphasis placed on children's entertainment as well as music.

"Our aim is to get everyone dancing, whether you're a five-year-old or a 95-year-old, or everything in between," says da Bank, who runs the event with his wife Josie.

Rob da Bank, wife Josie and their children

"You you could easily come to Camp Bestival and not go to the big-name music stages and still enjoy yourself all day," he adds. "There's so much going on, there is comedy, theatre, there are the Extreme Bike Battles, with motorbike stuntmen riding through fire, and BMX riders.

"We are really lucky to have this beautiful place, its lakes are ideal for paddle-boarding and wild swimming.

Bewdley pop star Becky Hill

"I think for people that haven't been before, it's very hard to visualise until you get here. But there is just something for everyone, from face painting to fairground rides, to building a giant wooden ship, which sounds amazing."

Da Bank says he is committed to Bestival at Weston Park for the long haul. He expects the four-day event to attract up to 30,000 visitors once it is established, but believes 20,000 is a more realistic number for the first year.

"I'm very excited, the first time we came here we fell in love with the site, with the lakes, you've got the garden, it's a stunning site and we can't wait to unveil our story," he says.

Sara Cox will be DJing at Bestival

"We've stayed here about four times now, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't know much about it before. I knew about V obviously, but I didn't know much about it. It's very hard to find a festival site with gardens by Capability Brown. I think this is one of the best festival sites in the UK."

Da Bank says he wanted a second festival site, as many people found the existing Bestival site on the south coast difficult to get to. He says he has no plans to add any further locations, as Weston Park is ideal for serving the Midlands and the North.

Dom Joly will be heading the comedy line-up

He hopes it will bring more people to the area and boost the visitor economy.

"This is not just a festival for Shropshire and Staffordshire, it is for the Midlands for the North, for Scotland and Wales.

"We want to make sure that people don't just drive through Shropshire and Staffordshire, and then go back to Manchester, Leeds, or Scotland.

Camp Bestival is coming to Weston Park

"We hope they actually stick around and explore the area, that they might go to Alton Towers or Ironbridge or Shrewsbury. I've done a little bit but you can't wait to do more."

There will also be a funfair for youngsters, yoga and judo for children, children's comedy, and the Brainiac Live science show.

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