Explained: Bongo's Bingo

If you’re reading this, you probably have a love for all things bingo. You might even be a bingo veteran who has had their fair share of wins and losses over the years. But have you ever played a game of bingo after a rave interval? Have you ever had to take part in a dance-off to win a cash prize? If the answer to either question is no, you clearly haven’t heard of Bongo’s Bingo. Read on to find out if this crazy event is your cup of tea…

Bongo's Bingo in Leeds
Image source: Independent Leeds

One of the main disadvantages to bingo is that many people nowadays think it’s a game for pensioners—confined to old and outdated bingo halls. It’s certainly one of the attributing factors to the decline of bingo halls over the years. In light of that, a mad genius by the name of Jonny Bongo decided to change the game of bingo forever. Bongo is more than used to hosting nights of madness; after all, he holds a record for organizing the biggest pub quiz night ever held. You can find out exactly how Bongo’s Bingo works below. So if you’re a bit bingo-obsessed, or you’re looking for something new, keep reading!

What Is Bongo's Bingo?

Bongo’s Bingo gives your favourite traditional game a special twist. A typical night at Bongo’s Bingo consists of several rounds of bingo interspersed with rave intervals, dance-offs and catwalks down tables. It’s essentially bingo played over pitchers of cocktails and beer, with frantic dancing to 90’s pop music and celebrity entertainment. Past celebrity appearances have included David Hasselhoff, Five, S Club and the Vengaboys. The evenings are of course, hosted by Jonny Bongo. But he’s not alone—he’s helped by his trusty sidekicks Sweaty Betty and Peggy.

One moment you’ll be playing bingo without a sound in the room, and the next you’ll be dancing on the tables to whatever fast-paced number Jonny Bongo plays. The middle of the event usually consists of a 15 minute rave involving the night’s celebrity entertainment. The lights will go out, there will be glowsticks aplenty, and you’ll probably be covered in confetti by the end of it. You might think you’re great at multi-tasking (it’s one of the great health benefits of bingo after all), but have you ever gone from dancing on a table to trying to find a called number on your bingo card?

Bongo's Bingo in Manchester
Image Source: MEN

What Prizes Are There?

Bongo’s Bingo usually starts things off slow with rubbish prizes consisting of boxes of Coco Pops, stuffed animals and a Henry Hoover. Funnily enough, however, these rubbish prizes are house favourites—there’s always a fluffy pink unicorn up for grabs which gets people more serious than a cash prize! Not to mention, the lucky winner of the box of Coco Pops always has to make a big decision—they can keep the box, or they can ‘make it rain’ all over the crowds of people near the stage. Needless to say, it’s clear which option people usually go for! Don’t worry, there’s much more on offer in the way of prizes. Bongo’s Bingo has had incredible prizes in the past, including a sailboat, a Porsche and a holiday to the Caribbean!

If you think that’s as thrilling as it gets, you’re way off! If you end up calling ‘Bingo!’ at the same time as someone else, you’ll be pulled into a dance-off where the best dancer takes home the prize. Before you tell us that nothing would ever tempt you to get up on stage to dance, you should probably know that past events have seen people showing off their moves for a whopping £1,000 cash prize! And it’s not even about how well you dance—you have to be a crowd pleaser, or you can kiss that money goodbye. You’re probably best off leaving your dignity and anxiety at the door, especially if it might cost you the big bucks!

Bongo's Bingo at the Camp and Furnace
Image source: Camp and Furnace

How Much Does It Cost?

Bongo's Bingo flyerTickets typically cost anywhere from £2 to £6, depending on how big the event is. The prizes come out of the entry fee, so if you’re going to one of Bongo’s special events, the entry fee might be slightly higher. Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of refreshments which are practically an essential aspect of the night—you won’t find many tables without a pitcher or two. Before you start dreaming about chugging down pitcher after pitcher, you should bear in mind that the best prizes come later in the evening. Plus, you’ll want to concentrate on the numbers!

Think making a false call is tough in a bingo hall? You’ve never been to Bongo’s Bingo! If you make a false call there, you’ll be faced with jeers and a few obscenities from hundreds of people (depending on the venue).

So Why Should I Go?

When you play bingo, it can be pretty disappointing when you don’t win anything—we all know what the stages of losing at bingo can be like after all! Plus, it can be irritating when you want to chat with your friends—one of the reasons online bingo is so popular is because you can play and chat at the same time. Bongo’s Bingo has the solution to these problems—while clubbing all night can be tiring and regular bingo might seem boring, Bongo’s Bingo is full of bingo and non-stop madness. With a variety of great (and rubbish) prizes, not to mention raves and dance-offs, you’ve got an exciting night ahead of you!

This crazy event started out in Liverpool, but has since been selling out in cities including Manchester, Cardiff and Leeds. If you live further south and still want to get in on the action, you could also try out Bingo Academy. They put on similar events with an emphasis on teaching you the bingo basics while you party the night away!

By this point, it’s easy to see why Bongo’s Bingo always receives a Full House whenever it’s in town. So, if you’re up for a hectic, fast-paced night of bingo with a party atmosphere, you should see if it’s in your town anytime soon. Beware: 100% involvement is not optional!

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