Norfolk and Norwich Festival – 2013 Parent Review

Baby Disco Dance Hall, Little Universe and Little Artist: Big Painting

Children’s events held over weekend of 18/19 May 2013 at Norfolk and Norwich Festival

Monski Mouse

We woke up to a bright, sunny day which was great for our adventure to the children’s events that were taking place at Chapelfield Gardens for the Norwich and Norfolk Festival this year.

My daughter and I had been very excited about the Baby Disco Dance Hall event DJed by Monski Mouse.  As there was only one performance a day over this weekend there was great demand so understandably the tickets for this event sold out quickly and as it was inside The Adnams Spiegeltent there was a limit on capacity.

We arrived at Chapelfield Gardens just before 11am and joined the queue outside the speigeltent.  The NNfest staff were very friendly and helpful, showing parents and carers were they could park buggies and pushchairs.

When we finally got into the tent I was taken aback at how cool it was, I mean cool as in funky and retro. There was a huge dance floor, stage and round the outside tables and seats in booths and a bar. Monski Mouse was up on stage spinning a few tunes while people piled in. My daughter stared at her in awe as she looks a bit like Minnie Mouse with her hair style and spotty 50s style dress.

Monski Mouse welcomed everyone and introduced her two dancers and her partner and little girl.  She explained we would do a warm up so we would be ready to dance.  The dancers demonstrated some simple dance moves but there was no obligation to copy although many children (and grown ups) gave it their best shot!

I loved the fact Monski Mouse could go from the Jackson Five to Beyonce to a nursery rhyme to The Cure (Lovecats, one of my favourite Cure songs) encouraging the children to roar like dinosaurs in one track, be cats and then sleeping bunnies.

My daughter felt a bit overwhelmed so I took her outside to my husband and took my son in and sat in the cushioned area which Monski Mouse pointed out was a place for the much younger children. He wasn’t sure about it all either but I think that was due to tiredness!

Little Universe (c)Pete FryThe children and adults in the dance hall looked to be having a great time but I noticed some families didn’t stay for the whole hour and overheard comments like “We paid £20 to be in there 20 minutes” (it was £5 a ticket with under 6 months being free, but perhaps it would have made it a lot more cost effective for families if babies under 1 were free as a 10 month old baby is going to have a very different experience to a 5 year old). However, it was mentioned at the beginning that people could dip in and out as they wished during the performance – which is helpful with young children.

We also watched a few minutes of the Little Universe after coming out of the Speigeltent.  I wished we’d been there from the beginning because when we arrived, the performance was already part of the way through and we didn’t really know what was going on!

Little Artist: Big Painting - (c)Susie HargreavesMy husband saw the Little Artist: Big Painting performance. The way it was set up with clear painting screens suggested to me that I could dive in and do some painting but he said it that it was in actual fact a visual performance where the artists danced around whilst painting on the screens rather than an audience participation event.  I didn’t see it myself but having seen the screens I wanted to join in!

One of my daughter’s highlights was a group of performers dressed as zany looking flight attendants who would stop and randomly dance in the street some holding up placards of what was going on in Chapelfield Gardens. She loved it when they stopped in Gentlemans Walk and danced to Raspberry Beret and then again when we were sat having lunch in ASK.  They were by no means the best dancers but they made everyone smile and it was so random that it was a great memory of the day.

And for me that’s what festivals are all about: random experiences and making memories.  I love it when you stumble upon things you never set out to see, yet they end up being one of the highlights! 😉

by Jess