A day of two halves at Funk the Family 2016.
Dear mummy, we headed down to review Funk the Family Festival in Brighton for the second year running. It’s held at Hove Park which is a wonderful green open space, 5 minutes drive from the seafront. Kindly supported by Mishon Mackay and other local businesses it’s a lovely local festival and at the heart of the community in Brighton and Hove. Funk the Family is a one day event and cost around £22 per person, Teenagers £18, children £10 with under 1’s free and is part of the Brighton Fringe celebrations. There was a ‘Creatures of The Beach’ theme at Funk The Family this year and this was evident through some of the festival decorations and on their website.
We travelled over an hour down the M25 through Bank Holiday traffic but surprisingly for us there were no massive tailbacks and we parked right next to Hove Park on the main road. Last year we parked at a multi-storey carpark which was a good 15 minute walk for us, so to find lots of spaces on the surrounding roads was good and this was due to the weather being so poor and that people hadn’t arrived so early. However, Funk the Family do recommend parking in the city centre car parks though as parking next to the park is limited to 3hrs with no return in an hour. Daddy had to move the car but fetched it to save my little legs when we left.
When we arrived the queue was fairly small and it was raining. A number of people were prepared with wellies and waterproofs however we were wearing flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts! When we left it was bright sunshine. Luckily for us a couple of vendors at the festival were selling ponchos and childrens umbrellas at the festival, especially for little ones! Phew!!
We entered the festival and ambled around the site visiting Each Peach Village (under 5’s tent) first. We were really impressed with the festival decorations this year and colour against the thundery grey skies was beautiful.
We sought refuge when the heavens opened in the under 5’s tent and played with the sensory tray which was set up with natural materials and hidden fairies and animals. I loved playing with the fairy in her little boat sailing on the blue glitter while my mummy chatted to Mrs ‘Peach’ and the nursery carers from this local childcare provider, Each Peach Nursery, who were on hand to demonstrate what they get up to at their nursery. Creative storytelling, a quiet area, treasure baskets and imaginative active play were available throughout the day. It was a lovely environment for parents to chill out in, feed babies or have a little nap!
Outside there was a break in the weather and we ventured further afield down to the main stage and watched some performers from underneath our umbrella. My Grandma was optimistic that the weather would break and we would reclaim the festival again. People hurried from tent to tent trying to dodge the rain and stall holders started to pack their items away, it was only 12.30pm and the crowds had dwindled.
Unfortunately the weather got so bad (with thunder & lightening) that we needed cover and headed to the circus tent, Cirque Du Funk, to have lunch and watch the tumblers and hula-hoopers. We scoffed some lunch and finished it off with popcorn. It was very busy in there, but the Circus PaZaz team and festival staff did well to accommodate everyone and they extended the shows to make up for the weather. We could hear the rain beating down on the tent and were glad that we were tucked up warm inside.
After the performance we got booted out of the circus tent back outside into the rain due to health and safety and potential lightning strikes. Boooo. (Lots of metal poles acting as conductors could have been dangerous for us inside). As the storm passed we could see blue sky for the first time and it lifted our spirits. However we saw another bad weather front coming in and our hearts sank.
Suddenly the clouds broke to reveal bright sunshine and the festival started to fill up and people came out from cover as if by magic. Everyone was eager to lay down picnic blankets and crack open a beer. We noticed a lot of people had brought their own alcohol with them and picnic food. We enjoyed the festival food and were really impressed from the variety of the food stalls, from curry to pizza, vegan and vegetarian food and fish & chips, they seemed to have everything. I loved eating fresh fruit from a cocktail pot bought at one of the stands and even opted to wear my cocktail umbrella in my bowler hat!
We had a giggle at the live Punch and Judy show and then found a lovely spot on the grassy knoll to lay out our picnic blanket and soak up the atmosphere. But I was a fidget bum and wanted to go explore the festival a bit more. My folks took turns to chill out while the other chased around after me. There was so much for kids to do, toddler sensory classes, Red Jelly Messy Play, clay making, Soul Dome 360° HD Cinema, Bush Craft activities, The Circus Project and Golden Lotus Archery. We didn’t know where to start! Some of the activities were more money on top of the entrance fee though and Funk the Family could have done with some free bouncy castles or trampolines on the day for an energetic toddler like me. The draw of the funfair outside also led to me to trying to scale the fence in search for even more fun, lured by the rides and stalls.
I discovered the kids yoga at Tree of Life stand and got stuck right in, even at one point trying to lead the session much to my mummy’s amusement as she watched me. She doesn’t even know where I picked up these yoga moves from!?! I was particularly good at the downward dog and pretending to be a frog! The lovely Jess was offering free taster kids yoga sessions and I agreed to be her helper for 20 minutes!
I was also drawn to the amazing large bubbles cast by a huge bubble net and we watched the salsa performers with their sequins and bright smiles sparkling in the sun. The festival party vibe was now in full swing and we could hear pumping Drum and Bass coming from Club Tropicana Tent.
We all walked over and had a bit of a boogie, my Mummy even indulged in a cheeky Pimms from the Garden Bar. The range of drinks that were available was great, the bar prices were typical festival prices, a pint of Pimms was £5 and cocktails were £8. Bedlam Brewery had some great craft beer on tap! Children’s drinks ranged from £1.50 to £3.
They were most impressed that they walked straight up to the bar and got served….no queues! The DJ sets were keeping the party going in the Club Tropicana tent, but we found it way too loud in there, hence when it wasn’t raining a lot of people were hanging around outside in the sunshine listening.
The rest of the day was sat watching the acts on the main stage and we all felt really chilled out. Some parents were tipsy and dancing and it was lovely to see my mummy let her hair down…and this was only 3pm! At one point I disappeared with daddy for 20 mins and my mummy enjoyed listening to King Porter Stomp which was perfect summer music! We all loved Professor Elemental and his fresh rhymes. The ‘No Trolls’ lyrics about Internet bullying, was a really great song with an important message behind it. We found Professor Elemental very funny and he really got the crowd going.
My mummy went to browse some of the great stands which ranged from handmade kids costumes and masks, beautiful up-cycled festival clothing and even a festival stall which sold second-hand clothes and toys! You can’t fault the retail at Funk the Family Festival and my mummy always makes sure she carries enough pennies with her. There is an atm on site just incase you run out! 😉 She bought a beautiful festival waistcoat from The Little Bohemians for me and I’m going to wear it to death over the summer. We loved the beautiful tassel with pom-pom trims and up-cycled items to buy.
There was a lovely range of cakes, fresh fruit, yummy candy floss and ice cream on sale too. We were mesmerised by the ladies in their fantastic sugar-plum fairy costumes at the candy floss stall! The festival site was very whimsical with the festival banners and characters that roamed the site in fancy dress really added to the atmosphere.
Ever so often we would see large pink flamingos walk past and I would stop and stare. I was happy walking around in my bare feet – like a real boho chick. The environment was safe and everyone was friendly and happy.
The Soul Dome 360° HD Cinema was interesting and we sat in a 7m custom-built inflatable dome and watched projectors paint an underwater scene as we submerged ourselves in a Submarine Adventure. Even though the first part of the festival was pretty wet and miserable the weather cleared up and we had a fantastic time, just a shame we couldn’t have stayed longer, as when we left the festival was in full flow and it was a barmy summer evening.
All in all a really nice day out and the festival organisers coped really well considering the heavens opened for the first part of the day. Thundery showers weren’t forecast but maybe next time the festival staff could have another picnic marquee outside just incase – they have plenty of room! We can’t wait to return to Funk the Family Festival next year! What do our hands say….? 1o/10 guys 🙂
Love Bella X
Disclosure: We gained free entrance to Funk the Family in return for an honest review. All food and gift purchases were our own.