A few weeks ago I went to the BIG GIG – a pop concert for members of Girlguiding aged 10+ – with a coachload of Guides, Senior Section and adults from my District.
We left in the afternoon and arrived in Wembley in good time – in fact, so early that we saw everyone coming out of the afternoon concert as we drove past the arena. It was our first glimpse of groups in matching clothes and/or headgear – we would see many more over the course of the evening – and the Guides were fascinated. I was happy to hear one of them say in wonder, “and just think, they’re all Guides.” None of the girls had been to a national guiding event before, and most haven’t even been to a county event, so I think it was a bit of an eye-opener to see that they are part of a huge movement of girls and women like them.
The coach parked, and we ate our packed teas, applied glitter and handed out matching flashing head boppers before getting off the coach. We walked past Wembley stadium to the arena, queued for a little while, and then got let inside. We were among the first, so we found our seats and let the girls go off to the toilet/food stalls/merchandise stalls, while we watched the auditorium fill up.
Finally, the concert started, and I enjoyed myself much more than I expected. I knew the atmosphere would be great – with thousands of excited Guides, it couldn’t not be – but I liked the music too! I didn’t recognise all the artists, but it turned out that I knew quite a few of the songs from the radio, or because they were covers. There was a good mix of artists – boy bands, girl bands, solo men, solo women, and a dance group – and of genres and songs to appeal to everyone, and I had a good bop along most of the time. I liked that there was plenty of room in front of the folding seats, so there was space to stand and dance, but also the option of sitting down when one wanted. I had a good view, but felt for some of our little Guides who managed to be in seats behind tall adults from another group. Luckily those adults were happy to sit down most of the time; and the Guides spent a lot of the time as far out into the aisle as they could get away with.
It was a really good trip, and I thoroughly recommend it. My Guides, from the 10-year-olds to the 14-year-olds, kept saying how much they enjoyed it, and their parents have told us how excited they were to have been to their first concert. We got the tickets by ballot in the summer, and didn’t find out if we’d got them till the middle of the holidays, so it was a bit of a rush to tell the girls about it and get numbers in the first few weeks of the autumn term, but it was well worth it.