Friendsfest, which is exactly what it sounds like, is currently touring the UK giving fans of the show a chance to geek out. Put together by Comedy Central to promote their daily repeats of the show, there was an initial run last year on Brick Lane featuring Monica’s apartment, but this year they are back on a much bigger scale to maximize on the interest the public have for this classic show. For £22 I headed to Chiswick Park last weekend to see for myself just how possible it is to fill a field with memorabilia about a sitcom.
So What’s There?
There’s surprisingly a lot to do at Friendsfest, enough to keep you busy for 3-4 hours. Be prepared to pose for a lot of photographs, as recreated sets and ready for you to pose in are the biggest draws.
- Monica and Rachel’s Apartment – a recreated set perfect for posing in the kitchen or on the sofa in the famous purple flat. Your ticket will have a set time to enter this area but you can arrive at the festival whenever you want
- Opening Credits Central Park Sofa – Just before the apartment, you’ll get the chance to pose with umbrellas on the orange sofa ‘in central park’
- The Duck and Chick Bar – Grab a drink at the bar furnished like Chandler and Joey’s apartment, complete with Foosball table, canoe, and lazy-boys.
- Central Perk – I think this would have been better as an actual coffee shop but you can try your hand at an acoustic smelly cat rendition and pose by the bar or on the recreated ‘friends’ sofa area
- Moonlight Diner – Grab a snack from the food truck and take a seat a partially recreated version of the american diner that Monica worked at in early seasons. This is really cute but not the most iconic element of the show. There’s also a little area nearby to try on some terrible wedding dresses with your friends.
- Mac’n’Cheese, Mockolate Waffles and misc. food trucks – Some funny themed places to grab a bite
- Silent Disco – We thought this would be terrible but this is actually a dance tent where you can learn the full ‘routine’ that Ross and Monica perform in 6×10. The instructors we had were hilairous and really made this a highlight
- Comedy Central Main Stage – Since FriendsFest is a promotional activity put together by Comedy Central who own the rerun rights in the UK, they have branded elements throughout the event but use the main stage to really highlight themselves with promotional clips rolling in the background. Saying that, they also have hosts interacting with the crowd throughout the event, running activities such as quizzes, singalongs, and challenges all themed around the show.
- Gift Shop – A chance to pick up a Central Perk mug of your won (I’ll admit I fell for this)
So What’s the Verdict?
I enjoyed my time at Friendsfest as a fun way to spend a few hours, but I would understand if you are a bit strapped for cash feeling a bit disappointed about the value to the ticket. Considering the promotional value Comedy Central gain from this, it does seem a bit much to charge so much for attendance. Saying that, it’s very well put together and a unique experience, so if you’ve seen every episode of the show several times, you’ll like it.
You can find out more and try to nab a ticket at http://friendsfest.co.uk/