Rhythm is a dancer. It’s a source of passion. You can find it anywhere. Or you could in your late teens and early 20s, anyway. Now you’re a parent hunting down somewhere to show off your best moves is a little more challenging. It is not impossible, however. And I know this because my wife and I recently took the bubster to our first baby rave.
The event was held in a pub in Balham, South London. It took place from 2pm-4.30pm. It was put on by Big Fish, Little Fish 2-4 Hour Party People. And it was one of the strangest Sunday afternoons I can recall. Not because it wasn’t any good, you understand. But because it featured a bunch of mostly 30-something parents closing their eyes and giving themselves to the music while wearing Baby Bjorns or trying to stop toddlers eating glow sticks.
Yup, a baby rave is a strange vibe all right. But once I got over my initial astonishment, I soon found myself cutting shapes, taking photos of my kid invading the DJ booth and Instagramming shots of my wife and son giving it their all on the podium #squadgoals.
So would I recommend it to other parents? Well, the bad news is it is not the cheapest afternoon out in the world (our three tickets came in at just over £26), but the good news is it is fun, different and memorable. And is there anything else I can tell you about it? There is indeed. Here are the five things I learned from attending my first baby rave.
1. It’s not a hardcore rave
Yes, the baby rave I went to starred a big name DJ who had played nights at Ministry of Sound. Yes, it featured glow sticks and confetti falling from the ceiling. And yes, I witnessed various people making imaginary cardboard boxes. But don’t let that put you off. Most of the attendees would have flunked an exam on rave culture, the music was toned down to cater for the eclectic audience, the dance floor was child friendly and the strongest substance anyone was popping was Calpol.
2. Take ear defenders for your kid
The music might have been toned down, but it was still “What? What was that? I can’t hear what you’re saying!” loud. Thus the parents who brought ear defenders for their little ones were as smug as smug can be. And the ones who didn’t (hello) were forced to take regular breaks from the dance floor.
3. There’s a play area…
On one of our regular breaks we wandered upstairs and discovered… three odds socks, two apples, a woman reading palms and a microwave. Not really. We actually found the chill out room (complete with mini tents and some tunnels for babies to crawl in).
And when we walked out the other side of that den of calm? Well, then we discovered the play room, where kids could get their faces painted, make “art” with Play-Doh and help to create a mural by scrawling whatever they liked on a giant sheet of paper. My top piece of advice? It’s going to get messy, so don’t forget the wet wipes.
4. …And a bar
If the thought of having to embrace your inner raver without the aid of alcohol fills you with dread, then you’re in luck. The baby rave I attended had a licensed bar that was open and ready to do business. It also sold bar snacks, which along with some home baking were the only food options available inside the venue. Conclusion? If you want your kid to eat at a baby rave, take the stuff with you.
5. There is more than one way to baby rave…
…And, perhaps better still, more than one company to do it with. Big Fish Little Fish 2-4 Hour Party People put on the afternoon I went to, but if it doesn’t run any events in your area, don’t despair. The likes of Boom Chikka Boom, Little Ravers or Raver Tots might.