It’s strange to think that Rastamouse was so controversial when he first landed on CBeebies. Who would want to fuss and fight over such a chilled out rodent?
Watching Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew stir it up at LolliBop on Saturday was one of the highlights of what turned out to be a pretty awesome event.
We arrived at Regent’s Park in the early afternoon, after an unexpectedly stressful journey from King’s Cross (planned engineering blah blah). I’d invited my sister and her pre-teens as my guests but after 15 minutes in the drizzle, they announced they were ‘cold, wet and bored’ and beat a hasty exit.
Feeling not very boppy at all, the babes and I grabbed a hamburger and sausage combo from one of the stalls – both delicious and helped boost our moods and stamina for the day ahead.
LolliBop 2011 was like the bigger and brassier cousin of the event I attended last year in Stoke Newington. The crowds were noisier, the queues were longer and I did miss that hippy, dippy vibe of the Clissold Park experience.
Still, if you played your programme right and got into the spirit of things, there were plenty of good times to be had.
Our personal highlights:
– A cracking game of improv tennis by a comedy duo (I still can’t find them on the bill!), whose jokes whizzed like balls over the little ones’ heads.
– The weird and wonderful spectacle including human kangaroos, a mechanical horse, gorillas mingling with the little ones and hair-raising dos created by mad stylists on the Alfresco Bandstand.
– My eldest being spotted as ‘the boy on the LolliBop web site’ by one excited visitor. ‘You’re famous!’ she cried. Ezra’s response? ‘Let’s go and watch the go-karts mum.’ So blasé.
– Getting our party on at Minimission, the ‘Ibiza style’ club with deck chairs and beach (giant sand pit) outside a tent where Baby Loves Disco DJs spun feel-good tunes.
– Seeing my 2-year-old’s face light up as he stroked Rastamouse’s nose during the festival finale.
‘LolliBops are soooo fun!’ Ezra said.
We came, we saw, we bopped.
And leaving in the evening sun, still bouncing to Da Easy Crew’s laid-back grooves, the Babes felt well and truly nice up.
(left to right) Amber and Louis, 22 months and Halima and Kinza, 16 months
‘We heard about LolliBop through my brother and a group of us came from Birmingham. We’ve had lots of fun, especially dancing to Beyonce in the Itsy Bitsy Strictly dance class.’ Richard (Louis’s dad) adds, ‘Rastamouse was the best for me!’
LolliBop Festival tips for families (looking ahead)
1. Buy early bird tickets – last minute, at the gate, costs a fortune.
2. Enter a blog competition for free tickets – you stand a better chance than with magazines etc.
3. Go with a group – it will feel more like a party and extra hands mean more ‘chillaxing’.
4. Bring your own food/snacks – food stalls can be pricy, especially if you plan to stay all day
5. Pack for a festival – no tents, but extras like picnic blankets, flasks, macs and wellies
6. Plan your day – pick 3 or 4 must-do activities, book what you can ahead, avoid long queues by seeing popular shows towards the start or end of the day
7. Escape the festival money trap (£9 for a bubble wand?!) by stocking up on el cheapo bubble blowers, balloons etc. from the pound shop beforehand
8. Embrace the chaos – it’s a kids’ festival, there will be noise, mayhem, tears and probably a whole lot of pooping. Roll with it and you’ll have a lot more fun.
Tips for the organisers
1. Consider lowering the ticket price – sure there’s loads to do, but it’s still an exorbitant day out for families with more than one child. Perhaps cheaper fees for under 3s, or raise the price for kids and make it free for adults?
2. Advertise the free stuff – there were loads of freebies on offer at the festival e.g. drinks, snacks, toys, giveaways, that could have been better highlighted
3. Programme stuff for older kids too (e.g. ages 11-16) – many families would appreciate being able to bring older siblings along
4. Don’t lose your soul – we expect LolliBop to get bigger and glossier, but rampant commercialism is a turn-off.
Thanks again to the organisers for making Babes about Town an Official LolliBop family for 2011!