Ben and Jerrys Sundae Festival 2009

Festival Crowd Header
Ben & Jerrys Review

The All-American ice cream duo Ben & Jerry's have always demonstrated a knack for making the most of their much loved dairy empire, where the cow is idolised much like it would be at any Hindu shindig. They’ve created fan clubs, competitions and herds (pun intended) of merchandise. And the ice cream’s pretty good too. So Ben & Jerry’s Sundae on the Common in Clapham is no exception to the brand’s pulls-no-punches approach.

A gelato marathon fills the busy park over a weekend in July with a few bands thrown in for musical relief, a carousel and helter-skelter for parental downtime, a surfeit of game stalls for kids playtime and the crowd inspiring Toe Wrestling stand. A surprisingly large collection of people congregated around children struggling toe-locked, in-between fits of giggles competing for “ice cream kudos”. Naturally.

With activities like these in mind the festival spells out a rather unmistakable family day out and being a day-time do it manages, near enough, to bypass the standard hordes of drunken festival-goers. A large bar still maintains a central position but its decidedly lacking customer quota is shown up by the endless queues behind the dozens of ice cream stalls. It’s free after all. And with that frozen delight as a pretty sizeable incentive, flocks of all sorts head down to the common.

Sound-wise Super Furry Animals headlined on Saturday night, finishing bang on time just as the ice cream hatches clattered shut-the school bell for end of the day. They pleased a crooning crowd of all ages- kids bouncing on their parents’ shoulders irrespective to the music’s beat, young sugar-high teenagers swaying their mobile phones in the air, twenty and thritysomethings jigging absent-mindedly to their favourite band- and not showing too many signs of the bar’s gleam of beer taps winning over the ice cream huts- and a number of older people sitting comfortably on their pull-out chairs bobbing along to the tune. Given the band’s bonkers live reputation, their performance was extraordinarily normal. Their billboards instructing the crowds to applaud were the only kooky accessory, but other than that they rolled out their revered melodies in a fairly conventional way.  

Just before there was any hint of the weekend missing a few standard festival themes, a crew of bananas and furry cows could not be missed plodding their way through the site-fairtrade bananas of course, in keeping with the Ben & Jerry’s green status. Dominic Hill and Steph Aritone, both 17, said they love the festival, supporting fair-trade, scoffing a load of ice cream and well, basically dressing up as bananas. Fair enough.

Other artists that got the thumbs up were Tommy Reilly, Teenage Fanclub and I am Kloot, but the ice cream fanatics couldn’t be swayed for too long. All in all, if the weather’s good, it works perfectly for a chilled day out, kids or no kids, but one major prerequisite is you need to be serious about ice cream. One favoured pastime is to see how many scoops one can stomach over the weekend. The best we found was 19 in one day. Unfortunately it didn’t end terribly well for the 23-year-old in question. 

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July, Clapham Common
£12 for the day

Published on 17 October 2009 by Ben Robinson

Recent News More news

Upcoming Festivals Browse all

  • Cheltenham Jazz Festival

    1 May - 06 May 2024

    Cheltenham has become one of the country’s best-loved jazz festivals. The trade-mark mix of international jazz icons, up-and-coming new artists and unique festival performances has seen us host ...

  • Bang Face - The Weekender

    2 May - 06 May 2024

    Bang Face Weekender is a mash-up of brutal cuts and top DJs at the Pontins Holiday Camp in Southport.  For any of you who have been here, you know it's a weekend not to forget.   ...

  • In the Park Festival Newcastle

    3 May - 05 May 2024

    In The Park Festival Newcastle is the Newcastle leg of a chain of festivals that includes the Liverpool leg and is an exciting new music event that will take place in the breathtaking Leazes Park acro...