My main memory of live music at Preston Guild Hall is being packed in to watch The Charlatans belt out their greatest hits.Advertisement
Fast-forward more than a decade and I’m back in the main hall on a Saturday afternoon , but with a six-and-a-half month old in tow. For a baby rave.
The Guild Hall has been transformed into a safe space for parents to rekindle their love of dance classics and youngsters to let off some steam.
DJ Slipmatt is blending the tunes for many Mums and Dads to let themselves go and show their children the sort of dance moves that in future will have them shaking their heads. Fortunately the majority of them are far too young to judge at this stage.
There’s a surreal experience at the start as two Pippa Pig-like creatives are doing their best Bez warm-up moves to introduce the DJ before the balloon drop. You know your Saturday afternoons have changed a fair bit when you’re witnessing these scenes.
A big parachute is rolled out and everyone has a great time keeping it up in the air as parents and kids dart about underneath its rippling waves.
This is a high octane two hours and it’s not just dance. There’s a kids play area with a ball pit and toys to keep the little ones entertained and also dodgems on the other side of the room, and not forgetting a bouncy castle. If I were to offer room for improvement it’s to have somewhere for the smallest of children to play, they are mixed in with the toddlers – who of course are charging around like mad things.
Raver Tots have a good set up. There’s a decent light show and the music is loud, but not quite bursting your ear drums – important for increasingly ageing blokes like me and also keeping the kids ear drums intact.
Our little one – Connie – is wide-eyed at the light show and seems happy with the music. Before long she’s somehow managed to drop off. A ringing endorsement of the rave scene? Or more just a sign that children really can fall asleep anywhere.
She gets a second wind after an hour and we’re off under the parachute as it is rolled out again. I’m clinging onto my beer and Connie in a bit of multi-tasking as we twirl around under it. She’s smiling and giggling away.
Read more: Santa specials returning to the Ribble Steam Railway
Unlike other kids events there’s a fully functioning bar, although a can of Red Stripe sets you back £4 and a bottle of Coke is £2. Standard gig/nightclub prices then!
The Guild Hall is a good venue for it – there’s plenty of space, it’s not too packed, and you’ve got the banks of seats to retreat to if there’s a need for a break.
Raver Tots puts on a good show and there’s a nice atmosphere, and plenty of dancing (both good and bad!). And it’s worth the ticket price in that you know your little one will sleep very soundly that night after all the lights, sound and busting a move.
Would I go again? Yes, and I think in say a year’s time our little one would enjoy it a lot more – and hopefully stay awake for more of it too.
Did you go to Raver Tots? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below