Long before social media, Netflix and broadband internet were a thing, one American sitcom injected life into an otherwise boring TV schedule.
That was of course Friends, which launched in September 1994 and went on to become one of the most successful series of all time.
It had the perfect plot—six attractive, 20-something besties who go through all the trials and tribulations of life, then congregate at a local coffee shop for a hot cuppa and plenty of laughs.
Courtney Cox (Monica), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Jennifer Anniston (Rachel), Matthew Perry (Chandler), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) and David Schwimmer (Ross) became instant stars as fans all weighed up which character they wanted to be.
Those who grew up in the 90s were instantly hooked to the relatable storylines and likeable characters, and set their video recorder timers to make sure they didn’t miss out on their weekly hit.
Ten seasons and 236 episodes later in 2004, the show ended in a sea of happy tears as Monica and Chandler became parents, Phoebe got married to Mike, Rachel got off the plane to be with Ross, and Joey had the perfect opening for a spin-off show.
Despite being off our screens for 14 years (how did that happen?) the show’s legacy has continued and younger fans are being born, helped by daily doses on its home Comedy Central.
This year’s festival is even bigger than before, so Reality Bite went along for a nostalgic trip down memory lane to get a glimpse of the elements that made up one of the best comedies ever made (see video above).
The festival itself is an impressive mix of watching and taking part—from recreating the infamous ‘pivot’ scene to learning how to do The Routine (highlight), visitors are immersed in Friends fever as soon as they enter.
You can look around the actual sets from the apartments of Monica and Rachel, Chandler and Joey, and Ross, as well as watch ‘Phoebe’ sing Smelly Cat in Central Perk.
You can get also photos with your mates at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, through the iconic yellow photo frame and on the sofa in front of the fountain (complete with umbrellas), as well as pick up a Friends-themed cocktail from the bar.
It’s quite surreal to see all the props from the show on display, such as the Gellar Cup, the ‘best bud’ bracelet, and Science Boy comic that a young Phoebe stole from Ross while she was living on the street.
As well as the pieces of memorabilia, little touches to the event such as the ‘Vasa and Moostercard’ sign at the cocktail bar and the theatre-style seating area pointed at a big screen of rolling Friends clips give it that extra twist of authenticity.
Food and drink trailers with Friends-themed menus also add to the atmosphere—special mention to the Mockolate bar and Joey’s Pizza parlour.
No fan will be disappointed with the sheer amount of activities and photo opportunities available to them.
And while it’s still sad to know that we’ll never get to recreate the feeling we had when Ross first kissed Rachel, or when Monica and Chandler got engaged, it’s comforting to know you can get a glimpse of those memories at #FriendsFest.
Tickets for #FriendsFest are £27.50 (including booking fee) and can be bought from friendsfest.co.uk.
Comedy Central UK's #FRIENDSFEST location and dates:
Manchester, Heaton Park – 3rd August – 12th August
Bristol, Blaise Castle Estate – 24th August – 2nd September
Brighton, Preston Park – 7th September – 16th September
London, Kennington Park – 21st September – 30th September