Monday 24th October 2016
The Juice Festival is a festival for families and under-25s
running from 21st to 29th October in Newcastle and Gateshead.
Lulladub is a performance of traditional lullabies from around the world remixed. Taking influence from dance and electronic music, Lulladub combines voice, percussion and music technology to generate a musical and visual experience perfect for dancing, music-loving little ones and their grown ups.
The performance we were attending was at 1pm. Due to popular demand, an additional slot had also been added at 2.30pm.
I’ll get to the performance in a second but I wanted to set the scene for the day:
In my true form I thought I had plenty of time to get there. I pottered around in the morning, catching up on the never ending house work I’d let slide on Saturday (Yup I managed to escape being a mother for the day and had a day in York with girls the woohoo!)
So my parent battery was fully recharged and I was raring to go to Lulladub. I had the address of The Cluny 2 ready on Google Maps and I was giving myself an hour for a 28 minute car journey.
Well, as best laid plans happen these days, they always go to pot. There was the usual feeding/changing rigmarole, then forgetting to print tickets so running to do this at the last minute. Upon packing the car with the pram, the changing bag and then the child to only realise the attachment point for the carseat is no longer there – I was running twenty minutes behind my schedule.
Several attempts later and I couldn’t get the attachment point back in the car. Sweating and swearing, I strapped Ella’s car seat in using the seat belt. Cue that awful whinge that drives me nuts as I did this. Dummy shoved back in – I jumped in the driver’s seat. Hurrah – we’re finally on the road.
I always get lost no matter how good a Sat Nav is. I obviously took a wrong turning somewhere at some point and wound up in a dead end. Never mind I eventually managed to get in the vicinity of The Cluny 2 on time. I struggled for a space and ended up in a side street. Not to worry it wasn’t too far.
Trouble is, it was an incline walk down to The Cluny 2. I clung on to the buggy for dear life, terrified my boots would slip on the wet pavement and leaves. This is not a criticism at all about the venue or weather; I should have planned a bit better and got there earlier to park closer. And wore shoes with grips.
Never mind, we made it! Albeit a couple of minutes past the starting time but in parentland, this is the norm. There were other families still arriving as I rocked up.
The above rambling was necessary. My tardiness was not tutted at by the lovely staff who were more than helpful on arrival.
The event staff greeted us with smiles. I scrambled for my now screwed up ticket in the side pocket of my bag. The staff on the door had a guest list to hand and, upon seeing my panic stricken face, were super sweet and said not to worry. They asked for my surname, which I blurted out and, as he began checking his list, I found the ticket.
Waving it around with elation like a Golden Ticket, he nodded and ticked me off the list.
Lulladub is specifically
for babies 0-2 years
Another member of event staff advised there was a buggy park to the room on the left, where I promptly dumped my travel system, grabbed Ella and the changing bag and scrambled out the room. The same member of staff then advised that the show was down a couple of flights of stairs and to take care while going down. He also told me where the toilets were and the ultimate essential – where the Baby Change Facility was.
The housekeeping of the event staff was superb; for a flustered parent trying to make all things collide in the universe at the right place and the right time (without having a meltdown) – these people nailed it.
I took my care down the stairs and entered the studio.
There were a collection of soft padded blue mats in the centre in front of the stage and, at the opposite side of the room, was the tiered seating area. Despite being a little late, I hadn’t missed much. The band were chatting to the audience and were just starting their background to Lulladub.
What’s great about events like this is that it’s done by parents themselves, who’ve been through (or are still going through) the crazy sleepless nights, the weaning, potty training you name it. They can bring experience to their performances. That reassuring, understanding we’re-all-in-this-together you need as a harassed carer of a little human.
The opening speech encouraged parents to come and go as they needed to, to make use of the space and get up and dance with their little ones and to generally have fun with it. This really put me at ease after the anxiety of getting there (my fault not there’s). It meant I could well and truly relax into it.
The Lulladub band consisted of four people, three men and a woman.
As a music-lover, the performance was an all rounder. There was the mixture of percussion instruments with musical technology.
It was totally different to what I expected.
I think I was envisaging nursery rhymes with a twist. This was not that at all.
But that’s what made it good. As it says above, it’s about traditional lullabies from around the world.
Despite not recognising any songs, the combination of the instruments and vocals produced catchy lullabies that I could rock Ella too. Whether it was swaying her in my lap, bouncing her up and down on my knee or swinging side to side with her hooked round my hip.
In true Ella style, she was hungry half way through (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?) No issue was made of this either – the band had encouraged us to do what we needed to do and all around me babies were being fed.
One of the songs was a nod to the sleepless nights.
The female vocalist used her experience of when she woke up at 3am for the umpteenth time one particular night. She recalled the annoyance and frustration that she felt. However, the moment she held her baby, all that anger disappeared.
It’s replaced with that insane rush of love.
Completely and utterly relatable.
The song that followed was about sleep and dreams. She gestured to the mobile hanging from the ceiling that signified this.
The songs all had a little back story to them too, which was interesting. And they were themed from around the world, such as Brazil as well as a song about our very own River Tyne.
I got up on my feet and swished Ella about for the last song. She had her nosey parker face on the whole time, absorbing everything; the music, the lights, the decorations and of course – the audience. She loves a good people watch.
The performance lasted an hour but that seemed to fly by. An hour is a decent time for events like this when you have babies as no matter how entertaining, they do start to get restless.
Overall it was a good experience. I loved bringing Ella to somewhere like The Cluny 2 where I’ve been in the past to gigs. It felt good to share that side with her – but on the baby spectrum. I’m introducing her to concepts and interests that I like. I hope that it will stimulate and encourage her to have the same appreciation that I have for music.
My only feedback would be for a bit more visual as part of the performance, more colourful imagery on the Projector at the back. Although this may deviate from what the performance is actually about, this is just personal to what I experience with Ella. As, aside from liking music, she’s a very visual baby.
Before I left, I got chatting to one of the women sitting next to me. She was saying it was the first time that she’d come out to anything like this with her baby on her own – and she loved it. I think the welcoming nature of the staff and the relaxed environment of the performance really helped her.
It’s why events like these are important for parents as well as babies.
The idea of the Juice Festival is a celebration of creativity and culture – opening up our children’s minds.
And in doing so we open up our own.
Love Missuswolf xxx