Review: Boomerang Scam? Festival Goers Feeling Ripped Off

Being offered the opportunity to review a Family Festival in Leeds I jumped at the chance.  I set off in the morning of Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May 2014 with my three children in tow….Typical Teenager (It’s not fair) Boy aged 15 1/2 years, Total Tom Boy, Girl aged 7 3/4 years and Princess, Girl 6 1/4 years.  You can call me The Reviewer (or mother or mum, if you must), aged 33 years young. The festival: Boomerang Jam, claimed to have something for all the family, so we were all looking forward to a lovely, fun-packed day out.  Even the weather appeared to be on our side.

Child Friendly Leeds?

Child Friendly Leeds?

The journey there took us just under one hour, it was relatively easy to locate and it was well sign posted once you were in the right part of the city.  I was under the impression that parking would be free, as when I had asked I was told there was ample parking at the location.  Imagine my disappointment when it was going to cost me £6 for the day.  With a family ticket for 2 adults, 2 children costing £40, the total tally for a family day out would already be racking up. I returned back to my car to display the car park ticket and a passer by was complaining about what a ‘rip off’ the festival was.  I listened, but at the same time decided I would make my own mind up, afterall….some people do just like to complain! And, I am not one to follow the crowd so to speak.  I approached the ticket office and collected my family ticket left for me.  The staff did not seem jolly in the slightest, I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt as the weather was pretty grim.  I proceeded through the gate with my three children in tow…’The Typical Teenager’, 15; ‘The Tom-Boy’, 7; and ‘I’m a Little Princess’, 6.  The steward on the gate was the happiest member of staff I saw throughout the whole of our stay.  She guided us towards the entrance where you were met by a row of portaloos to the left, large metal fencing and the Mini Farm to the right.  “Don’t forget to the see the animals” She said, “There is a donkey and some rabbits and things.” All the time still smiling.  That woman deserves a medal.  She knew the feedback of the Festival was negative, it was written all over her face, but she still remained friendly and professional throughout. We went to the Mini Farm, very aptly named as it consisted of two donkeys, two alpacas, two sheep, two goats, one large lazy pig, one calf who needed its bum washing, two goats, three guinea pigs, four rabbits and one humongous sized rabbit.  Oh and four chickens and a couple of pigeons! Within five minutes maximum ‘I’m a Little Princess’ declares “I’m bored!”, ‘Typical Teenager is still displaying the look of ‘Where the hell are we mother’ whilst ‘Tom-Boy’ is still in hysterics at how huge the rabbit was.  Saying that, we certainly did not have to prise her away from the area.

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

Boomerang Jam Festival 2014 Mini Farm

We returned to the entrance of the festival.  As I looked around the area, I actually felt a little shocked that this event had been allowed to take place.  It was set up in an unfinished car park.  A fence in front of me cordoned off some large concrete blocks and very little had been done to cover up what they were.

View of Festival from Entrance

View of Festival from Entrance

Fenced off Concrete Blocks...building site!

Fenced off Concrete Blocks…building site!

There were a few food vans dotted about, a display from the Army, a couple of small marquees/tents and some fairground rides and games. We walked over to the small cup and saucers.  I admit I expected the rides to be free, unfortunately this was the not the case.  Of the small selection of fair rides and activities available there were a handful of things free, namely a climbing wall for older children, a large inflatable bouncy castle slide, cupcake decorating, hook a duck and face painting.  Pretty much everything else carried a price tag.  Unfortunately, many of the things advertised we not there.

marquee activities overwrite

What’s in here? Not much!

Advertised on the website before the event was:

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beat Boxing performances  and much much more.

Unfortunately, there was not much, much more, nor were all of the advertised acts and activities present.  I am not sure as to what the arena was supposed to be, unless they were referring to the poorly kept car park/building site, there was no dance tent, no food demonstrations, there were no arts and crafts, no competitions, no beat box performances…. The entertainment on the main stage consisted of a loop of Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder, and local dance troups.  We stayed for a maximum of one hour and a half and I do believe we pretty much saw the whole of the entertainment.

One of the four acts...

One of the four acts…

Not only was the event poorly organised but unfortunately many of the workers, who appeared to be there independently (so I am unsure as to where the entrance fee money was going) were very unprofessional and simply did not seem to care about the very families who had paid to attend the event.

Quite possibly the best free activity

Quite possibly the best free activity

‘Tom Boy’ and ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanted to go on the trampolines.  As the large inflatable bouncy castle had been free, I assumed that the trampolines would be too….. How incorrect could I have been!  The damage…£4 each for 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes included the time it took the children to take off and put back on their shoes, so around £1 a minute for jumping on a trampoline.  In fact the worker started attaching another child into the harness whilst Tom Boy was trying to put her shoes back on.  There was no area for them to take their shoes off or put them on so the only place was to sit on the side of the trampoline to do it.  More alarmingly, whilst I was there, an organiser came over and asked one of the workers if he has been smoking whilst putting a child on the trampoline as they had just received a complaint. Within the small marquee, there were a couple of free things for the children to do.  There was free face painting, you could have a model balloon made or you do do some cupcake decorating.  Oh…and not forgetting you could milk a large plastic cow, supplied by Arla Foods, which in actual fact ‘I’m a Little Princess’ actually enjoyed for a shortwhile.

cow

Cow milking supplied by Arla Foods

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Stir Krazy Kids Activity

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Cupcake Decorating with Stir Krazy

As a parent, the most highlighting part of the event for me was speaking with one of the owners of Stir Krazy, a children’s cookery club.  It was lovely to see the passion she had for her business and hear about the reasons she decided to set up the club.  Cathie went on to tell me about the holiday clubs and children’s parties they run in Leeds and surrounding areas and how they are a new business.  I wish Cathie and her partner Sarah all the best, as their concept is a lovely idea for children and a great alternative to conventional childcare.

The misery of the majority of the rest of the staff and stall holders could not be contained, and was perhaps most apparent on the face of the balloon modeler who, not only looked uninterested….but also appeared to do a runner half way through the day.  One little girl asked the man if he would make her a flower, he obviously was not listening or could not be bothered as he handed her an orange looking dog.  A man asked for a giraffe and the balloon man told him he did not have time to make a giraffe.  I could not believe my ears.  There was no interaction with the children at all.  When it came to ‘I’m a Little Princess’ wanting her balloon, ‘Typical Teenager’ had also heard everything going on, and so for his entertained told her to ask for a zebra.  At the same time I made a comment that all the balloons looked the same and he looked like he needed to be elsewhere.  He must have heard me, as amazingly ‘Princess’ ended up with something resembling a zebra.

balloon man

Not interested?

zebra balloon

zebra

Oops where has he gone?

Oops where has he gone?

The ‘Festival’ claimed it was part of the Food and Drink Festival, however there was nothing at this festival to suggest such a thing.  The only food available were in the form of the usual burger vans, there was one creperie van.  No evidence of any cooking demonstrations and there was one small beer tent, which was hardly used, probably because most parents did not appear to want to stay that long. All in all, it was a disappointment.  I am not sure what went wrong, whether there were lots of booked acts that did not turn up or whether it was just very poorly organised.

Unorganised....

Disappointing….

I have waited a couple of days to write this review, in the hope the organisers may have issued some sort of explanation but to date nothing has been released.  Quite honestly, if I was the owner of the venue (http://thetetley.org/) I would not have allowed the event to go ahead. It is such a shame, the organisers had a good concept here, but there simply was not enough organisation, enough things to keep people entertained, and the ticket pricing was just all wrong.  There was nothing to keep a 15 year old entertained, which I know is difficult at the best of times, but I had hoped that the dance tent would do that.  My two daughters aged 7 and 6 were bored within an hour and a half. After searching the internet I have found many other complaints from families simply feeling that the festival was a scam and a rip off.  We can only hope that the organisers are able to compensate the families in some way by providing such a sub standard event, at an extortionate price and wasting valuable family time. You can read other reviews here and here

ben ten  peppa pig meet n greet

SUMMARY Event: Boomerang Jam Family Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Date Attended: 26th May 2014 Value for Money?: No Toilet Facilities: Plenty of portaloos, the ones I visited had plenty of toilet roll and hand sanitiser.  Baby facilities were located within the Tetley Building, meaning parents having to leave the festival area. Recommend to Other Families?: No Would you attend again: Yes.  I would love to see the event organisers put on the event that they advertised and this time do it justice, and get the pricing right!  I would like to come back next time and be able to give a postive review. Overall Rating: 1/10 Reason for Rating:  My children did enjoy the large inflatable bouncy castle slide and meeting Peppa Pig and Ben 10.  The event was over priced, unorganised.  Not enough activities to keep families entertained.

WHAT MY CHILDREN HAD TO SAY:

Children's Reviews...

Children’s Reviews…

If you need to contact Boomerang Jam here, you can do this here: http://boomerangjam.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/boomerangjam?fref=ts Related Articles: Booming Bank Holiday Entertainment for all the Family (Blogizing.wordpress.com) Reviews of Boomerang Jam (Mumsnet.com) Boomerang Jam on Facebook If you attended the event and left feeling disappointed with your experience please feel free to leave a review in our comments, or a link if you have posted a review elsewhere. Acknowledgements: Blogizing would like to thank the organisers of Boomerang Jam Festival for providing a Family Ticket to allow us to come and review the event for you.  Although we were disappointed this time around, we hope you can learn and grow 🙂 B signoff

Booming Bank Holiday Entertainment for all the Family

Boomerang Jam Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

If you are anything like me you will love a good festival!  I attend them throughout the Summer with friends leaving my children with my fabulous parents! I enjoy the break but think the kids enjoy a break from me too if I am really honest with myself!  However, now and again my children, boy aged 15, and girls aged 7 and 6 often are on my case about them going to festivals.  As they are getting older I can understand why they want to get  involved especially when they see how excited I get!  My son has attended Bingley Music Live with friends from school and we have attended the Aire Do!, a festival in Keighley, West Yorkshire, which in the past has showcased the likes of Rudimental and Jake Bugg.

Last year when entering the gates at the Aire Do Festival I was surprised to see how excited my two girls were just at the fact they were getting a festival wristband! They are definately likely to follow in my footsteps as they were dancing around in front of the main stage whilst listening to Black Sabbath play Agadoo and zipping in and out of the little dance tent.

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This year, as soon as they found out I had booked my first festival ticket, they were on my case. “muuuuuummmmmmmm, when can we go to a festival?” Although the Aire Do is a great little boutique festival it is not until August, so there is a little while to wait.  It also got me thinking about which festivals were actually family friendly. I have been to many, who claim to be family friendly, but in all honesty just do not have the facilities to keep your children entertained whilst you can go off and party….it is not realistic is it 😀

I began to delve into the world wide web, do a little research and see what I could come up with.  There seems to be a real lack of festivals marketed at families, which is such a shame.  The ones that are, do appear to be aimed more at older children.  For me, I have two age groups to contend with, and the teenager is the more difficult of the two!  I did however, come across a festival which is local to me, called Boomerang Jam.  It is to take place on Sunday 25th and Monday 26th May 2014 at The Old Brewery, in Leeds.  Conveniently located some 7 minutes away from the train station it is easy to reach, or alternatively if you are travelling by car there is a large car park so no need to worry about the travel arrangements, which can often be a big stress for a family day out.  The highlights seem to be appearances by Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder and Ben 10 amongst others….thats the little ones sorted out then….but what about the teenager?  There promises to be stunts by bmx bikers and skaters as well as the dance tent and lots of workshops to keep them entertained.  My teenager is also a particular lover of food…any food, but he also appreciates food.

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beat Boxing performances  and much much more.

Boomerang Jam is also part of The Leeds Food and Drink Festival 2014 and will deliver some of the finest cooking displays and tastiest treats Leeds has to offer! 

I have decided there definately seems to be enough here to keep a 6 year old princess, a 7 year old skater girl and a football crazy, x-box mad, foody teenager entertained.  Therefore, I for one shall be giving it a try, and I will of course report back!  It is important in these difficult times that the quality time we so desperately seek with our families is time which we feel is well spent and of course value for money.  I will be visiting to see if this is what we will be getting.  From the face of it, it looks promising so lets keep our fingers and toes crossed and pray to the universe that finally there may just be a family festival which not only promises to deliver a great day out for all the family, but actually does.

Boomerang Jam Music Festival, Leeds, West Yorkshire.  25th & 26th May 2014

Tickets from: £10

Lily & Tallulah: I think we have a problem…..

I had two house cats.  One called Tallulah and one called Lily.  Tallulah recently went AWOL.  She darted out of the door one morning and sadly she has never returned.  That was approximately four weeks ago now.  It has been a sad time but eventually the rugrats (aka the 15, 7 and 6 year old) have finally come to terms. That was the first problem.

You know how some say ‘whatever the universe takes away from you, you will receive back ten fold.’  I am a little worried that this may be the case.  Lily also got out of the house about 5 weeks ago.  Thankfully she came back BUT I’ve noticed she seems to be putting on weight and looks a little rounded around the tummy area.  FFS!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We have just had Coco the crazy cockapoo move in, I cannot cope with a load of kittens running around too.  Please god, just let it be the case that Lily is just putting on a little weight.

And for those thinking the obvious….why has she not been neutered…..she was a house cat, she is almost one now and she has never been out before the other week, so I really did not want to put her through that if she was living indoors with us.  She is happy to be at home and will go out in the enclosed garden and come back in, it was just this one fateful time, and as they say….it only takes once!

I will keep you updated if there are any little additions!

B signoff

How wiser words can come from children than from some adults: Indigo Children?

I am beginning to think my youngest child is actually an angel from heaven, you know the type ‘cheeky’ angel with a bit of slight devilment which keeps everyone on their toes, but are actually truly amazing.  If you have heard of the term ‘indigo-child’ I think I am somewhere near.  From here on in, I will call her Indigo.

She has done two things since Sunday which make me incredible proud.  Sunday was her birthday, she was 6.  I treated her to a day trip out and of course lots of presents, including her nails done at the nail salon-she was adamant!! (Me: Are you sure darling, you are only 6. Indigo: But mummy I want my nails doing just like you) How could I say no?!  Anyway, as I tucked her up in bed on Sunday evening she threw her arms around my neck and said “Mummy this has been the best birthday ever, thank you so much for what you have done today!” She released my neck grabbed my cheeks with her tiny hands and planted a kiss on my lips, let go and gave me the biggest grin.  My heart melted.  It is not every day a ‘just gone’ 6 year old is able to show such gratitude.

The second thing came just last night, two days since her birthday.  She knows I have been having a bit of a tough time recently.  I treated her to homemade pancakes, it was Pancake Tuesday after all.. I let her smear on the nutella and rolling it up she said “mummy you are the best mummy in the world!” She then began to sing to me whilst eating her pancake “lean on me…..when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend……I’ll help you carry on…”  We are know the song by Al Green I am sure, even if you did not know it was Al Green that sang it, you will know the song trust me…. I do not even know where she has learnt this song.  And when asked, she does not know either!

At this point I could have cried.  How I have managed to raise such an emotionally aware child I will never know!  She flashed me a big smile and said “Mummy I lean on you all the time don’t I?  You can lean on me today.”

I love this girl, I am proud she is my daughter, she is like my little shadow, she will follow me to the end of the earth if that is where I am going.  I wake up in a morning and there she is in bed next to me, after she has sneaked in, in the middle of the night.

No matter how hard life gets, there is one person who can always put a smile on your face.  For me it is my youngest daughter.  We have such a connection, that we do not even have to speak to each other and we know what we are thinking.  I believe she is a soul mate of mine (yes relatives, friends etc can be soul mates too…..)

Indigo, you are truly amazing and always an inspiration to me.  You never fail to amaze me with your wise words, too wise for such a young girl.  I love you xxxxx

Related:

http://www.sophiagubb.com/how-to-tell-if-you-are-indigo/

Monsters making Monsters (High)

With such horrible weather to contend with it is sometimes difficult to know what to do to keep my rugrats busy.  That is until I remembered all the presents they had been given at Christmas.  So we had a look through and found this.  I can honestly say it has kept us all busy, pretty much all morning.  I now understand why the recommended age is 8+ years.  I am 33 and I struggled! But once we worked out all the diagram instructions we were off.  The instructions resembled those a lot like Ikea.  Not much writing, just lots of diagrams and the key is making sure you have the right bits with the right dots in the right places (the Ikea version holes representing the screw or nail holes, you get the picture)

 

I have to say though my 7 year old thoroughly enjoyed this activity.  It did took us just over one hour and there were nt any tears so that in itself was a bonus!

Any here are our finished key rings.  My 7 year olds is Draculaura on the right, and mine is Frankie Stein on the left.  They look quite impressive, but I do not think they will last long as the stickers keep falling off!!! That is probably where the tears will come in, when my 7 year old attaches the keyring to her school bag and upon returning home Draculaura has lost her face!  ***Sounds like life*** 🙂 As for my 5 year old she totally struggled but it was a great opportunity for team work

B.

Divorced Encounters: Developing Wonder Woman

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I am struggling at the minute to write much for the ‘Diary of a Divorcee’.  I know this is unusual, but for some reason I no longer see myself as a divorcee.  I know I was once married, but now so much time has passed since we were together that I feel it never really happened.  It is as if it was someone else who lived that part of my life.  I have changed and grown so much in the last two and a half years that although the person I was then is still in there, it is only a small part of me.  That small part is not significant enough to really have an impact on me any more.

The fact I have struggled to write for the diary is strange in one way because at the minute I have a real battle on my hands regarding contact with my children and their father.  This is not something I ever anticipated I would be involved in (but then again I never anticipated divorce either did i?!) Not much of a psychic am I……god damn it, I really need to dig out that crystal ball!

So, anyway, due to some safeguarding issues for the time being I have had to make the massive decision to put a little bit of space between my children and their father.  This is not a decision I have made lightly, and it is not one that I could make over night either.  But when you are put in a position where you are actually questioning the safety of your children it is not something you can take a chance on really.  I’ve had numerous meetings with solicitors and other professionals to ensure I am making the right decision.  It truly has been one of the most difficult decisions ever.

Do not get me wrong…..I do not like the guy (my ex) one bit.  For the past four to five years he has made my life a misery, or at least tried to.  For the past two years I have learned to accept that this is the way he is and developed certain coping mechanisms.  These are by no way ‘bullet proof’ but they get me through most situations.  However, I would love some super hero on my side at the minute.  If only there was such a character that could come and magically neutralize your feelings and emotions when it comes to dealing with your ex partners, especially where children are concerned.  This aside, no matter how much I dislike him because of how he treats me and indeed communicates with me (in front of the kids), I have always tried to be reasonable. I have always realized that is is the children who would suffer otherwise (mainly because I saw it first hand with my parents so I have that hindsight).  I have also seen the looks on their little faces when they are repeating to me what their father has said to them about me, and they are truly sad by the fact their parents do not get along. It hurts them.

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This time though he has crossed a line which I simply cannot ignore.  Things have come to light which when I have actually been able to consider their true meaning and seek professional advice I have been advised to stop contact.  This has not gone down too well at all.  Which is no surprise, if this happened to me I would simply die without my children.  I was literally in tears writing a letter to him advising contact has to be stopped.  As I said I do not like the guy, and I do not agree with what he has done either, but if I could not see my children then someone may as well rip out my heart, screw it up and feed it to a pack of dogs.  Following that they may as well shoot me or take out my brain as I would surely go insane.  As cliche as it is to say it, my children are my life (and I make no apologies for saying that).  My ex will never know how difficult this decision has been for me as I know he thinks I am doing it for my own hidden agenda.  Even when I have written a letter explaining the reasons for my decision and the fact that it is for no reason other that I do not believe our children are safe in his care.  The sad thing is he does not have the capability to understand what he has done wrong.  He does not understand the hurt and upset he has caused nor the impact this could have on our children long term.  He blames me.  Apparently I am the cause of all of this situation and he has gone so far as to say that he hopes I will explain to our children when this is all over why I have caused this upset to them, and indeed their father.

If he wants me to explain that he has put their safety in danger, that he has spoken about our children in a way that is unforgiveable, and decided to choose his bravado over his children’s wellbeing that sure, I can do this.  But not until they are old enough to understand, and due to the nature of the incidents I am not sure when this will be, but it will not be any time soon.

Luckily, I have a strong network of family and friends behind me.  This keeps me sane and strong.  Without these people in my life I would surely struggle as an ordeal such as this tests even the strongest of characters.  My advice to anyone who is going through something similar is, no matter how difficult things appear, keep going.  Write down at the outset the reason why you are doing what you are doing.  Because believe me if your ex is anything like mine, they will try and manipulate you and break you down, trying to destroy all your beliefs and reasoning.  You have to be strong for your children.  If you do not fight for them then who will?  Your number one job when you have children is to be their protector.  You always hope it will never come to it that you will have to protect them from their father (you ve probably never even considered it!), a person who once was supposed to protect you all.  Sometimes, life happens and you just have to deal with it.  One day it will all be over, and your children will thank you for what you have done.  Never question your motivations as mother if you are truly putting your children’s welfare and well being at the center of your decision making. You can only do what you feel is right.  Similarly though, this goes for men who have this the other way around.  I know a man who is in exactly the same position with me and his ex-wife.

As a parent whether you are mum or dad, you have a duty to ensure your children are safe…..from everyone, including if the situation arises, the other parent.

May be I have struggled to write for this diary because I have needed time to accept the situation.  (And it is a lot differnt to the posts about me and the stream of bad dates or nor so great propositions). It has taken a lot of digesting, strength, courage and adjustment.  I know this is going to be a long-haul type of situation and not something which can be resolved over night.  However, I am happy for this situation to be decided by a professional and not just be pushed into a decision by my over powering ex-husband.  If the Court looks at all the information available to them and decides he should have contact, supervised or otherwise at least that decision is out of my hands and I have done my best to protect them.  Cop out? May be…..but at least I won’t question whether or not I have fulfilled my chief role as parent: Protector

B.