If you’d told me a year ago that I’d one day be stood in Apartment 20 on the corner of Bedford and Grove, NYC (without having left the country), I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But sometimes dreams come true. Between the 16th – 20th September 2015 many dreams were achieved for some very lucky Friends fans in the UK.
On Saturday 19th September, I was one of those fans. Within the walls of The Boiler House on Brick Lane, London was an event that thrilled fans of one of the best loved sitcoms of a generation – Comedy Central’s FriendsFest.
FriendsFest boasted a perfect, full scale recreation of Monica Gellar and Rachel Green’s apartment, alongside coveted props and Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing’s living room. A replica of the famous fountain from the opening credits stood proudly in the outside area. Umbrellas were scattered about for fans to recreate the scene with friends and take pictures.
And if you needed a refreshment to compose yourself after all the excitement, you could enjoy a complimentary drink and snack courtesy of Lidl from the make-shift Central Perk. It truly was a sight to behold.
The atmosphere was constantly humming with excitement throughout the two hour session I attended. The event sold out in minutes, so it’s no surprise that the Boiler House was packed. The chatter of fans around the room marvelled at the activities dotted across the venue and quoted numerous lines from the show’s ten seasons. It was impossible to move without hearing the likes of Ross Gellar’s notable lines “PIVOT” or “WE WERE ON A BREAK”. The best part was that with each remark or memorable quote, a smile and a laugh was brought to the faces of those nearby who shared a mutual appreciation of the show.
The feeling of comradery extended further than just a giggle at a well known quote. FriendsFest was packed with photo opportunities, be it within the apartment, by Phoebe Buffay’s ‘busking area’, out by the fountain or simply chilling on the iconic orange sofa in the Central Perk area. All of the fans had each other’s best interests in mind, so cameras were regularly swapped and new friends were made as people took photos of one another.
Not just friendship, but romance was also in the air; there were numerous couples attending the event and mid way through our 3-5pm slot, all but two people were moved out of the apartment area and a proposal was made – the third proposal to occur at FriendsFest! David and Laura were lucky enough to have won a competition to attend FriendsFest, which they found out about earlier that day... whilst in Morrisons!
“He took a phone call and walked away from me straight away and I was like... that’s suspicious” Laura explained.
“He came back and said we’d won a competition to go and see Friends, so I thought oh, it’s not that suspicious then!”
Little did she know that the whole thing had been planned! Congratulations to the happy couple, we couldn’t think of a proposal more romantic.
Two hours in the event was plenty of time to appreciate all that was there. From the screen caps printed all over the walls from different episodes...
... a wall of fame with all the celebrity guest stars...
... to the free photo booth with props like the wedding dresses from ‘The One With All The Wedding Dresses’ and turkey hats to represent ‘The One With All The Thanksgivings’, there was more than enough to look at, laugh at and get stuck in. And of course, we couldn’t help but leave with a few souvenirs.
FriendsFest was the ultimate tribute to a worldwide phenomenon and timeless TV show. It remains as popular now than when it began in 1994. Having finished over 10 years ago, it’s amazing to see that its fan base is still as passionate and loyal as ever. Well done, Comedy Central, you absolutely nailed it.
Check out our FriendsFest photo gallery below:
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