News August 17, 2018

Meet the Aussie promoter behind Big Fish Little Fish, the family-friendly parties that have Queenslanders raving

Meet the Aussie promoter behind Big Fish Little Fish, the family-friendly parties that have Queenslanders raving
Stuart Matheson with wife, Helen, and our three kids Ollie, Ava and Zoe

When you hear the word ‘rave’ the last thing you would think of is ‘toddler’ but that’s exactly the connotation Big Fish Little Fish promoter Stuart Matheson wants people to have with their family-friendly raves.

“The idea for the first one came about in 2013 in London actually, with a lady called Hannah Saunders. She basically wanted to marry her love of rave music and the festival vibe with her children,” Matheson told TMN.

After taking the UK by storm, the first event came to Melbourne in 2017, quickly spread to Sydney and eventually made it’s way to Queensland – which is where Matheson comes in.

“The first one in Brisbane sold out and it was amazing.”

Since their first QLD outing in the state capital back in February of this year, the format has launched in the Gold Coast to a rapturous reception

“The actual vibe on all of them that we’ve done is just so positive. It’s so many good things going on and so many happy faces, from the parents to the young kids. We love being involved and we’re lucky to be able to bring them to Queensland.”

The concept is a simple one, parents nostalgic for their nightclub days can bring their sprogs to a safe, clean and volume controlled ‘rave’ and revel in the tunes of their heyday.

“The music is aimed towards the parents. It’s the music that they grew up with and went out clubbing themselves,” says Matheson.

“So they’re able to share their passion for music that kind of defined their teenage or twenty-something years with their kids, I think it’s wonderful.”

Big Fish Little Fish’s Gold Coast launch at Platinum Nightclub

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Matheson and his team though because, as one would expect, there are a few more hoops to jump through than your run-of-the-mill rave when introducing kids to a nightclub setting.

“We have to make sure that everything we can do to make sure it’s safe and a fun environment. For example, We obviously reduce the volume of the music down to a safe level, which is governed by the World Health Organisation.”

Despite the extra measures that the Big Fish Little Fish team take to ensure the safety and comfort of their patrons, Matheson maintains that he’s had a fair share of nay-sayers.

“People tend to think of nightclubs as being problematic but I don’t. I never have. For instance, a lady commented about taking their children to [Brisbane venue] the MET, saying they would allow their children to step foot in the MET because it wasn’t clean,” says Matheson.

“Now, I know from doing events there and getting there early how the cleaners work in there. They do an extraordinary job. They even clean the floors of areas we don’t go. I said to this lady, ‘I would be happy for my children to crawl on that floor’, because it’s so clean. It’s probably cleaner than my kitchen floor.”

For Matheson, who is a part of DJ and producer outfit Binary Finary, it’s more than just about having a fun time, it’s about sharing his passion with his children.

“To be able to DJ in front of them was just amazing,” says Matheson.

“To start off with, they were a bit reluctant to get involved because they weren’t really sure what was going on. I’ve got three kids, and my wife had the youngest, he’s nine months old. Well, eight months old at the time, in a carrier. So, I had my other two children backstage and I had to go on stage, they were a bit apprehensive.

Matheson DJing with trance group Binary Finary

“Then it was half an hour into it, when I turned around, could see this shadow behind me, my seven-year-old daughter Zoe got up on the highest platform she could find and she was just loving it. My other little kiddie, who was down in the front with a couple other kids, was dancing as well. It must be in the DNA.”

With two Big Fish Little Fish Family Raves coming up in the next two weeks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, along with thriving events planned in the rest of the country, what does the future look like for this unique concept?

“We are actually in very early discussions with a festival,” Matheson reveals.

“I would love to be able to tell you what we want to do, but I can’t, unfortunately. We’re very early, but we’ve got to develop a plan and get them out. We’re probably not gonna amount to anything until early next year but it looks promising.

“More broadly, I’d like to see them indicted in the culture and the community. A kind of regular thing that everyone’s getting excited about, and again, it brings everyone together.”


To grab tickets for the two upcoming Queensland Big Fish Little Fish family raves click here.

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