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Article: LolliBop Festival 2012

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LolliBop 2012

Another year passes and another great LolliBop 2012 event arrives!

Held in Regent's Park London, this year's 'Big Bash for Little People' (in partnership with John Lewis) featured an action-packed programme with a versatile lineup to suit all ages. Spread across three whole days, the programme was largely the same each day, except only for a couple of variations in the 'LolliBop Kitchen' and 'Lollibop Live Stage' acts - the beauty of this being that you could pick the day most convenient for you and enjoy the experience of a mini festival without the camping bit!

LolliBop 2012The ticket prices for a family of four were slightly more expensive this year, but still compared favourably to other family attractions up and down the country, and with no extra cost for the large majority of the entertainment and activities once inside (with the exception of food, drink and market stalls). As usual, the entry stations were well organised with little wait time despite the steady flow of arrivals, and detailed programme-cum-site maps were available to show you the location and times of the all the different tents and acts.

The festival started and finished an hour earlier than last year's event (10am - 6pm), with a slightly different yet improved layout which seemed to flow better between the tents and stages. We attended on the first rather than the last day this year, which seemed to make for more manageable crowds, perhaps due to the fact that it was a (the only) week day, or maybe more to do with the glorious weather compared to last year which meant that LolliBop goers were not all bunched up together in tents escaping the torrential rain!

With marquees of all shapes and sizes located around the site, there was a constant supply of activities and shows to entertain children up to
LolliBop 2012around 10 years old. For those 3ft and under, there were plenty of individual tents to provide all-day stimulation for young minds, including soft play, Tiny Play, Mr & Mrs Bubbles Disco, and a dedicated WOW Toys play area (albeit smaller than last year's tent), as well as a workshop tent offering a variety of scheduled sessions (e.g. Baby Ballet, Sign & Sign and Baby Sensory), and also a fun Teddy Bear's Picnic at allocated times throughout the day.

A good selection of arts and crafts activities encouraged children of all ages to get creative with a range of painting, colouring and making activities, where children could sit at tables and amuse themselves as they wished, with helpers on hand to provide assistance if needed and plenty of materials available to choose from. A separate B&Q tent offered packed out guided 'Mini Maker Workshops' for children to make their own robots using DIY materials.

A 'Tiny Pop' zone enabled kids to meet the team from children's television channel Tiny Pop, as well as Clifford the Big Red Dog. In addition, there was a variety of brilliantly interactive characters and costumed acts dotted around the festival site, including The Queen of Hearts & Mad Hatter, a fantastic fire breathing dragon, the mesmerising Bjorn the Polar Bear, and - my personal favourite by far - the incredible Titan the Robot...simply wow, and a surprising hit with even the youngest of children! 

LolliBop 2012The LolliBop live stage and LolliPalladium were the two principal attractions for children; the open air live stage was compered by well known CBeebies presenter Alex Winters and featured some decent length popular acts such as Zingzillas, Shrek The Musical, The Mr Men & Little Miss Party Roadshow and Dick & Dom - a firm favourite with our family and certainly full of laughs and squirty foam!

The LolliPalladium was a covered tent area (although with no dedicated tiered seating as per last year), showing among others the equally popular Mister Maker, The Gruffalo, Waybuloo Yogo, and a single Horrible Histories Workshop on ancient Egypt - certainly not for the faint hearted but full of amusing and educational material.

A dedicated face painting tent proved popular again this year, with constant but fairly steady flowing queues all day. John Lewis had their own promotional 'row' of shops, guiding you from one store to another to experience different interactive activities involving old school table-top games, furreal friends, musical instruments, artwork and fancy dress. In addition, kids could get involved in a fantastic array of 'Imagination Stations' Science Museum, clay modelling, circus skills and customised fashion workshops that ran throughout the day, as well as scheduled interactive cookery workshops in the 'LolliBop Kitchen' to get those taste buds going.

LolliBop 2012

To get kids on the move, there were organised areas for BMX-ing and Wacky Races (in the 'Bike City' area), hoola-hooping and Swingball, as well as a dancefloor arena for little ones to practise their dance moves, and a series of workshops in the 'Tween Town' to get older kids involved in street dance and beatboxing among other things! For a little relaxation, the 'Enchanted Forest' line-up of wonderfully engaging Roald Dahl storytelling and various LolliBooks sessions offered some essential down-time for little ones, while a fun hammock area provided a soothing (and popular) way for children to chill out!

My kids would never forgive me if I failed to mention some of their other personal star attractions (aside from Dick & Dom!), including the Transformers truck and the chance for your child to have their photo taken with Optimus Prime, the Skylanders Arena packed full of organised game trials, face painting and areas for children new to the game to have a go on the supplied Nintendo Wii consoles, and of course the Moshi Monsters area where your child could participate in fun Moshi Mash Up Tournaments or test their Moshi knowledge in regular quiz rounds, with plenty of prizes and giveaways including Moshi cards, stickers and magazines - very useful for keeping the kids well entertained on the way home, along with the numerous freebie packets of Haribo which also found their way into their pockets! The only downside was that the Moshi Monster Bus Shop proved very popular with the crowds, with long queues all day, although there was a fun slide LolliBop 2012for the kids to get back down to ground level!

As ever the event facilities were faultless and well set up for families, with masses of well maintained portaloos (even more than last year, and never a queue), as well as accessible toilets for the disabled, baby changing and baby feeding facilities (or rather the 'Boob and Botty Boudoir'), covered buggy parks, a first aid station, plenty of family picnic areas, and a good assortment of food and drink vendors, with the obligatory Pimms tent for the adults and an ice-cream van within throwing distance of wherever you were! Also worth a mention is the huge number of stewards wandering around who were very approachable and always ready to help.

It's fair to say that our second experience of LolliBop was even better than our first, perhaps helped in part by the much improved weather conditions, but also by the huge number of old and new activities and entertainment going on in every inch of the site. In all, well organised, well managed and in the words of our kids...'well good'!

Bring on LolliBop 2013!

For more information about the event, please go to


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