LolliBop 2012 Review

lollibop festival logoLolliBop 2012 – Regent’s Park
17,18 and 19th August 2012

We have been sent some reviews  of the festival by our readers – it’s a very mixed bag. For further reading, at the bottom of the page we have also given links to some reviews by family bloggers who were invited along to the event. And you can read 2011 reviews here.

Parent Review submitted by Kath (attended on Saturday with a 3yr old)

Getting there and entry: Easily located from the map on the website and the signs throughout the park to the venue. Entry was well organised and there were no queues at all, and this was on the Saturday at 11.30 so prime entry time. It was a 15 minute walk from Regent’s Park tube station through a beautiful park.

Entertainment: The line up was excellent!
Who better to have compering a children’s festival than two of the main CBeebies presenters who interacted brilliantly with the crowds.
The acts on both the LolliPalladium stage and main stage were spot on and catered for the younger child to the eldest. On the LolliPalladium stage acts were repeated throughout the day to provide everyone attending with the chance to see them.
There was plenty of other forms of entertainment from craft, to play, to wacky races and meeting favourite characters or heroes. Plenty of workshops catering for different interests: craft, dancing and cooking.

What improvements would you make? Large maps and programme of events on boards at regular intervals around the venue.  Portacabin toilets rather than individual portable type.

Any top tips? Take plenty of water and wetwipes for cooling down.

Site and Facilities:  The site was just the right size with plenty of seating areas for picnic or chill out areas. The organisers had created a lot of shady areas in a not very naturally shaded area.
Plentiful toilets supplied with toilet paper and antibacterial gel as there was no running water or soap.
Good range of food outlets from Pizza Express to pasties, burgers to milkshakes. Also Ella’s Kitchen were there with free snacks for little ones.
Mobile phone coverage wasn’t excellent but enough for a signal and to send messages on twitter.

Did you feel safe?  Yes – Incredibly well fenced in, no wandering children, friendly helpful staff.

Would you go again?  Yes!

What was your most memorable moment?  Seeing Mister Maker get crafty on stage, Alex and Katy from CBeebies, John Lewis Lane, the 3 foot and Under area, Bjorn the polar bear and Tiny the dinosaur, Wacky Races with balance bikes.

10/10

Parent Review submitted by Ruth

Getting there and entry: It was about a 20 minute walk from the tube and sign posted all the way from the first park gate. Very easy. Massively hot but free sun tan lotion and sun hats on offer as were rain ponchos!

Entertainment: There was so much entertainment we literally didn’t know where to start. I’d printed out a line up with all the times of all the things suitable for us and still there was too much to choose from to do everything! Once there my itinerary went out the window as there was also lots of other little things we couldn’t resist… We definitely were spoilt for choice!

What improvements would you make? I think I would bring in an on the spot fine for anyone seen dropping litter or an immediate ejection! I might even make it last longer but then I don’t mind my children being up late once in a while for a special event, I know some people are not so keen!

Any other comments? Book early for the early bird tickets and look out for brilliant discount codes which are offered. Also make the most of it all and go from start to finish, once you’re in everything aside from food is free including face painting and a massage for me while little ones were looked after by trained child minders!

Site and Facilities:  Facilities were excellent – Portable toilets clean and with hand sanitiser and toilet rolls which never ran out for any of our trips. EXCELLENT baby changing facilities with free nappies and wipes etc. (The woman here was so lovely and even let me in after she’d cleaned up and closed for the day; couldn’t have wanted more)! Food and drink was available but not pushed upon us and it was reasonably priced for an event like this and unlike the V festival (where I spent some more of the weekend) the food looked good and healthy options were available. The ground was heavily manned for security and fenced off, I think it would have been extremely difficult for a child to escape or anyone undesirable to get in. It was big and open meaning you could see your child if they ran off ahead a bit but the tents and attractions were not miles away from one another. Can’t fault it. Litter was a problem as in parents kept dropping it (why??!!) but I saw so many people running round picking it up and doing their job that they couldn’t be faulted for trying, it was just there was masses of it.

Did you feel safe?  Super safe! As I mentioned, it was heavily staffed for security and the fences meant I felt confident my child couldn’t get out and any undesirables couldn’t get in! The crowds were big and atmospheric but not so big that my daughter couldn’t run closer or dance without me and I couldn’t see her! I sat and ate lumch while she watched something on the main stage a little away from me and I could see her and wasn’t worried about her getting lost in a crowd.

Would you go again?  Absolutely!

What was your most memorable moment?  Most memorable moment I think would have to be just a small pleasure in amongst all the many big, big pleasures we had throughout the day. I had my face painted with my daughter after queuing for only 10 minutes (despite the massive lines of people waiting they went down super fast because there were loads of face painters) and she giggled so hard that I too had face paints on that it made it a smiling memory for me. Really and truly there’s too many moments to recount!

10/10

Parent Review submitted by Em Kane

Getting there and entry:  No queues on arrival. Had to walk a fair way to the site from public transport. It was raining when we got there so tents were full to capacity. No clear signs on where to get cagouls etc

Entertainment:  Live stage was great, could not get into any activities without long queuing times. The craft area was tiny, not nearly big enough for the amount of children at the event. Mini disco was great too, and that area was somewhere spacious unlike the rest of the site which seemed over-crammed and too small for the amount of people attending.

What improvements would you make?  Either a much larger site with more space, or less people attending. The queues are way too long.

Any other comments… £33 day ticket was way too much to just watch acts on a stage as we could not get into other activities without long queuing. No water fountains which should be free, especially as we had a heatwave.

Site and Facilities:  The site I think was too small, when you add a buggy or 2 to each family they take up more space! Most people kept their buggies with them around the site. There were not enough areas to be able to sit down away from the main area. Toilets were OK, too many shopping stalls and some not geared at kids at all (i.e ladies handbags), good food stalls too. No water fountains that I could see, so spent a bomb on bottled water as it was very hot.

Did you feel safe? Very secure, left stuff in the buggy park and it was safe and dry. Bit too crowded though, I would have gone into mass panic if I had lost a child!

Would you go again? No

What was your most memorable moment? Dick & Dom

3/10

Parent Review by Anon (visited on Saturday)

Entertainment:
Pretty poor.
The Moshi Fun Bus turned out to be a shop.
The Transformers stand was a green background that they took a photo of you then emailed a superimposed Transformer behind you. We were two separate families and asked for two separate pics but they said No – even though there was no queue!
The Flora cooking stand could only fit 7 kids in at a time and took 45 mins.
The B&Q Workshop was good – made a coaster with glitter on but we forgot to go back for it when it dried.
Mr maker did the same show morning and afternoon.
Halfords bikes looked OK but not going to queue for an hour to go on a push bike we have at home!
Butlins were giving out brochures – thanks.
4 ice-creams £10.
Kids enjoyed craft tent most.
Skylanders… The worst stand!! It was just a photo op for themselves I think! I didn’t get what it was really!
Enjoyed the science museum stand tho 🙂

What improvements would you make? 
Bouncy Castles.
Happy efficient staff (queues of impatient under 10’s didn’t need dawdling!)
More free stuff!
A cardboard castle city where the kids can decorate them.
Cheaper shops… I wasn’t really keen on buying a£ 30 picture frame whilst trekking 3 tired kids home on the tube.
More street performers.
A circus skills tent.
Free (or cheaper) water.
Maybe just biscuit decorating instead of 45 min cooking class.
Free fairground type rides.
Characters from stage walking round doing meet and greet or at a point where people can queue for a photo with them.

Any other comments…
I’m usually a glass half full person and when I’ve paid for a day out I like to stay as long as possible to get my money’s worth! As long as the kids are happy, I’m happy – but the 8yr old said she was bored. And the 4&5yr olds said they wanted to go home! so I secretly thought yesss!! Let’s go!
For that price a theme park would’ve entertained them more.

Site and Facilities:
Toilets were amazingly clean.  And the site and facilities were excellent.

Would you go again?
No.

What was your most memorable moment?
2/3 of my kids getting to bake banana muffins so we got to wait on the beanbags in the shade!! … it was 32 degrees on Saturday!  Got a free pack of Moshi cards at Moshi stand.

5/10

‘Dick & Dom’ comments from reader Patricia:

“I attended the festival on the 19th August and was at the stage area when Dick and Dom came on – you could imagine my (and other mums in the vicinity) surprise when they started using the name Dick with rude innuendos – this was not appropriate for children and if a festival is being put on for children I believe discussion should be had with the presenters on what material should be used.  There were 3 occasions when I tried to get my grandson to walk away but of course he was tied to the stage show, but he did in fact tell me on the way home that Dick and Dom were rude.  This is not acceptable.”

Parent Review by Judy Snape from www.judysnape.co.uk

Getting there and entry:  I walked from Regents Park. It was a long walk for the children. Could there not have been a little train to take the children into the festival? My grandson was exhausted by the time we arrived.

Entertainment:  There was no meet and greet.  The entertainment was shocking. Just poor renditions of children’s television programs, with an appalling drag act in between one of them. The science tent made no attempt to be colourful or exciting or engaging. We queued for half an hour for a bus, which turned out to be a shop. Everything had a commercial overtone.

What improvements would you make?  A festival organiser who didn’t have the commerce uppermost in their mind.
Professional children’s entertainers who are not necessarily television stars would have been much better.  Somebody able to connect with the children so that they felt part of the show.

Any other comments…  Frankly I was appalled. I would discourage anybody else from going to such a commercial enterprise, where the chief aim was to make money at the expense of the child. Somebody needs to go to Bestival to find out what real children’s entertainment is really about.

Site and Facilities:  Toilet facilities and mobile connections fine.

Would you go again?  Absolutely not.

What was your most memorable moment?  Frankly, there was no memorable moment at all. No roundabouts, no bouncy castles, purely reactive entertainment. We came home with no little souvenirs, no handouts, just a hot and exasperated disappointed child.

1/10

Review by Anonymous (attended Sunday)

General comments:  Over crowded, poor customer services, mess and rubbish everywhere.
It’s just about the most frustrated and worst experience that we’ve ever had, no interesting activities at all for my both daughters, 6 and 3 years old.
In such a hot weather could be more organised.
My kids just kept crying and asking to go home.

Would you go again?  NEVER

What was your most memorable moment?   When my 6 year old asked one of the members of staff at the craft point to help her to find just a clean colouring paper – her request was just ignored with a roll of the eyes.  She came to me in tears and absolutely upset.

1/10

If you took your family to LolliBop this year, please share your experiences using our simple online reviews form.

Here’s a round-up of some more positive Family Blogger reviews of LolliBop 2012:

NB: These reviewers will have been given free tickets and access to the Press Area.

Read our LolliBop 2011 Parent Reviews here


23 thoughts on “LolliBop 2012 Review

  1. The 2013 event was truly awful! I never leave comments but feel it may help organisers perhaps sort a focus group or two and see what kids & parents really want….. for me it wasn’t this.
    Fortunately some of my tickets were half price (a newspaper offer)- except the offer didn’t accept odd number families, so going with 3 kids & 2 adults meant paying for 6 – not a great start.
    I agree with some of the previous comments. It was a commercial event which maybe shouldn’t even be charged for! Great for product placement or selling over priced balloons because the kids didn’t find it as fun as they thought…..but not much else. Examples:- Top Trumps tent just sold packs of cards, No gaming! The Skylanders – kids could have a go at the games or pre-order (again buying) NO characters walking around, no creativity – eg: bouncy castle style where they can jump up and re-inact with their favourite characters or whatever….on the younger age front (my youngest is 2.5) presenters just shouted at them from the stage. Kids love singing and dancing but not being screamed at….
    The concept is fantastic and I have heard from people there that previous years were better,…. us parents would like a good event so you have a good audience but for the money you charged we expect an awful lot more.

  2. I simply do not believe the negative reviews on this forum. I am sorry but I suspect some kind of espionage from a rival event. It is quite clear on one review that the reviewer had not been to the event due to one thing that was written which was totally wrong and the information was only available on the website which was miswritten. Shame really that people would smear the event this way. The event was a great day out for our family and we will be going back for sure

    1. All our reviews are vetted and checked before publication so we can be fairly sure they are genuine. Many people going to the same event will have very differing opinions of it due to their expectations and the actual experiences they had there. I am glad that you were fortunate and had a great day out, and it’s a shame that some other people did not have such a good experience but we feel that it is important to share all genuine reviews be they positive or negative, so that other parents can make a better judgement over whether it is the sort of event that they might enjoy.

  3. We did look at going last year but couldn’t afford it. It’s something id be interested in going to so I could form my own opinion but I’d just be worried it would be too different from a normal festival and I wouldn’t enjoy it.

  4. I’m also surprised people didn’t enjoy it. I went with my 17-month son, my neice, who’s two and a half and baby nephew and I ahve to say it was one of the best children’s events I’ve been too.

    Well thought out with loads of loos and great nappy changing facilities which really make a difference. My son loved The Guffalo and Waybuloo and I thought there was laods to see and do while walking around. Some people seem to think bouncy castles would ahve improved it – surely you can get these anywhere? But when does your child get to see their fav shows magically come to life?!

    We got there about ten and stayed right through til six and not once did I think about leaving. I even managed to have a fantastic 20 minute massage at the rescue remedy tent for free. Arthur got balloons, activity books and really enjoyed the under threes area as well.

    All in all a very positive person and I agree with Ruth above about the rubbish. Yes there was rather a lot around teh stages but shame on teh parents who let it.

    Will definitely be going next year.

  5. I’m a bit surprised with all the negative reviews here as well. I’m not a festival goer, so I’m not sure what other festivals are like (mud? crowd? Standing whole day just to see your favourite celeb to appear for 5 mins?) But it stated clearly on the website what you should be expecting, and the map kind of gave it away that there will be lots of brands there, so I don’t quite understand why there are complains about the festival being commercialised? I think it’s as commercialised as T4 music festival surely? You go there to watch your favourite band and celebs, not a nobody right? LolliBop is a music festival, not really a theme park or circus. Not that I mind having bouncy castles or circus stuff there, but it’s kind of unfair to judge LolliBop for what it is not.

    I’m actually impressed that they’ve added so many things to do around the main stage. I think if you go to other music festivals you only get one stage to look at? To make sure every child get to see their favourite celebs, there are a few stages around, and you could easily plan your schedule so that your child get to move around each stage and see them all. That’s why there are repeats in the afternoon. I think the heat did ruin our schedule though, all we wanted to do is to dive into the shades hehe, so we missed quite a few shows.

    The only queue we had to join was for the Moshi Monster Bus (which stated that it was a shop by the way that has discounted Moshi products), taking picture with Moshi and for food. Most of the fun stuff are for group participation so there are hardly any queues. I do agree that Halfords bike ride was really popular and we didn’t bother going back either as there was so much to see. They did tell people to go around and come back at an allocated time, instead of queuing and waiting though. So it’s entirely up to you whether you wanna wait or see other stuff. The rest of the mini queues only had about 3-5 children in line, and it moved quite fast.

    I appreciate how safe it was. We bought a special wrist band for Abby, but the festival itself provide the same wrist bands as well by the entrance. So if you lost your child someone can ring you. I agree with the above too, we were glad that there was so much open space or we would have lost our daughter already. She ran from one end of the festival to the other and we spotted her from far away!

    Love the hygiene. The last thing we want in a hot weather is dirty and smelly toilets where germs can spread fast.

    I would love to see more seating areas especially near the food though. Lots of people wanted to sit under the shades so they ended up staying there longer than needed.

    I haven’t write my post up yet as we had a lot going on during that weekend, but we did enjoy ourselves apart from the heat. Lets hope that next year the weather will be kinder to the LolliBoppers!

  6. Am really surprised b the negative reviews. Our experience was wholly positive. Well organised and thoughtfully put together event. Skylanders and Moshi Monsters are commercial enterprise but both offered things for free, games and entertainment. Neither are concepts that float my boat but liked how they engaged with the children. My son is 4 he was thrilled to have a photo with a transformer. Simple pleasures. We were impressed the variety from transformers to street theatre. It was well thought out. HavIng previously been to camp bestival – huge, fab but lots additional costs. I barely spent anything at lollibop and Deer shed a small family festival this year. Lollibop compared very well. A day festival works well for kids in my view. Lollibop was a great balance between quiet craft activities, educational entertainment such as fantastic polar bear and the thrill of seeing tv favourites. It’s a winner. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

  7. I’m really surprised by some of the reviews I’ve read here as we had a simply wonderful time and it felt, if anything, like a step back in time rather than a commercial, modern, money making scheme. We felt safe and my little one could run freely as I was able to see her with all the open space and she couldn’t have been more entertained! My only complaint would be that there was SO much on offer we literally couldn’t see and do everything meaning we left wanting more but surely that’s the sign of a good day?! I loved the bands and everything we saw on the main stage was with a crowd of course but still with plenty of room to dance. We queued in an enormous line for face painting but there were so many face painters we were done and dusted in ten minutes and we both (I couldn’t it resist myself) had our faces done! We saw The Gruffalo which we have seen in the West End and it was with the same actors and to the same fantastic standard, Mr Maker (twice as my daughter loves him) and my nephew thought the Waybaloo Yoga was amazing! We read the line up before we went so we knew who was to be performing and we knew it was the CBeebies presenters who the children love but I was impressed that in between there were other acts too! (Personally we thought the ‘drag’ act (I wouldn’t call it that – more like a pantomime dame) was very funny and kept things moving along wonderfully. I was most impressed that this year (It was our second year) there was even more for older children and ice cream, drinks, food etc wasn’t ridiculous prices! I really have no idea how any child wouldn not enjoy themselves? Unless perhaps the adult they went with was hot, bothered and too moody to engage with them?! (Just a thought)! My only bug bear would be the rubbish but that’s the parents right? There were people picking it up just as fast as it was being dropped but I saw so many people flinging their rubbish it was inbelieveable! The nappy station was amazing and the lady in there let me go in even though she’d closed at the end of the day (we stayed till the end cause we were having such a good time why would we have left early?) and her attitude was indicative of everyone else we encountered! I’d recommend Lolli to everyone and so would all the people I spoke to on the day, went with and have chatted with since!

  8. This really doesn’t sound like my sort of thing either. There are quite a lot of negative reviews on their own FB page – it sounds like they oversold on tickets – crowds and small children don’t mix!

  9. To add some balance, here’s a link to a review from someone who had a good time: http://aresidence.co.uk/2012/08/21/why-lollibop-rocked/
    My kids are a little old for this sort of thing, but it’s true it isn’t really my thing either. I just felt bad for the organisers that the reviews left on here were so negative, when presumably people bought tickets because they thought it WAS their cuppa tea… and I got the impression it was better than last year as well…!

  10. as frequent festival goers with young children (aged 3 & 6 this year) this festival does not appeal and the commercialisation of the festival puts me off in the first instance.
    It’s a shame that it appears to have put others off, I hope next year these people put their money towards festivals like larmer tree or wychwood, although not completely child orientated the facilities and entertainment are great for all to be happy! Such a shame that you have to dig about for a good review.

    1. Well, in general people are often quick to complain if they have had a bad time… but I think perhaps a lot of our readers are proper festival-goers so this sort of an event is perhaps not their sort of thing, hence the comparatively low number of positive reviews? There are definitely less disgruntled customers voicing their opinions this year than last year, so improvements have definitely been made by the LolliBop organisers.

  11. Definitely NOT my cup of tea. Haven’t ever been tempted to by a ticket for this one. I am making a conscious decision to move back to more grass roots festivals (when you had to man up to go in the loo). I’m not surprised by some of the reviews I’ve read to be honest.

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