In The Club

Interview by Nadia Duncan

Like many of my generation, B.C. (before children) I spent a large part of the 90s dancing into the early hours to the sounds of the biggest DJs of the day at what was collectively labelled ‘the rave scene’. Zoom forward to 2017 and I though those days were long gone, just the stories remaining to embarrass the kids as they get older, talking about Mum dancing on raised platforms in hot pants. However, far from being over – I’ve discovered the kids are getting in on the act and bringing with them a new family-friendly rave culture to parents across the UK…

Kirstie Wilson is the Scotland manager of events company Big Fish Little Fish, a UK-wide team who refused to let go of their love of a good rave when they became parents, but instead have created a completely new safe atmosphere, where kids are welcome and the party doesn’t stop just because you are under 16 or over 30 and now have responsibilities. She explains, “The family parties started in London in 2013 and gave inspiration to our founder, Hannah Saunders. Like many of us she came from a clubbing background and didn’t want her passion for the music scene she loved to have to part of her past. She did a lot of research to make sure that the environment at her events would be totally safe for children and Big Fish Little Fish was born, turning museums, galleries and arts theatres into clubs, and clubs into family-friendly venues, creating a special multi-sensory experience where families can enjoy music, dance and play together. Last year my husband and I attended one of the parties in Manchester and found it totally amazing. We just thought, yeah… this is how we would really like to be spending an afternoon with the kids. It inspired us to want to get involved and bring these magical events to Scottish families.”

The concept has proved hugely popular with most events selling out quickly and the party masters certainly know how to make their audience happy as they picked up an unprecedented four awards, out of over 4,000 UK-wide events, at this year’s Get Creative Family Arts Festival Awards including ‘Best Family Event’ and the Audience Choice Award for ‘Best Family Welcome’. Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the arts sector, the commendations recognise the outstanding events and exemplary family-friendly organisations and venues.

I’m sold on the idea. How many of our family days out are actually spent doing something the kids enjoy while you stand around uninvolved watching from the sidelines? Or when you do try and incorporate something you quite like into quality family time, the kids are soon crying, “I’m bored!” and reaching for the nearest i-Pad. As Kirstie confirms, “It’s a real eye-opener at our parties for children to see their parents letting loose, dancing and having fun. The kids can make all the noise they like, mum and dad can relax. It simply makes families who come along happy and that’s why they are so popular.”

But just what can you expect from an award-winning family rave? The unique afternoon parties include attractions like a multi-sensory dance floor with top DJs playing club classics and upfront dance music where the adults are having as much fun as the kids! Bubble machines, glitter cannons, club visuals and a giant parachute dance help to create the atmosphere of a real rave. All events also offer a play and chill-out area for babies, as well as a quality themed crafting area featuring colouring murals, playdough and transfer tattoos, as well as having a licensed bar. There are also stalls offering face-painting, cakes, and pop-up specials offering all guests, big and small, a chance to ‘dance, laugh, craft, be daft!’

It all sounds incredible but should parents have any safety concerns at all considering some events are held in nightclubs where child-free millennials have been partying hard the night before? Kirstie says a firm “No! We carry out a full risk assessment of any venue we use and insist that they do a full deep clean before any event. We check dark areas with flashlights, inspect the toilets, drinks are all served in plastic glasses etc. Safety is a major priority for us and we give it the full attention it deserves.”

Now the word is spreading and more and more of us Generation X and Y mums and dads are discovering our dancing shoes have a new outlet, what are the plans for 2017 and beyond? Attracting even more big name DJs for a start. This year so far Alex Paterson from The Orb has played the Big Fish Little Fish decks – and absolutely loved it! But Kirstie is keen to also include favourite local legends such as DJ Kid, Scotland’s most prolific figure within the UK Jungle and Drum and Bass scene. And, look out for more of their events as part of the 2017 Fringe Festival.

But should we ever just grow old gracefully and stop trying to be dancing queens? “Why!” exclaims Kirstie, “We might not go out until 3am but if you love the music, join the revival, have fun and see you on the dance floor.”


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Get your groove on with the kids this summer at:

Glasgow, Drygate

28 May – DJ EGEBAMYASI (Around The World theme with Lonely Planet Kids)

30 Jul – DJ REBECCA VASMANT (Hawaiian Luau theme)

Edinburgh, La Belle Angele

18 Jun – Father’s Day rave, DJ TBC (Intergalactic Planetary theme)

13 Aug – DJ DAVE BOOTH (Stone Roses official tour DJ) (Madchester theme)

27 Aug – DJ TBC

Edinburgh Pride @ Teviot Debating Hall

17 Jun – BFLF Scotland resident DJ Leme


Kelburn Garden Party

30 June – 3 Jul – BFLF Scotland resident DJ Leme



4 – 7 Aug – BFLF Scotland resident DJ Leme
Visit the website for full event details

Tickets for all shows available from



Image 1 – Kirstie with husband Liam, one of the resident DJs at the parties

Image 5 – Kirstie’s kids Leo and Sadie before a Fringe party last summer


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