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Camp Bestival will bring holidaymakers and make region shine, promises DJ

It seems a long way from Lulworth Cove. Or the Isle of Wight. But after years promoting music tourism on the south coast, former Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank thinks it is time for the West Midlands to shine.

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

Last week he announced his Camp Bestival family-friendly music festival will be coming to Weston Park, near Shifnal, next year, which he hopes will eventually attract 30,000 people every year. And he hopes that many of the families that flock to the region for the festival will also spend a holiday in the region too.

"When we've had our Camp Bestival in Dorset, people don't just come for the festival, many of them also book an hotel and spend a few days holiday there as well, and we would like to see that in Shropshire and Staffordshire."

All this will no doubt sound like music to the ears of the beleaguered hospitality sector in the region, but will the Midlands really have the same pull as the Jurassic coastline around Lulworth Castle, where the festival has been held in recent years?

Da Bank can see no reason why not.

Camp Bestival is coming to Weston Park

"There's no coastline, but there is so much other brilliant stuff to do around there," says the DJ, who 'curates' the event along with his wife Josie.

"There is Alton Towers, Ironbridge, you are near to Wales, you have got the glorious countryside and you are also near to Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and everything around there.

"The area sometimes suffers from a bad rap, as somewhere that you drive through on the way to somewhere else, but Josie and I have been blown away by what we have seen over the past few weeks."

Da Bank describes Camp Bestival as probably the world's biggest family-themed festival, and in addition to the music, the grounds of the Weston Park will be packed with events and activities for youngsters.

"We probably won't get 30,000 in our first year, that would be a bit ambitious, but I would like to think we might get 20,000, and build on it from there," he says.

Rob and Jose da Bank with their children

"But we're not here for the one year, it is something we plan to build on every year."

The three-day festival will take place from August 18-21, following on from the Lulworth event which will be held from July 28-31.

The line-up is expected to be announced, but in the past the festival has attracted a diverse range of big names including Chuck Berry, Florence and the Machine, and Fatboy Slim.

Da Bank says the line-ups will be largely similar for the festivals, but there will be some differences as many people will go to both events.

He adds that the festival is not just about household names, but also promoting the stars of tomorrow, and he says one of his favourite moments was seeing a then-unheard-of Ed Sheeran performing to a group of about 30 youngsters in a forest.

Weston Park

"We usually have some of the biggest names in pop music, and then a few lesser-known, cool bands," adds da Bank, who is 48.

"But we also hope to have some of the unknown bands from Shropshire and Staffordshire, and give them a platform."

Da Bank, who was on Radio 1 for 12 years before leaving in 2014, says he will be DJ-ing himself during the festival.

He adds that because of the family nature of the event, there will be no late-night noise and the venue will be left in a clean-and-tidy state once it is over.

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