FriendsFest 2017 has kicked off at Hylands Park and for the first time it includes original props used on the actual TV show.
Friday saw the start of the 10-day event in Chelmsford1 which is made up of set replicas, themed cafes and the chance to recreate that famous title sequence. As a new addition for this year, the festival included real costumes and props worn and used by the cast.
These included Joey’s Dr Drake Ramoray uniform, Rachel’s outfit from the final episode and Ross’ holiday armadillo costume.
Props on show included Joey’s white ceramic dog (called Pat), Monica and Ross’ Troll trophy and Ross’ Science Boy comic. The props are worth so much money that they are watched over by a security guard 24-hours-a-day while they’re at Hylands Park.
For example, Pat the dog is worth $10,000 ( 7,700), Phoebe’s guitar is valued at $15,000 ( 11,560) and a box of Smelly Cat litter is worth $8,000 ( 6,175). A member of staff at FriendsFest said they “dreaded to think” how much the entire props collection was worth, but they estimated it was more than $100,000 ( 77,000). READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Street, Eats n Beats food festival in Chelmsford2
The Comedy Central UK FriendsFest Chelmsford sold out several weeks before the launch on Friday (September 1) and is designed to give Friends fans an interactive peek inside the world of the famous comedy series. The festival is brought to life by the Luna Cinema company and Comedy Central UK which broadcasts the show every day.
“The best thing about FriendsFest is seeing people’s reactions when they first see the sets and props,” said Quintin Young from the Luna Cinema company. “When they first set eyes on Joey and Chandler’s apartment you can actually hear the gasps and people saying ‘wow.’ FriendsFest is unique because it allows people to the sets and touch things. “If you are a big Friends fan, these are memories that will last a lifetime.” READ MORE: An extra date has been added to the Essex Prosecco Festival3
FriendsFest takes place at six venues around the UK, with Chelmsford being the penultimate venue, before the tour ends in London . And there are certainly some hardcore fans at the events .
So far on the tour, there have been seven marriage proposals (at the exact spot where Chandler proposed) and there have been visits from lots of tiny babies including four-day old tot Phoebe who was named after their mum’s favourite character. The main activities at FriendsFest are:
- Visiting exact replicas of Monica and Chandler’s apartment
- Posing in the corridor between the two apartments
- Recreating the titles sequence with replica sofas and umbrellas
- Having a coffee in a Central Perk replica
- Singing Smelly Cat
- Seeing original props and costumes worn by the cast
- Fancy dress photo opportunities at the Las Vegas wedding chapel and Monica and Ross’ high school prom
- Trying Friends-themed food and drinks
- Taking part in Friends’ quizzes and challenges
- Posing in Phoebe’s New York cab
As FriendsFest is only at a few venues around the UK, fans travel from far and wide to attend . At Chelmsford, there are visitors from Essex, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and even parts of Europe. Essex Live spoke to some hardcore fans who were at the first day of the event at Hylands Park.
“I’ve been a Friends fan forever,” said Leah from Dartford in Kent. “I came to FriendsFest last year too but this year is better . I loved seeing the memorabilia and the props, especially Rachel’s final outfit and Pat the dog . Rachel is my favourite character, I can relate to her.”
Friends Claire, Natalie and Carrie from Romford visited the event together. “We’ve just had a moist maker sandwich which was great,” said Carrie. “We’ve also sat on the sofa and recreated the titles which was fun . It’s actually a bit smaller than we thought it would be but it is good.” The friends disagree on the best Friends’ character Claire’s is Ross, Natalie’s is Chandler and Carrie’s is Phoebe. Colleagues Ana, Kendall, Alice and Mary all work together in Bishops Stortford. “I’ve wanted to come here for the last few years,” said Mary. “For us, we’ve grown up watching Friends . I remember laughing at it as a kid and then when you get older different things become funny . It’s nice coming here with a group, we’re all friends at FriendsFest.”
Laura, 31, from Stanford le Hope, said she was “the biggest” Friends fan . She even had a Friends themed 30th birthday with a Friends cake and invites. “I’ve watched Friends for years but even now I still watch it nearly every day,” she said. “It’s just such easy watching, it’s so funny and you can relate to the characters .
We all know people like that. “The writing is just impeccable and it’s still so relevant . I love FriendsFest so far, I’d recommend it to any fan of the show.”
FriendsFest is at Hylands Park in Chelmsford until September 10 . Unfortunately all 2017 dates are sold out but there are plans for FriendsFest to come back next year.
- ^ Chelmsford (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ Everything you need to know about the Street, Eats n Beats food festival in Chelmsford (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ An extra date has been added to the Essex Prosecco Festival (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ A gingerbread house Santa’s grotto is coming to Bond Streeet, Chelmsford this Christmas (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ FriendsFest website (friendsfest.co.uk)
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An MTV Crashes Plymouth star had to warn the crowd to go “easy” after a thrown smoke bomb came within inches of hitting him mid-set. DJ Wilkinson managed to dodge the burning purple smoke bomb but was taken by surprise. The incident happened as he performed his remix of Rag’n’Bone Man hit Skin.
He immediately told the crowd to the left of the stage to go “easy”.
The flare was being waved around in the air by someone in the crowd before it was suddenly launched towards the stage. Two members of the backstage team immediately rushed onto the stage to put it out.
Watch below: The moment a flare is lit up earlier in the night
One shocked audience member said it appeared the flare was aimed at the stage. “The flare had been in the crowd for a minute or two but I didn’t think it was going to get thrown.
“I thought, ‘that’s really dangerous’ . Why would someone throw a flare on stage? “It was about the third flare I saw this evening.
“It smelt really bad as well and the wind was blowing it right across the stage.” Earlier, police said a man was arrested after a flare was set off – as they declared a “zero tolerance” approach to crime at the massive event.
The wet and windy weather is failing to put a dampener on festivities on the Hoe, as thousands of people enjoy the party for the second night in a row. But cops say anyone who oversteps the mark will be dealt with. And that began early, with an arrest before 6pm.
Video footage (above) shows a red smoke bomb being set off in the crowd. DCI Ben Deer, who is Plymouth police’s bronze commander for the event, tweeted: “Male arrested for possession of pyrotechnic (flare) at a musical event having thrown it in the crowd zero tolerance.”
The first night of the huge event was trouble-free.
DCI Deer said there were no arrests last night.