Pop-Up Festival of Stories
Last weekend we visited the first Pop-Up Festival of Children’s Stories at the lovely Coram’s Fields in London. We chose the Saturday to go as there was a Moomin storytelling event and a Pip and Posy event with Axel Scheffler and Milo loves both. It was huge fun (if you don’t include the scraped knees and the little boy who was mean to Milo on the slides!), and I completely underestimated the power of a grown-up dressed in a character costume. Completely underestimated.
Pop-Up in case you don’t know, is in its first year. You wouldn’t necessarily believe that if you’ve spent anytime on twitter recently as there was so much chatter ahead of this festival, loads of support and lots of love! They’ve worked with 1000’s of children, young people and families before the actual festival dates, reading books with them, meeting authors and making stories. Because they want to inspire. And because they want people to get creative. Great stuff.
What I think I loved most about the event was indeed the pop-up element of it. If we hadn’t have known in advance about the festival and hadn’t planned our trip but had instead just been visiting Coram’s Fields that day or the Brunswick Centre, it would have been an absolutely lovely surprise and all for free.
Axel Scheffler in a tent drawing Pip and Posy, for free. Poets standing and delivering their poetry in a shopping centre, for free, a giant Moomin acting out a story about his birthday party ,for free. Not to mention Philip Ardagh, Michael Rosen, Peter Rabbit, Slam poets, Rastamouse… all accessible and free! I get excited when we rock up at our local park having forgotten that it’s the 3rd Saturday of the month and therefore the farmer’s market – that’s just veggies. To stumble upon pop-up must have been incredible.
Here are a few pics from our day. And my small boy, younger than most of those at the storytelling events and who normally holds back in most social situations or hides in my legs completely surprised us all by legging it after the giant Moomin yelling “is he going to cuddle me now?” and after Pip and Posy “are they here to cuddle me?” He didn’t care about the scrum, about getting squished or where we were. Oh no, like all the other children there he just wanted to grab hold of an enormous Moomin, rabbit or mouse. My nerves were with the poor people in those costumes – it’s terrifying. I’ve been Maisy mouse and children are brutal. I witnessed a boy jumping on the back of giant Pip and clinging on for a good while.
And, if you’re wondering if we took any nice sweet treats to snack on during our day. We made very tasty moomin and Gruffalo biscuits then left them at home by accident. Ah well!