Preview: Lollibop children’s festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hackney Wick
- Credit: Simon Jacobs
Thousands of children are set to descend on Hackney next weekend as the UK’s only three-day festival dedicated to entertaining youngsters arrives in town.
The Lollibop Festival is set to take over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Hackney Wick for the first time, on August 17 and 18, with hundreds of interactive activities, workshops and live performances from the stars of the children’s TV world.
Favourites such as Dick and Dom, Peppa Pig, Postman Pat and CBeebies superstar Justin Fletcher are on the line up, while popular CBeebies presenter Alex Winters will be compering the festival for the third year in a row.
Explaining how he came to be involved with the festival, now in its fourth year, Alex said: “I’d moved to London when CBeebies was still filming there.
“I’m a dad – I’ve got three little’uns now but I had two at the time and I just kept seeing Lolllibop posters around everywhere.
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“I’d never heard of it but I had a look into it and thought: ‘this sounds great, this is perfect family festival.’
“I actually contacted them and that was it, I’ve now compered there on the main stage for three years.
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“I bring something a bit different each year, it’s generally about having a great time and a great laugh with the audience between the acts.”
And this year Alex is particularly excited about the prospect of entertaining crowds in the Olympic Park, which has allowed the event to up its capacity from 30,000 at its previous home in Regent’s Park to 40,000.
“I can’t wait – we were really lucky because we had tickets to see the hockey last year and I was in the park for one day which just wasn’t long enough, so I’m so excited to be going back. It’s the perfect environment for a family festival – people are going to love it.”
And he warned any festival goers wanting to stay clean and dry to take a step back from the main stage, as he will be bringing “gungy games” to this year’s event.
Talking about the success of the festival, Alex continued: “It’s genuinely fun for children – it’s safe, it’s a friendly environment and the children, they just have the greatest time.
“My children don’t stop asking about it and then as soon as it’s over they’re asking: ‘when’s Lollipbop again?’ I think they understand that the festival is purely for them, we can let them go where they want and everyone makes an effort.
“Lollibop is one of a kind – outside the children’s fields in Glastonbury it is the only three-day children’s festival.”
He added: “It seems as though it could be full-on for adults, but adults can do as much or as little as they want.
“They can get involved and go to the front with their kids or sit at the back. Last year my wife sat for about an hour-and-a-half just watching our kids learn circus skills.”
Event manager Jenny Kane said: “We have been given a bigger space to host the festival. Due to the larger site we were able to incorporate and animate more spaces for live performances.”
Aside from star performances, activities include puppet-making and graffiti painting to beat-boxing and wildlife workshops.
For the very small Lolliboppers, there’s a soft play and story-telling area complete with mini discos for anyone 3ft and under.
Tickets and more details are available at www.lollibopfestival.co.uk