In former days, were you a Raver or an Indie Kid?
If you’re reading this as a Millennial, you’ll probably have no idea what I’m on about. But those of us who are more advanced in years will be familiar with the two tribes. I was a committed Indie Kid, and in my 20s I spurned dance clubs. But parenthood changes everything. When VTech invited us along to Rave-A-Roo at the Ministry of Sound, in Elephant and Castle, London, to celebrate the launch of their Kidicom Max, I showed a video of the family dance party to my children. They smiled, and smiled, and smiled. “Mummy, can we go? Mummy, I want to go.”
And so, off to the rave we went.
Nostalgia’s a funny old thing. I’d never been to the iconic Ministry of Sound, a place so cool it was mentioned in Irvine Welsh’s hit novel Trainspotting four times. It wasn’t my scene. But, like hindsight, the hazy glow of nostalgia made stepping into the club’s dark interior feel like going to visit a dear old neighbour. Yes, one who played annoying music, a little too loudly. But a neighbour I was still fond of, in the recesses of my heart.
In fact, the music at Rave A Roo was more varied than I’d expected. There were plenty of disco and Northern Soul tracks to accompany the electro. The club did have its fair share of grown-up cheesy quavers, jangling their glo-stick bracelets while throwing some shapes. But, despite the licensed bar and Prosecco waiters, I’d say this rave was more for the kids, rather than a party that grown-ups dragged their offspring along to.
It was fun. Shaun the Sheep did a stint as DJ, and Go!Go!Go! from Nick Jr bopped away, helping to get the crowd in the mood. They didn’t need much encouragement. There was a happy, friendly vibe, with groups of adults reminiscing while toddlers and pre-schoolers bopped away around their feet. The neon crafting area, soft play chill-out zone (complete with air jugglers – wheee) and array of inflatables strewn around the place, helped keep the kids happy. The biggest hit was the UV tattoos, which a smily woman doled out with suave efficiency, so the children didn’t have to queue too long.
I’d say Rave A Roo was most suitable for children under ten. My son, who’s almost eight, became a little twitchy after a while, until he spotted a roving VTech KidiCom Max. After he’d got his hands on the KidiCom, he was content to sit and play the six inbuilt games, and check out its features.
VTech KidiCom Max
The KidiCom Max is designed for children aged three to seven. VTech’s a brand that places strong emphasis on learning, so all of its games are educational in some ways, exploring maths, science and spelling. The KidiCom has some pretty cool features, including the KidiConnect messaging service. So long as the user has access to wi-fi, they can send text, picture and voice messages to approved iOS and Android smartphones – like parents, or friends. Cue text messages up and down the stairs when it’s time to stop playing and come down for tea.
There’s a voice changer, to record a mouse or robot voice, and a camera, plus 8GB of memory. The child-safe web browser gives access to over 1000 pre-approved child-safe sites, like CBeebies and PBS Kids. If you didn’t want your child to access one of these, you can remove it – and you can add a website that isn’t on the approved list. Parents can also control the length of time their child spends on the device.
VTech gifted us a KidiCom Max, so we’ll be looking forward to putting these features to the test over the next few weeks. At Rave-A-Roo, though, mini ravers were testing out KidiConnect on the Ministry of Sound Courtyard Stage, where MC Porridge was inviting dance enthusiasts to text him requests.
Rave-A-Roo’s a great afternoon out, even if, like us, you never got into the dance scene. As we left, our daughter (aged five) asked if we could go back again soon.
And you know what? Even though we’re committed Indie Kids, we might just do that.
For more details about Rave-A-Roo, visit their website. Online early bird tickets are £12.10 and advance tickets are £14.85. Children of 18 months and under go free. Tickets on the door cost £25. Lone adults are not allowed into the venue, so make sure you arrive with your family or young friends.
VTech invited us to Rave-A-Roo at Ministry of Sound, and compensated us for our time. All views are my own.