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What do you usually do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe have a snooze on the sofa? A stroll in the countryside, or perhaps sit down to a huge roast dinner with the family? Well, on Sunday 9th June we decided to go RAVING!
Show me Love
Me and the hubby are; by our own admission, ageing clubbers. Back in March for Ben’s 40th we went to Retro at the Albert Hall in Manchester, and were still dancing at 5.30am! Yes, I can’t believe it either, it seemed such a good idea at the time and it was all fun and games until we had to pick the kids up and parent…we only just survived! And for my birthday last year we hit Golden, I was pregnant and sober but still managed to dance the night away (in heels no less!) So, as soon as we saw it advertised we were always going to attend the Happyface Family Rave even if we had to ditch the kids! I’m
deadly serious joking of course, luckily the boys were just as excited as us at the prospect of raving the day away!
With a nod to the smiley culture of the 80s and 90s, Happyface Family Rave embodies the spirit of a rave experience but with that ‘fun for all the family’ festival vibe; where adults and kids alike can get down and bust some moves on the dancefloor in a nightclub environment!”
We dug out our best raving gear, daubed on the UV reactive neon facepaint (which we already had, unsurprisingly! )…and added some glitter because well, why not? Eli was kitted out with some ear defenders which made him look unbelievably cute, and we had our glowsticks to hand. We were ready to get down, WITH THE KIDS!
The event itself was being held at KeeleSU, a venue we were familiar with as it was where the last Golden event was held. When we arrived we were greeted by the North Staffs Stormtroopers which was an added surprise, Stanley (4) loved them and was asking who the different characters were. I think James (2) was quietly terrified, bless him…so I’m lacking in photos sadly!
Everybody in the Place
So, what do you expect to find at a family rave? To be honest we had no idea, this was our first time and although I was excited for the boys to be experiencing a mini rave, I was also concerned that it would be so diluted to cater to the kiddies that it wouldn’t feel like a ‘proper’ club night. I guess I was feeling a bit over protective of my memories, nostalgia and youth.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit that we’re all getting older!
For those who hadn’t got their own glowsticks or facepaint there was the opportunity to get some brilliant UV reactive designs painted and glowsticks were handed out on arrival. And if you wanted to really go for it, there was a selection of accessories available to purchase ranging from bunny ears to flashing wands!
All of my earlier concerns flew straight out of the window as soon as we headed in. We were greeted with some of our favorite dance tunes and glancing at Ben he gave me a little nod of approval, confirming it was going to be a great couple of hours.
We headed over to the seating area over on the far side of the dance floor and made our base, I just wanted to set up Eli somewhere that wasn’t so bright and busy incase he got upset (which of course he didn’t, I think we’ve got another mini raver on our hands!).
Piling straight onto the dance floor, the boys ran around with some of the other children. The floor was scattered with balloons and everyone was having a lot of fun popping them and bopping around to the music. Both of my boys were quite happy on the dance floor especially with the bubble machine filling the room with bubbles that shone beautifully under the lights.
Later there was also a confetti cannon which was a huge hit with all the kids. But, for those that needed a bit of time out there were also craft tables set up where children could make and decorate their own hats.
Move your Body
Back in the day clubbers found…erm, shall we say ‘imaginative’…ways of getting their energy levels back up in order to see them dancing through until the end of the night. My boys however, were all about the sugar rush at this rave!
Luckily there was plenty of choice for the sweet toothed amongst us and Stanley chose possibly the biggest candyfloss I’d ever seen! Popcorn was the food of choice for their second pitstop but by the looks of the photo I snapped, Daddy didn’t really want to share!
My tribal gathering
The Stormtroopers had by now joined us inside, posing for photos as they collected money for local charity, The Peter Pan Centre. A proportion of the ticket sales and other monies made at the event raised a total of £380. This was donated to the centre which provides high quality care, support, and education to children with special needs.
There was a fantastic family atmosphere at Happyface Family Rave, everyone was just enjoying the music and getting their groove on. There was a fully licensed bar but, from what I could tell, quite a few people weren’t drinking (us included, more’s the pity). We had driven to the venue in our lovely 7 seater fun bus…how times have changed eh?
Sipping my diet coke I had a ‘moment’ where I stepped back, looked around the room and smiled to myself. There were some fabulous displays of Dad dancing, mums like me going for it with babies in their arms or in a carrier, toddlers throwing some shapes and older kids doing the whole Fortnite repertoire. It was ace! Up until this point I hadn’t stopped dancing myself (this however, is not unusual) and I wondered where else you would find mostly sober adults really going for it on the dance floor on a Sunday afternoon?
There was a real feel of community, afterall we all shared the fact that we were parents, definitely don’t get out as much as we would like, and still want the opportunity to let our hair down every now and then. The man behind Happyface, Nick Madeley was also to be seen dancing around on stage with his daughter Ellie which was great to see too.
Not Over Yet
As Dj James Camm (Golden resident) played the last track I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I was actually gutted it was over, those two hours had gone soooo quickly! Although I completely understand that 2hrs was an absolutely ideal amount of time to introduce younger children to the rave vibe, meaning nap times etc could be planned and managed. BUT, I felt like I could have carried on dancing all night long!
On the way out I asked Stanley if he’d enjoyed it, his answer: “BEST…DAY… EVER!” And, I have to agree really.
C’mon Nick, when’s the next one?
If you realised my subtitles were tuuunes then you need to follow Happyface Family Rave on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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North Staffs Stormtroopers can be found here.
To read about the work of the Peter Pan Centre click the image below.
Credit: The Peter Pan Centre ©
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