Hubby and I are big fans of the group Madness. A 2 tone ska band playing bouncy, catchy tunes. They were huge in the 80’s and have managed to keep going. We have seen them live several times and it is always a riotous affair!! The trouble with seeing them in concert, is that it finishes and thats it – it always seems to be over too suddenly! So, last year we start to see adverts for the Madness Weekender. Curious, we google it and get taken to the Butlin’s website. We have never been to Butlin’s before and it takes us a while to realise that Butlins isn’t all about family breaks. At various times through the year they hold what they call Big Weekends. Adult only weekend theme breaks. And one such weekender is to be the Madness Weekender!! This causes great excitement in our household and we book up a room for the weekend. As time passes we discover that Madness will play on both the Friday and Saturday night. In between times there will be a whole heap of other entertainment – comedians, bands, acts, and special events taking place in the various bars and clubs throughout the resort. The week before we go we find out that there is a fancy dress theme for the Saturday night. Apparently, there is a lot of fancy dress at these adult weekends and our theme is Movie Madness. So off to the fancy dress shop we trot.
We arrive in Minehead Butlin’s on a cold November Friday. I have booked us Silver level accommodation and to be honest don’t expect a huge amount but am hoping for at least a travel lodge type room! We are also half board. The car park and check in is a sea of fez hats and Dr Martens but check-in is efficient and we are soon back in the car equipped with a map. Well, we managed to find our room about half an hour later! We enter the room with trepidation but it is ok! Warm – which was essential as it was freezing, spotlessly clean and with a nice shower etc. We later discover that the walls are paper thin and the beds insanely uncomfortable but, so far so good and we don’t expect to be in the room much anyhow. We head out for a wander and look around. Butlin’s is adorned with bunting, house of fun flags and inflatables and looks really good! We have programmes and are amazed at just how much is going on over the weekend. We decide to have an early dinner before heading into the main venue. The food was really good and the atmosphere was brilliant! Soon we are ready to head out for our first Madness night!
We grab a drink and head straight for the main venue. The warm up acts are great and madness final arrive on stage! Tonight they perform a lot of music from there upcoming new album and it sounds good. We spend the rest of the night listening to some of the bands, having a dance and enjoying everything that was going on!
After a hearty breakfast on the saturday morning we mingle, mix and join in with various silly goings on such as the worlds longest nutty train event. Over 1000 fully grown adults making a train in a field essentially – complete with the token streaker!! Surprisingly but pleasingly, various members of the band came to join in spending a nice amount of time with the fans – nice touch. We need to warm up after grabbing some lunch and watch a few of the comedians before heading back to siesta.
After another good dinner it is time to get ready for the main event. I have decided that I will be at the front in the middle – in the so called Mosh-Pit. Hubby is not to sure about my choice – he thinks that I will get squashed but I have made up my mind. So, it’s time to get into the fancy dress. We are ready to make our move – but can’t see any other fancy dressers around. Now I get concerned. In full Avatar costume with Ali G by my side, I wonder if we are going to be the only ones looking ridiculous!! I send Ali G out to have a better look and he returns victorious having met Batman and Robin, several Pink Ladies and a Top Gun pilot! So feeling mightily silly we leave for the walk up to the main venue. We try our hardest to be inconspicuous but are soon spotted and laughed at. The photographer grabs us and takes our pictures and we enter the venue fortunately seeing plenty of others in fancy dress thank god!!
Now, my hubby is not a loud person and nor does he like to be the centre of attention. The fact that he is in an Ali G costume in public has already astounded me – however, I am amazed at how in character he is!! In fact – he did the whole Ali G persona scarily well!! My goodness did we have fun that night! I remained steadfastly in the centre at the front as insisted. I danced, sang, drank, shoulder surfed several large shoulders, stood on a thousand feet, got pushed in all directions and pushed back, but everyone just had so much fun. Madness were absolutely brilliant. We met some great people (yes I am still in touch with several!!) and the whole place rocked. We danced in the club afterwards to brilliant ska and 2 tone music DJ’d by Gerry Dammers and Suggs. We drank, chatted and danced with some other great fancy dress characters. We literally didn’t get back to our room until well into the early hours. We had so much fun! We sent several photo’s back to the kids at home who tried to be mortified but far from being embarrassed by us actually thought it was hilarious!!
Sunday was a bit quieter with everyone recovering from the high spirits of the previous evening but there was still lots going on – it was really well organised. The weekend went on until Monday morning but was calmer Sunday night!! We had a lovely walk along the beach on the Sunday morning but boy was it cold!! I just don’t do cold very well!
The weekend was brilliant and we are already booked up for this years event, again in November! We have booked the highest level of accommodation this year in the hope of getting a real mattress on the bed and being closer to the main venue given the cold but to be honest – as long as we are there, even fussy old me can manage for the weekend!!
Funnily enough, Ali G has made several guest appearances in six months since Butlin’s- I wonder what the fancy dress theme will be this year??!!!