“You’re willingly taking your three-year-old to a festival?” a friend of mine exclaimed in horror when I told her about my plans to take my daughter Molly to watch Take That at American Express presents British Summer Time Hyde Park. Indeed, dear reader, I did just that. And it was great. I’ve been going to festivals for over half my life, so it seemed only fair to introduce my mini me to some live music. Armed with face paint, a silver bum bag full of snacks and our dancing shoes, we hot footed it down to BST for a poptastic line-up of Will Young, Sugababes, The Script and headliners Take That.
As the last lines of Evergreen, Will Young’s first (and, in my opinion, best) single swirled into the air above central London, we made a bee line for the Amex Experience, a double story, bright blue house-of-fun, containing a photobooth, games, alcoholic and virgin slushies, pick and mix and – the best bit for any three-year-old with a penchant for plaits – a Hair Bar.
I watched on as a patient stylist coaxed my daughter’s hair into a ponytail, before painting it red and blue and adorning it in gems.
The Amex Experience is available for ‘Cardmembers’ and their guests, and there are other salon stations dotted about the site which are open to all during the Hair Bar Happy Hour.
Next, it was time to watch Sugababes, who made me wish I hadn’t thrown away my khaki jungle pants in the early 2000s.
Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan – the band’s original line-up – were pitch perfect, announcing on stage a huge gig at London’s O2 Arena this coming September. Too Lost in You, About You Now and Flowers, covering Sweet Female Attitude, were my highlights.
But back to the three-year-old. Having worked up an appetite sat on my shoulders, it was time for Molly and I to go in search of sustenance.
The good thing about BST Hyde Park, and something often severely lacking at other day festivals, is the amount of bars and eateries available. Queues are short because there’s plenty of choice. Choosing some Southern fried chicken and chips, we sat down on our picnic blanket to eat.
BYOPB (bring your own picnic blanket) is common at BST Hyde Park, and means you can take a pew while the music plays.
We finished our dinner to the sound of The Script, who were really very good. Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue – one of pop’s truly good guys – seemed genuinely humbled to play to the vast London crowd, and sounded gorgeous singing If You Could See Me Now, which he dedicated to late band member Mark Sheehan, who sadly passed away in April this year.
Then, finally, the cherry atop the poptastic BST Hyde Park cake, came Gary, Mark and Howard.
Molly, who promptly fell asleep as Take That took to the stage with The Flood, missed the lot. I however, danced around the pram with wild abandon, living out my youth to Never Forget and Back For Good. Bringing Lulu out for Relight My Fire saw screams so ferocious they could (probably) be heard in Scotland.
The Take That trio (Robbie, Jason, who?) gave the fans what they wanted – the hits. Ending on Rule the World, they brought their run of nostalgic pop music to a close.
It really was The Greatest Day. Could It Be Magic? I think so.