BFLF: Family Fun For The Post-Rave Generation


If the idea of trudging through a muddy field with nothing but a whisper on the wind of where you are going for the night fills you with a heady sense of nostalgia, then you’re not alone my friend. While we will happily leave our raving days well in the past where they belong, just one glimpse of a whistle or glow stick can ignite a fire of memories of the good old days. You know, the days before we had kids. Remember them? When ‘planning a night out’ came down to where you’d meet for your first drink, and what lippy you would wear, not months of strategic planning so that you not only have a babysitter for the three hours you wish to venture down the road to the local curry house, but also enough emotional backup so you can nurse a sore head in the morning without the kids calling Childline.

Having kids is great and all that, but it does rather curb your ability to enjoy life. At least enjoy it in the way you used to. So while we’re healthier (by default, not design) and happy to be bringing new lives into the word and all that, wouldn’t it be nice, just once in a while, to don your white gloves, grab a bottle of water and gather with 500 other like minded music lovers in an abandoned warehouse somewhere? Well, dear reader, now you can. And the best bit? Kids can come too! I bring you the Big Fish Little Fish party house – family fun for the post-rave generation.

When I first heard the words family rave I wasn’t convinced. Joking aside, I don’t want my toddlers turning up to an event full of amphetamine-laden lackies. But this is nothing of the sort. It’s good, clean, family fun. And we loved it.

Big Fish Little Fish are an independent, grassroots music and events crew that put on family raves with all the freedom and excitement of a mini-festival, right in the heart of cities and towns. We booked in to try the one at Acklam Street Market, Ladbroke Grove, last Sunday.

bflf-girlDrawing on their experience as seasoned clubbers and parents the BFLF crew create anarchic, social, daft fun for all ages. Raving always came from the heart, a way to express a love of music and dancing with your friends. Well BFLF extends that across the generations so you can rave with your kids too. It’s a celebration of life, love and music. With loads of bubbles and bouncy balls thrown in for good measure.

Each event is unique – at the one we attended, 90s legend DJ Slipmatt spun the soundtrack to a luau themed party. There was a small soft play area, craft tables for more creative kids, and a constant stream of balloons, bubbles and confetti filling the air. Kids like to be stimulated, and boy does this do that! But it’s not all about them, there’s also a fully licenced bar for those not in charge of putting the kids to bed later (that was me – hoorah!).

Started in Brixton, summer 2013 BFLF now runs monthly on weekend afternoons across London and the South East, and also works with other festivals and organisations (Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, South Bank Centre and London LGBT Pride to name but a few).

Tickets cost £9 per adult and £6 per child (pre-walkers need a ticket but go free). The idea is that the events are for families with kids under 8, but older siblings are welcome. And if you like to start them young, we saw a six week old snuggling and snoring in her sling while mummy made shapes on the dancefloor!

The atmosphere is fun and friendly, but if you have a more inhibited little one then be warned this might not be best for them. By the time the event is in full swing there can be 500 people packed into the crowded room. It’s great for creating an old school rave atmosphere, but not so great for the easily intimidated.

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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