Kids parties; I’ve seen a few in my time. In fact, over the last eight years or so many a Sunday morning, Saturday afternoon has been spent traipsing the kids around on their far superior than ours social life, with a present and card taped together under our arm, hovering around the crisps and hoping there are some nice Mums to chat to.
So what makes a good party? A GREAT party in fact? A theme? An entertainer? A soft play centre? Elsa? Bowling? Ice skating? A party bus? A craft session? A halloween party? Swimming? Bouncy castle (head injuries and broken arms)? Laser wars? Ride on ponies? A sleepover? Trampolining? Gaming? Having tried them all the answer was still an unkown quantity.
Of course there is no secret recipe for success; the aim is to get through it, with as many smiles as possible and your bank balance and sanity still in check.
That said, this year, I genuinely feel like Tigs lucked out with the greatest party of all time. The inner eight year old in me would have died and gone to heaven if I had been invited to, or better still hosted an actual POP STAR PARTY. And that’s exactly what we did, with huge thanks to Big Jam Studios, in Sittingbourne, Kent.
Tucked away on a discrete business park, Big Jam Studios is a professional recording studio that has opened it’s doors to the kids of Kent and beyond, to make their musical dreams come true.
The founder Kevin alongside a professional photographer welcomed Tigs and 5 of her classmates in to the Party Pop Star studio last weekend, to record a smash track ‘Good As Hell’. The perfect eighth birthday celebration and with each guest receiving a DVD of the end product, the girls will all have a very special keepsake of their time together.
The party package can accommodate up to 12 guests, but I felt that the six (and a half) would be just right to enable a close knit band vibe. The key is to make the kids feel as comfortable as possible during the session so that means no parents, no tag along siblings and plenty of snacks!
I have to say, I’m kind of in awe of Kevin and the crew – that’s some serious kit in that studio and yet they were totally chilled about the kid and their sweet wrappers and greasy fingers on their kit. They let them explore and play and feel welcome and safe – whilst I ran around after them telling them to clean their hands, pick up their rubbish and not take their drinks in there (!). What can I say – you never take a day off being Mum…
Our two and a half hour party was jam packed with no time to spare. The girls were given a brief introduction and then set straight to work in the sound booth – running over the lyrics to a backing audio and then getting to work laying down the track.
Kevin did an amazing job of making the kids feel at ease despite the pressure of getting the job done. He made it fun and easy, and even got Tigs to record a solo version of the wordy chorus which he was able to work with later…
In no time at all it was time to move on to the next major session – the photo shoot!
Leaving Kevin to work on the editing, we were treated to a personal photo shoot by Jade. The kids were let loose on three cases of props and with some disco lighting, party play lists, Jade captured some fantastic studio shots of Tigs with her friends individually, as the band and in all sorts of fun and crazy angles. The kids had a total blast working it for the camera, whilst tucking into the treats table that was well stocked by me to keep their energy levels high!
By the end of the shoot, we were roughly half way through the party and as the kids tucked in to the hot food delivery courtesy of Dad Muddling Through, they experienced the first ever play of their hit track Good As Hell by the hottest new band on the block – The elastic band!
I was totally blown away by what Kevin had created in the time we had the photo shoot. He had managed to blend Tig’s lead vocals with those of the other girls, giving the birthday girl an amazing gift – of being the front woman of an incredible girl band.
The beauty of getting the vocal sorted up front, was that the video shoot was all about F U N! The kids could go crazy, do their thing and not worry about the quality of their vocals because the hard part was out of the way.
With Kevin capturing the magic, the kids spent the rest of the party dancing amongst smoke machines, lasers, disco lights, balloons and the reappearance of the props.
It was such a lovely thing to see, and through the visuals captured, the kids and their families will be able to share in the joy in the kids faces and the shapes they were cutting on the dance floor – they really went for it and even the shy mouse brought her A game, making a bit of a star cameo in the video.
Kevin brought a little structure to the events and in doing so made sure he had all the footage he needed to create a tried and tested formula pop star party video in the time available – the mirror shot, the solo dance moves, the entrance to the studio and the head phones bop. All whilst the kids seamlessly giggled and laughed their way through the afternoon.
After the obligatory blowing out of the candles it was time to leave the guys and the studio behind…and believe me when I say the kids DID NOT want to go!
With around a week lead time for the video edits, the waiting was eased by the parting gift of the vocal track on disc and the highlights from the photo shoot which we listened to on repeat until the arrival of our pop video…
..which came in earlier than expected and was worth waiting for…
Having had all guests sign the permission slips we encouraged the Big Jam crew to share our video on their social channels (You tube, Facebook, Instagram) which made sharing with friends and family even easier, but we still received hard copy discs, with a cover image, for us and all Tig’s party guests to keep for the long haul.
There are so many reasons why this is a party to top all parties… the ‘grown up’ vibe, the authentic recording studio, the relaxed aura of the guys behind PPS, and of course the end product. It was a day like no other, let alone a birthday party, and Tigs’ words to me on the Sunday, as she wrapped her arms around my neck said it all…
“Mummy, I have had the best birthday ever”.
And, do you know what, it wasn’t even her birthday until Monday.