THE joy of a festival has been missed this last year, with many events cancelled because of Covid.

Proteus Creation Space in Basingstoke came up with an ingenious alternative for those craving the spirit and atmosphere of a festival: THE smallest FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD.

Basingstoke really is very lucky to have Proteus in the town and the company is leading the way when it comes to affordable family entertainment, getting it right every single time.

Their shows are never a disappointment, delivering beyond expectations, and THE smallest FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD was no exception.

Do you hate queuing for the loos at festivals, Proteus asked? Is camping really not your thing? What if you could experience all the fun of a festival in just one hour?

Well, all the fun of the festival really was experienced in one hour, complete with a top Edinburgh Fringe performer, close-up magic, acoustic music, children’s theatre, a live DJ, circus acts, face-painting, and festival food.

The event began with giant bubbles outside the venue in Council Road, where Basingstoke based performer Sarah Thomas-Lane was on stilts to welcome festivalgoers.

Basingstoke Gazette:

My son, husband and I were all given wristbands to keep things feeling authentic before being invited inside where magician Tom Brace wowed us with his tricks, making a £20 note appear to float in front of our eyes.

A selection of mocktails were on sale, looking fancy with an umbrella, flamingo stirrer, and gold paper straw to complete the look.

I sipped mine contentedly while my four-year-old had a sparkly snake painted on his arm, before making a festival hat to wear.

Next, we were led to a different room where we were treated to award-winning inclusive children’s storytelling with Drag Queen Story Hour Aida H Dee.

Basingstoke Gazette:

My son absolutely loved the storytelling, and was in fits of giggles throughout, enthusiastically participating in the interactive session.

Key to every good festival is the music, and Proteus ensured that this was a highlight of the event.

Led to yet another room at the venue, we were given glow sticks and entered a mini-rave with a live DJ set from Hampshire-based Sean Walsh.

Everyone let themselves go and embraced the festival spirit, raving on the dance floor as if it was three in the morning, not the middle of the afternoon.

All the kids were given giant, elaborate balloon hats to wear. And for those who chose not to embrace the dancing (I won’t mention any names) Aida H Dee was on hand to encourage, or should I say force, them to participate.

The finale was spectacular, when Mirabelle Art’s Lumo-Lin amazed us all in a light-up dress playing an electric violin to upbeat tunes with incredible skill and talent.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Afterwards, we could head outside to enjoy an ice cream from brand new street theatre show The Magical Ice Cream Stall by Scratch Built Productions or a selection of festival food such as halloumi sticks and risotto balls.

There was no mud, no challenging British weather, no queues for the toilet, and afterwards we could head back to the comfort of our home and not have to navigate our way through a sea of tents.

This really was the perfect alternative to a festival. It was original, clever, imaginative, and highly inventive. When it comes to entertaining families, Proteus certainly is the best in Basingstoke.