REVIEW: Boomerang Jam Kids Festival 2014

Local residents, hoping to try out a new family friendly festival were bitterly disappointed over the Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May when they attended Boomerang Jam, organised by Grace & Tailor at The Tetley Brewery, Leeds.

Boomerang Jam

We were invited on behalf of Mumsnet Wakefield to review the Boomerang Jam event at The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ in receipt of two free tickets; Mumsnet Local was unable to attend the event as planned, but we were very saddened to hear of so many negative experiences. Our area could really use more children-centred events like this and it’s a shame there are so many unsatisfied customers. Mumsnet Wakefield still promised to provide a review of the reviews made by customers.

The event took place over the Bank Holiday weekend – 25th/26th May 2014 and The Tetley, Leeds. Sponsors included, Grace and Tailor, Heart Yorkshire, The Tetley, Yorkshire Evening Post and David Lloyd.

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The event seemed popular and they had previously arranged something successful at Harewood with 6,000 visitors so they expected around 5,000 – 10,000 visitors over the two days. The tickets were priced at £15 per adult and £10 per child, 2s and under went free and a family ticket at £42. Advertised on the Boomerang Jam website before the event was:

Promised appearances from: Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam and Shocksquatch from Ben 10 Omniverse.

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beatboxing performances  and much much more.

Part of The Leeds Food & Drink Festival 2014

The ‘What’s On’ section advertised on their website was the most enticing with great names to attract;

Main Stage, Jam Bam Arena, Boom Street Extreme, Tip Top Tent, Guzzle Alley, Bouncy Bonzana, Mini Bam Jam Farm, The Rock Dock, Fun Fair Zone and The Big Chill. These offered everything from inflatables, to food demos to bean bags; There really was something for all the family.

 

As the event started, the reviews starting coming in via the Boomerang Jam Facebook page.  Unfortunately, these reviews were not reflecting the event well:

“Worst….Event….Ever.”

“This was a complete shambles for over £40 plus rip off rides. Set within the demolished foundations of the Tetley factory with minimal effort to make the ground safe. We ended up sitting on the floor of the “bar tent” as there were limited sheltered places elsewhere to eat our overpriced burger van fare. Where did our £45 go??”

“A kids festival with a food and drink festival was promised. The reality was very different. £23 for the ticket & £4 car parking & £2 per ride of which I would only allow my begging child to go on three. The atmosphere was awful as all parents felt ripped off. It was in an uneven car park, not ideal for a toddler unsteady on their feet. It was an extremely disappointing family day out. It would have been disappointing had it been free. I have no idea what the entrance fee went towards. Boomerang jam would you like to answer this?” 

“A complete rip off. My bag was searched and I was asked to remove a baby water cup upon entry. No changing facilities for babies. Rough terrain far from child friendly and you had to pay for everything inside despite the £40 entrance fee. One of the worst ‘planned’ event I have ever been to.”

The Mumsnet Local listing of the event was subsequently flooded by the tide of negative experiences local families had undergone.

“We attended Boomerang Jam on the Sunday after winning a family ticket through the YEP. I’m unsure what you actually get for your £40 entrance fee. There were lots of fairground rides £2 upwards!! I would have thought these would have been included in the price. The climbing wall and petting zoo was welcomed by my daughter however everything else was dire! It was all in all a very disappointing day out at what was billed to be a great bank holiday kids festival.”

“What a let down this event was….half of the advertised events for the day didn’t even run, the admission price was an absolute joke, a family ticket for £40 to gain entry to a car park with so many health and safety issues, nowhere to sit, the food stalls consisted of a hot dog stall, a burger stall and a crepe stall….I’d already raised my concerns about food and was assured there were lots of options and were not allowed to take our own food and drink…..just a total let down, I’ve already emailed the organisers and asked for a refund.”

 

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Views of the main stage taken by the public.

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Images of the attractions taken by the public.

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Images of the abandoned attractions taken by the public.

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Images of shut off entertainment area to children, concrete slabs and abandoned atmosphere taken by the public.

 

You can see more reviews on the Mumsnet Wakefield website.

The Mumsnet Local talk board was subsequently flooded by the tide of negative experiences local families had undergone. Under the mist, out came some positive feedback of the event:

“Even though it was raining, me and my family still managed to have a fantastic time at the Boomerang Jam event… Loved it, and will definitely come again tomorrow”

“I went with my 2y 10m daughter in the Monday. The weather was good and we arrived at 10 am. There were only two of us. 

At first I was disappointed by the rides and the concrete ground (like a lot of people) but I soon realised that was my expectation not my daughter’s. Mostly I thought that I’d expect it to be better but that this was the first year. Next year should be better but won’t be if everyone complains and gets there money back. I’d much rather have this than no kids festival at all. 

Honestly my daughter loved it. We milked a life size pretend Cow, decorated cakes, saw Peppa and touched her tail, danced with Bob the builder, went on a huge bouncy castle slide, sprayed water cannons (£1), saw an eight year old body popper, saw two dance troupes, ate cheeseburgers (good ones £4), loved but couldn’t touch a big friendly monster and finally cuddled six rabbits and three guinea pigs.

We were there for over four hours and she never stopped doing stuff.”

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Images of the animals: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

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Image of the rock wall: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

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Images of the entertainment: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

 

Despite the many negative reviews that were flooding in via social media, there were many families who enjoyed the event and had a fantastic time.

Heading back to our talk boards, we asked our users what they could recommend to the organisers to change and improve for future events;

“These is what I’d improve… 
– more seating for lunch
– more food choices
– smart phone timetable so you know what’s happening when”

“Free entry/payment for entry but free attractions inside”

“More food and drink stalls! The cost was absolutely ridiculous and there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Either that or allow us to bring our own food and drink”

“Inform the public of any changes as soon as possible! The majority of the disappointment could have been avoided if you would of informed us via social media of the acts and businesses that didn’t turn up”

“Maybe next time they could select a better venue to make it child friendly rather than a derelict car park”

 

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said:

“We are aware of the issues around Boomerang Jam and are concerned to hear that a number of people had a negative experience. Although we were not involved in the organisation of the event, nor did we sponsor it, we did want to share some of the events going on in the city over the bank holiday with families in Leeds via our website and Twitter. However we are reliant on the event organisers to deliver appropriate facilities and activities at their venues when using materials to promote Child Friendly Leeds, and we will be looking at how we can regulate this more effectively in the future. We are aware there were other organisations who also promoted the event in good faith and who are similarly concerned about the feedback from families.

We have contacted the organisers to pass on the comments we have received and to express our concerns. If your members wish to do the same the email address is: info@boomerangjam.co.uk or you can visit their website. Hopefully this feedback will enable the organisers to deliver a better service in future.”

After the event had passed, we wanted to give the organisers of Boomerang Jam the right to reply and here is their response;

“Dear All

We are very sorry for the disappointment that has been caused to people who attended the event on Sunday and Monday. We are also very disappointed as the event did not go as we had planned and subsequently we take full responsibility.

We are facing this and everyone who emails us will receive a response.

Individuals in our team have been the target of personal attacks both online and offline. They have been frightened and upset. They are working really hard to make sure that everyone receives a positive outcome, please allow them to do so without intrusion or threat.

The event ended 48 hours ago, so we are still organising the process of refunding you. We will refund you as quickly as we can and thank you for your continued patience.

If you wish to contact us please email info@boomerangjam.co.uk.

The Organisers of Boomerang Jam”

We hope that the organisers of Boomerang Jam take the responses they received and use them to improve the organisation and outcome of further events as on this occasion the event looked great on paper, but to the majority, the reality wasn’t what was anticipated.

 

If you attended the event and left feeling disappointed with your experience please feel free to leave a review in our comments.

Acknowledgements: Mumsnet Wakefield would like to thank Boomerang Jam for providing a free family ticket in return for a review.

For a personal review please see Blogizing

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