Sunday, 31 July 2011

Little Chill at the Big Chill at Eastnor Castle Deer Park

At the beginning of June, we wetted our appetite for summer festivals as mother and daughter at Sunrise Celebration Festival in Somerset.

I learned a few things:

· That a wheelbarrow adorned with soft and colourful blankets is a very good idea when you have a small child who may want to have a rest/get noticed.

· That it’s sensible to have no plans and to go with the flow

· To eat little and often

· To get there as close to the beginning of the festival as you can, so as to ease small child in gently.

· To not worry if she wants to play in the tent when it first goes up. This should be seen as part of that acclimatisation process; there’s plenty of time for the Madness.

· To dress her in patterned clothing and definitely nothing white

· That asking people to set challenges is really very enjoyable, especially when it comes to the inevitable tweeting-through-festival.

So, as we prepare for our second festival of the summer – The Big Chill at Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Herefordshire – I invite you to link in to their website (link below), have a look around and set us more challenges to do while we’re there. Again, take into consideration that I have a 5 year old with me and limited financial resources.

The Big Chill has a festival within a festival, The Little Chill, which has ‘entertainment laid on especially for younger audiences as well as housing the family camping area and facilities’ - and this is where we are sure to be spending much of our time.

The Little Chill sounds very exciting, with illustrators and authors, dance and drama workshops, a circus area, the Enchanted Garden WITH GIANT UV BUTTERFLIES J, bands and, get this, Caberet! Tom Baker will be there. Tom Baker! One of my Doctor Whos.

The link to the Little Chill is here.

I’ll be documenting much of this via twitter @Dr_Reba

What do you want us to do? We will endeavour to rise to the occasion.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Junk Orchestra Supervisors needed for Guinness World Record attempt at Boomfest

Boomfest is an exciting new 3 day festival for children, young people and families and will be held from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st August in Weston-super-Mare.

The FREE festival will offer a variety of performances and workshops for all ages including live music, dance and free running, theatre, film, comedy, performance poetry, graffiti, BMX-ing, skateboarding and art exhibitions.

One of the festival headline acts is Weapons of Sound and we will be working with them to create a new record for the World’s Largest Junk Orchestra!

We hope to break the current world record of 617 and create of a new world record of 750!

To help us meet the criteria laid down by Guinness World Records we need 15 - 20 responsible adult volunteers to be independent supervisors between 3.30pm – 5.30pm on Saturday 20th August in Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare.

Their responsibilities would include submitting a signed statement confirming;

ü the number of people attempting the record within their allocated grid (a maximum of 50 people in each grid)

ü all the participants within their grid actively took part in the record attempt

ü all the participants were proficient musicians

Registration for the record attempt will take place throughout the day at Boomfest and participants will be allocated in advance their grid.

Guided by the Main Stage MC the participants will then move to their grids in front of the Main Stage and this is where the independent supervisors will undertake their responsibilities under the guidance of a designated overall Independent Supervisor.

If you want to join us for this amazing event please contact Andy Jeffrey at or call 07775 027468.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


An exciting new FREE festival for children

and young people in North Somerset

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st August 2011

Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare

Boomfest is an exciting new 3 day festival for children, young people and families and will be held from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st August in Weston-super-Mare.

The FREE festival will offer a variety of performances and workshops for all ages including live music, dance and free running, theatre, film, comedy, performance poetry, graffiti, BMX-ing, skateboarding and art exhibitions. There’s a whole programme of family activity too including lots of great events for the under 5s.

Festival organisers have been overwhelmed with over 100 applications from all over North Somerset and far beyond from children and young people wanting to get involved.

The programme has been largely arranged by four young apprentices, aged 18 to 22, who run a youth arts co-op called boomsatuma.

Apprentice Amy Davis said “Boomfest is the most fantastic opportunity for young people to own their own festival. I hope as many as possible will get involved.”


Early Years

An exciting programme of activities for 0-5 years from 12 noon – 4pm daily including arts and crafts, fashion, music, soft toy play area, dance and storytelling. With the North Somerset Play Forum, North Somerset Children’s Centre team, and Weston-super-Mum.

Live Bands

boomsatsuma Mainstream project auditioned over 60 bands during the last 6 months offering the monthly winners a day in a professional recording studio. Watch the very best bands play live from 5pm – 9pm on Friday 19th, and throughout the weekend on the Main Stage and Big Top there’s live music, dj-ing and mc-ing including talented musicians and bands from Weston College.

North Somerset Slambassador Championships

SLAMbassadors UK return to WSM to finish what they started! Catch the poetic depth, musicality, spirit and stunning live performances from North Somerset youth as they tear apart the stage on Friday 19th in the Big Top. Featuring Joelle Taylor and Louise Hill plus guests. It's a brave new word...!


An amazing Fashion Show on Saturday 20th with young people from Girls Allowed, North Somerset Youth Service, Barnardo’s, and the Hans Price Academy modelling a collection of outfits designed during boomsatsuma fashion courses at Weston College and Weston Youth Centre. With MC Chris Wakeling.


Catch hugely talented local dance crews in an exciting programme with headliner Tommy Franzen from BBC’s “So You Think You Can Dance”, top UK b boy crew Physical Jerks, and all girl street dance crew Fresh Dance Company on Saturday 20th.

With workshops for all ages in Breaking, Street Dance, Contemporary, Capoeira, and Parkour/Free running displays from 4pm in the Dance Tent daily.

Weapons of Sound

Having played major festivals all over the world, Weapons of Sound are internationally acclaimed as the UK's greenest band who thump out their brand of percussion on an array of unusual instruments – from shopping trolleys and plastic barrels to gas pipes and scaffolding poles!

Ever wanted to be a World Record Holder? Join Weapons of Sound as Boomfest goes for a new record of 750 people for the World’s Largest Junk Orchestra on Saturday 20th at 4.30pm!


Colourscape is a visually stunning labyrinth of huge inflatable chambers creating a truly remarkable and unique performance space. Open Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st, visitors can open up their senses and stimulate their creativity with a variety of performances and workshops.

Over the two days there will be a range of musicians performing inside Colourscape. Michael Ormiston is Europe's top Mongolian Overtone Singer - hear him create several notes at once with his voice while playing Mongolian Horsehead Fiddle. Ansuman Biswas is an amazing Asian percussionist and they will be joined by Colourscape director Simon Desorgher on flutes and Rosie Nobbs.

Only their second visit ever to the South West! Adults £3, Children (under 16) £2.


Do you want to be let into a jaw dropping secret and catch a glimpse of something amazing? Bring your children along to say good-bye to Beastie on Saturday 20th, the very special new friend that children aged 6-10 all over Weston will have had an extraordinary adventure with this summer.

Bash Street Theatre

Bash Street Theatre perform their internationally renowned silent slapstick comedy The Station on Saturday 20th at 6pm. Set in dilapidated railway station in the age of steam locomotives, be prepared for a dramatic train crash, a daredevil rescue and some great comedy action from this award-winning street theatre company.


Rotations is a unique fusion of BMX flatlanding, breakin’ and contemporary dance, creating a visually thrilling performance on Sunday 21st of high-energy twists, flips, breaks and world class BMX tricks that is pulsing with energy, verve and invention.


Join the Natural Theatre Company and develop your Conehead character in a fun workshop and perform at Boomfest with full costume, make up and camera!! No experience necessary. Come and find out how to be a Natural on Sunday 21st!

Pierunder Exhibition

The Pierunder exhibition is a showcase for talented young artists from across North Somerset; their exciting work includes fashion pieces, paintings, photography and sculptural installations.

The festival site will include a Main Stage, Circus Big Top, Dance Tent and marquees throughout the park offering performances, workshops and activities for children, young people and families.

A full programme will be announced in August.

You can also find us on Facebook
For more information please visit

Festival Partners include:

Avon and Somerset
Aquila Events
Barcode Youth Café
Broadoak School
Bournville Primary School
Behaviour Improvement Team
North Somerset Council
North Somerset Early Years Team
North Somerset Rangers
Somerset Wood Recycling
Theatre Orchard Project
Weston College
Weston Excellence
Weston super Television
Hans Price Academy
Xtnd Learning & Leisure for All
North Somerset Youth Offending Team

For more information please contact:

Andy Jeffery E:
Cultural Projects Co-ordinator M: 07775 027468
North Somerset Council T: 01275 884220

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Springboard Art Exhibition

An exhibition launch evening might not appear to be the ideal place to take an almost five year old. But this was no ordinary view night.

The paintings were vibrant and the drawings thought-provoking. In 'Play Days', the artist(s) had personalised a swirling explosion of colour by sticking blades of grass to the mix. Another, 'Ladybirds are Bugs, Aren't They?' was a pen drawing that looked suspiciously like plagiarism to me - one I'd seen maybe dozens of times when this almost five year old by my side was a little younger.

I gave her the camera and she began the task of creating her own art, documenting the various hangings by a group of pre-schoolers from Springboard Opportunities Group, a local charity that supports children with additional needs. The exhibition, housed at the independent, contemporary Fizz Gallery, which nestles among the delicatessens and boutiques of Clevedon's Hill Road, is a stroke of genius: a fundraiser that illustrates Springboard's dedication to each child's personal development, displayed in a setting where any artist would be proud to show her work.

And the crowds came. It was a well attended launch night, with the only difference from any other being the age of the artists. Not once did I hear, 'My three-year old could have done that.'

When we got home, she grabbed her pens and sheets of A4 paper to unleash at least a dozen drawings, many inspired by the huge rainbow, revealed to us on our journey back to Weston, that had appeared among the dark grey clouds of July. In the morning she went in search of a half forgotten photo album and asked me to help her make a display of her new artwork. I have no doubt that the experience of seeing pieces so similar to her own, hung in such a fine manner at Fizz Gallery, prompted her to be curator of her own drawings in felt-tip pen on 80 gsm.

Every child deserves to have their work recognised in this way. I raise a glass of orange juice to the parents, the staff and, of course, the children of Springboard Opportunity Group - a very big well done, all round!

These photos are a child's eye view of the exhibition:

- by Becky

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Light Garden at Tobacco Factory Theatre

As my daughter has only just turned 2, I thought it would be a few years yet before she was old enough to experience going to the theatre. After all, what 2 year old could sit still enough to enjoy any kind of performance? Well, today at The Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol, we experienced a unique performance that was perfect for my active and inquisitive toddler, and mostly because sitting still was definitely not on the agenda!

As part of the World Stage Festival, Rachel Davies Film Ltd presented ‘The Light Garden’, an interactive light and video installation for children aged 18 months to 5 years old. As we were ushered into the theatre space, each little person present was handed a mini torch, and we were met by a grown woman with antennae, spotty ladybird pattern shorts and t-shirt, and stripy knee high socks. And I knew this was going to be no ordinary show…..

Our guide led us into the semi-darkness with the torches to light our way, and the first stop was a makeshift hillside (well, cushions, but after a few minutes of being part of this interactive world, you soon stopped seeing things for what they were!) where a series of light-projected ladybirds scurried around. Through a series of gestures and mime, our guide encouraged the toddlers to ‘catch’ them as made an appearance. Slowly but surely, our guide made sure that no area was left undiscovered, as she skipped and danced around the floor, enticing the children to follow her and explore this strange yet safe feeling new environment. There were pools of water projected onto the floor with fish to catch, illuminated switches that controlled the sound of the weather, lights that projected your shadow hugely onto the wall, tents and a ‘campfire’ to play in and with, and a magical cave where we were encouraged to make light drawings with our torches. These glowing images that remained visible long after the torch had been taken away brought a look of amazement to my daughters face, and I stopped trying to figure out how it was done and just tried to immerse myself in the experience as you could clearly see all the little people were doing so easily.

My only criticism of ‘The Light Garden’ was that is felt too short at only 20 minutes long. Although it was quite gentle, it took a while for most of the children to warm up. For the first ten minutes, my daughter was fine, but was a little anxious if she couldn’t see me right by her. By the end, she had forgotten I was there as she climbed in and out of tents with lights projected in them, chased our guide and her shadow around the room and threw herself at piles of cushions to catch the bugs. She was just warmed up nicely, and then it was over. However, overall this was a brilliant introduction to theatre for the very young, and we will be sure to be back at The Tobacco Factory soon to see what else is on offer.