We were there for the Soul and Motown weekend and it was definitely a different experience.
On a family break, the entertainment normally starts around 1pm on the day of arrival but with the adult break the entertainment didn’t really start until 8pm. That is not to say that there is nothing to do because the bar was open and let’s be honest that was what we went there for. There was a DJ playing in Bar Rosso from 2pm which was nice as it really let the sound travel around the Skyline Pavilion.
One huge difference between a family break and a Big Weekend is that there was no entertainment on the Skyline stage and the redcoat presence was really low. I was told that high energy breaks like the 90’s weekend involved the redcoats a lot more as they DJ more and host headphone parties and karaoke. I missed the redcoats but they did come out around lunch time for a boogie in centre stage with the tribute acts which was brilliant to see. I asked a few of them what they enjoyed about the adult breaks and it seems that the rules on appearance are relaxed a bit more so the lads don’t have to be clean shaved constantly and they are in their casual redcoat uniform. It is certainly a different aspect of their jobs. There are no redcoats shows or character shows so really they get a bit of a break from entertaining and can spend the weekends ensuring the guests are having a great time.
The musical entertainment at the Big Weekend is just phenomenal. As mentioned, we were at a Soul and Motown weekend and we had Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Ray Lewis, Brand New Heavies and Soul to Soul plus lots more. There were fantastic cover acts such as Beverley Savarin as Whitney Houston and there were some brilliant DJ’s. There was also the chance to attend an after party with Brand New Heavies which of course we just had to do and well that was a fantastic experience in itself. The band members that came along were amazing and friendly and partied with us into the wee hours of the morning before we gave up and left them to it. The trumpet and saxophone player in Rosso Lounge for the after party were amazing as well.
There were times when I found the food standards slipping compared to a family break but not by much and there were no pancakes available at breakfast time which was annoying, can adult snot eat pancakes too?
The drink prices were reasonable with pints and glasses of wine coming in at £3.50 and a bottle of wine coming in at £9.95 for £14.99 for a nice bottle. We ensured that we took some with us for getting ready and for when we returned in the evening.I was asked to find out if the bar staff stopped serving you if you became too drunk, unfortunately, I was never so drunk that I could test this theory and I also didn’t see anyone who I thought was too drunk either. There was a good security presence and everyone was there to have a good time. We saw some fabulous and not so fabulous fancy dress costumes and if we go again I think we would definitely plan on dressing up one evening.
During the day, I was worried that we wouldn’t have much to do but with Archery, pool, bowling and Fencing available plus swimming, football and more if you wanted to do something then you could. We enjoyed the Archery session and a special thanks to Richie who hosted a session for us even though he had officially finished. He was fantastic and great fun, definitely a must if we went again. We were disappointed not to go on the Merry go round and the Go-Karts but it was very cold and icy so they were not running all the time.
We enjoyed a nice walk along the beach to Bognor which is something I have not done before and I was able to do a few bits of Christmas shopping without one of the girls going “I want that”. We even had hot doughnuts and a ride on the beach train all without screaming children in sight. Butlins with no children is a very quiet relaxing experience where you sometimes find yourself with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine surrounded by people but no one is talking. We realised we were all just enjoying the peace which isn’t something you get very often as a parent. Two of our party left on Sunday morning so we spent an afternoon doing Adult things, yes that’s right we played Bingo and we won. Only enough to cover the cost of the tickets but still good fun. We then headed to the bowling alley to pass some more time and had fun laughing at my mum (sorry mum) who managed to hit 1 pin with 8 balls. We should blame the lane or the balls but really I blame the lack of sleep and the build-up of alcohol.
So What does happen on a Big Weekend? Whatever you make of it, you can do as little or as much as you want, you can make new friends or stay with your old friends, you can drink, you can dance and you can also sit and watch. Whatever it is that you choose you do you will be doing with a smile on your face and surrounded by happy people all there to have fun.