Dreamland in Margate plays host to Big Fish Little Fish family rave

by Lauren Abbott

As parents of two small children with a raft of sleepless nights and early mornings under our belts, it’s fair to say we haven’t had much need to add to the bags under our eyes by pulling an all-nighter in a nightclub.

Our clubbing days are officially over. Or so we thought.

But last summer at Camp Bestival we found our festival groove throwing some shapes to a set by Big Fish Little Fish, a company which host daytime raves for families with children under eight.

Free glowsticks for kids come with a ticket to Big Fish Little Fish
Free glowsticks for kids come with a ticket to Big Fish Little Fish

So when Dreamland in Margate announced it was bringing Big Fish Little Fish to Kent with a pirate-themed party inside its ballroom we couldn’t resist dusting off the glowsticks and giving it another go.

Big Fish Little Fish is, without doubt, a stroke of genius.

The music is at a safe volume for all – not too quiet for the grown-ups and not so loud that miniature movers require ear defenders.

Although there is often a theme, fancy dress is optional - we went for some pirate bandanas and eye patches but knowing the hot sweaty mess little people can get in after an hour of leaping about we decided to avoid huge amounts of costume.

Our Kent Family had a brilliant afternoon with the crew at Big Fish Little Fish
Our Kent Family had a brilliant afternoon with the crew at Big Fish Little Fish

The music is aimed solely at the grown-ups - there’s not a nursery rhyme or Frozen track in earshot although the bubble machines and glitter cannons add the toddler touch.

Actually, who am I kidding? Who doesn’t like to pop a bubble or catch glitter to Underworld’s Born Slippy, regardless of whether you’re three or 33?

And quite frankly there’s nothing like a good tune to remind you that you were indeed a teenager once, even if the toddler hanging from your jeans pocket whining that they’re thirsty, hungry or need the toilet might now suggest otherwise.

Big Fish Little Fish came to Dreamland in April
Big Fish Little Fish came to Dreamland in April

But on the plus side it’s dark, so toddler tantrums, dad dancing, and a few other dubious disco moves can all go largely unnoticed.

There is a licensed bar – selling alcohol in safe sturdy plastic cups for the grown-ups and all manner of drinks and snacks for pint-sized pirates.

Craft tables cater for tired legs during the event
Craft tables cater for tired legs during the event

And when everyone gets a bit tired of dancing (does that ever really happen?) there are art and craft tables with pirate hats and headwear to make, murals to paint, soft play tunnels to scramble through and tents to sit in – although adults perhaps do so at their own risk.

There is also a baby chill out area for frazzled party animals and their cubs, which being Dreamland, also included some rather fetching deckchairs.

We loved it. The kids loved it. Everybody loved it.

And just to remind us how far we’ve come or perhaps how much life has changed, instead of a greasy kebab and bag of chips at the end of the night, was a free smoothie for the kids and bag of fruit snacks.

But in turning us from 24-hour party goers to the two-to-four hour party people, Big Fish Little Fish gives us reminiscing parents of the rave generation a bit extra.

Because while, in all honesty, we are not 19 anymore it doesn’t hurt once in a while to be reminded, or remind our children, that we once were.

Big Fish Little Fish is returning to Kent later this year - keep an eye on the website for further details.The company is also keen to hear from any potential venues interested in hosting a family rave.

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