Home Office’s loss is baby clubbers’ gain

Big Fish Little Fish: family rave


Brixton resident Hannah Saunders waved goodbye to a high-flying career in the Home Office to run DJ and glow-stick raves with a difference. Her Big Fish Little Fish (BFLF) company puts on raves for the whole family – from age 0 on up.

The first was at Effra Social in July 2013. Hannah spent 20 years fulfilling her desire to serve society by working as a civil servant, rising to deputy director of policing at the Home Office. Why the sudden change? Having had two children in quick succession, Winter, now 7 and Atticus, 6, meant more time away from the office and an unexpected change in role upon returning to work caused her to “run for the hills”. Plan B? There wasn’t one.

Unsure of her next move, Hannah found a mentor, who helped to build her confidence as she toyed with the idea of creating a “family rave” to combine her love of music and a lifetime of clubbing with her babies’ enjoyment of festivals.

“The concept of a family rave is doing exactly what it says on the tin. It is a rave for families, by families who enjoy club music and spending time together,” she says. “I thought that I would make this thing that I want to go to, which I cannot find anywhere else … and we’ll just see what happens.”

Hanna Saunders of Big Fish Little FishHannah is supported by her husband David and a few families who help her to organise London events. Raves usually take place on weekend afternoons and are for adults with children aged 0-8. Each party is unique, with a quirky venue, a creative theme for fancy dress and everything from glitter cannons and glow-sticks to craft corners and baby chill out spaces.

Music is at the heart of BFLF. Renowned DJs like Aphrodite, Two Bad Mice and Chad Jackson play club classics. Adults relive their youth, throwing shapes on the dancefloor to songs of their past with their children, who rejoice at the sight of seeing their parents dance. The enjoyment and vigour seen on this dancefloor would rival any top nightclub across the country. The finale, a rather “hectic” parachute dance.

Since the opening event at Effra Social in Brixton in July 2013, the demand for “family rave” entertainment has seen the company grow. Its popularity is unquestionable. A well established network of regulars and tribe of super fans enjoy BFLF raves in all four corners of London, other UK cities and even Australia.

BFLF organises raves at festivals including Glastonbury and Camp Bestival and hosts events at top venues including Museum of London Docklands, The National Gallery and, most recently, Alexandra Palace in July 2017 which saw a record 2,000 people taking part. BFLF, now in its fourth year, has won the nationwide Family Arts Festival Award for best family event every year.… as well as best welcome, best venue and best event. It’s simple really, says Hannah: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work another day in your life.” – Confucius. BFLF is hosting a drum and bass, animal fantastical, family rave with DJ Aphrodite on 14 October from 2-4.30pm at Fire, Vauxhall. Tickets here.