Last weekend Dan and I took Ava to PlayFest at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The event was marketed as ‘a music festival to rock little socks off’ and it promised a whole day filled with musical entertainment and creative workshops across a variety of stages and zones.
The line up seemed quite impressive with a few familiar comedians, musicians, authors and entertainers. The MC’s were a mix of presenters from Play School and the Nickelodeon channel who were enlisted to keep us amused between acts.
We arrived late morning just in time to see the characters from Yo Gabba Gabba perform on the Playpen Mainstage. Kids were already up the front (in the mini moshpit!) bopping to the fun songs. Ava was happy to sit with us while she took her time to get into the swing of it all.
After that we rolled out the picnic rug and spread out on the lawn to watch The Rrrrrockets who were really fun. They played a mix of rockabilly, swing and rock n roll tunes while we sat and had coffees and a babycino.
Next we ventured over to the Cabaret Bigtop for Ali McGregor’s Jazzamatazz. Ali, her band and dancers were great and belted out some really cool jazz tunes and even a cover of Bjork’s ‘It’s oh so quiet!’, which was brilliant (I love that song). The atmosphere in the tent (all decked out in bright red and blue stripes) was great and loads of the kids were up the front having a dance-off.
There was even amusement for the parents too with Em Rusciano doing a musical stand-up routine. The humour was mostly lost on the kids, but she had us parents in stitches singing songs from Frozen but changing the words. ‘Do you want to have a shower?’ and ‘Can you put your little shoes on?’ replacing the ‘Do you want a build a snow man?’ lyrics. She looked amazing and was definitely a highlight for me. Unfortunately Dan missed it because he was waiting in line with Ava so she could have her face painted. So there’s me (without child) laughing my head off while other parents looked at me like I was nuts!
Then it was back down to the front of the main stage for the last bands of the day. The Mighty Buzzniks were really entertaining. Their outfits were amusing as were their songs that had lyrics about picking your nose and farting! Ava was giggling at me like it was very naughty, the look on her face was priceless.
After that The Woohoo Revue played a brilliant set, a mix of instrumental folk and gypsy-style tunes that even had some of the parents up jigging along. Apparently they played at the recent Glastonbury festival, so I think PlayFest was pretty lucky to have them.
Last but not least was Phil Jamieson’s Woodenspoon act. Recognise the name? Yes, the very same Phil Jamieson of Aussie rock band Grinspoon. Phil and band (the drummer dressed in a dinosaur suit and bass player wearing a sheep hat) were great. They played some of the old Grinspoon songs with kid-friendly modified lyrics and also some rockin’ versions of ‘Old MacDonald’ and ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’ which were very amusing. Now up in the moshpit, Ava had her two minutes of fame when Phil asked her ‘…and on that farm he had a…?’ and she said ‘dog!’. He laughed (and so did we) and continued to ‘woof woof ‘ here there and everywhere.
As well as the music, there were loads of different zones including a reading area which had comedians (like Frank Woodley and Claire Hooper) doing story time, a Lego zone, a silent disco tent where kids could dance around while listening to music on headphones. Yamaha set up a music zone where kids could play musical instruments and so much more.
All in all we had a great time however it was a shame it was a bit quiet. I am certain that in time this festival will be great and hopefully will draw bigger crowds. There is a definite need for more of this stuff in Melbourne and I hope it comes back next year. Thanks PlayFest!