Belfast Children’s Festival 2014
March 21, 2014
The first event was Baby Chill. It was N’s first arts event at 10.5 weeks and I am delighted to say she loved every minute of it! She and I were welcome into a room in one of our favourite places, the Ulster Museum, where we entered an inflatable pod which was full of super soft cushions with different textures and had soft twinkly music playing. N was fascinated by the lights changing colour and it was so nice to spend half an hour with her as she stared and smiled at what was going on around her.
N was further exposed to more musical colourful loveliness as we attended the Baby Rave en masse the next day. I’ve been twice before with R and he absolutely loved it, in fact he was one of the last to leave last years rave after running about and dancing his legs off for the best part of an hour.
The Baby Rave moved from the main Waterfront Hall to the Studio this year and that was fine, the room was decorated beautifully in keeping with the Bollywood theme, and the beats were great. I bumped into lots of parents and kids we know from various groups and everyone was having a ball. Unfortunately Mr. G-S. and I were suffering the after effects of a really horrible vomiting bug that had come on suddenly the afternoon before, so we had to leave the Waterfront before checking out the Festival In A Day which was taking place throughout the venue. There was lots going on and lots of happy looking children so I’d say it was a success.
Next up was Little Red Riding Hood at the Baby Grand. R and I decided to make it a special adventure and get the bus into town. We don’t use the bus much so this caused much excitement!
After sharing a caramel square (and large coffee for me) at the wonderful Home Popup Restaurant (a new favourite of ours!), we wandered round to the Grand Opera House to see the show. It was a puppet show featuring one lady who narrated and animated the puppets and a guitar player. It was a really clever wee show. Parts of the set turned into the puppets including a little teapot who turned into the Grandma and a suitcase which turned into the big bad wolf. R was slightly terrified of the wolf but enjoyed the show apart from this and even told the guitar player that he enjoyed the music. There was an opportunity to meet the wolf after the show but R firmly declined, his little hand firmly grasping mine as we exited quickly past it.
We headed back to the Baby Grand a few days later for Cocoon. A lovely gentle performance with dance and music which tells the tale of a moth/butterfly coming out of a cocoon. R got a little bored with it in the middle but he loved the music and picked up when the actor played his tiny guitar and sang. The aftermath of the finale looked lovely, with little swathes of material and walnuts across the stage, but unfortunately R had to answer the call of nature and we missed the big ending.
All in all, we had a great time at every event we attended and R is still talking about it all a week later. Mostly asking me never to bring him to see the scary wolf again! I must mention the excellent event managers who could not have been more helpful or welcoming and also the schools who were also attending the two shows in the Baby Grand – they were so well behaved.
This festival gives children such a wonderful opportunity to experience art, theatre and music and we’re looking forward to doing it all again next year.