TRCH - Peter Pan

Big Fish Little Fish - Take Your Kids Raving in Nottingham

14 March 16 words: Olivia Scott

"Everyone has a mad old time raving along to some of their favourite tunes from 'the old days' - it's brilliant to see all the smiley faces with kids on parents shoulders bouncing up and down to a bit of drum 'n' bass"

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What is the Big Fish Little Fish concept all about?
Big Fish Little Fish family raves are about parents and their kids having daft, anarchic fun together. Hannah Saunders founded the company nearly three years ago in Brixton. A former central government civil servant for twenty years, she wanted to create a different kind of experience for families, drawing on her own experiences as a seasoned clubber, festival-goer and parent. She wanted to bring that festival vibe to the city through the winter months.

I heard about the raves while at a festival last summer and having a ball dancing with my kids. I was talking about how I’d love to have something at home that had a similar feel and my brother in law said he knew some people who were doing it in London. He put me in touch with Hannah and after chatting to her I knew we were on the same wavelength and that I had to bring them to Nottingham.

At the moment they’re every two months on a Saturday afternoon for 2.5 hours – we’re 2-4 hour party people! Enough time to get the kids home for their dinner and bed. Parents tell us they’re happily exhausted and drift off quickly, which is always a bonus.

What kind of people do the events attract?
All those parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who love dance music and fancy sharing some of that celebratory joy with their kids. One London regular described it as ‘responsible irresponsibility’ – that sums it up well! I think people are increasingly used to the idea of going to festivals as a family where children and adults can be catered for in the same space. 

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Each family rave has a different theme, how do you consider these?
The BFLF crew love dressing up and being daft and the themes are an extension of this. We use classics such as ‘Heroes’ or ‘Space’ which everyone can get involved in, in one way or another. It really adds to the party atmosphere when so many of the crowd are joining in – adults as much as kids. We then use that theme for our craft activity so at our last party which was an ‘Enchanted Forest’ theme we had amazing headdresses covered in leaves and feathers. I didn’t want to take mine off! We also have a fantastic hand-drawn themed mural by the very talented Captain Cookie, our London craft manager, at every event which is very popular with all the kids – from toddlers to the older ones, they can all have a go.

What kind of difficulties that come with catering for two very different age groups?
We deliberately set out to create something that’s fun for both the adults and the children. Parents and carers love the music and the fact they can have a pint and a chat with their mates, and the kids love the craft, play areas, murals, glitter cannons and bubbles on the proper club lit dancefloor. Everyone has a mad old time raving along to some of their favourite tunes from ‘the old days’ – it’s brilliant to see all the smiley faces with kids on parents shoulders bouncing up and down to a bit of drum ‘n’ bass.

Right, give us the rundown of everything people can expect...

·         Licensed Bar
·         Amazing DJs playing grown up dance music
·         Club lighting
·         Craft area with themed crafts
·         Play area with tents and tunnels
·         Giant colouring-in mural
·         Babies-only safe space with soft mats, sofas and ball-pool
·         Parachute dance
·         Glowsticks and transfer tattoos
·         Glitter cannons
·         The Nottingham Doughnut Company
·         The Nice Lolly Company
·         Fabulous face painters
·         Baby change
·         Buggy park
·         Sound levels monitored to be safe for even the smallest ears

The launch party for the first BFLF event in Nottingham was back in November last year, how was that?
It was fantastic, the crowd were amazing and really up for it and our resident Charlie Paget played an awesome set. There are always a few issues for the first time in a new venue but we moved things around to improve the layout and sorted those out for our second rave in January – which was such a good party, everyone had a blast.

What would you say to someone who was a bit worried about taking their kids to a rave?
For BFLF crew – old clubbers and parents one and all – raving is about an inclusive, joyful shared love of dance music. That's what we are bringing families together to celebrate and enjoy.  This has struck a chord with a huge number of people and is why it has been such an enormous word-of-mouth success. We also researched sound levels across a variety of sources - including the World Health Organisation.  Levels are sound checked at the beginning and monitored throughout the event to ensure safety. We also have quieter areas and chill spaces for when children (and adults) want something calmer.

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Are there any BFLF events we can expect to see at any festivals this summer?
Confirmed so far are Camp Bestival, Beautiful Days, Edinburgh Fringe Festival... and we've got more secret surprises up our sleeves still to be announced. We’ll be ‘aving it large in fields all over the country this summer.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to LeftLion readers?
See you on the dancefloor!

The next Big Fish Little Fish event is on Sunday 18 December at The Glee Club

Big Fish Little Fish website

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