Back in the 90’s my Friday Evening plans consisted of a large bowl of Haagen Dazs and a date with six New York singleton’s. Week in, week out, I ensured my diary remained clear so that I could be comfortably ensconced on the sofa and tuned into Friends on Channel 4, heaven forbid I should miss an episode -I was hooked. Even after 10 years and hundreds of episodes the iconic sitcom still held appeal for me as a (somewhat) older audience and when the time came to eventually say goodbye to the show for good I wasn’t ready to let go! Over the years I have thankfully been able to fulfil my Friends void due to frequent reruns, which are testament to just how popular the show was and continues to be.
It’s this continued popularity that prompted the creation of FriendsFest, which does exactly what is says on the tin, a festival in celebration of everything Friends! The first event was held back in 2015 and over the years has evolved, becoming bigger and better each year. This year Comedy Central’s FriendsFest is touring the UK for 12 Weeks until September, visiting 6 locations up and down the country and I was lucky enough to have been gifted VIP tickets to visit as part of it’s stop off in Newcastle! Believe me when I say there was plenty of squealing and jumping up and down when I got the email, I couldn’t wait!
When we arrived, the gates hadn’t opened, and we waited in a short queue which dissipated quickly thanks to a well organised ticket and security checking system meaning before we knew it we were inside! The only part of the event I knew about was the set tour, so we headed there first. When booking tickets, you can choose a time to visit the set which lasts 30 minutes, ensuring your visit isn’t overcrowded and giving everyone plenty of time for a proper look around.
Whilst waiting to enter the set we were able to view iconic props from the show including The Gellar Cup, Phoebe’s guitar and Hugsy The Penguin!
The tour consisted of a visit to Monica’s apartment, Joey and Chandler’s apartment and the corridor between the two. Also, brand new for this year is Ross’ apartment, formally belonging to Ugly Naked Guy! With 10 minutes dedicated to each area there was plenty of time to browse and take photographs – the guide who accompanied us was more than happy to take a few snaps too, which was great. The guide was very knowledgeable and fed us plenty of interesting facts along the way – for example did you know that Phoebe’s Gladys Painting is insured for a whopping £18K!!! I loved every second of the set tour, even though it felt incredibly surreal to be standing inside such a familiar setting that’s usually on my TV screen.
Once the tour was complete we discovered the rest of the event was divided into several different interactive areas each offering up fabulous photo opportunities – I apologise for this post being photo-heavy!
First stop was Central Perk where we were able to chill out on the famous sofa with a brew and try our hand at ‘singing’ a set like Phoebe, guitar and all!
As we moved around the areas we had the chance to recreate iconic scenes from the show including the famous title scenes and the hilarious Pivot scene which was voted favourite by viewers. We also got see and sit inside Phoebe’s yellow New York Taxi and pose for a few photos too.
There was a large screen and stage set up where throughout the day iconic clips of the show were aired, a great place to take a load off and relax in the sunshine with a drink. At intervals throughout the day there was live entertainment including games and competitions on the stage which gave us a giggle or two especially as audience participation was required for the games we saw!
Whilst we didn’t eat inside the venue there were a range of themed food stalls with my favourite being ‘Phoebes Vegetarian Buffet’ – see what they did there! There was also a bar selling Friends themed cocktails which I would definitely have been partaking in if I wasn’t driving!
Finally, no event would be complete without a visit to the merch shop! With heaps of exclusive FriendsFest merchandise including the chance to buy your very own bar of Mockolate! I had to seriously restrain myself from buying everything and managed to escape having only purchased a hoody for Thing 2 and a mug for myself! I was slightly disappointed that they weren’t selling the huge Central Perk Mugs they used to sell as I would have loved to replace the one I accidently smashed years ago! I am talking over 10 years ago though, so I can’t be too upset about it!
FriendsFest was everything I expected and a whole lot more! It was an extremely well organised event with friendly and knowledgeable staff to boot. We enjoyed a fabulous afternoon which has only served to remind to me of how truly amazing the show is and has inspired me to re watch every episode from the start again on Netflix! If you are a Friends fan, old or new, I highly recommend a visit you won’t be disappointed.
Tickets for FriendsFest are available from See Tickets
*We were gifted tickets to FriendsFest in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.