The Lollibop Festival is a magnificent 3-day event that is the only one of its kind!
What’s different about this festival from all others, is that it’s solely dedicated to the the little boppers of today (AKA the kids)! This basically means that if you’re between the ages of 0-10 years, then you’re gonna love it! Lollibop is Located within “Regents Park” one of London’s Royal Parks that also plays host to the Famous London Zoo! Lollibop is a child’s paradise, it’s been filled with magic, the type that creates long lasting magical memories for kids big and small
We decided to check it out on the Saturday which is day 2 of this exciting 3 day event. I took the toddler and my daughter Alice-Sara wheres Little man enjoyed a days gardening with his dad instead. His that bit to old for Lollibop and given he knows this and likes to stick to the “Rules” he protested from the onset.
My sister also came along with my 2-year-old niece Amy. It’s nice when Harley gets to spend time with his cousin as they are both so close in age with just a mere 10 weeks between them. They’re great company for one another even if they do get into a little mischief every now and then!
The days plan basically consisted of leaving early to ensure our arrival at the Lollibop festival for when it opened! However, this simple plan was shattered when I was left running around like a headless chicken looking for odds and ends that I needed to take with me all while the toddler indulged in huge paddy thrashing around on the floor by my feet.
Then just when I thought nothing else could possibly go wrong Little man starts having a meltdown over his brother touching his things. I couldn’t just leave his dad dealing with it all, So in the end I didn’t actually get going till the afternoon! Thankfully South east London isn’t Wales so travelling didn’t prove to be much of a problem, even if we did have pushchairs on the not so child friendly London Underground!
This was our second year attending this festival which was now in its third year. Last year myself and sister just took the toddlers and despite there being one or two little things that needed a little ironing out, it was fantastic, which explains the reason why we were looking forward to discovering just what they had planed this time around.
It was over 90 degree heat that hit London that Saturday and the walk from the station to The Lollibop itself was anything but jolly! Last year the festival was set up in an area of the park that was much closer to the Regents Park entrance.This year however, it was being held much further within the parks grounds.This meant that regardless of the station you arrived at, you were still in for one hell of a walk as the nearest station to the Lollibop is at least 15 minutes walk away. At a guess I’d say that the move may have had something to do with the Olympics because when walking past last years plot I noticed it was occupied by a couple of Olympic mascots alongside hundreds of tourist snapping away at their cameras.
After a long walk through the park in what can only be described as deadly uncomfortable heat, we finally reached destination Lollibop! As expected there was no queuing to be done, what with it being the afternoon we strolled in no problem. Once inside I noticed how this years event was much larger than that of the previous one. Everywhere you turned something magical was taking place! There was clean toilets stocked with tissue at every corner of the park, plus dedicated areas to park up and leave your buggy. The area had been well decorated transforming this park space into a brightly coloured magical children’s kingdom. Large coloured flags hung from tall white beams that had been hoisted up high into the blue skies above, while pretty Bunton was draped around pretty tents, stalls and stands. All around us were hundreds of bubbles big and small floating through the air, it was magical!
As we arrived it was the sounds of the ZingZillas singing that greeted us as it roared out from the live stage that was located right in the centre of everything else making it easily accessible for all.The rest of the festival was divided into numerous different areas each hosting different shows, workshops and more. This therefore made things much easier to find.
One of the great things about Lollibop is that once you have brought your ticket all the days activities are free (with the exception of food, drink and gifts).This includes all those important little things that kids just love, such as face painting and the opportunity to get themselves a child friendly air sprayed tattoo… Plus loads more besides.
Note: Queues for things such as face painting can become quite lengthy due to it’s popularity so be warned and get inline as early as you possibly can!
Lollibop, had organised some magical entertainment this year. Roald Dahl story telling, Horrible Histories, The science museum and that of the Skylanders area were particularly great for the older children and these seemed to be popular for the duration of the day.
The organisers behind Lollibop had done a great job to ensure there was enough activities and workshops to keep everyone entertained. There was so much on offer and we felt quite honestly spoilt for choice. One of the first things we did was check out the Halfords riding tent where children were invited to jump on a bike or grab themselves a micro scooter to try. Next up we headed of to see Mister Maker which provided us with the perfect excuse to sit in the shade and cool down for a bit. Mister Maker did an awesome job at entertaining the children. The show last around 20 minutes and within this time he did some quick and easy crafting demonstrations while getting the kids up on their feet and participating in the fun by encouraging them to make various miming actions like pretending to paint, mixing a pot of glue or cutting out shapes. In all honesty, I think the toddlers were quite star struck as their expressions went from that of wide eyed and open mouth to twinkling eyes and giant smiles as they were overcome with excitement.
Other guest that had Harley jumping up and down for joy was that of the Moshi Monsters who at one point he refused to leave. The Moshlings had also brought along their huge double decker tour bus that doubles up as a Moshi Monsters Discount shop therefore selling everything Moshi monster at cheaper prices. Nonetheless, this did pose a problem for some, especially when kids both big and small could be seen throwing themselves to the ground howling the words “I want, I want!” as their helpless parents stood red faced and close to a mental breakdown.
This year there was an endless array of crafts and activities on offer. The 3ft and under area was particularly good for little ones with its extra security and fenced of location. WOW toys (one of Harley’s favourite brand of toy) had a great tent that was full of WOW toys for the children to play with while parents were offered the opportunity to grab a beanbag in the shade. I don’t doubt Harley recognised the WOW area from last year when I had no choice but to carry him out kicking and screaming when it was time to move on. This year both Harley and Amy had loads of fun getting to grips with the many different WOW toys on offer and thankfully didn’t do a repeat of last year when it was time to leave.
This years Lollibop was home to many different children’s tv characters and Harley loved getting to see them all. We even run into the super cute Haribo teddy as he walked around the area handing out sweets to anyone who came his way. We then meet the one and only Titan the Robot and this for me has to be the highlight of the day. This clever futuristic robot was everything you would expect from a robot and more. There was never anything this brilliant when I was a kid! All we got was my dad dressed head to toe in cardboard boxes with bottle tops stuck all over him. Titan was absolutely massive and would have made my 6ft odd brother look a midget. He was also kinda humorous as he let out some very comical one liners. As for my my daughter, she couldn’t get enough of him and therefore ended up chasing him around the park taking numerous pictures for her very own blog
The live stage offered a wealth of entertainment With a number of great acts such as Mr men and ZingZillas taking to the stage. It was having CBeebies presenter Alex alongside the lovely Katie from the CBeebies show” I can Cook” that really worked up the crowd resulting in a sea of families smiling and dancing till the end.
Alice-Sara was also pleased to see Dick and Dom do their thing up on the main stage, and eagerly participated with all the games that were played.
Of course We were never going to fit everything in given we had missed out on the mornings goings on, but we still manage to squeeze in a reasonable amount. We finished a great afternoon by way of chilling out on a couple of toadstools over at the enchanted forest where we all enjoyed story time with the loveable Waybloo.
So, there you have it! The Lollibop was a success. It was bigger and better than the last, a day that I’m sure both myself and the children will remember forever more. With this do you really need to ask the question… “would you recommend the lollibop festival to others ?” My answer… Hell Yer!
If you missed out on the Lollibop this summer then check out the Lollibop Mini Disco due to kick off this October half term (2012) at Ministry of Sound London. You can grab Earlybird tickets for just a tenner per person. Check the Lollibop website that has all the information you need.
Lastly I’ve made a little list of tips you may want to consider if attending the Lollibop Festival in 2013. I’ve also included information relating to the Lollibop’s Disability Access Policy and how these services were provided this year (2012).
Things to consider if visiting the Lollibop:
Arrive early to avoid long queues at the face painting stand.
Check the whether forecast and ensure you pack appropriate supplies for the day. The Lollibop is a festival that takes place during the summer month of August so you stand a good chance of sunshine. Bottled water, plenty of sun protection and sun hats for all are therefore essential. I’d personally advise that you also pop in your bag a suitable lightweight waterproof jacket & some wellies! After all this is London we’re talking about.
Food isn’t cheap but is reasonably priced in comparison to other festivals.
Gifts are reasonably priced with Helium balloons costing around £5.
If the Festival remains in the same area of the park next year you will need to remember that this is a fair walk from the nearest tube station which is Camden town.
Toilet facilities are good so please, there is no need to bring your own
Autism & Disability Friendly?
Little man didn’t come along but I did check out the Website earlier on in the year on what accommodations would be made for those with disabilities. I also tried my best to follow this up on the day.
Gaining Access To Disabled Facilities: In-order to fully access the disabled facilities a form had to be downloaded, completed and emailed back to the lollibop team. A photocopy of DLA letter or similar must be forwarded to the the Lollibop team with application. This is a good idea in many respects as it allows organisers a way of ensuring disabled peoples needs are fully met. This system also stops people abusing the facilities provided. However this also means you need your forms submitted pretty quickly normally within a few weeks of purchasing your tickets. The final date for submitting a form this year was the 6th of August meaning those with disabilities, would not be able to enjoy spontaneity and would not be able to access the disabled facilities if turning up and buying a ticket on the day.
The Facilities on offer:
LolliBop provides facilities to those with disabilities within that of its own dedicated area “The Arena” A free carer/PA ticket where required can also be provided to ensure the day is both enjoyable and comfortable for those with disabilities. Note: Carer/PA tickets need to be applied for using the form discussed above.
A viewing platform is available at the LolliBop Live Stage so all can enjoy the performances on offer. As great as this seems Lollibop do have a strict one plus one policy (disabled customer + their carer/PA) and its noted that Carer/PA’s may be asked to leave the platform when it is busy to avoid overcrowding. Note the above isn’t great for the single mum with an autistic child and 2 siblings in tow. The parent/carer would struggle if they were unable to leave the two smaller children to be of assistance to the child on the spectrum. A child like mine would be overly anxious to leave their mothers side. However, I do understand why the Lollibop are imposing these rule and I’m unsure If accommodations can be made in these situations as they may well have been this year.
General Notes: All disabled customers are welcome at Regent’s Park, but as it is a greenfield site there are sections of the arena that have uneven ground meaning that sometimes, access is difficult. Lollibop do note that stewards however, will be around to assist those having any difficulties.
I’ve been advised by a mother of a child with disabilities, that the toilet facilities were of a great standard.
Disabled Parking is allocated to the Blue badge holder on a first come first serve basis.
Lollibop Say… We will provide access to the viewing platform for all customers that need use of this facility. This includes, though not exclusively, wheelchair users, customers who are unable to stand for long periods, customers unable to be in large crowds and customers with invisible disabilities.
The music was quite loud as one would expect. However we discovered that ear defenders were on Sale at the official merchandise stall and these were really fairly priced. Despite Little man not attending we brought some ear defenders for Harley as his quite sensitive to loud noise/music.
What’s more I decided to buy an extra set of children’s ear defenders to offer on my blog as a prize. These are great for any child attending a festival but are used a great deal on a daily basis for the child with SPD or ASD. The ear defenders along with a few other pieces will ran as a competition tomorrow.