Raspberry Pi at Camp Bestival

Festival goers relax on the grass in front of huge silver letters: "LOVE CAMP BESTIVAL"

Camp Bestival is the family-oriented version of the more adult-focused Bestival, and attracts 30,000 parents and children each year. Everything has been designed with families in mind, including shows and activity tents, all set within the beautiful grounds of Lulworth Castle.
A huge crowd in front of Lulworth Castle at Camp Bestival. The sun is setting behind the battlements.

This year’s theme was Space. We’re pretty keen on space ourselves, and we’re not ones to shirk a party, so we figured: why not take along something else fun and interesting for kids to do alongside watching Mr Tumble or the Clangers, by showing them how to create their own space animations and design LED displays? Not to mention having welcoming chats with curious parents to answer the all-important question “So what is a Raspberry Pi?” while their kids are off programming in Scratch.

So, having loaded up every square inch of the camper van with equipment and swag, we set off to Lulworth. Naturally, as the event was space-themed, we took along our office friend Flat Tim for support. He was very excited, if a little overdressed.

A life-sized cardboard cut-out of British astronaut Tim Peake wearing a spacesuit, standing in the gangway of a camper van. Plastic beach spades hang beside him

Located in the very busy Science Tent every day across the long weekend, we offered young visitors the chance to try out Code Club’s Lost in Space and Space Junk animation programming activities – why not try out Lost in Space for yourself? Alongside this, we set up workstations with Raspberry Pis showcasing Astro Pi and the Sense HAT’s capabilities, from programming LEDs to simple Python activities sensing the environment. At one point we were joined by a six-year-old who wowed us all with her new programming skills!

Montage: a photo of a young girl with a flower garland in her hair, lost in concentration at a Raspberry Pi workstation; and a photo of the screen showing some of the code she is working on. She is making the Sense HAT display messages including, "I like doing sports" and "I like having hugs with Mummy."

Four children concentrate on activities at Raspberry Pi workstations, with a crowd of older siblings and parents around

Raspberry Pi staff and volunteers talk to families in the Science Tent

We visited our friends at the UK Space Agency in the Mission Control tent, and they kindly lent us one of their spacesuits to go with our Astro Pi activities. Dan certainly looked the part in it.

Evenings were spent experiencing the festival at night, from parades to live music, before falling into bed exhausted but happy!

No festival is complete without fun giveaways, such as our Code Club, Raspberry Pi and Astro Pi temporary tattoos. They were almost as popular as our activities:

Philip Colligan on Twitter

It’s all about #tattoos at @CampBestival – @Raspberry_Pi and @CodeClub activities in the Science Tent #CampBestivalpic.twitter.com/wHPmpnyQ4l

The prize for best timing goes to this young person, who picked up the 1000th (and last!) Raspberry Pi/Code Club bag in the final half-hour before we went home!

A young girl smiles and holds up a red drawstring bag with a large white Raspberry Pi logo printed on it

To everyone who visited us and joined in with our digital making activities, thank you for stopping by! We hope you enjoyed visiting us, and that you feel inspired to try some more projects via our free learning resources.

Special thanks, too, to the rest of the Raspberry Pi Camp B crew – Carrie Anne, Daniel, Dave, Alex and Chris.

Finally, there’s one thing we couldn’t share with festival goers at Camp Bestival because it was too windy, but we did manage a quick photo, so we can share it with you now: flying the Raspberry Pi flag!

A white flag with the raspberry and green Raspberry Pi logo and the words "Raspberry Pi," flying in a stiff breeze against a cloudy sky