Just the thoughts of a girl.

The Big Gig 2012

I help out at a local Guide group and on Saturday, about 14 of the girls and a few adults (including me) headed over to Birmingham to watch the Big Gig 2012. For those that don’t know, the Big Gig is an annual concert put on especially for Guides and usually gets some really big names performing. Tickets are hard to get, as you have to put your unit into a lucky dip and the last time we got tickets was when I was actually a Guide and about 12 or 13 years old, so we were really lucky to be chosen to go.

This was my first time of having actual responsibility for some of the girls going as I had to make sure a group of three got on the right train, had seats and got off at the right stop. It doesn’t sound like many, 3 girls, but believe me that’s one more girl than I have hands to make sure they don’t jump onto the train track with, so it was scary stuff! I had a few plans to keep them with me, like attaching us by the wrists with bits of string or buying those kiddy backpacks that have the reigns coming out of them, but fortunately I was allocated three of the nicest (and calmest!) girls, so I scrapped the plans and just made sure they were in my sight at all times.

When we got on the train on the way there, there weren’t many seat left and I was too scared to chuck people out of the seats we’d reserved because the little sign that said ‘Reserved’ above the seats wasn’t working and they all said ‘Available’. I managed to find two seats next to each other that were spare, so two of them sat on those and one had to sit next to someone else behind them. The only other available seat was right at the back of the carriage next to a man, so I sat there and had to stick my head out into the aisle so I could see the girls. The man beside me obviously saw me doing this and decided it was his business to find out who we were, where we were going, what train we were getting back etc. I hate trying to make small talk to people you don’t know and most likely won’t ever see again and I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for how much information we were allowed to give strange men considering this was the first time I’d been in this situation, so I gave polite but brief answers. When the train stopped, I had to squeeze through all the people in the aisle waiting to get off to make sure the three girls had remembered that this was our stop which was very awkward considering I was at one end of the carriage and they were at the other, but I managed to get off with all three girls in tow, so it was all ok. The girl that was sat behind the other two said she’d had a similar creepy man experience and had decided it was better for her to squidge onto the seats with the other two than to endure the twenty minute ride with a stranger danger suspect.

The arena where the concert was held is only about a 5 minute walk from the train station, so we walked over after a quick head count and after we’d had our tickets swiped and our bags checked (just in case any girl guides were thinking about becoming a terrorist) we had about an hour in the foyer bit before we had to take our seats. This gave the girls just enough time to buy some chips and cover their faces in pink face paint. This of course meant that I had to have the paint brush covered in pink face paint in my bag, because I’m the responsible adult and that’s what we do (apparently). Fortunately, one of them had some baby wipes with them which I wrapped the brush in so my bag just got a bit soggy rather than bright pink.

After that, it was time to head into the actual arena and find our seats. We gave our tickets to a steward to show us where our seats were and to our delight we discovered that we were four rows from the front! We really did have amazing seats and could feel the heat from the flames used in the show. Once we were sat down, we still had about half an hour before the start of the show, so we watched all the other people filing in like ants and took lots of photos.

The room was absolutely buzzing with excitement – so much so that everyone started stamping and screaming during the recorded safety instructions about where the fire exits were. You can just imagine the noise of 13,000 teenage girls when the first act came on and it was The Saturdays. It was deafening!

They were a really good opening act and did well at warming the audience up with a ‘whose side can shout loudest’ competition.

After they finished, Helen Skelton from Blue Peter came on as presenter and was also very good, although she did have some problems avoiding the air from a huge fan each time she came on – quite an important task when you’re wearing a short dress!

She introduced the next act as Conor Maynard who is apparently an up and coming artist that a few of the guides from our unit were VERY excited about (I had to do a quick YouTube search before I left!). He’d never played at such a big venue, but you’d never tell. The only show of his nerves was when he came on and said ‘HEllo’ as his voice broke at the start of the word.

Other acts included Charlene Soraia, who came off as a perfectly normal girl with an incredible voice, Rita Ora, who really worked up the crowd and Matt Cardle, who was amazing at hitting the high notes.

Alexandra Burke was up next and she was amazing. I think I was even more impressed by her dancing than her singing, although when she sang Hallelujah, it was absolutely incredible and the whole place was silent apart from her singing. The most memorable bit of her performance though was when one of her dancers split his trousers and had to do most of the moves trying to cover the gaping hole – not what you want when you perform in front of an arena full of Guides!

After Alexandra Burke was Rizzle Kicks who were absolutely brilliant. They had so much energy and were running up and down the stage all the time. I’d been looking forward to all the acts, but these really surprised me with how good they were at performing and they seemed to love every second of it.

Up next was the headliner – Olly Murs! I told you they got some big names performing and it was clear that everyone was looking forward to him the most. He came on wearing his trademark waistcoat and hat with a nine piece band behind him and he didn’t disappoint at all.

When he sang his ballad, he made everyone take their phones out and wave them about which made for a beautiful sight when you turned around!

And for the finale, Rizzle Kicks came on to join him for ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ and it was great!

It was a great show and everyone enjoyed it. We had planned to stay in the arena for a while because we had over an hour until our train, but we got kicked out because they had to put all the seat down for a standing show or something. So after some of the girls had bought posters and other memorabilia, we ended up sitting on the floor of the train station waiting for our train to turn up. There was even less space on this train and the girls got on before I could, so they managed to get seats at one end of the carriage and I had to stand at the other. Thankfully, I’d already given them their tickets and told them which stop we were getting off at, and they paid attention and got off at the right place. All in all, it was an enjoyable and successful day and as a bonus – I didn’t lose anyone!

Gold star for me! 😀



  1. One-oh-four

    Sounds like you had an amazing time! We saw Olly Murs just after he was on the X factor -he was really good, better than Joe McElderry who won. My kids are big fans because he is so entertaining. Eek! at the creepy men on the train. I always seem to get an old lady who tells me all her medical issues in gross detail……

  2. Liz T

    Welcome to the realms of the “grownups”, you did great as a chaperone.


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