LolliBop 2011 Review

2011 LolliBop Weather: Hot and sunny Friday, mostly cloudy Saturday, very heavy downpours Sunday.

Mixed reviews flooding in for LolliBop’s second year.  Most families who chatted to us in the Festival Kidz stall seemed to be having a pretty good time, but the queues did seem to be a common gripe.  We tend to agree with many of the reviews from parents with tiny toddlers that it is unfair that a 13-month old had to pay the same price as a 6 year old and yet they were too young to participate in some of the activities (go-karts and inflatable slide for example).  There were definitely too many traders selling the same type of products, and fairly limited food stalls meaning hefty queues at peak times. 

Next year we would like to see more real music being performed.  Much as the idea was to put on entertainment purely aimed at under-10’s, we do think not having a ‘headline’ performance made the main stage feel under-used.

The cost of putting on these sorts of events is phenomenal and the organisers appear to be actively seeking feedback, so once the teething niggles have been ironed out, 2012 could see a fantastic improvement.  The underlying idea is good and this festival has a lot of potential, especially if the organisers, Continental Drifts, can sort out a fairer pricing structure.


Lollibop Festival Reviews

Review by: Andy K (with a 3 year old)

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Entertainment was average. Most of the stalls were entertainers touting for business. The queues for the few actual events were just too long.

What would you change or do to improve the event?

Too many to go into.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Do not bother, this was just a cynical exercise in getting money out of parents looking to have a fun day out with their kids.

Site and Facilities:

Toilets were average and changing facilities very poor considering this was a festival aimed at children. Food hygiene on stalls was appalling.

Did you feel safe?

The security looked bored out of their heads.

What was your most memorable moment?

Charlie and Lola was good, that was about it.

Would you go again?

No!

1/10

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Review by: Anonymous (with a 6 year old)

Getting to the festival:

No queue to get in and easy to find. The site layout was poor. Wrist-bands and maps weren’t handed out on arrival, you had to ask for them and then go to find them.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

The line-up sounded great but the reality was very different.

There were a LOT of people wandering around with nothing to do. I’m guessing the people who enjoyed Lollibop either had much younger children or were able to get in to see the Horrible Histories show. We queued twice for it – for over 30 mins each time – but failed to get in both times as the capacity was only around 600-700. We would have queued for longer the second time but it would have meant leaving the queue for the ONE inflatable activity and having already spent 45 mins queuing for that we weren’t about to leave it before my daughter got her go.

We did see Peppa Pig and George behind the barrier and George patted my daughter’s nose. We saw Way-baloo in the distance from our position in the queue for the inflatable. In the queue behind us, a lady with 3 children was on the phone telling her friend how disappointing the whole event was and how cross she was to have wasted her money on it. We then had a wander round to see if there was any other activity for my daughter – we did see something else (go-carting?) but the queue was enormous so we bought her a lovely balloon to cheer us all up and then left, utterly disappointed and appalled.

What would you change or do to  improve the event?

The music on the stage was too loud for children – turn it down a bit so that the children can get up close enough to join in with the dancing.

MORE activities!!! We were promised lots of free activities for the children  – what and where were these??? There were more bouncy castles and activities at my daughter’s school summer fair and sadly, I am not joking. It doesn’t take anything too complicated, some basic fun fair rides and bouncy castles would have made a huge difference.

It seemed as if no thought had gone into which stall-holders attended – and there was so little to do that my impression was that the organisers were only interested in making money and not in creating an enjoyable event.

My suggestion to the organisers would be to ask Innocent for some advice. Their fabulous Fruitstock festivals were aimed at a wide audience yet had so much for kids to do it was impossible to do everything in one day (even when it rained heavily). In comparison, and at every level, Lollibop was a complete shambles and a disgrace.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Don’t waste your time and money – don’t go. I spent over £100 to take my six year old, my partner and two grandparents to the event and for that my daughter got her nose patted by George (we didn’t see that – my daughter had to wriggle through the crowd around the enclosure to get to the front) and one go climbing up a tower to an inflatable slide. I’ve been to plenty of festivals and this one was the worst, by far.

Site and Facilities:

Toilets were good – very clean for the portale type with toilet paper, handwashing facilities, etc.

Did you feel safe?

Yes

Would you go again?

Certainly not!

1/10

 

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Review by: Mum of 2 (aged 2 and 4) – Attended SUNDAY

Getting to the festival:

No queue to get in but the event was very crowded. It makes it quite stressful and I felt almost immediately ripped off. Billed as ‘everything free’ but such long queues that was a moot point…

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Good line up but not really that many things to do that added value.

What would you change or do to  improve the event?

Cheaper tickets for kids.
Pay per ride for things to cut down queues.
But actually I won’t go again – just not good value.

Site and Facilities:

Toilets were fine

Would you go again?

No

2/10

 

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Review by: Vicky (with 2 kids, aged 2 and 9)

Getting to the festival:

No queue, but got there as it started.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Line up was fine. My 2 year old was very disappointed with Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly as they were behind a barrier & the lack of people monitoring the crowds meant that you just couldn’t get close.

What would you change or do to  improve the event?

Make the Meet & Greets with the characters exactly that, instead of putting them behind bars. More provision for wet weather, as some people had paid up to £30 a ticket they could have handed out rain ponchos. Also when at the end of the festival I went to buy a Lollibop sweatshirt, I enquired if they were reducing them as it was the 6.50pm on the final day & they said they’d been sold all day at £10 instead of the £15 they’d been sold at on the other 2 days. I thought this was unfair. Then when my friend wanted to pop back to buy something from the stand she was turned away by security, despite still having her ticket & her child with her.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

It is not really suitable for children under 4 as you have to queue for everything, also if you don’t sign up to the activities you’re liable not to be able to participate. Also the music was as loud as you’d expect at an adult festival so take your toddler’s ear defenders.

Site and Facilities:

Loos fine but not terribly good for toddlers, easy to get around with buggies despite the rain.

Did you feel safe?

Yes, although I really didn’t see the need for the beer tent & towards the end of the day we noticed some people being rather loud & lairy.

Would you go again?

Possibly, the cost was an issue & although the weather was horrendous I think it was a blessing as it seemed to thin out the crowds!

5/10

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Review by: Kate (with a 3 year old and a baby) – Attended on the SUNDAY

Getting to the festival:

No problems arriving or finding the site.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Queues ENORMOUS for all activities eg bungee jumpers, face painting etc. Do they really think a 3 year old can stand in queue for up to an hour? Ridiculous. Just not enough to do for the number of people. Very disappointing, especially given the cost.

What would you change or do to  improve the event?

They need to have a LOT more going on for the number of people they allowed in, and some sort of ticketing system (i.e. grab a ticket for a time slot, come back then to do the activity). When the rain came, there was not enough space undercover. Very miserable.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Unless they make major changes, don’t go. This was a lovely affair last year in Clissold Park but super sizing it to Regent’s Park ruined the whole thing.

Site and Facilities:

Tents and marquees far too small, eg Rastamouse in a tent which got completely packed and we couldn’t get our daughter in to see him. Simply not enough undercover space when the rain came.  Bizarrely, a lot of empty space and then areas when you just couldn’t move or get the buggy around.

Once again, not enough food providers so huge queues – we went to LolliBop at Clissold Park last year where the same thing happened so you would think they might have learned.

Signage would have been useful.

Did you feel safe?

We felt safe

Would you go again?

Not unless they do something very different

1/10

 

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Review by: Meka (with a 3 year old)

Getting to the festival:

Badly sign-posted.  No queues as we went in at 11am though.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Other than the Zingzillas and Rastamouse on the main stage, my daughter didn’t get to see any other characters from her fave shows.  Two characters were surrounded by a fence which I found strange, were they worried about been mobbed by children??!

One inflatable slide, which was for older children. There was nothing for my daughter to do, she was bored and all I could see was a money-making scheme.

What would you change or do to  improve the event?

A bouncy castle for younger children and maybe a few fairground rides, more characters from kids shows actually walking around rather than in pens.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

I am from West London and we have a lot of local summer fairs which are free to wander around have loads of lovely stalls and a lot more for kids to do than this festival catered for. The website informed us that most things were free once in there but I still managed to spend £20 on activities for my daughter !!??

Site and Facilities:

Not enough toilets for the amount of people and portable loos are not child friendly

Did you feel safe?

Yes, it felt safe

Would you go again?

No

3/10

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Review by: Sally (2 kids: 18 mths and a 4 1/2 yr old) – Attended SATURDAY

Getting to the festival:

No queue to get in – arrived just after opening at 11am. No directional signage – spotted event crew pinning up signs to lamp-posts as we were arriving at 11am! No maps handed out – had to get one out of box I spotted under one of the tables. No ID wrist bands handed out to my 2 boys (which I later found out were available)

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Line-up looked fantastic – good mix of CBeebies characters and some CITV (think Ben10 was supposed to be there but didn’t turn up?). Lots of other activities and workshops listed – BUT on the day the queues were horrendous for all the popular activities so my boys ended up not actually seeing anything we’d planned to see! I’d spent ages on the Friday chatting with my eldest about what he wanted to do/ who he wanted to see etc and had marked down times/ where they were – and missed out on all of them due to queues. I took youngest to the soft play area – and couldn’t get in as it was full. Baby Loves Disco area – the same. Queues for the go-karts were a joke – and one bouncy slide for the 10,000 full capacity crowd they had in on the Saturday? Ignore the PR of “only 2,500” – that’s FAMILIES they’re talking about i.e. 2 adults and 2 children which at full capacity means 10,000 people.

What would you change / improve (if anything)?

More of each activity i.e. have several face-painting areas and craft workshops, pre-bookable Charlie and Lola/ Horrible Histories sessions to avoid queues, more characters walking around site instead of stuck behind a fence (and a happier Peppa as she was a miserable pig on the Saturday!) – kids wouldn’t notice if you had 5 or 6 Peppa and George‘s wandering around! More food stalls allowed in – the ones there couldn’t cope with demand and the queues were running at 40-50 mins at a time to get served, don’t have concessions stalls selling products – we’ve spent enough getting there let alone to be subjected to numerous stalls selling things kids really want! Better directional signage, staff training for all (including stewards as the ones I came across were rude and unhelpful). Disabled facilities were a joke – there should be some sort of preferential system whereby disabled visitors can pre-book on activities to avoid queueing. The concept is fantastic but I’ve been to many non-specific-family festivals and the facilities for children are MUCH better – and my boys have had a brilliant time with great memories, unlike Lollibop where they left in tears.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Take your own food, go early and be prepared to queue for a LONG time on the popular activities

Site and Facilities:

Easy to get around site – again no directional signage but map wasn’t too far wrong although it got a but confusing with all the crowds to determine which tent was which. Long line of portable toilets but only a couple of disabled – which were under heavy use from mums with babies. Baby change area was good idea – but again under VERY heavy usage with only one microwave to heat food up (not required by me!) and long queues. Lady in there was lovely though and handed out free nappies which was great if you’d run out!

Would you go again?

No, never

1/10

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Review by: Bey Conn (with a 5 year old)

Getting to the festival:

OK. No one at Regents Park tube directing, but the crowds were a good guide.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Poor. lots of space for the queues. not enough entertainment for 3 plus kids. Too much CBEEBIEs.

What would you change / improve (if anything)?

More entertainment. The crazy golf had adult clubs. It simply like a dreadful ill thought out cynical attempt to make money.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Don’t go!

Site and Facilities:

OK

Did you feel safe?

Yes

Would you go again?

Never

1/10

 

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Review by: Massey (with an almost 4 year old) – Attended SATURDAY

Getting to the festival:

No problem getting there and getting in.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Excellent line up but queuing for over an hour with a 4 year old for just about EVERYTHING! (toilets/face-painting/food/trampolines, etc. etc.)… spoiled the day for all.

What would you change / improve (if anything)?

Hope the organisers will publish this and take note –  We were not the only people disappointed.  I would like my money back.  [Editor’s Note: Festival Kidz are NOT the organisers – LolliBop is a Continental Drifts event]

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Spend the day at Thorpe Park or Chessington instead.  Even at peak times you will not waste most of your day queuing.

Site and Facilities:

Queues – queues – and more queues.

Would you go again?

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

2/10

 

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Review by: Chris Luxford (with 3 kids: 2, 3 and 4) – Attended SATURDAY

Getting to the festival:

We had a short walk from Baker Street tube. This isn’t the nearest station, but is the most convenient for where we were coming from. We got there shortly after the gates opened and went in very quickly. Child wristband distribution was not as well thought out as it might have been, but pretty quick and simple.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

The line up was excellent, if a little over reliant on television characters. We didn’t try any of the workshops.

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Plan ahead.

Site and Facilities:

We’d been to last year’s event in Clissold Park (Stoke Newington) as well. While Regent’s Park is easier to get to, the festival site has less tree cover for shade.

It was a very compact site, so easy to get around, and with a well thought out through layout so that the different stages and tents didn’t interfere with one another. There was also a good sized buggy park so we could leave the pushchair when not using it.

The site map and full timetable was well done.  Lollibop has the feel of a proper festival, and has everything that parents of a small child needs.

Would you go again?

Yes

9/10

 

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Review by: Anonymous (with 2 kids: 5 and 2) – Attended FRIDAY

Massively oversold. Queues for everything from pizza to toilets, but most importantly huge queues for everything the kids would want to go on. ONE bouncy castle for a few thousand children = 45 minutes waiting time for a 5 minute bounce. Not a good ratio.

At £80 for a ticket for a family of four, this was nothing short of a rip-off.

Friends who had been in previous years and recommended it said that they have both increased the size in terms of number of people there and decreased the number of rides. Not a good combination.

Would you go again?

No

1/10

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Review by: Clairem (with a 22 month old) – Attended SATURDAY

Getting to the festival:

Easy to get into site. Short walk from Marylebone station. Might have helped to have had signage from the station but the map on the Lollibop website was good. Small queue to get in at 11am but they had people in the lines dressed up entertaining the kids which was spot on.

Entertainment – Line up and Kids Activities:

Line up was fantastic. Loved Baby Loves Disco and the Itsy Bitsy Strictly tents. Sand pit was good near Minimission. Wow tent was good for the teenies and the messy play with cornflour at the Science tent was good. Loved all the bears, Peppa, Bob etc even though my son ran a mile every time we took him near one!

What would you change / improve (if anything)?

Not much really. It was very good but price was steep in relation to my sons age and not relative of the price I would expect to normally pay to take a child of that age too over the course of a day (£50 of the £75 was just me and my other half taking our son to a festival) but I suppose if you were an adult you would pay this to attend one day at a music festival… conversely we were in the centre of London and if you likened it to the cost of a day at a theme park then the money is similar.

Also, the queues were quite long for a lot of things so we couldn’t participate as my son would not last 30-45 minutes waiting to do something

Any other comments and your Top Tip:

Get there early and do things like Charlie and Lola’s play first and stay until the end as after 5 a lot of the queues were a lot shorter

Site and Facilities:

Great site, not too big, buggy friendly. Good phone coverage. Aisles getting in accommodated buggies – very well thought out. Toilets not bad and not much time to wait.

Did you feel safe?

Yes so much so that our son could run around supervised

Would you go again?

Yes

9/10

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