This year we went to Brighton's Little Monster Bash - a childrens festival in our own county (well... nearly, we're in West Sussex, but what's a couple of miles). Anyway, I love that the event was being held with Tree of Hope childrens charity with proceeds going to them - so I for one am NOT going to complain about £5 car parking fee for the day - especially when bigger London based children festivals charge double that!
We arrived at 10am - when it started, and I do believe the dark cloud above is what stopped a lot of parents turning up this early (not that 10am is early in our house, Max certainly does not get his early bird attitude from me....). Maybe parents were waiting for see what the whether was going to do? or being local just decide to turn up much later? I don't know, what I do know is by 3pm it was a lot busier then 10am.
So, back to our morning. We had a lovely clear view of the event, we could see all the tents, toilets and stage. We purchased guides to show us what was going on and where it was - again these you had to purchase - but that is no different to purchasing a guide at Reading.
We went with friends and our 2 little monsters had the guides round their necks (and under their arm for a bit of extra safety) and off to the sensory tent we went. Not too many people, some felt the need to walk around with their shoes on when there is quite clearly a sign asking to take your shoes off (yes I'm talking parents here, not little ones!). Anyway, Max loved it in there, the dancing, actions, pompoms - everything, we only really got them out of there because George and Peppa had come out to say hello in the Meet and Greet area - which I thought was a fab area! As I said, it was quite early and not many people around so we managed to get nice and close to say hello.
We visited the craft tent where the children decorated monsters, cookies and had their faces painted. It wasn't too busy and we only had a small wait for the face painting - all free I might add.
It soon because apparent that the children were hungry when they devoured the Marmite snack we bought in with us. Yes we brought food in with us! The website says no picnics. We didn't bring a picnic, we brought in food to see our children through the day should we not find anything suitable to eat. This was not a hamper worth of food and we didn't bring in food for us, but we did bring in food. Why I'm stressing this is because Little Monster Bash have come under quite a bit of criticism from parents as apparently there was only 1 food stool available and the queue for this food was over 1.5 hours long. I say apparently, only because we did not experience this.
We sat down at one of the tables and we had a 15 minute wait for the food (if that). We had burger and chips for all and the children then had a choice of their sandwiches or chips, or a bit of both, for us it wasn't an issue. We ate at 12 and had a lovely lunch with no concerns of missing anything - it does get repeated so there was no rush.
After lunch we watched Go!Go!Go!Show on stage - never heard of them before, but little one had and you know what - they're not bad! They were a bit Steps-ish and easy to listen to whilst chilling out on the grass eating ice-cream.
We made our way to the petting tent where the children spent a good half an hour feeding the animals, petting them and generally having a good time - and that's what it's all about at the end of the day - the children having a good time. This queue was about 20 minutes and the event had started to get more busy and the dance tent was also very busy.
We never got to the cooking tent or the reading tent due to limited spaces, which is a shame but not a great lose, we'd seen and done so much already and I just wanted to go in every single tent to get a full day's worth - but how many festivals can you say you can do that to?
We finished off the day visiting the police van and having Max's hand molded in wax - in spider-man colours no less and finally made our way out the event 6 hours later - That's not bad for a 2.5 year old... who if I'm honest could probably have carried on for another couple of hours - it's mummy that was ready for a nap!
I'm glad we went. I'm glad we were not put off by the big dark clouds in the morning and went early and I would definitely go again next year.