Hey…how you doin’?
I’m back again with another special event report and this time I visited Friendsfest at Chiswick House and Gardens in London.
Now if you don’t know what Friendsfest is then I have a few words for you…
But on serious note – Friendsfest is all about Friends, the hugely popular 90s TV show. It’s a show you can’t escape, especially if you have Comedy Central where it’s repeated endlessly! However it’s a show that never gets old and I consider it to be one of the best comedies ever made. When it first aired in the UK back in the 90s, Channel 4 on a Friday night was the place to be.
Friendsfest, hosted by Comedy Central is an annual celebration of the show. Lasting for six weeks and located at various locations around the UK, this is an opportunity for fans both young and old to indulge, participate and celebrate a well-loved show. Friendsfest is also an outdoor event so whilst you can’t predict the weather, it’s advisable you carry something waterproof in case of rain. Luckily for me, there was no rain in sight.
Getting to the event was a bit of an issue – Chiswick House and Gardens is a massive yet beautiful place. There’s a lot to admire, filled with picturesque gardens and scenery. Whilst it was a lovely distraction, sadly there weren’t any directional signs to point you to the location and it turns out, there were a few others who were in the same boat. After walking around on gravel stones, grass, through the gardens and an actual maze we all finally reached the entrance.
Already this sounds like a funny story that should be a Friends episode – The One Where the Gang Got Lost on their Way to Friendsfest! Can’t really complain too much though. I couldn’t think of a better place to get lost at and according to my apple watch I doubled my move goal!
The walking does build up an appetite so after checking in, I grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Moondance Diner, the 50s diner where Monica use to work in the early seasons. A tasty hotdog, chips and lemonade (which was code for 7UP), I was re-energized for the day ahead.
Friendsfest is filled with some fun activities. If you want to recreate that scene where Rachel, Phoebe and Monica dressed up in wedding dresses, there was a stall for that. Participate at a silent disco, there’s a stall for that. Want some official merchandise, there’s a stall for that. If the Moondance Diner is not for you, then Friendsfest does provide other food and drink stalls based off the show. You can grab some Mac and Cheese or if you’re searching for an alcoholic drink, then the Chick and the Duck bar is the place to be. I highly recommend the Bing-a-Ling cocktail.
Friendsfest also has a live stage and it’s all for a good purpose. Classic clips from the show were played on the big screen and to keep the crowd entertained with some fun and games, the event hosts would appear. There were plenty of laughs on show for the fans such as recreating The Routine which was Ross and Monica’s dance, giving the best Joey impression as Chandler while wearing all of Chandler’s clothes to even a Smelly Cat karaoke.
The best part of Friendfest was the set recreations of Monica’s apartment and Central Perk. The detail was amazing and accurate like walking onto a live recording of the show. It’s very high on nostalgia, reminiscing on all the funny moments that occurred in those locations. There were plenty of photo opportunities and the staff were always around to help out. One staff member even apologized to me for the long queues due to “selfie traffic” – two words which I’m now adding to my vocabulary!
It would have been cool if there were a few more activities because you can get through the main attractions quite quickly. How about recreating the American Football game for the Geller Cup or competing in a Friends quiz where you “win” Monica’s apartment? Or how about taking a leaf out of Secret Cinema’s book and get a few actors dressed up as characters from the show to interact with the crowd or recreate popular scenes. I’m certain that as Friendsfest gets bigger annually, the demand for more will increase.
But overall, it was a fun day out and if you’re a Friends fan, it’s worth it.
Check out my gallery pictures below.
Unfortunately tickets have sold out for Friendsfest this year but if you sign up, you’ll get notified on when the event is back on.