VIDEO: Music, tea and cakes collide at Manchester’s coolest tea party

In the depths of the Northern Quarter’s Black Dog Ballroom is a room called The Bunker.

It’s not the first place you’d think of for a tea party – but these are not your average tea parties.

Charlie Boon, wife of ex-Xfm DJ Clint Boon, started Mrs Boon’s Tea Party in 2006 after she experienced an ‘incredible desire to bake every day’ when she was pregnant with their son Hector, now nine.

The house became so full of cakes that she asked Clint to share them with guests on his evening Xfm shows.

Charlie laughed and told MM: “The first time I ever met Miles Kane he just said, ‘Oh Banana Cake!’

“People kept asking her ‘Where can I find these cakes?!’ and the idea was born.”

Aside from the enormous home-made portions (and bottomless cups of tea served in fashionably mismatched crockery), music is the universal binding force. The events are perfect for families, parents get to feel like grown-ups and the children can play together.

Her parties have seen the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and The Enemy perform live. More recently they’ve featured Cabbage, Ryan Jarvis, Gideon Conn and Prose.

Charlie said that one of the best bits for her is that young children are being exposed to the live music every week.

GENEROUS: There’s huge portions a plenty at Mrs Boon’s tea party

“It’s always been part of my life to go and see live bands but to get our kids going is pretty tricky. In a lot of our venues now you’ve got to be over 18 to go to them unless you’re taking them to festival,” she said.

“So it’s just a really nice way of introducing young children to really great live music.

“It’s really special. I was even saying last week when Gideon Conn was playing, I said to Clint, ‘This is so amazing, it’s bringing back so many beautiful memories and we’re making more beautiful memories.’”

Earlier this month Manchester’s own The Travelling Band performed an acoustic set. Tickets sold out when people found out they were performing.

“They’ve been our friends for a really long time,” Charlie said. “We don’t get to see them as much as we’d like to, but they played at Clint’s dad’s funeral, that’s how close they are to Clint and ourselves.”

Jo Dudderidge The Travelling Band’s vocalist and multi-instrumentalist said it was ‘lovely’ to play an acoustic set again as their sound has evolved over the years to suit festival stages.

Speaking about the band’s relationship with the Boons, he told MM: “Clint’s a legend in Manchester. It’s pretty moving to be part of big events in their lives, albeit for sad circumstances.

“You can see how much people love them when people come together. Charlie and the kids are so gorgeous, growing up – and so cool.”

Drummer and percussionist Nick Vaal agreed and said that it’s funny seeing the children at this age because when they performed at their first Tea Party the kids were really young.

Now six, Cassius was busy playing with the other children at the party. Oscar, 11, was finishing his set on the decks ready for Hector to take over before entertaining the guests with his bass guitar – which he taught himself to play.

Clint said that when they held the events before the children were too young but now appreciate being there. Charlie paused the parties for a while to ‘have babies’ but now the couple can enjoy the children being there.

“When we started about five weeks ago we knew we were going to bring the kids because they’re old enough to be here. They just got stuck in and started doing jobs – without us saying you do that and you do that,” The Inspiral Carpets frontman said.

“Hector’s saying I’ll put the tent up for the kids and Oscar’s putting signs up saying this is the art material box and it’s really nice because they’re business minded.

“It’s like the highlight of our week”.

Mrs Boon’s Tea Parties are back in full swing every Saturday from 1-4. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Images courtesy of Mrs Boon’s Tea Parties courtesy of Facebook, with thanks.

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