Tuesday 24 June 2014

Review: Big Fish Little Fish at The Dog, Coventry

Last month we were offered the opportunity to attend a Big Fish Little Fish event at The Dog in Coventry. The event, which was part of the Coventry Mysteries Festival, I lovingly refer to as Baby Rave, because that's really the best way of describing it.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I love new discoveries and I love music, so I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation. 

Picture this, if you you will: A local live music venue, loud (but monitored to be completely safe for very small ears) music, glitter balls, a chill out area with small tents, a craft area... And lots of small children dancing with their parents. Surreal? Yes. Cool concept? Yes. That's exactly what Big Fish Little Fish Events are about; creating a kid friendly dance party that children can enjoy with their parents, and that's exactly what was happening. Big Fish Little Fish are also sponsored by some familiar faces; Happy Monkey Smoothies and Bear (of fruity snack fame). 

The event seemed well attended and adults and children were having a good time dancing and exploring what was an incredibly multi-sensory environment. The children were enjoying their UV glow-sticks, strobe lighting and confetti canons while the parents were reminded of music from their youth (I'd forgotten about the Beastie Boys!). When it got too much there was a fabulous craft area for making crowns and a huge colouring wall which Effy delighted in scribbling over. There was also a chill out area where lots of mums were feeding... There was a really nice vibe about the place, and actually, I don't feel that the £5/£3 admission price was overpriced for the two hour event, so long as your children were happy in a new and unusual environment. Lowen seemed to enjoy the dance floor in short bursts too, particularly the glitter ball which she could have stared at all day I think, given the chance! Effy had a great time, even if I little shy of dancing at first (I expect due to lack of nap on the way there!) and proudly marched her crown around town when we left. Happy toddler. Happy baby. Win.

So, I love the concept. Adore it in fact, and I'd take the girls again. There were, however a few things I'd like to see tweaked. The venue choice probably could have been better considered; an event that involves stairs and no lift isn't ideal for anyone with a buggy... And there were a lot of buggies. We'd taken the sling that day, so not an issue for us and the staff coordinating the event were helping parents with buggies out, but I felt that somewhere on ground level would be more practical. Also, the toilets weren't child friendly, very much what you'd expect of a live music venue, not the cleanest and changing facilities were understandably somewhat makeshift, but I didn't feel happy about changing a tiny bottom in them. Thirdly, a slightly contentious issue perhaps, but I wasn't 100% sure how I felt that at, what is a children's event, there was need for an alcoholic bar. PLEASE don't get me wrong, I've had a pint at the pub over Sunday lunch in the company of my kids, and I drink at home in the evenings yuddy yuddy yudder, but both D and I felt that perhaps it wasn't neccessary. I'm all for free choice, but at an event specifically aimed at young children... Arguably I attended knowing full well there would be a bar and even though we weren't drinking, other adults would be. Just worth considering when making an informed choice about attending an event such as this.

In conclusion, I love the idea of "baby raving" and think that the multi-sensory element of such an event is fabulous, particularly the musician in me who tries to expose the children to as many different styles of music as possible. There was plenty for them to do beyond raving, and it was a pleasant way to spend my Sunday afternoon. And the good news, festival lovers, is that similar events will be running at Camp Bestival later on this year in the Bollywood tend from 2-4pm on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of August...

Here's to the baby rave, long may our children embrace florescent clothing and dance like it's 1992.

Big Fish Little Fish provided me with complimentary tickets for the event, however all words and opinions are my own.

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