Be prepared for an absolute bonkers afternoon of fun. We arrived at Camp and Furnace at 12:30pm on a Sunday to a crowd of students, hen parties, birthday parties… everyone you can imagine. We were given our wrist bands, bongo’s bingo game card and a special raffle ticket which we were told to keep hold of until the end of the event. One free hour of prosecco was more than happily welcomed by three smiling writers as the waiting staff came around to top up our glasses.
The giant fluffy clouds suspending from the ceiling and fairy lights hanging from the pillars and walls made the whole experience feel magical and slightly set apart from reality… we had no idea what we were in for.
Inside, the rows of tables were full of every Bongo’s Bingo fan, from university students to loyal partygoers. We sat down to a tasty Bongo’s Bingo brunch that can only be described as a vegan’s heaven. A mini mushroom pastry, sausage sandwich (which I must say are the tastiest vegan sausages I’ve ever had), a chocolate brownie and a mini bagel filled with a light cheese spread. There are also veggie and meat options available which I have been told are just as tasty.
The doors opened at 12pm and the first game of bingo began around 2pm which meant we had plenty of time to enjoy the delicious assortment of food and one or two more glasses of bubbles. The blaring music of Venga Boys and all the rowdiness you can imagine quickly reminded us of the craziness that was about to commence. But as a first timer to the event I did not quite realise what they had in store for us.
With our books and pens at the ready the first game began but not quite in the way one would expect. ‘Slutty Sue’ and ‘Horny Heidi’ Bongo’s Bingo’s dancing entertainers stormed onto the stage to loud music and adoring fans. ‘Slutty Sue’ and ‘Horny Heidi’ were the highlights of the show, constantly making the audience howl with laughter and smile from ear to ear with their saucy dance moves.
The games of bingo are typically what you would expect with random numbers being called out for players to desperately find on their bingo cards. Each game involves players finding a line, then two lines and then a full house. This gives players even more chances to win the most wonderfully weird prizes Bongo’s Bingo has to offer. From a cardboard cut-out of Phillip Schofield, to a Henry Hoover, to a bouncy space-hopper, to a giant sparkly unicorn. Everything a student dreams of is up for grabs. I was surprised by how competitive I was becoming as the prizes got more and more serious. When the collection of Disney princess dolls was on offer I was devastated not to have won, but not as distraught as my fellow writer was over missing out on the Phillip Schofield cut-out, that was a real blow.
Random raves, Irish dancing and competitive dance-offs were all mixed amongst the bingo games along with confetti explosions and sing-alongs. But do not make the fatal mistake of a false call or you will need to prepare yourself for a hail of abuse from Johnny Bingo and all those filling Camp and Furnace.
In between each game there is the chance to win a cash prize. So don’t you dare lose your lucky ticket you were given at the beginning of the event. The prizes began at £100 and went all the way up to £1500 on the day. But be prepared for the most intense and pressured moment of your life that follows if your numbers are read out… the big question. The bright blue lighting and dramatic music means things are getting pretty serious. If you manage to answer your question right then yes, you are the winner of a generous cash prize that will most definitely fill your pockets!
‘Micky Pickles’ ended the afternoon in traditional Bongo’s Bingo style with some classic club bangers and a storm of confetti. The audience were once again up on their feet, on the benches, and even on the tables dancing along with ‘Slutty Sue’ and ‘Horny Heidi’. Giant inflatable balls of every colour flew around the room as everyone jumped to the biggest tracks of the past decade like everyone’s favourite Alice Deejay’s ‘Better Off Alone’.
Tables thick with confetti, glow sticks and coco pops, Bongo’s Bingo really has lived up to all my expectations. The best event I’ve experienced in Liverpool in two whole years. If you haven’t managed to get a ticket yet then make sure you do fast before they all run out. We loved the idea of bringing Bongo’s Bingo into the daytime turning it into a bonkers day out. Sunday Brunch is the only proper way to spend a Sunday afternoon from now on, dancing on tables, drinking prosecco and winning the craziest of prizes. The best Sunday ever – I will definitely be back for more.
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Photography credits – Lucy Coles