I’m sat at home watching the Darts at Lakeside on BBC and BT Sport and I’m honestly gutted that we decided not to go this year.
For the last two years we’ve gone to Lakeside for the last 4 days of the Darts. I first started watching the darts on tv only about 4 years ago. It was New Year and Peter was watching it and I really enjoyed it. The next year I watched more than he did, so for 2013, I bought tickets to the last 4 days.
When we walked in the first year I couldn’t believe the intimacy of the place and how it looks exactly like it does on the TV, the first year our seats were up on one side away from the stage. However, the next year we managed to get floor seats and the view was incredible. There aren’t really bad seats, but some better than others. We always record the Darts while we are there too, as it’s highly likely you’ll see yourself on TV!
The experience can’t be matched to any other live event, you buy tickets to a table, but not your seat. Your table will have up to 10 other people on it, so if you want the best seat at the table, get ready to queue. We would be outside the venue at least an hour before the doors opened to be sure to get ‘OUR’ seats. That might seem a little sad, but I can tell you for the past two years running it was always the same couple at the very front of the queue, so god knows when they started queuing.
Beer, Beer and more… Beer is sold by the jug, it’s easier to get one in than to keep going back and forth to the bar, and while people put a lot of beer away at the darts, I’ve never seen any trouble there. Everyone is too busy having a good time.
The food is a little like a canteen at school, I can just about eat it for four days, however, by the end of the Darts I’m always looking forward to vegetables. There is only so much, Chilli, Curry, Jacket Potatoes and Chips a girl can take.
People dress up at the Darts, from Gorilla suits in honour of the Silverback Tony O’Shea or Where’s Wally costumes to Stars Wars or even a Dart Board anything goes and its those of us in normal clothes that look more out of place!
The experience of seeing Darts at The Lakeside is amazing. The venue is not much larger than a working mens club and the atmosphere is lively! The players and famous fans walk through the same doors that you do, so you never know who you will bump into.
The crowd get behind every player, there aren’t really any national rivalries. However, the Dutch arrive decked out in orange each year to support their players. From the moment the music starts to welcome a player on stage the crowd are on their feet, Tony O’Shea’s ‘Hey Baby’ always gets the crowd singing. The Dutch players always seem to pick random electro dance music to come out to! The nerves of the players can be felt and the crowd are respectful and quiet when the darts are being thrown, the excitement of a 180 though doesn’t keep the crowd in their seats, the signs are waved, cheers and shouts, but it always quietens again for the throwing of the darts.
I’ve not been to Ally Pally to see PDC, and while I’d want to go to experience it, for me the home of Darts is The BDO Championship at the Lakeside and I’ll be saving up to make sure I’m there next year!