Thank you to Monster Jam for gifting us a family ticket for the purpose of reviewing the Cardiff show.
Before the show had even started, our eldest son – nearly five – declared he wants to be a Monster Jam truck driver when he grows up. And in the middle of the night, our youngest son – nearly three – woke up to tell us how much he loved seeing Monster Jam in Cardiff.
Yep, we have two Monster Jam obsessed boys on our hands!
Before last year, I admit I’d never even heard of Monster Jam, let alone considered going along to watch it. I had no idea what to expect … but quickly realised it’s very hard not to get into it! We were blown away by the noise, the atmosphere, and the stunts, and when we were invited along to Monster Jam in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium again this year, we didn’t hesitate in saying yes!
We headed to Cardiff yesterday for the pre-show Pit Party and the main event … here are our thoughts:
What is a Monster Jam Pit Party?
Basically, a Monster Jam Pit Party lets you get up close to the trucks before the show, and to meet their drivers. Our boys were desperate to see Megalodon – the shark truck – and I breathed a sigh of relief when we walked into the stadium and spotted him!
We walked around to see all the trucks, starting with some of our favourites from last year – Scooby Doo, Zombie, Earth Shaker, El Toro Loco, Max-D, and Monster Energy – and realised there were some new trucks to the show – Pirate’s Curse and Wonder Woman.
You could join the queue to meet the drivers and get their autographs, which I think is fab for older children and teenagers. Our boys were happy wandering around having a look.
I was amazed at just how big the trucks actually were. The wheels are taller than our eldest, and it would be a struggle to clamber into the driving seat!
Although the boys didn’t want to queue, we did manage to meet one of the motorbike riders and have a quick pic … then it was on to the bouncy castle assault course, which they did at least five times!
Monster Jam at Principality Stadium Cardiff May 2019
The Pit Party finishes a couple of hours before the show, so there’s time to get the stadium ready for the main event. When we got back in, the lights were low, music was blasting and people were blowing horns. It. Was. Loud. And the trucks hadn’t even come out yet!
People were being interviewed and broadcast on the main screens, and there are children kitted out in merchandise of their favourite trucks. We spotted a fair few Megalodon caps with shark fins on top, and a boy in front was wearing a Zombie hat with fake brains poking out. There are some proper Monster Jam fans around!
As the show was about to begin, the atmosphere ramped up. Our eldest was asking me how long was left to wait, so we were on a countdown, and all of a sudden the trucks came roaring into the stadium, led by Megalodon.
They did a lap of the arena, before lining up ready for the first round of racing.
Monster Jam timed racing at Principality Stadium Cardiff 2019
The first round sees pairs of trucks race around the circuit, starting with Scooby Doo (my favourite) and Max-D. It didn’t get off to a good start for them, as both trucks crashed at the same time, landing on their roofs. It got the crowd going, and our boys were excited to see the recovery trucks driving over to get the drivers out. Thankfully, both were uninjured, but their trucks weren’t looking too good!
There were a few rounds of races, with Monster Energy, driven by Todd LeDuc beating El Toro Loco in the final. There were a few crashes along the way, which our boys found absolutely fascinating!
Monster Jam 2-wheel skills
Round two sees the trucks compete to perform the best stunts on two wheels. The drivers are scored by the crowd, via the Monster Jam website, which is a great way to make it interactive.
Gravedigger was the stand-out truck for our boys, driving on two side wheels and spinning around, as well as Pirate’s Curse, who hopped along on its two front wheels.
Megalodon failed to impress, and our two-year-old was shouting “he’s not even doing anything”! The truck was driven straight out of the stadium, so there might have been a problem.
Scooby Doo crashed out for a second time, with driver Linsey Read attempting to get the truck onto two wheels, but landing on the roof. El Toro Loco was voted the clear winner, after driving onto its front two wheels and blowing smoke out of its nose.
After a 15 minute intermission, a group of freestyle motocross motorbike riders roar into the stadium, attempting to do the best stunt over a huge ramp. When we were at the Pit Party, we saw how big the ramp in the centre of the arena was – and the bikers’ ramp was even taller!
They sped up the ramp, flying through the air kicking their legs off the bike, doing flips and even going hands-free. As someone who can’t even wave while cycling, it was really impressive!
Monster Jam freestyle trucks
The final section of the event is a freestyle competition, where each truck gets three minutes to impress the crowd with their best stunts. This is where their personalities really come into play, with their theme songs blaring out, and the crowd clapping along … although Zombie ended up looking less than his usual scary self when his face flew off during a jump!
The freestyle round is a real show-stopper, and a breathtaking end to the event. There’s a display of jumps, flips, and of course crashes as each driver goes all out to impress.
I missed the end, as our youngest boy decided he’d had enough an hour-and-a-half in, but saw most of the freestyle round on TV screens around the stadium. So even if your child finds the noise too much, or can’t sit still, you can still enjoy the action.
Gravedigger was voted the winner of the freestyle round, thanks to an impressive backflip over a huge ramp. We could hear the cheers from outside!
I never, ever thought I’d be spending a Saturday afternoon cheering on monster trucks in the centre of Cardiff, when the shops are just a stones throw away, but I loved it. It’s hard not to get sucked into the action, and seeing the excitement on our boys’ faces made it all the more enjoyable. They were whooping, clapping and singing along … and I think they’ll be first in line for tickets next year!
Just a few FAQs, for anyone who hasn’t been before…
Do I need ear defenders for Monster Jam?
In a word, yes. It is very loud, although it might depend where you’re sitting, as last year we were right on the starting line and it was deafening, while this year was more bearable.
Children definitely need ear defenders, but me and Stew managed without. If you buy them beforehand, you’ll save a fair bit of money. They are sold outside the stadium, or there are Monster Jam branded ear defenders inside.
Do they sell Monster Jam merchandise?
Yes. At the Pit Party and the show itself there are stalls set up selling Monster Jam merchandise. It’s hard not to give in and buy anything! To give an idea of prices … a cuddly Megalodon cost £22, large monster trucks were £30, and a slush drink in a monster cup was £12. We got away with a cheap flag each outside, as the boys had been sent some small Monster Jam trucks to review a couple of weeks ago.
What age is Monster Jam suitable for?
Our youngest is three next month, and he loved it. Last year the noise was to much for him, so I’d use your judgement before booking. There were people with babies in the crowd (wearing ear defenders), so as long as they can sit through two hours you’ll be fine.
How much are tickets for Monster Jam Cardiff?
Tickets range from £20 to £50, depending on where you sit. Tickets for the Pit Party cost £12 each, but you have to have show tickets alongside Pit Party tickets. It is an expensive family day out, so I’d recommend showing children some videos on YouTube to see what they make of it before buying tickets. Our boys loved it, and have spent all morning watching our videos back.