Anyone that follows our movements on Facebook or has seen us at all manner of events around the country will know that a large portion of our summer season is spent supply festival children’s area’s to some lovely events across the UK festival circuit.
A festival children’s area the whole family can enjoy!
We want to create a fun filled area that keeps the kids amused of course. However we aim to create a beautiful space that has a little bit of something for everyone. The idea being that families can play together and not feel like their away from the rest of the festival. A circus show that wows even the most seasoned festival goer but mesmerises the kids at the same time. Gran can bounce on a mega ball and dad can ride a crazy bike. Read on to find out what your options are when booking a Bigtopmania area.
What the public said…
A colourful festival children’s area landscape created by us.
We are also big top hire company with a huge amount of own equipment, meaning the majority of the time we supply our own big tops as venues for the shows, craft activities and workshops. This allows us to plan out the area and means festival organisers aren’t having to communicate with multiple suppliers to create one area. Sit back and let us build it beautiful, or indeed as with Camp Bestival give us your creative input to guide us in order to get every little detail just as you picture it. The point stands though that, if we are working in the area, it makes sense that we create the space as much as possible because we know which activities need what space.
Activities and Shows – Generally we program shows in our Big top throughout the day and activities spilling out of the tent and around it to create a wonderfully chaotic and immersive little people party zone.
The vast majority of our activities are brought and managed by us. We never charge for any of our activities and try to keep the kids area as a money free zone. We bring to the table;
Mega Balls – Upto a 10 foot Giant Beach Ball, 5” Earth Balls and lots of different sized giant bouncy balls that children (and adults) can wobble, wiggle, bounce and balance on.
An amazing photo opportunity and fantastic fun.
Interactive Inflatables – These are hard to describe in words. They are crazy shaped alien creations which kids can bundle on, run around, climb up. They have often been mentioned as children’s favourite thing at Camp Bestival, which is really saying something.
Crazy Bikes – A huge range of wacky bikes awaits your punters. Wobbly bikes, unrideable ones, unicycles and tricycles, time to try cycling in the wackiest of ways.
Circus workshop but better! – All the usual juggling, hula hoops, plate spinning and diabolos, plus Slacklines, Tightwires, Acrobatic, and Aerial workshops in TRAPEZE and Aerial hoop – a super popular festival favourite!
Toddler Area – babies and toddlers need a space to kick back when they’ve done too much dancing. A cute little space with a vast selection of cuddly toys, sand pits, trains, puppets, and sometimes even nappy changing facilities.
Etc Etc Etc … Lots and lots of bubbles, walkabout performances, african drumming, catapult water balloons, 5 aside football, volley ball, sock wrestling. The only limit is how much space you can give us!
Shows galore that’ll make you want more
Every festival children’s area includes our resident Bigtopmania Family Show. Which usually includes 3 members of the Bigtopmania family and is usually bolstered by our good friends, fellow professionals as well as a few talented teens to create a fun filled action packed, big tricks in small tent impact thats the perfect first circus experience or equally enjoyable for circus enthusiasts.
There will almost always be the legendary Kids Talent Show which can throw up some wonderful moments that you really have to be there to enjoy but it is generally wonderful Sunday afternoon watching. You can also expect to enjoy Big Bears Big Balloon Disco!
Huge tunes and bigger balloons. You show us your dance moves and if you’re working hard enough we will unleash hundreds of balloons that bounce around the big top. Hold onto your children, they might burst with excitement.
Other shows depend on the festival but we often program a mix of interactive theatre shows, clowns, musicians, puppet shows and storytellers. All of whom we have been working with for many years.
Lets get crafty!
The advantage of working at festivals for so long is that you get to know the most wonderful mix of creatives. People that are silly enough to think of an idea and make it into a workshop. Like Festival Sticker Art and Bottle Top creations, just two of our teams that create fantastic take homes for free out of waste materials such as sticker off-cuts and a winters worth of collecting plastic bottle tops.
Festival season is just one winter away!
We do already have a very full festival schedule but… there are a couple of gaps on key weekends where we could squeeze in something extra, and we are always keen to here about the new events popping up.
If you think are aiming your festival towards a family crowd then drop us a line and see what we can do for you. This post is designed as a guide of what we have done but its not extensive and who knows what we’ve got up our sleeve for next season!
It was back to back festivals in early August, Camp Bestival then without a chance to shake the glitter out of our hair we were setting up at FF.
Forgotten Fields (FF if you’re hip) is brought to you by the organisers of long term favourite on the UK festival scene Kendal Calling, which unfortunately clashes with Camp Bestival so we have never managed to get our festival kids entertainment there.
As well as the usual festival kids entertainment we also provided ‘Mr Big’ for a Real Ale bar and ‘Double Cream’ for a magical cabaret tent.
A photo posted by Forgotten Fields (@forgottenflds) on
festival kids entertainment
In terms of the Kids Area, due to the booking being not as far in advanced as usual, a lot of our usual team were otherwise engaged. Which gave us a great opportunity to think creatively and work with friends that we haven’t had a chance to book before. We had the usual suspects of Big Bears Big Balloon Disco (BBBBD maybe?), Amy working tirelessly on trapeze workshops, I was bringing my solo Lucas Jet Circus Show which was a great challenge to balance managing the area with performing as well as finding time to occasionally eat. On Sunday we had a rather brilliant kids talent show with some incredibly amazing participants.
The UK African Acrobats were also on hand to provide a cultural feast of African music, acro and charisma. There was a Bigtopmania debut for the nicest beatboxer you’ll ever meet, Bass6 who we still need to invoice for costs because he blew the roof of our Big Top!
But we still didn’t have enough acts to fill a day of kids entertainment in the Big Top, what could we do? Queue Kat and Amy’s Kids Zumba (which needs a catchy name for next year). They spent one evening learning dance routines from youtube and you would never have guessed. The parents were shaking it off to Tay Tay and the Bass head toddlers were booty shaking to DJ Fresh. It was one of those give it a go moments but it couldn’t have gone better. We were so proud. Outside of the Bigtop we had all the usual bits, circus workshop ongoing with the ever smiling crazy aunt Polly ; ) Interactive Inflatables being abused and bundled by umpteen under 8’s, a limited number of Crazy Bikes tending to let gravity do its thing and rolling them down the hill. The toddler tent was a much needed chill out space for grateful parents who were happy to kick back in the ball pool or eat some lego with their little ones.
In the Craft tent we had our most loyal craft family Reasons 2B Cheerful doing their thang as well as providing percussion jam sessions. We also welcomed to the team Gadabout Arts who made this beautiful butterfly site decor along with lots of Origami creations and also Cult Milk who covered just about every element of crafts you could think of (and some you wouldn’t think of) throughout the weekend.
It was my first time running the area without Pete and Anne and even Leo was away in Italy, although I’ve run a lot of one day smaller festivals in the last couple of years, this was a slightly different animal. Due to it being the first year the festival ran, they did not know how popular they would be with families. Had it not been for the sterling effort from our team we would have no doubt been overrun, but everyone pulled together and the feedback below speaks for itself. I’ve printed these out and I carry them round in my wallet now for whenever I’m feeing down.
And if the various nice comments from these lovely people don’t convince you, you can take a look at what we do in this video that i’ve previously made.
We had 3 inflatables there as part of the children’s play area that we organise for the Bestival team. In fact we take a lot of our equipment there and had big tops, shows, circus skills, mega balls, crazy bikes, and lots of wonderful helpers and other action packed items like Jan’s Van, Noisy Oyster Puppets, Clowns Palfi and Big Foot, bouncy castle, slide, swing boats, crafts, face paints and lots more.
The inflatables are supervised, need power supply and are mostly suitable for babies to 8 -ish year olds.
Colourful. Appealing. Interactive. Fun. Bundle!
Two then went on straight to Salisbury Festival Play Day on the bank holiday Monday and were a big hit there too.
Video of crazy play inflatables in action.
“Mummy.. come over.. your allowed to do it.. please can we get on! ”
The Showman’s Show is a long-established trade show for the outdoor events world organised by the Lance family & team.
I have been going to the Showman’s Show at Newbury Showground for many years as there is always something interesting to see or networking to do.
In 2013, I happened to be sitting next to Johnny Lance, one of the organisers, in the cafe and mentioned to him that we would love to be involved in a possible re-launch of the entertainment zone as a focal point for arena acts, wandering artists and event attractions.
You see, in previous years there has been a huge amount and diverse range of entertainment at the show but it had dwindled quite a bit in recent years and lost its focus to some degree as the show had become more and more overtaken by infrastructure; stages, marquees, toilets, water suppliers, generators, manufacturers and event suppliers etc. That’s brilliant show content for many attendees seeking production content but may have left a gap for other event and festival organisers looking for creative event enhancements.
We don’t operate as an agency, so we didn’t want to simply try to replicate what had gone on in the past. Hence a collaboration became the order of the day. A mutually beneficial arrangement evolved whereby we would supply the focal point colourful big top and the organisers would populate it with a variety of acts and attractions suitable for outdoor events. We would exhibit too to share our wares!
Hence the birth of the;
The Showman’s Show “ACTS & ATTRACTIONS TENT”.
Wow! Did it work? We think so! What a show! It was fabulous to team up with so many great entertainers and attractions. You may have sent the report in Standout magazine.
Inside the Acts and Attractions Tent. Photo from StandOut Magazine
There was a great range of entertainers and acts inside and outside, with human, mechanical and plenty of animal power providing static and roving displays… Titan the Robot and the various animals stole the show!
So good we are doing it again in 2015.
Date for your Diary;
Acts & Attractions Tent 2015,
The Showman’s Show, Newbury Showground.
21 & 22 October 2015.
We will be putting in an even bigger tent but space will be limited so if you want to exhibit it would be a good idea to get in soon.
Acts, artists, attractions; BOOK YOUR SPACE NOW!
Here are some more images from the Showman’s Show Acts and Attractions tent area 2014.
If you want to come and talk to us, see the show, browse the event… book the date; its free!
Giant Footballs; 6 ft / 2m size bouncing kick power!
BUT WHY? What’s so good about them?
Why are we raving about the Giant MegaBall?
Put it this way..
A Giant MegaBall can withstand a lot!
The mega balls are made in Europe of thick inflatable material.
The big red is capable of supporting up to 300 kg!!
The big orange is capable of supporting up to 150 Kgs.
They are all tested in the Gymnic factory and made to EU standards.
You can bounce them, push them, roll them, climb on them, run at them, float them, get run over by them, levitate them, flip on to them, attack them! We have seen it all…. kids and adults try everything!
How many times do you see Massive GIANT Beach Balls?
The Giant inflatable beach balls, 3m diameter! Made in China, are more lightweight ( and can be popped more easily… but luckily repairable! ) as to be expected and very good for waterborne or aerial games like giant volleyball but still very capable of supporting children on top.
Believe me! Children and adults find every way possible to abuse the inflatables and have serious fun while they are doing it!
Learning about the planet!
The Inflatable globes are made in Germany and are super strong and very visual.
Learn where you are!
Here in Devon we are pumping up the world and now have the whole world on our doorstep; the whole world in his hands! On top of the world.. Enough!
They are fabulous add-ons to all our other hands on play activities, excellent in our festival kids play areas, great surprises during our theatre circus shows.
The Gymnic mega balls are massive compared to the usual gym balls but it’s great to have all sizes at the same time!
It doesn’t stop there! The best fun comes from team work.. Hence a great use in non-competitive co-operative games and team building activities.
Many hands make light work!
As with small gym balls found in gyms all over then world, the mega balls lend themselves to therapeutic use not only in the human world but also in the animal world, especially in the horse world!
Check out this YouTube horse meets mega ball video.
What’s the Risk with MegaBalls?
All events being different we / you have to dynamically assess the situation.
Climbing on them does mean you can fall off them!
(In fact the manufacturer doesn’t recommend climbing on them as you can fall of them…but hey! risk assess and do it carefully)
You don’t want any unsuspecting persons to be literally bowled over! (They will be when they see them!)
It’s up to the players, parents, children and supervisors to gauge the correct level of excitement and that depends on the aims and objectives as well as the location and abilities.
Avoid sharp objects!
Help each other!
Don’t always use them fully inflated.
I have to say; The increased fun is reflected in the initial cost of the things!
They really are not cheap toys.. they are EXPENSIVE! So don’t ever dare to burst them!
Can’t we just have some fun for once?
They make the kids go WOW!
They make the adults go WHAT THE?
They are simply jaw dropping huge GIANT MEGABALLS of bounce!
Take some photos!
Make some space, find a field, have a GIANT MEGABALL party!