Does anyone else remember when Comedy Central first announced FriendsFest? We weren’t sure what it was, where it was, or what would happen there, but we knew we had to get inside. The tickets were released, sold out instantly, and twitter was filled with grieving Friends fans who’d missed their shot. Well now the grieving period is over – tickets are on sale again!
For those of you wondering whether it’s worth the money, or those of you too excited to wait, here’s what a FriendsFest ticket will get you…
What is FriendsFest?
The first thing to know is that FriendsFest is not for the faint of heart. It’s for die-hard Friends fans. Have you watched every single episode? Do you know the entire theme tune by heart, and regularly quote episodes in conversation? Is your dream to sit on the Friends couch, play Smelly Cat on an exact replica of Phoebe’s guitar, and jump out from behind Ross’s curtains screaming “UNAGI!”? Then FriendsFest is your jam.
From the outside FriendsFest looks a bit like a weird festival or some sort of outdoor exhibit. Once you show your ticket at the gate you’ll be welcomed into a field of tents. Luckily, we carried our rattan sun loungers with wheels, so we could relax from time to time.
To your left is a Vegas chapel with people posing in bridal gowns. In front is Central Perk. In the distance you can see people queueing to recreate the title sequence and the famous PIVOT scene. To your right is Phoebe’s yellow taxi, and the gift shop. Dominating the centre of the field is the tent housing the recreated sets of the Friends apartments.
When you buy your ticket, you’ll be asked to book a time slot to tour the sets. This is because the only way to see the sets is with a tour guide, in a group.
As you wait to enter the sets, your tour guide will hype you up, and point out the various authentic props in their cases, such as Huggsy the penguin, the Geller Bowl trophy, and Ross’s homemade comic book, Science Boy.
When the previous group has vacated the first apartment set, you’ll be led around the side of the fake wall and into…
Joey & Chandler’s Apartment
FriendsFest is all about the photo ops, and there are some great ones in here. Play Foosball, sit in the canoe, stroke Pat the dog, and sit in the famous BarcaLoungers.
One of the tricks here is to position and time your photos so you’re not surrounded by the rest of the people in your tour group. Everyone wants a good photo, so if you’ve got your heart set on a particular one, get in there first.
None of the doors in the sets work, so once your group has had its fill, your tour guide will take you round the fake wall into the hallway between the apartments, where you’ll wait for the next apartment to be tidied.
Monica & Rachel’s Apartment
Arguably the main filming location of the show, Monica’s apartment is the largest and has the most Easter eggs to find.
Don’t miss: Pretending to have tea at the kitchen table, Rachel’s trifle in the fridge, Joey’s copies of The Shining and Little Women in the freezer, Monica’s secret closet, and of course the seating area with the massive coffee table and French poster.
At the end of the visit your tour guide will clear everyone from the set so you can get some proper shots of it.
The couch is the most in demand photo location in the room, so head straight to it when you first get let in!
Last but not least is the apartment that originally belongs to Ugly Naked Guy. There are so many nicknacs in Ross’s apartment, make sure you have a poke around and see if you can remember which episodes they’re all from.
Great scenes to reenact: UNAGI! I’m fine! MY APOTHECARY TABLE! Major shampoo explosion! (Is it just me or does Ross yell alot?)
Once you’re out of the main tent, it’s time to hit up some of the other photo ops. One of my absolute favourites was the PIVOT set, which is just next to the title sequence area. Don’t worry, no one needs to miss out, there’s a member of staff stationed there to take your photos for you.
There are lots of food trucks at FriendsFest, where you can buy Friends-themed food like New York cheesecake, coffee, and Joey’s Pizza. Somewhere you cannot buy consumables however is Central Perk, which is another tent purely for photo ops.
Pose with Phoebe’s guitar, pretend to be Gunther behind the counter, and join the queue to pose on the most famous couch on TV.
Other things you can do at FriendsFest: Try on the previously-mentioned wedding dresses, pose inside a giant yellow frame with Friends quotes, and again inside Phoebe’s yellow cab. There’s also a massive screen in the far corner playing clips from the show, although I found it quite off-putting that they weren’t just showing whole episodes.
Exit through the gift shop where you can buy t shirts, posters, mugs, aprons, fridge magnets, hats, and pretty much anything else that it’s possible to print a Friends logo onto.
Where is FriendsFest?
FriendsFest tours the country, starting in Manchester on August 2nd and ending in London on September 29th. The London leg of the tour sets up south of the river in Kennington Park, which you can get to from the Kennington tube station on the Northern line.
Accompanied by my equally Friends-obsessed sister and cousin, FriendsFest was an absolute blast. We laughed the entire way round, yelling Friends quotes at each other and shamelessly photographing everything. This is the perfect way to approach FriendsFest – it’s just a joyful celebration of a show that has stayed in our hearts long after it left our screens.
Get your tickets!
Click here to find out when Friendsfest will be popping up near you and grab your tickets before they run out.