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I said to my Mum last week; “We’re off to a Baby Rave on Sunday.”

Her reply was; “What the hell is a baby rave when it’s at home, then?”

As I opened my mouth to answer her I realized I wasn’t quite sure. I knew it was going to involve music and dancing, but aside from that, I wasn’t any more clued up than she was. Once we got there, however, it soon became clear that it was going to be a really pleasant and memorable experience for the little ones and the adults too!

Young at Art have just finished another successful run of the Belfast Children’s Festival, and there was so much happening across the city, it was wonderful to see. We were invited along by the organizers last Sunday, which also happened to be Mother’s Day and also happened to be the G Man’s weekend off work – so I was well chuffed for all four of us to be going along together.

So you’re probably still wondering, what exactly is a Baby Rave? Some of you might have been to one before but I’m sure there are many people reading this post that are as uninformed as I was.

Well, we arrived at the MAC Theatre in the heart of Belfast and were greeted by loads of other Mums, Dads, Grannies, Granddads, babies and toddlers, all waiting for the experience to begin. Very shortly, we were brought into the main auditorium, where the seating had been pushed back and there was lots of free space for everyone. The lights were low, but there were a great many disco lights in bright colours, flashing on and off to the music. Coloured banners and streamers hung from the ceiling and lively pictures of dancers were projected on the walls.

 

Strewn around the floor were exercise balls, silk scarves and soft cushions, and lots of volunteers were dotted around the room, creating beautiful shapes with their floating fabric as they swirled it through the air. The kids could swirl the scarves to the music and bounce to their hearts were content on the yoga balls. The music was fantastic; of the Bollywood variety – the kids loved it, and not just mine; every little face was amazed at the lights, colour and melodies that swirled around the room. They even had one of those massive circus tent circles that they were waving up and down – the kids loved running under and crawling around below it. We lost Adam a few times (he’s such an imp) but we knew we were in a child friendly space so it was really freeing and relaxing for parents too.

The kids danced. I danced. Even the G Man danced – although he did tell me later (somewhat mortifyingly) that he had kind of been expecting trance music and a totally dark room with some teenagers in baseball caps. I despair.

If you missed the festival this year, don’t leave it too late next time – I’m most definitely taking part again next year and I hope experiences like this are always on offer in our city – so special and memorable for all involved. Thanks, Young at Art!

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